HC Deb 02 June 1843 vol 69 cc1251-85
Lord Stanley

moved, "That the Canada Wheat Bill be read a second time."

Lord Worsley

moved as an amendment, "That the bill be read a second time that day six months." He was convinced that an extensive smuggling trade would be carried on across the border, if the bill became law; but if the duty were collected, on what principle could Ministers justify their giving up an amount of revenue to the colonists which ought to flow into the British Treasury? Again, why establish a system of protection in Canada? The agriculturists of this country wished to uphold the protective system because it had continued for a long time, during which, both agriculture and manufactures had, on the whole, prospered. But the Canadians had no such plea. They did not wish this bill for the sake of the protection it would give, or because they thought it necessary: but they knew if they did not consent to the imposition of a duty on their imports of wheat, there would be no chance of getting the British Parliament to pass the bill.

Mr. J. E. Denison

in seconding the motion, said, that as they had now reached the stage in this measure, when it was usual to discuss its principle, and as the noble Lord had afforded them no fresh information upon it, it was necessary to examine the preamble of the bill itself. Now the preamble merely set forth, that whereas an act was passed by the legislative assembly of the province of Canada, imposing a duty of 3s. a quarter on wheat imported into Canada, therefore it was expedient that an act of Parliament should be passed allowing corn, the growth of Canada, to be imported into England at a duty of 1s.; and all flour ground in Canada, whether from Canadian or from American wheat, at a proportionate rate of duty. There was no allegation that any grievance will be removed, or any special benefit be conferred by this act; in this respect the preamble is candid enough, but it does not quite begin at the beginning, or tell the whole story; if it did, it ought to begin by stating, that, whereas, the Secretary of State for the Colonies wrote last year a hasty despatch to the governor of Canada, without duly considering the consequences; therefore, be it enacted, that this unmeaning and mischievous measure pass into a law; a reason hardly sufficient, indeed, for the Gentlemen opposite, and certainly, by no means conclusive in the eyes of the people of England. Let us look for a moment at the circumstances of Canada, and see whether there is anything peculiar in her condition which can justify the pasting of this measure. Now it is admitted that Canada does not grow corn enough for the consumption of the North American provinces. Upper Canada alone, with a population of about 400,000, produces any surplus corn. Lower Canada, with a population of 500,000, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick. Prince Edward's Island, and Newfoundland, all look to Upper Canada for a supply of corn; and these countries are necessarily dependent on Upper Canada, who, herself, situated at the head waters of the lakes and rivers, has the earliest means, by water communication, of supplying all their wants. Can any country be more favourably circumstanced then than the corn-growing districts of Upper Canada? and what possible need can there be for the great indulgence granted by this bill? But it is said Canada should be treated as an English county. But under this bill she may sell her own corn dear, and buy all she consumes cheap; and what English county has such a privilege? If this bill should pass, English counties must petition to be treated as favourably as the colonies. Suppose Lancashire should address the noble Lord and request to be allowed to sell all the corn she produces in the London market, and to import all she requires for her own consumption at a 3s. duty, she will only be asking for what it granted to Canada by this bill, and what is granted to Canada under the pretence of treating her as an English county. A good deal of difference of opinion has been expressed as to the probability of smuggling under this bill. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Coventry assured the House that very little smuggling could take place; the Member for Bath, a rather more impartial witness on this subject, assured the House that the most extensive smuggling would take place; that what with the facilities of crossing the river in summer and traversing the ice in winter, any quantity of wheat could be smuggled into the colony without the possibility of detection. Now setting for a moment these two witnesses one against the other, he (Mr. Denison) would call forward a still more important testimony, no other than that of the noble Lord himself. The noble Lord, in his opening speech, admitted that it would be most difficult, indeed that it would be impossible to prevent smuggling along a line of frontier of 1,500 miles, unless you had the whole population interested in the support of the law; now he (Mr. Denison) contended that you will have the whole population interested against the law. Will the mailers be interested in paying 3s. duty on every quarter they grind? Will the consumers in the towns, will even the farmers themselves, be interested in the collection of the duty? Certainly not. The farmers indeed would be, if Canada was going to be the market for the corn, but the markets for the corn will be Liverpool and London, and the price of wheat in Canada will always be regulated by the price in Liverpool, minus the freight and charges. The farmers, therefore, who can send all their own corn to England, will be equally interested with everybody else in the colony in obtaining a cheap supply for their own consumption, in evading, and not in paying the duty. Strange to say, the very vice of this measure has obtained for it some supporters; for as it is attacked both by those who desire protection for agriculture, and by those who advocate freedom of trade, some, like the Member for Durham, have said that truth probably lies in the middle, and therefore they would support the measure; but some positions may be so unskilfully taken up, that they may be equally open to attack on either flank, and such seems to be the singular misfortune of the present Bill. Those who desire protection to agriculture say, if the good to be derived from this measure is so small, why interfere with existing arrangements? why harass and disturb the minds of men? Last year you left us at least this cloak for our inconsistencies. We could say, with our leader, have I not preserved the sliding-scale? Now that cloak is snatched from us; a fixed duty of 4s. is imposed on all American wheat; and by favour of the smuggler the 4s. will probably be reduced practically to 1s., and no revenue will come into the exchequer. Say the advocates for freedom of trade, how many bad principles are not embodied in this measure? A Corn-law is imposed on Canada; new protected interests are called into existence. If any quantity of corn finds its way into the country, it will be through the medium of smuggling, which, with all its demoralising consequences, will prevail along the whole frontier. But beyond all these a more serious objection still presents itself. This Act stands in direct opposition to the sound principles of trade laid down by the Government last year, and gives, most unfortunately, just grounds of exception to the United States of America. The President of the Board of Trade, in a very able pamphlet, vindicating the measures of the last Session, has used these expressions— Sir R. Peel and Lord Ripon have done away with a practice which had given great, and not wholly unjust, offence to America— and which is alleged, in the recent report of a Committee of Congress, as a serious grievance—namely, that of granting privilege of duty to foreign produce when carried to the United Kingdom from the ports of our colonies, and thereby excluding, under the provisions of our Navigation Act, the vessels of the producing countries from a fair competition with our own, for the voyage across the ocean; as, for example, in the case of their pitch, pine timber, and their ashes. The practice was also open to the objection, that it starved the revenue often without any advantage to the consumer. Now the measure is open to every objection urged in this passage. It starves the revenue; it affords no advantage to the consumer. It diverts the trade from its direct and legitimate channel; it deprives the United States of a fair competition in carrying on trade of their own produce—and this, for so small an object, at a moment when you are inviting the United States to throw down the barriers of restriction, and to meet you in the open course of an honourable and friendly rivalry. They will say, you give us indeed fair words, but your deeds belie them; you invite us to a reciprocity in commerce, and seeing the next moment that some small advantage can be gained by the protection of your colonial code, you push it into new extremes, forgetful of every thing but the promise of a momentary and exclusive advantage. If anything could be wanting to complete the objections to this Bill, it would be found in the time of its introduction. The Recorder of Dublin told you last night, that this Bill was adding recruits daily to the cause of Repeal in Ireland. It is exciting deep discontent among the farmers of England. Whatever might have been the effects of the Tariff and the Corn-law of last year, they had produced one result of far more importance than a reduction of 10 or 20 per cent, on the value of produce. They have shaken all confidence in the country, all trust in public men, and all security in the future. When the right hon. Baronet, after rallying the whole spirit of monopoly in the country, was carried by that cry to power, and then announced exactly opposite principles, he offended the moral sense of the people of England. His so-called settlement of last year had no principle of fixedness in it, and would surely lead to speedy and much greater changes.

Mr. Benett

agreed with his hon Friend who spoke last, that this was a most unfortunate time for introducing this Bill. He had not opposed the measures of last year. He had persuaded his constituents to accede to those measures as being final. He knew nothing—his constituents knew nothing—of any pledge to Canada; and the House might imagine his disappointment at finding fresh measures now proposed; at being told by his constituents, " You persuaded us that the bill of last year would be a final settlement; but here is another stride, and a large one, being made towards repeal; who can tell where the next stride will place us?" He was anxious to consider Canada as a county of England; but then Canada should either bear the burthens of English counties, or rather English farmers should be relieved from those burthens. The malt-tax, for example, fell most heavily on the poor man, and at the same time it destroyed itself because the poor man could not drink liquor made from barley. He would have all such taxes removed; and he could say so fairly, because he was the advocate for an income-tax. He thought it the fairest of all taxes. He wished, too, that protection should go hand in hand with a necessity of cultivation.

Mr. Eliot Yorke

gave his support to the measure. Some time previous to the introduction of it, the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade had distinctly announced the proposition of a duty of 3s. on American wheat passing the frontiers of Canada. It must not, then, be charged against the Government that the agricultural members were taken by surprise; they were themselves to blame for not having taken greater pains to understand the proposal of the Government. It was a measure which he hailed as one that would relieve this country from the pressure under which it now laboured, and as mediatorial between the landed and manufacturing interests.

Mr. P. M. Stewart

said, that a measure so characterised by mystery in its birth and its after-stages, was never before propounded in that House. But if it were more clearly understood, he thought country gentlemen would coincide in the opinion, that the protective system was by no means invaded, but in some degree strengthened by it. There was, however, one ground upon which all English, Scotch, and Irish country gentlemen ought to resist it, and that was its disturbing effect. He had lately been in Scotland for the purpose of letting some farms, but the tenants asked only for renewals of three or five years, instead of the usual longer period, unless he could guarantee the continuance of the Corn-laws. And what would be the benefit of the measure to the consumer here? Would he not have to pay a higher duly on wheat from Canada than he had been paying on an average for some years past? In Canada, too, the millers and those engaged in the transit trade were opposed to it. The consumer in Canada was also against it for it was hostile to his interests. But it must be chiefly considered with reference to its effects upon our foreign trade with America. At first the Americans were induced to like it because it admitted their produce at a fixed duty, although by an indirect road. But why did not the Government at once come to an understanding with the Americans, and revive trade with our best customers by taking her produce in return for ours? He believed that the hostility of the American tariff arose entirely from the same causes as other foreign tariffs—namely, because we forced a false and unsound system so far that they were under the necessity of adopting such a course. Our manufactures were not taken because we would not receive as an equivalent that which she could spare—her agricultural produce. This was a measure of the blindest policy, and there was nothing to justify it but a hasty expression of the noble Lord, to which nobody paid any attention at the time it was uttered. Upon those grounds he should give his support to the amendment of his noble Friend.

Mr. Bankes

said, it had been remarked of this measure that that part of it which was protective would cease, but that which savoured of free-trade would continue. It was impossible not to see that there was a very great probability of that being the case. He must complain of the manner in which it had been brought forward. They had yet to inform themselves as to what were the real feelings of the people of Canada with respect to this measure. It was stated by the noble Lord that it had been received with every degree of popularity in the colony, and carried with an unanimous voice through the Legislature; but it was a fact which could not be concealed, that it was rejected by that very Legislature only a year before; and, looking to the documents upon the subject, they found undoubtedly that there were discussions upon it, the nature of which they could not comprehend from the very meagre details before them, and that it had occupied several weeks in being carried through. It was not, therefore, too much to ask that they should be more fully informed of the real feelings of the population of that colony and of those who governed it, before they agreed to this measure. He might be told that this bill contained provisions by which, if the proposed protection should cease, the protection which now existed should come again into operation; and that if those provisions, as now framed, were not sufficient, amendments might be introduced in committee; but protection once lost was not so easily regained. And if it should happen from some unforeseen circumstances that the colony should, after the experience of no long duration, abandon this protection, he did not see how, even if the act were so skilfully framed as to entitle them to return to the protection which they had now, they would be enabled to insure the benefit of it. The hon. Member for Cambridgeshire had said that the agricultural Members had not been taken by surprise. But he would refer to the manner in which this measure was announced by the noble Lord; and must say, that the charge of the hon. Member against the agricultural Members was rather unfair, as proceeding from one of their own body. He must suppose that in Cambridgeshire this matter was well known. He must suppose that the constituents of the hon. Member had had advantages which the constituents of other hon. Members had not had; and he must suppose that the hon. Member had been directed by his constituents to support this measure, and to bring against the other agricultural Members the charge he had preferred. He believed that the noble Lord who introduced this measure entertained the sincere conviction that it would not have an injurious effect upon the agricultural interests of this country; and if the bill had been proposed last year, at a period when higher prices existed, it might not have been open to such strong objections as under present circumstances, might, as he conceived with justice, be urged against it. It was, however, useless at this time to endeavour to persuade the agriculturists that the measure would be beneficial to them, and that it would not lead to a considerable diminution of their profits. The noble Lord in introducing the bill had taken great pains to remove the impression that it would tend to encourage smuggling; and he enlarged upon the trifling advantage which would be derived from contraband trade and the difficulties by which it would be attended. He believed, however, that the system of smuggling which they had reason to apprehend would be carried on in this manner:—that a vacuum being created in Canada by the exportation of colonial wheat to this country, grain would be smuggled from the United States into Canada for the consumption of the colonists. The only protection afforded to the agriculturists of this country would therefore be the duty of 1s. There was another point to which he wished to direct the attention of the House- Under the provisions of the Grinding Act, any quantity of flour might be taken to the bonding warehouses, and exchanged for an equal quantity of foreign wheat. How were they to guard against fraud here? What was to prevent persons from exchanging Canadian flour which had paid a duty of 1s. for an equal quantity of American or other foreign wheat? Suppose a person imported a quarter of Canadian flour upon which the 1s. duty was paid, how could they guard against his taking it, under the provisions of the Grinding Act, to the bonding warehouses and exchanging it for a quarter of foreign wheat, which ought to pay a duty of 20s., thus gaining an advantage of 19s.? He sincerely hoped, that if this measure must pass into a law it might produce all the benefits anticipated by the noble Lord. He was far from supposing, that if the system of protection continued to be maintained in Canada it would not be productive of benefit to the colony; and, if such benefit did result, he believed it would be productive of reciprocal advantage to this country. But he considered that, in the present depressed state of the agricultural interest, when he saw the anxiety and alarm which prevailed in the agricultural districts, he would not be discharging his duty to those whom he represented in that House if he gave his assent to that measure. He felt great regret in having compelled to differ from those with whom he generally acted, and to whom he gave full credit for the sincerity of the motives by which they were actuated in proposing this bill. He had no doubt they entertained the sincere conviction that the measure would not prove injurious to British agriculture; and he trusted they would do him the justice to believe that he was influenced by equal sincerity in adopting the course which he felt it his duty to pursue.

Mr. Mitchell

thought that the importance of this measure had been greatly overrated. He did not think the importation into this country of 80,000 or 100,000 quarters of Canadian wheat would produce any material effect upon the home market. He objected to the bill, however, because he believed it would abstract the difference in the duty from the British Treasury, in order to put it into the pockets of the Canadian landed proprietors, and that it would tend to raise the price of wheat to a proportionate extent in Canada. The measure would therefore inflict a double blow—first, upon the English Treasury; and next, upon the Canadian consumers; and for what object? To support the landed interest in Canada. He considered that the tendency of the bill would be to discourage, rather than to increase, the transit of American wheat through Canada to this country. Hitherto the duty on American wheat imported through Canada had been 2s. 1d. per quarter; but by this measure a permanent duty of 4s. a quarter would be imposed. He also objected to the bill because it would create a vested interest in Canada. Many persons might be induced, under the expectations which this measure encouraged them to indulge in, to invest their capital in Canadian agriculture; and if it should be hereafter found expedient to adopt measures of a different nature, they would turn round and complain of the injury done to them, and of the interference with their vested interests. He did not think that the bill carried out the principles of free trade, or that it would benefit the consumer; and he would, therefore, oppose it.

Mr. S. Wortley

said, the Government had been charged with having misled the people of this country with respect to the present measure. He might say, in reply to observations which had fallen from several hon. Members, that the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade had last year proposed to impose a 3s. duty on the importation of United States corn into Canada by an act of the Imperial Legislature; but, on consideration, it was thought advisable to leave it to the colonial Legislature to impose a duty on corn passing their frontier. It was eventually suggested that a duty of 3s. should be levied on the Canadian frontier, a duty of 1s. being imposed on importation into this country. He could therefore fully confirm the statement of the hon. Member for Cambridgeshire (Mr. E. Yorke); and he thought that hon. Gentlemen had no reason to complain that they had been deceived by the Government with respect to this measure. It had been said that this bill was designed to afford protection to the agricultural interest in Canada, and to give an advantage to the colonists in the home market over foreign producers. But the same principle had been adopted in, he believed, 1836, with regard to colonial sugar, and subsequently with respect to rum. There could be no question, in his opinion, that as a matter of revenue a fixed duty was preferable to a sliding scale. With respect to the operation of the measure, he could not believe that it was likely to have an extensive effect on the agricultural interests of this country. As the noble Secretary for the Colonies had said, the measure had been long looked for as a great boon by the Canadians, and considering all the circumstances of the case he could not but support the second reading.

Mr. V. Smith

was afraid that it was almost ungenerous to aim another blow at this almost undefended measure; but he must say he thought that such a measure ought to have received something more of explanation from her Majesty's ministers than the House had yet heard. If the noble Lord who introduced it did not like to say anything in its defence why were others silent? Why was the Paymaster of the Forces absent, introduced as he had been into the Cabinet as a decoy to the country gentlemen,—as the Mrs. Bend who was to invite them to come and be killed? On a former occa- sion he had taken the liberty to ask the noble Lord whether he could support his assertion that the Canadian Act had passed with the unanimous consent of the Canadian Legislature. That assertion had been denied by the hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume), and the noble Lord, in consequence, had produced the journals of the Canadian Legislature, from which, however, he (Mr. V. Smith) must say that any thing but what the noble Lord had stated appeared to have been the case. [Lord Stanley had made no such an assertion.] The noble Lord had certainly been understood by himself and others to have stated that the Canadian act had passed unanimously; however, the noble Lord roust know, at least, he (Mr. V. Smith) hoped the noble Lord knew, that he was the last person to accuse the noble Lord of intentional incorrectness, and he hoped the noble Lord would take an opportunity of informing the House on what precise questions the divisions in the Canadian Legislature had been taken. It appeared that no fewer than four divisions had taken place in reference to this subject. The noble Lord had called upon the House of Commons to pass the measure, because otherwise, he said, it would be an insult to the colony of Canada. Now the insult, if any to the colony, proceeded from the noble Lord himself, for he had made a promise to the colony without having the sanction of the British Parliament. To talk of insult to the Canadian Legislature, he must confess, appeared to him to be idle. If the House of Commons were to be told every time that an occasion occurred for them to exercise the privileges and rights of the House, that they must not do this or that because it would be an insult to the colony, he must say, in his opinion, that would not be fitting Ministerial language. The hon. and learned Member for Cork (Mr. O'Connell), was very differently treated when he said that this or that conduct would be considered an insult to Ireland. To take that into consideration, it was declared would be fettering the privileges of the House. But if the bill passed, would it not be an insult to the other North American colonies, to Nova Seotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward's Island, which, though not so valuable at present, might some time or other approach very nearly in value to Canada? The House was told, however, that these were not agricultural colonies. He believed the very same reason applied to Canada. At the present moment it did not raise any great quantity of corn. The House had been told by an hon. Gentleman who was acquainted with the country that the fly destroyed the crops in Lower Canada, and though there might be some surplus from Upper Canada it was only from that part of the colony that any could be expected. But Nova Scotia was advancing in agriculture. The emigration papers presented by the noble Lord yesterday showed that prizes were given there for agricultural improvements. These were small beginnings, it was true, but they were worth something. Because Canada had cost treasure and blood, we should not be afraid to act fairly to the other colonies as well as to Canada. Then the governor of New Brunswick stated, that in his progress through the colony he had everywhere noticed improvements in agriculture. Prince Edward's Island, he was told, had passed a similar act to this of Canada, with a similar prospect of a boon from the noble Lord. The noble Lord denied it, it seemed; but he asked, whether, if the other North American colonies passed similar measures, would the noble Lord dare to refuse them this boon? Writing to Jamaica the noble Lord stated that a privilege given to one colony could not be denied to another colony. He (Mr. V. Smith) took those words, and warned the noble Lord that a boon given to one colony could not be refused to another. Let hon. Gentlemen opposite, therefore, lay their account with having wheat coming in from all the colonies on the same terms as from Canada. The noble Lord had introduced his resolutions at one o'clock in the morning of the 6th of May — a most inconvenient hour — the consequence of which was, that at this stage of the measure, it was too late for him (Mr. V. Smith) to introduce the names of the other North American colonies as he should otherwise have done. There was one thing that he wished particularly to know, whether the noble Lord had taken any additional precautions against smuggling? He did not even know how the noble Lord proposed to defray the expenses of the measure in that respect. Did he mean to call upon this country? If the noble Lord did, he could assure him that this country would not afford him the means; or did the noble Lord mean to say that Canada would defray the expense? How was that to be brought about? It was impossible, in his opinion, that the duty could defray the expense. In fact, he believed, that the duty would not be levied; for he could not see that it was the interest of any person to maintain it. Their act having passed, and received the Royal assent, how could the noble Lord compel them to levy the duty? The noble Lord told the House,—" Oh, we don't want Custom-house officers; every man in Canada will be a custom-house officer." Why so? The largest portion of the population would be interested in smuggling. There would be no one person in Canada who would be interested in the slightest degree in the prevention of smuggling. These things were overlooked by Gentlemen on the opposite side; or, perhaps, their principal object was to support the Ministry, and it was with that view some few came down on one night to vote against one resolution, and a few more on another night to vote against another. The object of the bill was to establish a protective interest in Canada, which ultimately would unite with the protective interest here to oppose the principles of free-trade; and it would be difficult to oppose their united efforts.

Mr. G. W. Hope

said, that no arguments had been advanced against the bill which had not been urged before over and over again. The bill was verbatim the same as the resolutions; and what necessity was there for his noble Friend going over the same ground again. From the course of argument pursued by his hon. Friend it would be supposed that there was no Custom-house in Canada. His hon. Friend ought to know, from the situation which he had formerly held, that duties were collected on other articles coming into Canada from America, and that sufficient security for their collection existed. Where smuggling could be carried on along the frontier there was no corn, whilst, the great lakes were interposed between the corn-growing countries and Canada, and these lakes, as he understood, were never entirely frozen over in winter. Besides this, what would be the gain to the smuggler in comparison with the risk of seizure and the difficulty of landing? There had been formerly a considerable quantity of contraband tea introduced from America, but the reduction of duty to one half, combined with other causes, had done away with the contraband trade. An overwhelming majority of the Legislative Assembly of the two Canadas was in favour of the bill, and, notwithstanding the division in the Canadian Legislature there had been no vote against the principle of the bill. It had been asked by his hon. Friend, who pressed the point with some emphasis, whether it would be possible to refuse the same boon if it were required by our North American colonies; but it should be remembered, that these colonies did not produce corn for exportation. As to the allusion which had been made to the Prince Edward's Island Act, the answer was, that it only related to revenue. When the prices were very high here, American corn, instead of coming by the route of Canada, would come direct, and when the prices were low, American corn would come to this country through Canada. His hon. Friend argued, that the bill would give strength and consistency to the existing Corn-laws which at any rate proved that the measure was not brought forward for the purpose of weakening the present protection.

Mr. Sheil

I do not think that the hon. Gentleman has succeeded in showing that it was not necessary for any Member of the Treasury Bench to have taken part in this debate; nor do I think he has shown, what it was of great importance to establish, that the statement of the noble Lord, the Secretary for the colonies, that there were no divisions in the Canadian House of Representatives on the measure, has been borne out by the facts. I am convinced, that the noble Lord only stated what he believed to be true—the documents, however, which he has produced, prove that the noble Lord laboured under a mistake of an egregious kind. After the noble Lord had stated to the House, that there were no divisions, my hon. Friend, the Member for Montrose, referred to a paper in which it appeared that there was a division on the first resolution. When that paper was reverted to by my hon. Friend, and when he referred to the speeches made upon that occasion, I ask how it is the noble Lord could make an assertion, so utterly at variance with the evidence adduced by the Member for Montrose. The noble Lord said, he had referred to the journal. So have I. Surely, the noble Lord will admit, that a division on the resolution on which the bill is founded is the same thing as a division on the bill itself. What was that resolution? Resolved,— That it is the opinion of the committee, that it is expedient, in order to encourage the agricultural interests of this province, and facilitate the free admission of Canadian wheat into the ports of the United Kingdom, to impose a duty on foreign wheat imported into this province. Did not that resolution involve the principle of the whole measure? Then look at page 5, and let us see who is in the right. We have assertion on one side, met with asseveration on the other, but what is the proof? On the top of page 5, I find this statement:— The question being then put on the first resolution, the House divided thereon, and the names being called for, they were taken down as followeth. On the first resolution, involving the principle of the bill, there was a division taken, therefore the noble Lord had not made out his assertion. Then you say, "read the intermediate portion." Between the first resolution and this division there was a division on an amendment The amendment was lost, and then the division was taken on the first resolution.— The question being then put on the first resolution, the House divided."] I think the noble Lord, with all his ingenuity, will not be able to elicit any different construction from that entry. Then let us see whether other assertions are better founded. The hon. Member for Cambridgeshire said, that the country had not been misled, but straight, the hon. Member for Dorsetshire turns round and asks whether his constituents have been misled? And that question has received no answer The hon. Member for Dorsetshire added that he had not been misled. Did the hon. Member for Dorsetshire convey that information to his constituents? Did he, in this House, take part in the debate with the hon. Member for Yorkshire, who was also not misled? Did either of the hon. Members take pains to impress on the agriculturists the benefits of those measures, taken in reference to which you may well exclaim,— O fortunati nimium bona si sua norint. But the people say they are misled. In order to ascertain whether the charge is well founded let us see the facts. The noble Lord anticipated the charge, and declared that the measure was not clandestinely introduced, and the noble Lord adverted to a speech made by himself. It is true that the Vice-President of the Board of Trade, on the 8th of February, 1842, suggested the advantage of a fixed duty between Canada and America; did he say one word about the abolition of the duty on Canadian wheat brought into this country? Not a syllable. He said there was a disposition in the Government to lessen the duty upon American wheat introduced into Canada, but not a word about reducing the duty on Canadian wheat brought into this country. It therefore required considerable ingenuity and ability to extort from the right hon. Gentleman's statement as an inference that which he now said he had so clearly declared. On the 9th of February the greatest interest prevailed throughout the country to know the determination of the Government; it was supposed that they would adhere in Parliament to their pledges expressed or implied. In the hush of public attention, when every sentence of the Prime Minister not only entered the ear, but was impressed on the mind, the Prime Minister entered into an explanation of the alterations which he intended to adopt. Did he say a word about this bill? Not a syllable. He detailed with the utmost minuteness, the change he intended to make in the duty on Canadian corn. There was to be a 5s. duty when the price was 55s.; as the price advanced to 58s. the duty was to be reduced. What was it incumbent on a Prime Minister to do when, upon such an article as corn, this plan was in meditation? Was it not to apprise the country of the fact? My right hon. Friend the late Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Baring) asked on the 9th of February, 1842, whether the Cabinet contemplated any change. If they did, why did they suppress all mention of it? A hint was given by the noble Lord the Secretary for the Colonies? In what stage of the Corn-law was that hint given? Was it on an amendment of the Government? No. My hon. Friend the Member for the county of Limerick made a motion, and then the noble Lord the Secretary for the Colonies made a motion, which he is astonished we have not borne in mind. He may be astonished that his words were not understood, but the country gentlemen did not conceive the noble Lord's words conveyed any such meaning. This was on the 28th of February. There was another speech made on the 18th of April. No one had mentioned what took place on the 18th of April. The noble Lord then the President of the Board of Trade (the Earl of Ripon), who is now transferred to another department, where I believe control is very necessary, introduced the Corn-law in the other House. Did he say one word in reference to the bill? The Prime Minister had passed it over, the Secretary for the Colonies had introduced it incidentally, and then the President of the Board of Trade left it out. The 2nd of March was passed. At that time the noble Lord's despatch had been written; on the 18th of April, when the corn bill was brought into the House of Lords, the President of the Board of Trade did not utter one word with respect to this measure. I entirely acquit the noble Lord of practising any deception to the House of Commons, but it is most unfortunate that the country gentlemen have been taken by surprise, the hon. Member for Shropshire is taken by surprise; the hon. Member for Suffolk the gallant representative of agricultural astonishment are utterly amazed. If there be a scale of surprise, the farmers of England have gone through every grade of the scale. They marvelled that the Whigs changed their minds before the general election—they were astonished that the Tories changed their minds so soon afterwards. They were amazed at the Corn-bill—they were appalled by the tariff, and now they are still more thunderstruck that fifteen months afterwards you should come forward and introduce a change into your own final measure; that you should give up your sliding-scale and adopt a fixed duty which would prove a fixed imposture. In my opinion this bill is objectionable to the farmers who are the advocates of protection, and it is still more objectionable to the advocates of free-trade. The farmers suppose that they are to have protection, and you give them a duty payable here; whereas you turn round and substitute for a duty raised here in England, a duty to be raised in Canada for the Canadians, and not for England. You may say "imperial policy requires this." Possibly "imperial policy" may require the abolition of the Corn-laws; and you defend those laws, not on a reference to imperial policy, but you defend them in order to support particular interests; in other words class interests. Is it not the same thing to Ireland and to England if flour comes into this country whether it is ground on the Vistula or the St. Lawrence. Will not Canadian corn interfere with home-grown corn as much as corn grown at Dantzie or in America. Will it not equally displace home-grown corn? Will it not equally interfere with contracts—will it not affect pin-money and settlements quite as much as foreign grown corn. Why then do you introduce this bill. It seems from the papers before the House that the Western States of America are by this bill to be converted into the granaries of this country. How do you reconcile that probability with the policy of your Corn-laws, to which yon express your determination to adhere? I pass to the smuggling question. In these papers you have a memorial showing that there will be no smuggling. Who do you think is the authority against smuggling? Why, my Lord Mountcashel. You will hardly believe it—this bill is sheltered under that illustrious name— Magni stat nominis umbra. The North American committee of the Colonial Society sent the memorial, but the first name among the subscribers is my Lord Mountcashel. Giving you the full benefit of all the authority to be derived from the name, see how stands the evidence. We have had the opinion of the right hon. Member for Coventry (Mr. E. Ellice), whose sagacity, whose talents, and whose pure and" disinterested principles are beyond dispute. I know of no man of more shrewdness and sagacity, of whose opinion with regard to matters affecting Canada I would more readily take, but against him we have had the evidence of two hon. Members, one an Englishman, who has been officially connected with Canada, I mean the hon. and learned Member for Liskeard, and the other a Canadian, the hon. Member for Bolton, [No! no!] If be is not a native of Canada, he is most honourably connected with that colony, of which the Legislature, at one period made him the repository of its special confidence, My hon. Friend the Member for Liskeard has been in Canada, he was a member of Lord Durham's government. Both these gentlemen concur in stating that smuggling will be carried on to a very great extent. My gallant Friend the Member for Marylebone concurs in that opinion. He is well acquainted with Canada; against that opinion his testimony has been given by the noble Lord the Secretary for the Colonies, who has been in Canada, but his evidence is rebutted by that of the Members for Maldon and for Taunton, who travelled with him through Canada, when they sympathised with the noble -Lord in sentiments, which he no longer entertains. They think that smuggling will be carried on to a very great extent under these circumstances, where there appears to exist a doubt so strong upon a matter so important, and the witnesses contradict each other so directly, would it not have been a better course to have referred the whole question to a committee? At present we have nothing but assertion upon one side encountered by equally strong asseveration upon the other. I have said that the advocates of free trade also ought to oppose this measure. The Americans are already complaining of the introduction of this tariff. When you are introducing into Canada a Corn-law which has produced such bad effects here, may it not have an equally pernicious effect in Canada without necessity, all the evils of your Corn-laws. There is no pretence for a Canadian Corn-law. There have been no investments in Canada made on the faith of the Corn-Laws, capital has not been introduced there under them, there are no settlements or family arrangements dependent upon them in Canada. By destroying the Corn-laws here you may root up interests which have grown up with them. But this cannot be said in Canada. We have received an intimation that the Corn-laws here cannot be maintained, and my hon. Friend, the Member for Montrose says, "Carry this measure as soon as you possibly can, and the Canadian Legislature will break through it." You, feeling the force of that suggestion, have attempted to guard against it. You have altered your resolutions, you have added to the words, "from and after a day to be named," the words, "and thenceforth during the continuance of the said duty." You feel the force of the objection, and you say that the present act shall be co-existent with the Canada Act. Is not this evidence that you consider, after a trial of your Corn-laws, the Canadians will try to get rid of them. If there be a cry for a repeal of the Corn-laws in this country, why should not there be a cry for the repeal of Corn-laws in Canada. You say that with a fixed duty in a time of famine in England there will be a cry for repeal of this fixed duty; if there be a time of famine in Canada why should there not be a similar cry there [No, no.] You say "No." I am aware of the value of an official denial, but where is your evidence 1 And what is your principle of a fixed duty? You have a sliding-scale on the Hudson, and a fixed duty on the St. Lawrence. You slide along the Erie, and are in what the Americans call "a fix" on the Wel-land Canal. Nay, if you bring American flour down the St. Lawrence, 'and grind it there, you admit it at a fixed duty, whilst if it comes unground, it comes in under the sliding-scale; so that on the St. Lawrence itself, you have in operation at one and the same time, the sliding-scale and the fixed duty. I do not enter into the calculations or into all the mystifications may I say, in which the noble Lord indulged. One word more — I have not heard on the other side anything which can justify the exclusion of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward's Island. This point has been pressed again and again. It has been pressed by those who have attacked the Government in front, and those who have fallen upon them in the rear; but no definite, skilful, and perspicuous answer has been extorted by the most skilful inqusitor who has administered his interrogatories to the noble Lord. Lord Durham recommended, that all these colonies should be combined into one mass. It was apprehended, however, to be too serious an experiment, and was not adopted. Yet there is no difference in the natural advantages of these colonies; there is no ground for making the present distinction. You say that there is no corn grown there; but I have abundance of evidence to show that there 1s. Mr. M'Gregor says so. Under Sir Howard Douglas a great impetus was given to the growth of corn in Nova Scotia; and the same thing is asserted both by Mr. Buckingham and Mr. Martin. But you do not think, that Nova Scotia will complain. Have you forgotten the proceedings of the people of that colony? Do you not know, that the Legislative Assembly of that colony forced from amongst them certain obnoxious in- dividuals—that they have exhibited a will of their own, and a power to carry out their views? It is only for countries in a state of insurrection, however, that such premiums are reserved. Is it fair on the part of a British Ministry first to enter into what I will not call a clandestine bargain, with the Canadian Legislature, but a bargain without the assent or knowledge of Parliament, and then to turn round and say, "If you do not ratify our treaty there will be a civil war." Those words were not used, undoubtedly, but you talked of the danger to this country, and of the weakest point of the British empire. And you did not stop there. You assembled your Friends; not in this House, but out of the House; they met at the Foreign-office, and you threatened your supporters with resignation. [Cries of "No, no."] We were threatened with a civil war, and then you threatened your supporters with resignation. [Cries of "No."] Did not the noble Lord say, that if this bill was not carried he should advise his Sovereign to refuse the royal assent to the Canada bill, and resign his office, ["No, no."] He said it should be his last act. [Renewed cries of "No."] Well, then, in place of saying that it should be his last act, he said, "though it should be his last act." [Cheers and cries of "No."] If that be not what the noble Lord said, it would be better for the noble Lord himself, in candour, to state what he did say. The threat used at the meeting to which I am referring, however, as it is stated in a letter, written by the Member for Kent, appeared to involve resignation; but as there is so much doubt on that point, I may recommend to the noble Lord, that he should have recourse to a dissolution, and on the Corn-laws, the Canadian bill, and the prosperity with which he has blessed the country, give the people of England an opportunity of pronouncing a practical panegyric on the administration of himself and his associates.

Lord Stanley

said, that certainly the right hon. and learned Gentleman who had just sat down had introduced something of novelty into the debate, which he had thought so worn out that he should have felt an apology due to the House for again intruding upon its attention, were it not that such a direct appeal had been made to him by the right hon. and learned Gentleman. In consequence of some expres- sions which had fallen from the right hon. and learned Gentleman at the close of his speech, he felt bound to trespass upon its indulgence for a few moments while he endeavoured to show that he did not shrink from the challenge which had been thrown out, and to prove that he was prepared to meet the right hon. and learned Gentleman. When he remembered that the right hon. and learned Gentleman had been for a considerable time a Member of the late Administration, he did not feel great surprise that the right hon. and learned Gentleman should recommend to the present Government any other expedient rather than that of resignation. He thought that if the right hon. and learned Gentleman had carried his example and experience rather than his precept a little further, the last and fatal experiment of a dissolution would not afford the right hon. and learned Gentleman any grounds for urging a dissolution as the best course to be adopted. The right hon. and learned Gentleman seemed to know the circumstances which he supposed to have occurred at a private meeting of gentlemen widely differing from the right hon. and learned Gentleman in political opinions. [Mr. Sheil: " I spoke on the authority of the published letter of Mr. Plumptre."] That letter he had not seen, but the right hon. and learned Gentleman had stated, that on the part of the Government he (Lord Stanley) had taken the undue and indecent liberty of threatening the supporters of the Government, that unless they gave their support to this measure, he should feel it his duty to resign the situation he had the honour to hold. Now, there were many Gentlemen then in the House who, unlike the right hon. and learned Gentleman, had been present at the meeting, and who could remember what had passed. At that meeting—if the right hon. and learned Gentleman wished to know what passed—he had stated to the Gentlemen assembled, that which he conceived showed the groundlessness of the apprehensions of the agriculturists with respect to this measure. He had slated further, the position in which the Government was placed with respect to this measure, but he added, most distinctly, that no Member of Parliament was pledged to its adoption; and he also said—and he now repeated it—that it was then and still was the duty of the Government, considering the pledges given to Canada, to use its utmost endeavours for the purpose of carrying the measure into effect. The right hon. and learned Gentleman had alluded to a speech which he had made in Parliament on the occasion of the motion of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Taunton (Mr. Labouchere. [Mr. Sheil: "Your opening speech."] Be it so. On that occasion he stated strongly, that the Government was pledged to take every step to secure the passing of this measure—that the Canadian Legislature had passed a bill in the full reliance that the measure would become law, and he had stated further, that if unfortunately, and contrary to his expectations, Parliament should refuse its sanction to one side of the contract, he would not be a party to advise the Crown to assent to the other portion embodied in the bill of the Canadian Legislature; and that in the event of the rejection of the bill now under consideration, it would be his first, though it might also be his last official act, to advise the Crown to refuse its assent to the bill passed by the Canadian Legislature. Now, he did not think that any hon. Member could fairly construe this language into a menace. But the right hon. and learned Gentleman had stated that he had not only held out threats of danger to the country by the rejection of this bill, but that he had entered into a clandestine treaty with Canada, and concealed it from the House. [Mr. Shell: "No."] Oh, yes; the right hon. and learned Gentleman said, he had entered into a treaty which the right hon. and learned Gentleman would not designate as clandestine. That was a stale artifice, and one wholly unworthy of the right hon. and learned Gentleman. The right hon. and learned Gentleman had gone on to state that he had said, that if Parliament refused to ratify the treaty, there would be civil war in Canada. He had never said or thought anything of the kind; but this he had said, and this he repeated, that it was not the same thing to refuse to pass a measure when nothing had previously taken place, and to withdraw a boon when an equal benefit had previously been conceded. But the right hon. and learned Gentleman had also contended that he had made statements — which, the right hon. and learned Gentleman defied him, with all his ingenuity, to get out of—with respect to the unanimity of Canada in reference to this measure, and taking in his hand the journals of the House of Assembly, the right hon. and learned Gentleman had charged him with having misrepresented facts. [Mr. Shell: " No, I said you were in error as to facts."] The right hon. and learned Gentleman added, that from those journals he would prove the error. Now, his declaration had been, that the principle of the present measure, and also the principle of the bill passed in Canada, had obtained the universal and unanimous assent of all the branches of the Canadian Legislature; and he repeated that statement. The right hon. Gentleman, the Member for Northampton had said, that in the House of Assembly, as appeared from its journals, there had been some division upon the original resolution; but the right hon. Gentleman had omitted to state, that two of those divisions were with regard to a third resolution, not at all or in any degree connected with or forming a part of the measure under consideration. There had been two divisions on the first resolution, which was to the effect— That it was expedient to encourage the agricultural interests of this province (Canada), and to facilitate the introduction of foreign wheat into the province at a duty named. The amendment moved was to the effect,— That such duty should be levied only when Canadian wheat could be admitted into the United Kingdom duty free. In short, the original resolution was to impose a duty of 3s. without conditions; the amendment was to impose a duty with conditions. On these motions divisions had taken place, and the original resolution was carried by a majority of thirty-nine to eighteen. The main resolutions were afterwards carried by a majority of forty-nine to thirteen; and of the thirteen Gentlemen who voted in favour of the amendment twelve of them had declared, that their opposition was founded on the circumstance, that the bill now under consideration would not give security to the Canadians. [Mr. Sheil: "That statement is very ingenuous."] It might be ingenuous; but what was much better, it was true. A similar amendment had been moved on the bill, and with these exceptions, neither in the second nor in the third reading of the bill had there been any division or difference of opinion either in the upper or the lower House of the Legislature. Now he asked the right hon. and learned Gentleman, and he asked the House whether he had satisfied both, that upon the principle of the measure pro- posed by the Government there had been no difference of opinion whatever. If there had, the passage which had been referred to by his hon. Friend, the Under Secretary for the Colonies (Mr. G. W. Hope), showed that those differences had been misinterpreted. So much, then, for the circumstances under which the measure had been passed by the Canadian Legislature. The feelings and opinions expressed by that Legislature, he took to be indications of the feelings and opinions of the people of Canada. But there remained another point which had been noticed by the right hon. and learned Gentleman opposite. The right hon. and learned Gentleman had said the present bill was a surprise upon that House and upon the country. He regretted, that any hon. Member should have misconceived the intentions and views of her Majesty's Government, and he admitted frankly, that neither Parliament nor hon. Gentlemen opposite were bound by anything which had passed last year. The right hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Sheil) had quoted what had passed on the 8th and 9th of February last year, and had said, that his (Lord Stanley's) right hon. Friend, the President of the Board of Trade, had, in moving the British Colonial Possessions Bill, taken no notice of what the Government intended to do with respect to the Corn-law. This omission had arisen from the simple fact, that then the Corn-laws were not under consideration; but on the 8th of February, before the Corn-laws were introduced, the right hon. Gentleman, the Member for Taunton had taken an objection to the principle of the imposition of a duty by the authority of Parliament, without the consent of the Canadian Legislature. The fact was, that the Government was doubtful as to the course of the colonial Legislature. But the right hon. and learned Gentleman opposite (Mr. Sheil), although he had quoted what had passed on the 8th, the 9th, the 28th of February, and the 18th of April last year, had omitted a very important statement made by his right hon. Friend, the President of the Board of Trade, on the 25th of February, on the discussion of the motion made by the hon. Member for the county of Lincoln (Mr. Christopher), with respect to the Corn-laws. On that occasion his right hon. Friend had used these words:—

"With respect to the question which had been alluded to, he believed that no man in that House would contend that any regulation ought to be adopted in the new Corn-law which should raise a new barrier as against our trade with the United States. He had proposed laying a duty of 3s. on wheat imported into Canada. Should Parliament, how. ever, lay a merely nominal duty on the importation of Canadian flour and wheat into this country, he would not venture to pledge himself, that it would not be right to lay the duty on the importation of American wheat into Canada, which stood in his resolution; but if Parliament should adhere to the principle of a 5s. duty on the importation of Canadian wheat and flour in this country, in that case the 3s. duty would not be pressed upon the House."

Did not this statement announce the contemplated introduction of American corn into Canada, and of Canadian corn into this country? The right hon. and learned Gentleman had said, that his noble Friend took no notice of the question on the 18th of April; of course not, for it was not then settled. His noble Friend never thought of referring to that which, after all, was for the consideration of the colonial Legislature. With regard to the question of smuggling corn from the United States into Canada, and also with regard to the quantity of corn that was likely to be introduced from the United States into Canada under this bill, the Blatter had been discussed usque ad nauseam. He, therefore, would not go into it. The hon. Member for Maldon, however, had made an observation with respect to smuggling wheat into Canada, which he wished to advert to. The hon. Gentleman had misapprehended what had fallen from him; he did not say, that he could not tell the extent of the smuggling, but he said, that he did not apprehend that there would be any serious extent of smuggling inland, but that it was possible a certain portion might be smuggled that was introduced by the sea board for the use of the fisheries. Again, his hon. Friend the Member for Dorsetshire did not find fault with the engagement that had been entered into with Canada, but be complained that the measure had been brought forward when agriculture was suffering under such depression; but surely the fall of prices could not justify the Government in abandoning the measure. The hon. Gentleman said, that if the measure was to be carried when corn was at the price of last year, he did not anticipate any great evil that would result from it. It was admitted by his hon. Friend, that the measure would prove of great advantage to Canada, and that a great number of British subjects annually-emigrated there, and that no boon could be conferred on those provinces which did not react on the mother country. Now, these were large admissions, and all of them of great importance. He believed, that if they thus did good to Canada, which was the natural refuge for so large a portion of the population of the mother country, that it would react upon the state of this country, and would produce the most beneficial effects. He would not waste the time of the House with going into calculations as to the probable quantity of corn, or rather flour, which was likely to come from Canada under the operation of this measure; but to relieve the apprehensions of some Gentlemen connected with agriculture, he perhaps might be allowed to state, that he had received some communications from mercantile houses connected with the Canadian trade, in which he was assured that the quantity likely to be imported this year under the measure was very small. He found in the communication of one Canadian mercantile house, that it was stated:— That the price of flour at Montreal is from 22s. 6d to 25s. a barrel, that was about from 43s. to 47s. a quarter of wheat. The stock on hand is small, and much less will be exported from up the country than there could be last year. The market price in New York is 2s. higher than in Canada, and that still would take up a large proportion of the corn from the western states. After this he said with perfect confidence, that he did not believe that there was much to apprehend to the agricultural interest of this country from this source. The hon. Gentleman asked, would not Canada corn swamp the home market as much as that from Odessa? Certainly it did not matter so much where the corn came from, if the market was to be glutted; but when they obtained a supply, it was a material thing to consider at what price it was likely to be introduced into the market. If they could get Odessa corn at 14s. a quarter, it would displace the consumption of English corn, and, of course, reduce the price. If two or three hundred thousand quarters of wheat were introduced at this rate, the effect would be strongly felt; but he did not anticipate that any quantity of corn imported from Canada would displace an equal quantity of home produce. It did not matter, how- ever, where the corn came from, if it came at such a price as materially to affect the prices in the British market. As for the remark that had been made, that this measure created an invidious distinction between Canada and the other North American colonies, one hon. Member having intimated that it perhaps arose from the circumstance of there having been no rebellion in the other colonies, that it was not extended to them; and another hon. Member having said, that if the bill passed in its present shape, you would impose an affront on Nova Scotia—he must disclaim any such motives, and say he feared no such consequences. The right hon. Gentleman who spoke last, as well as other hon. Gentlemen who took the same side in the debate, agreed in this objection. And here he would beg the House to recollect, that when he introduced the measure, he distinctly stated, that it was not brought forward to promote the grinding interest of the colony, but for the encouragement of the domestic agriculture of Canada, and that they should send here not American, but Canadian corn. Were hon. Gentlemen aware of the fact, that since the old Corn-law came into operation, the whole quantity of colonial corn brought into this country for home consumption, with the exception of that from Canada, did not exceed 35,000 quarters? He was told, however, that Nova Scotia would consider this measure as an affront to her, and why, he would ask? Nova Scotia did not grow anything like wheat enough for her own consumption. New Brunswick also did not produce nearly sufficient for her own consumption. It had been strongly argued, that Canada produced more than sufficient corn for herself, but not sufficient to satisfy the wants of the whole of British America. Now, he begged hon. Gentlemen to recollect, that Canada, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward's Island, comprehended the whole of British North America. At present, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick imported corn from the United States without the payment of any duty; but if you extend this measure to these new colonies, you compel them to impose a duty on the importation of wheat into them, and they have no flour of their own produce to send here. He was satisfied that these colonies would regard the extension of this measure to them as being a very trifling boon when you accompanied it with the condition imposed on Canada. The hon. and learned Member for Liskeard asked the other night why the Government did not apply this measure to Newfoundland, which obtained its supply of corn from the states on the Mississippi; and he made the observation, that Newfoundland lay midway between the Mississippi and this country. This might be so; but certainly no map that he had ever seen showed it. But if it were so, it was very strange that it did not find its way into New Brunswick, where it could be ground, and then imported into this country for little more than 1s. a barrel. The hon. Gentleman, however, had added, that it was very true, that these were not corn-growing countries. But independently of this, Prince Edward's Island had imposed a duty of 4s. on the importation of wheat into that colony, without any reference to this measure. This was a revenue act, and a revenue act only, and for the purposes of revenue only; but if other colonies chose to impose duties similar to those involved in this measure, the matter would be considered by the Government, and no doubt would be duly brought under the consideration of Parliament. He would, however, give no pledge on the subject, as he had strongly felt the inconvenience during the present Session of having done so. Could any man doubt it, that there were inconveniences in giving pledges, and that doing so materially interfered with the public business. He had said all along, that this was a measure which was of small importance as regarded its effect on agriculture, but the experience of the Session as to the inconvenience of making promises would make him very cautious for the future as to what he said of any measures to be hereafter proposed. As to the course, therefore, that her Majesty's Government would take with respect to the other colonies, he would not say a word; but special grievances with respect to Canada induced her Majesty's Government to introduce this measure, and they determined not to abstain from settling an important question, because that might raise a discussion with respect to other colonies, which at present could not be touched by the matter.

Sir Charles Napier

observed, that a few nights ago he was simple enough to believe, on the authority of the noble Lord, that there could be no smuggling corn into Canada under this bill. Now he had consulted several officers who had served in Canada, who assured him that this was altogether a mistake. He found that this bill, although called a modified free-trade, bill, would have the effect of demoralising the country and exciting all kinds of bad feeling between the American persons on this border on the one side, and the Canadians on the other. If any one would take up a map of America, he would see that there was nothing to prevent corn being brought down from the banks of Lakes Ontario and Erie by the canals and by the American floats, and when they passed from Cleveland and got along the American shore into the Lake of the Thousand Islands, nothing whatever could prevent smuggling. The noble Lord might send Admiral Bowles, and all the ships and all the steamers which they were about to send to Ireland, to Canada instead, and he could not prevent the smuggling of wheat from the United States into Canada. American corn would continue to go free of duty, as had been the case hitherto, into Canada; and as for the duty imposed in the colony, the truth was, that the Legislature of Canada had bamboozled the noble Lord, as he had attempted to bamboozle the country gentlemen.

Mr. Wodehouse

thought the measure, as applied to English and Irish millers, was excessively unjust. He would not have made any objection to it as a measure of colonial beneficence; but he asked why was the experiment proposed in the present state of agriculture, and why should the experiment be made on agriculture alone? With respect to smuggling, he consulted Sir C. O'Donnell, who had been military secretary in Canada, and it was that gentleman's opinion, that it would be impossible to prevent smuggling under this bill. He complained, that certain friends of the noble Lord had covered him with a panoply of infallibility, which the noble Lord was not at all anxious, he believed, to wear. Sir Colquhoun Grant used to say on some occasions, "I do not wish to say a severe thing, but upon my soul, you are as great a scoundrel as ever I met." And when those friends of the noble Lord came round to him and told him that he had no weak point—that he could not err, he believed, that if the noble Lord followed the course of his own nature, he the weakest set of gentlemen that ever I knew." He thought the hon. Member for Kent was bound to explain For the sake of his constituents his opinions on the bill.

Lord Norreys

was anxious, before the debate was over, that the hon. Member for Wallingford should have an opportunity of repeating those attacks before the face of the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government which he had made out of that House. The hon. Member said, the other night, that it was his intention to speak on the second reading of the bill, hut he had not as yet ventured to repeat those attacks on the right hon. Baronet which he had made behind his back. He did not dare to make those attacks before the face of the right hon. Baronet which he had made at an agricultural meeting at Wallingford, which the hon. Member himself had convened. Notwithstanding the attacks which the hon. Member had made on the right hon. Baronet, he was surprised, after the Corn-bill had been before the House for au entire month, to see in the Morning Post the name of the hon. Member as present at one of the right hon. Baronet's parliamentary dinners. If he entertained feelings towards the right hon. Baronet similar to those which the hon. Member for Wallingford had expressed, he! should not have gone and sat at the right hon. Baronet's table amongst his supporters at that parliamentary dinner. As he was coming down to the House, some lines occurred to him which reminded him of the hon. Member and the course which he had taken,— Quid immerentes hospites vexas, canis Ignavus adversum lupos? Quin hucinanes, si potes, vertis minas Et me remorsurum petis? Tu cum timendâ voce complêsti nemus Projectum odoraris cibum. And looking at the right hon. Baronet as— Molossus aut fulvus Lacon. The hon. Member might say to himself— Cave, cave: namque in malos asperrimus Parata tollit cornua. But why did not the hon. Member make his attack in the House of Commons? Why had he not fulfilled his pledge and risen in his place? Where did the hon. Member make his declaration? The House own nature, he would be surprised, "and you, too, Sir," (continued the hon. Member, addressing himself to the Speaker), "will be surprised to hear that it was at your house. The hon. Member boasted, with great glee, that he was going to have some fun before Easter." A dinner was to be given, of that the hon. Member informed him, but he told the hon. Member that he would have nothing to do either with the hon. Member or with his dinner. A most flaming handbill was printed and posted; in that it was stated, in large and legible characters, that Mr. W. S. Blackstone had kindly consented to take the chair, and that other persons of consequence would attend. He did not know whether the hon. Member intended that as a puff for himself Well, what took place at that meeting? It was said in vino Veritas. Were the farmers told of the Canada Corn-bill? The Earl of Stanhope said, that the right hon. Baronet would not consent to any alteration in the Corn-bill. Was not, the noble Earl asked, the Canada Corn-bill an infraction of that pledge? Unless it was the object of the hon. Member that those who were present should go away from the meeting, the hon. Member should have risen up and stated the facts. That the noble Earl should not have known what the intentions of Government was, was not surprising, as that noble Earl was not a Member of that House. But the hon. Member pretended to be sensitively alive to the interest of agriculture, and he maintained that the hon. Member ought to have placed before the farmers the true statement of the c8se. The hon. Member, however, came down to the House and shifted the matter off his own shoulders. "It is not my own opinion," said the hon. Member for Wallingford, "but the opinion of the farmers." All he would say was, he who dared to whisper behind a person's back what he had not the courage to say in public to his face, was vilely, grossly, and foully guilty. He did not speak of the hon. Member, because the hon. Member denied the imputation. All he would say was, that the real delinquent had acted foully, grossly, vilely,—just as if any one had gone into Berkshire and said, "Do not you see and know what the Member for Wallingford (Mr. Blackstone) is at. A gentleman of Whig principles has lately bought a property in the neighbourhood. Mr. Blackstone feels that his seat is uncertain, and he wishes to satisfy you, the farmers, in order to secure that he may be hereafter returned as Member for the county of Berks." This was the cause of all the agitation that prevailed. By this course uncertainty was created, and a great depression of price was produced in the markets. Looking at the present bill, he thought it showed a great want of caution on the part of the Government to have postponed a measure of this kind. It appeared to him that the only change which this bill made was the adoption of a duty of 4s. instead of a duty of 5s. a quarter, and he would contend that the other shilling a quarter was made up by levying the duty in advance and the payment of the duty on a bulky article. If his noble Friend in bringing forward this measure were tampering with the Corn-laws of last year, he should have been the first to oppose him. This question had been greatly exaggerated and greatly misunderstood out of doors. When he heard his noble Friend (Lord Stanley) state that he brought this measure forward on his responsibility as a Minister of the Crown —as a measure of great importance to Canada, he could not for a moment doubt the course it was his duty to pursue, and would support the second reading of the bill.

Mr. Blackstone

could assure the House, that he had had no intention of offering a single word on the present occasion, but or the pointedly personal manner in which he had been alluded to by the noble Lord. He would assure the House that on no occasion had he introduced — and on no future occasion would he introduce—personalities into any discussion in that House. He stood there as the representative of the feelings of his constituents, and he hoped that feebly as he might give utterance to those feelings, he did not think that for that he ought to be called in question by any Member of that House. His noble Friend, if he could be permitted still to call him so, had stated that he had expressed his intention to speak on the second reading of this bill. If the noble Lord had been present on that occasion, he thought he would have understood him differently. He had been led to say a few words on the first introduction of the measure, but he did not wish to address the House on any of the amendments, and wished to reserve himself until such time as the House would be called on to come to a decision on the principle of the bill itself. What he stated was, that he had no wish to express his opinion on the several amendments, but to wait until they came to discuss the general question. He trusted that he had so far set himself right with his noble Friend, the Member for Oxfordshire. He had been personally alluded to by the noble Lord, and he thought he could explain the reason. He met the noble Lord coming into the House, and asked him was he going to meet his friends at Woodstock—if he was going to attend the agricultural meeting which was to be held next week at Woodstock. He could tell the noble Lord, that the meeting to be held at Woodstock was not convened by him, and if the noble Lord went there, he would meet the assembled farmers, and if they approved of his conduct they would show it. He did not know what course the noble Lord might adopt, but the farmers of Oxfordshire would perfectly know who they had now returned to Parliament. The noble Lord had further stated that he had made an accusation against the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government, which the noble Lord stated he (Mr. Blackstone) would not reiterate in that House. Now, he would reiterate that which he had stated at Wallingford. What he bad stated was this, that the right hon. Baronet, at the head of the Government had been placed in his present proud position by the farmers of England, because they considered he Would act in pursuance of the views and sentiments which they entertained, and that so far from doing this—and in saying this, he spoke not only his own sentiments, but those of thousands and tens of thousands out of doors—the right hon. Baronet, when placed in his present proud position, not only did not act, in pursuance of the views and interests of the farmers, but directly opposed their sentiments and wishes. He made this statement now, in the hearing of the right hon. Baronet, and of the noble Lord, the Member for Qxfordshire, and hoped that his words would not be misunderstood.

The House divided on the question, that the word "now" stand part of the question. Ayes 209; Noes 109;—Majority 100.

List of the AYES.
Acland, T. D, Baring, hon. W. B.
A'Court, Capt. Bentinck, Lord G.
Adare, Visct. Bernard, Visct.
Adderly, C. B. Bodkin, W. H.
Aglionbey, H. A. Boldero, H. G.
Arkwright, G. Borthwick, P.
Astell, W. Botfield, B.
Bagot, hon. W. Bowring, Dr.
Baillie, Col. Boyd, J.
Baird, W. Bradshaw, J.
Balfour, J. M. Bramston, T. W.
Broadwood, H. Hanmer, Sir J.
Brocklehurst, J Harcourt, G. G.
Bruce, Lord E. Hardinge, rt. hn Sir H
Buckley, E. Hardy, J.
Buller, Sir J. Y. Hatton, Capt. V.
Burroughes, H. N. Heathcote, Sir W.
Charteris, hon. F. Hepburn, Sir T. B.
Chelsea, Visct. Herbert, hon. S.
Chute, W. L. W Hillsborough, Earl of
Clayton, R. R. Hinde, J.H.
Clerk, Sir G. Hodgson, R.
Clive, Visct. Holmes, hn. W. A. C.
Collett. W. R. Hope, hon. C.
Collett, J. Hope, A.
Compton, H. C. Hope, G. W.
Conolly, Col. Hornby, J.
Coote, Sir C. H. Howard, P. H.
Copeland, Ald. Hughes, W. B.
Corry, rt. hon. H. Hume, J.
Courtenay, Lord Hussey, A.
Crawford, W. S. Hussey, T.
Cresswell, B. Hutt, W.
Cripps, W. Inglis, Sir R. H.
Damer, hon. Col. James, Sir W. C.
Dawnay, hon. W. H. Jermyn, Earl
Denison, E. B. Johnstone, Sir J.
Dickinson, F. H. Jones, Capt.
Dodd, G. Kelburne, Visct.
Douglas, Sir H. Kemble, H.
Douglas, Sir C. E. Enatchbull, rt. hn. Sir E
Douglas, J. D. S. Lambton, H.
Drummond, H. H. Law, hon. C. E.
Dugdale, W, S. Lawson, A.
Duncombe, T. Lincoln, Earl of
Dungannon, Visct. Lockhart, W.
East, J. B Lord Mayorof London
Eastnor, Visct. Lowther, J. H.
Eliot, Lord Lowther, hon. Col.
Emlyn, Visct. Lyall, G.
Escott, B. Lygon, hon. Gen.
Fielden, W. Mackenzie, T.
Fellowes, E. Mackenzie, W. F.
Flower, Sir J. Mackinnon, W. A.
Follett, Sir W. W. McGeachy, F. A.
Forbes, W. Mahon, Visct.
Fox, S. L. Mainwaring, T.
Gaskell, J. Milnes Marsham, Visct.
Gladstone. rt. hn. W. E. Martin, C. W.
Gladstone, Capt. Marton, G.
Glynne, Sir S. R. Master, T. W. C.
Godson, R. Maxwell, hon. J. P.
Gordon, hon. Capt. Meynell, Capt.
Gore, M. Mildmay, H. St. J.
Goring, C. Miles, P. W. S.
Goulburn, rt. hon. H. Milnes, R. M.
Graham, rt. ho. Sir J. Mordaunt, Sir J.
Granby, Marquess of Morgan, C.
Granger, T. C. Morris, D.
Greenall, P. Mundy, E. M.
Greene, T. Neville, R.
Grimsditch, T. Newry, Visct.
Hale, R. B. Nicholl, rt. hn. J.
Halford, H. Norreys, Lord
Hamilton, G. A. Northland, Visct
Hamilton, W. J. Packe, C. W.
Hamilton, Lord C. Pakmgton, J S.
Hampden, R Patten, J.W
Peel, rt. hn. Sir R. Stuart, H.
Peel, J. Sturt, H. C.
Pennant, hon. Col. Sutton, hon. H. M.
Pigot, Sir R. Tennent, J. E.
Polhill, F. Thesiger, F.
Pollington, Visct. Thornhill, G.
Pollock, Sir F. Trench, Sir F. W.
Praed, W. T. Trevor, hon. G. R.
Pringle, A. Trotter, J.
Rashleigh, W. Turner, E.
Reid, Sir J. R. Vane, Lord H.
Roche, Sir D. Verner, Col.
Rose, rt. hon. Sir G. Vivian, J. E.
Round, C. G. Wakley, T.
Round, J. Walsh, Sir J. B.
Russell, C. Welby, G. K.
Russell, J. D. W. Wellesley, Lord C.
Ryder, hon. G. D. Wilbraham, hn. R. B.
Sanderson, R. Williams, W.
Sandon, Visct. Wood, Col.
Seymour, Sir H. B. Wood, Col. T.
Sheppard, T. Wortley, hon. J. S.
Shirley, E. J. Wortley, hon. J. S.
Smith, A. Yorke, hon. E. T.
Smith, rt. hn. T. B. C. young, J.
Smollett, A.
Sotheron, T. K. S. TELLERS.
Stanley, Lord Baring, H.
Stewart, J. Fremantle, Sir T.
List of the NOES.
Allix, J. P. Fitzmaurice, hon. W.
Arbuthnott, hon. H. French, F.
Archbold, R. Fuller, A. E.
Bankes, G. Gisborne, T.
Baring, rt. hn. F. T. Gore, W. O.
Barnard, E. G. Guest, Sir J.
Harrington, Visct. Hall, Sir B.
Barron, Sir H. W. Hallyburton, Lord J. F.
Baskerville, T. B. M. Hay, Sir A. L.
Benett, J. Hayter, W. G.
Berkeley, hon. C. Heathcote, G, J.
Blackstone, W. S. Heneage, E.
Bodkin, J. J. Henley, J. W.
Broadley, H. Henniker, Lord
Browne, hon. W. Hill, Lord M.
Buck, L. W. Hoskins, K.
Byng, G. Jervis, J.
Byng, rt. hon. G. S. Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H.
Chapman, B. Knightley, Sir C.
Chetwode, Sir J. Langston, J. H.
Childers, J. W. Langton, W. G.
Colvile, C. R. Layard, Capt.
Cowper, hn. W. F. Lefroy, A.
Darby, G. Leveson, Lord
Dawson, hon. T. V. Listowell, Earl of
Denison, J. E. M'Taggart, Sir J.
Dick, Q. Manners, Lord C. S.
Disraeli, B. Manners, Lord J.
Drax, J. S. W. S. E. Marjoribanks, S.
Duncombe. hon. O. Martin, J.
Dundas, Adm. Martin, T. B.
Du Pre, C. G. Miles, W.
Eaton, R. J. Mitcalfe, H.
Ebrington, Visct. Mitchell, T. A.
Evans, W. Morrison, Gen.
Famham, E. B. Murphy, F. S.
Murray, C. R. S. Sibthorp, Col.
Napier, Sir C. Smith, rt. hn. R. V.
Neeld, J. Smyth, Sir H.
Neeld, J. Stanley, E.
Norreys, Sir D. J. Stewart, P. M.
O'Brien, A. S. Talbot, C. R. M.
O'Brien, J. Tancred, H. W.
O'Connell, M. J. Taylor, T. E.
O'Conor, Don Thorneley, T.
O'Ferrall, R. M. Trelawny, J. S.
Palmer, R. Trollope, Sir J.
Parker, J. Tumor, C.
Pechell, Capt. Tyrell, Sir J. T.
Plumridge, Capt. Waddington, H. S.
Pusey, P. Watson, W. H.
Redington, T. N. Wodehouse, E.
Rendlesham, Lord Wood, B.
Rushbrooke, Col. TELLERS.
Seymour, Lord Worsley, Lord
Sheil, rt. hn. R. L. Stansfield, W. R. C.

Bill read a second time.

House adjourned at one o'clock.