§ Mr. Brotherton
in resuming the debate, denied that he had ever expressed an opinion that a fixed duty was preferable to a total repeal of the Corn-laws. Suppose a duty of 8s. a quarter was imposed on corn, and that two millions of quarters were imported, a sum of 800,000l. only would find its way into the Exchequer; but if the effect of this tax was to raise the price of all the corn in the country by 8s. the people might in reality be taxed to the amount of twenty millions, though only 800,000l. went into the Exchequer. A tax of twenty millions would then he paid by the community for the benefit of monopoly, while the revenue was benefitted only to the extent of 800 000l. But the law as it now stood was evidently worse than a tax of 8s., for the right hon. Baronet had resisted the fixed duty of 8s. on the ground that it did not afford sufficient protection to the landed interest. The sliding-scale, therefore, which the right hon. Baronet so warmly defended, must be a still greater protection than the fixed duty of 8s., and consequently a heavier tax upon the community. In the course of this debate, he (Mr. Brotherton), had heard some extraordinary reasons put forward in support of this law. The right hon. the Vice President of the Board of Control, had argued that the landed interest had a vested right in preventing the importation of foreign corn, till corn in this country had risen to a famine price. That he denied. He was willing to admit the rights of property, but the rights of labour were equally sacred, and he would never admit that any law was just, or ought to remain on the statute book, if it taxed the poor for the benefit of the rich. The most fearful pictures had been presented to the House, of the distress to which the people had been reduced, and the existence of that distress was not denied. This distress had not been brought on by the dispensations of Providence, but by laws which ought never to have been enacted. The distress was general. It prevailed where there was machinery, and where there was none; were there were joint stock banks, and where there were none; and when the distress was so general, it followed that there must be some general cause for it. 250 From 1836 to 1842, there was a reduction in the exports of five millions, and this reduction was not confined to the cotton trade, it extended to woollens, and iron, while the shipping and other branches of our national industry were equally a prey to distress. This loss in the export trade, however, was nothing compared to the loss of the home trade, and it behoved the House of Commons to inquire in what way such lamentable effects had been produced. He believed they had been produced by the increased price of provisions, and that increased price had been caused by this wicked law. In the course of four years the people had paid at least twenty millions more than they ought to have paid for their food. This was a very bad way of encouraging agriculture. A much better way of encouraging it would be to increase the number of good customers for the farmers, by extending foreign trade, and thus providing employment at home for those who were now suffering under the general depression. The idea that land would be thrown out of cultivation if corn were to fall in price was absurd. Corn had gone down from 80s. to 46s., and yet not a single acre had been thrown out of cultivation; nor did he believe, if the Corn-laws were repealed, that a single acre less would be cultivated than now. This was a question of rent, and rent alone; and if it had been left to the farmer and the labourer, the Corn-law would have been repealed long ago. It was said that the Corn-laws ought to be maintained, in order to enable the landowners to pay the interest of mortgages, and provide for family settlements, but a man had no right to look to an act of Parliament for the payment of his debts. It was impossible that trade could long continue to bear such burthens; and how could the taxes be paid if a stop were put to manufacturing industry? He firmly believed that the repeal of the Corn-laws would advance the prosperity of the agricultural interest; that would ensure regularity and steadiness of price, with prosperity to the farmer and the labourer, the manufacturer and the artisan. He should, therefore, give his cordial assent and support to the motion.
§ Mr. Hampden
said, the theories propounded by the Gentlemen opposite may be very plausible, nevertheless they are but theories, and considering the magnitude and importance of the interests affected by this motion, I think the House should be slow 251 to trust to speculations Unattested by experience. No doubt a person altogether ignorant of the bearings of this question, who had heard only the bold assumptions and, I admit, also the plausible reasonings, by which Gentlemen opposite have attempted to show that, it is only necessary to repeal the Corn-laws in order to, reinvigorate your drooping commerce and diffuse prosperity and plenty throughout the country, would indeed be astonished at the impenetrable dullness or the audacious selfishness of those who obstinately withhold such a boon from the nation. These arguments, however, ingenious and clever as they may be, are unsustained by facts, or rather, I should say, are irreconcileable with facts derived from the History of your commerce. Indeed, I must say I have seldom witnessed such a licentious indulgence in that vicious logic which infers post hoc ergo propter hoc, as this debate has exhibited. It would seem that every unpropitious event, social or political, moral, or even physical, which has occurred to this country since restrictions were first put upon the trade in corn, are attributed to the malign influence of the Corn-laws, and some Gentlemen seem to have the same blind and superstitious terror of Corn-laws which former generations entertained respecting the influence of comets. We are told, that the existing distress arises from the insufficient demand for the products of manufacturing industry and the consequent Want of employment for labour. I fear this is not to be denied; but then the enemies of the Corn-laws rather illogically, as it seems to me, at once jump to the conclusion, that by freely admitting foreign corn you will create such a demand for British goods as would call all the industrial powers of the country into active operation. And when we ask for some evidence of the soundness of this conclusion, some facts in confirmation of it, we are again answered by a theory. I do not feel myself now called upon to enter into a discussion of the elementary principles of free-trade. Our present business is to enquire into the expediency of applying these principles in all their strictness to the subject under consideration. Free trade may be very beautiful in theory, the difficulty, however, which presents itself to my mind in its application is, that a real bonâ fide free-trade is simply impracticable. A bonâ fide free-trade requires the concurrence and co-operation of all nations with whom you have commercial dealings—a 252 contingency that is hopeless—for I hold that free-trade without reciprocity, is not only a solecism in language but a mischievous delusion. I am not unmindful of the ingenious arguments by which the hon. Member for Stoke attempted to establish this maxim, that " if you will take care of the imports, the exports will take care of themselves;" but with due respect for the ability exhibited by the hon. Gentleman in enforcing his argument, I must say, it struck me that this is one of those neat, pithy phrases, which, on account of its terseness, passes for an axiom when in truth it serves but to disguise a fallacy. I am aware that in admitting that the principles of free-trade may be sound in the abstract, I shall appear to some Gentlemen opposite to have conceded every thing. I once heard the hon. Member for Stockport exclaim, "Talk not to me of abstract principles— what has this House to do with abstractions?" By which phrase I believe he meant to convey that a principle which is sound in the abstract must be beneficial in its application under every possible combination of circumstances. Upon this point I differ altogether from the hon. Gentleman. On the contrary, I maintain that there is not a more mischievous error in legislation than to attempt to regulate the complex affairs of a highly artificial state of society by a rigid unbending adherence to elementary principles— principles which are in the abstract unimpugnable, may produce the utmost confusion, derangement, and injustice, if arbitrarily enforced under circumstances to which they are not adapted. We witness this inevitable conformity to the necessity of circumstances in the ordinary transactions of daily life, and I could almost venture to say, that we see some indications of it in the moral government of the world. Nevertheless, whatever may be the abstract beauty of free-trade doctrines, I have a firm conviction that they cannot be applied to the trade in corn without seriously endangering the most important permanent interest of this empire, which was happily characterized by the right hon. the Vice-president of the Board of Trade in language more graceful than I can command, as the solid foundation of the social edifice. In certain manufactures, the cotton manufacture for instance, the cheapness and abundance of iron and coal, the perfection of your machinery, your unlimited command of capital, your dexterity in manipulation, give you such decided advantages as may enable you to 253 defy competition with the world. But in respect of an article like corn, of which every element of the cost is higher here than in other countries, where your land is dearer, your wages higher, your taxes heavier, your soil and climate no better, how is it possible that you should be able to sell at the same price and find a remunerating profit? Before you start in the race of low prices, you must cast aside some of your weights, if you wish not to be distanced. Your burdens are too heavy for such a contest. This proposition appears to me to assume the character of a truism, therefore if you do not mean to destroy domestic agriculture, you must give it protection. What amount of protection may be requisite to ensure its safety, aye, and its prosperity too — for nothing less is due to this great interest— I am not competent to determine. Imperfect, however, as my knowledge of this branch of the subject is, I will venture to express a confident hope as the result of some enquiry, that when the disturbing causes which must at first unavoidably derange the operation of so great a measure, shall have ceased to act, it will be found that the scale of duties fixed by the late law, has provided an equitable adjustment of the rival claims of the consumer and producer, both of which it must not be forgotten are equally entitled to the anxious care and consideration of Parliament. The landlord and the farmer must be prepared, and I have no doubt are prepared to make every reasonable concession to the exigencies of the times. Let them not listen to the unwholesome counsel of those who would persuade them that they have been deceived and betrayed. It may be true, and I believe it is true, that the agricultural body, did by their exertions at the last election contribute largely to the displacement of the Whigs and the elevation of the right hon. Baronet, to the high office which he so efficiently fills; but having assisted to place him there, they must feel and acknowledge, that he is no longer the champion of a party, he is become the steward of the nation and those are the soundest conservatives, who having hitherto supported the right hon. Gentleman from their confidence in his great ability, industry, and integrity, will continue to give him their zealous support, while he employs these high qualities in advancing the general interests of the nation regardless of all party considerations. The hon. Member for Stockport told us last night, and the assertion has been as 254 confidently repeated by the hon. Member for Salford who has just spoken, that the Corn-laws are absolutely incompatible with the commercial and manufacturing prosperity of this country, and that it is quite impossible that manufactures should thrive, while the restrictions on the trade in corn are suffered to exist. Now, Sir, I think the fallacy of this opinion may be exposed in a single sentence. I need only point to the riches of the district with which these gentlemen are connected, to the rapid accumulation of wealth which has taken place in that part of Lancashire during the last twenty-five years, to show how utterly unfounded is such an opinion. Nevertheless, as this is the favourite theme with all declaimers against the Corn-laws, who delight to expatiate upon their blighting influence on commercial and manufacturing enterprise, it may be necessary to go a little deeper into this part of the question; and in doing so, I am aware that I shall have to express some opinions which do not quite come up to the standard of those entertained by gentlemen, for whose judgement in these matters, I feel the utmost respect and deference. But, although 1 may regard my own opinion under such circumstances with diffidence and distrust, I shall not, 1 am sure be expected to renounce the conscientious convictions of my own judgment. Gentlemen who attribute depression of trade to the operation of the Corn-laws assume as the basis of their theory, that commerce is a simple matter of barter. If this maxim contemplates money as a commodity, it is nothing more than the simple enunciation of a truism, that the party from whom you purchase, must take something from you in exchange, but if it is meant to imply that the country from which you purchase corn or any other commodity must of necessity take your goods, or any thing which you can best spare to an equivalent amount in value then I question the proposition. I question it not only as irreconcilable with reason and common sense, but upon the authority of facts. Reason and common sense, suggest to me that the seller will require, not, what the customer can best spare, or is most anxious to part with; but the article which he requires, be it money or any other commodity. This view of the matter is also confirmed by the history of your trade. It appears by parliamentary returns, that in ten years from thirty-one to forty inclusive, upwards of one-third of the whole quantity of corn imported into England 255 came from Prussia, and what was the state of your exports to that country during the same period? The same Parliamentary return shews that Prussia from which you draw your largest supply of corn, is about the worst customer you have in Europe. The reason is obvious. Prussia is earnestly bent upon fostering her domestic manufactures, and, therefore, prefers your silver and gold to your goods. It may be said, that much of the corn which is shipped from the ports of Prussia, is grown in the dominions of Russia, but this does not affect the argument, because we find that the imports from Russia more than quadruple in value the amount of our export trade to that country. I am prepared for the explanation by which it will be attempted to reconcile these facts with the theory. We shall no doubt be told, that although the direct trade may not indicate a balance of exports against imports with regard to each country respectively; nevertheless, goods must have been sold somewhere to pay for the corn, timber, tallow, &c. &c, which we purchase from these countries. Now, Sir, it strikes me that there is a great deal of sophistry in this argument. Were these goods sold in consequence of your dealings with Russia and Prussia, and would they not have been sold otherwise? You must demonstrate a necessary connection between these transactions or you do not prove your theory. The two transactions may be concomitant, but totally independent of each other, and unless you shew that they stand in the relation of cause and effect I have a right to consider this a gratuitous assumption or begging the question. Another favourite argument among the enemies of the Corn-laws, is, that unless you purchase from foreigners what they have to sell, they are not able to deal with you for your manufactures. This may be a very good argument where there really does exist a desire to procure your goods, but is this the case? In reference to most continental nations, it is now well ascertained that the reluctance which they exhibit to extending their commercial dealings with this country, does not arise from their inability to pay for your goods, but altogether from a solicitude on their part for the encouragement and development of their own manufacturing industry. They point to your example and tell you, that it was under a protective policy you attained to your unquestioned superiority in manufactures and trade, that certain peculiar advantages which circumstances confer upon 256 you, in the robust maturity of your skill may enable you to defy competition in certain branches of manufacture, but that the infant state of their establishments requires more tender nursing, and moreover, they tell you, that they would rather take council from the example of your past history which is a fact, than from your present advice, which however sincere and honest is but a theory. And in obedience to this policy, whether sound or not, most continental nations have entrenched their markets behind a tariff avowedly for the purpose of protecting domestic industry. It is these tariffs which will prevent you from forcing your goods especially your cotton goods into those countries, whether you purchase their corn or not. This point indeed seems to be pretty generally conceded on the other side. It is generally admitted by hon. Gentlemen that they see no prospect of extending the markets on the continent to any great degree. But then they triumphantly turn to America. They say there is a country capable of supplying all your wants, and willing to take your goods in exchange. This is a favorite theme with the whole party, yet strange to say, it is an assumption in the teeth of incontrovertible facts, as I will presently show. In the meantime, let us look to the history of our trade with America for the last ten or twelve years. In 1831 you received from that country 219,333,628lbs. of cotton wool. In 1840 you took 487,856,504lbs. We should therefore expect to find that during that period, there had been something like a corresponding increase in your exports. But how stands the fact? In 1831, the value of your exports to America was 9,053,583l. In 1840 it had actually dwindled to 5,283,020l., so that while your import of the single article of cotton wool had somewhat more than doubled in ten years, her purchases from you have fallen off nearly one-half during that period. I anticipate the answer that will be given to this fact. We shall be told that America contracted large loans in this country, and that much of her exported cotton went to fulfil her money engagements here, but the House will at once perceive that this is not an answer to the argument, but only a fuller statement of the fact. America it seems required money more than any other commodity you could send her, and therefore she rejected your goods. The truth is, even this young nation has an ambition to become a manufacturing 257 country, and she also has had recourse to the nursing agency of the tariff. But, say gentlemen opposite, these tariffs are the fruits of your own vicious legislation. They are only measures of retaliation forced upon foreigners by your restrictive policy. This is the account of the matter which is given and dwelt upon with great emphasis by the advocates of free-trade. I will shew you, however, that it is the very reverse of the truth. I will offer to the House the history of this American tariff from the lips of the statesman, who from his talents and his influence in the American cabinet may be considered as the author of it. These are the words of Mr. Webster,Looking as we all do to our industry as the means of livelihood for ourselves and our children, can we consent that such a great object as the protection of domestic industry shall be identified with the success of a particular party rising as the party rises, and sinking to the grave when the party goes down. It is a public national question. A tariff, a sensible and moderate tariff should be inwrought into the politics of all parties, because although I desire the success of the Whig principles, I wish to take a bond and security for the protection of industry, more durable even than the permanence of Whig power. The tariff has accomplished much. I honor the men who passed it,I trust we shall hear no more of tariffs being measures of retaliation. I think I have now shown that the history of your trade does not prove the rule contended for, that to the extent you buy from foreigners will they buy from you, and moreover that the special circumstances and policy of those countries from which you are likely to draw your largest supplies of corn, render it almost certain that they would prefer your money to your goods in exchange, and that, therefore, the abolition of the corn-laws would not give that impulse to trade which has been predicted. I should be most happy to concur in any measure of Legislation which is really calculated to revive commerce; but I do not believe that the present depression and the consequent distress of artizans and labourers is the effect of faulty legislation, nor have I heard any arguments to satisfy me that the measures proposed are adapted to the emergency. It has been stated on high authority that our commercial embarrassments are chiefly ascribable to the commercial and financial difficulties under which America has been for some time struggling, and it cannot be doubted that this cause has had considerable influence 258 upon our trade; nevertheless, it is my firm conviction that the present painful crisis in manufacturing prosperity is in a great measure to be attributed to the indiscreet exercise of those unlimited powers of production with which our elaborate machinery furnishes us. This opinion, no doubt, will be stigmatized as crude, antiquated, and unphilosophical. Poor philosophy indeed has much to answer for. Nevertheless, I must guard myself against being misunderstood upon the point. No man is more deeply impressed with a due sense of the immeasurable benefits which this country has derived from the mechanical aids of human industry. Machinery I believe has contributed essentially to make us the great nation we now are. Looking back to the tremendous struggle in which England was engaged towards the conclusion of the last, and the beginning of the present century, and the almost miraculous success which at length crowned her efforts, it does almost seem that when Providence appointed this country to the high mission of defending the liberties of mankind and the arts of civilization against a mighty power which then threatened to sweep them all from the face of Europe, she at the same time gave her machinery and steam-power as a means of magnifying and multiplying the powers of the few millions of men who inhabited this little island, to render them commensurate to the task allotted to them, and to enable them to achieve those great triumphs which were the admiration and the astonishment of the world, and by which England did at length accomplish the high mission to which she had been called. But let us not deceive ourselves. Does it follow that if machinery be a blessing, it is therefore not liable to abuse? Is there a blessing upon earth which may not be converted into a curse by the reckless cupidity of man? The elaborate perfection of our machinery has entirely changed the principles of production, so that manufactures have become more the product of capital than of human labour, and being, therefore, unrestrained by natural checks, they must have a tendency to outrun the demand. Machinery must for a time give a stimulus to employment, but the day will arrive when, by the facility of production which it affords, it will have overtaken the wants of your customers. Then comes the pressure on the labour market, and the displacement of human industry, with all its frightful consequences. Have we not been passing through one of these crises Machi- 259 nery and its incidents I feel, Sir, is a subject too large for the grasp of my mind. My powers enable me to see up to these difficulties, but not through them. I aspire only to be classed amongst those who'With modest doubt assign each likely cause,'But dare to dictate no decisive laws.'The influence of machinery, and the gigantic establishments which it leads to, upon society and upon social institutions— its tendency to cause the accumulation of large masses of men entirely dependent upon labour, without carrying along with it a guarantee for their future employment—its tendency to substitute infant for adult labour, thereby subverting the order of nature and sapping the foundations of social improvement— these are questions to task the highest faculties of the master mind which now presides over the destinies of this nation, and may God direct his efforts to deal with them successfully. Another question not immediately connected with the subject before the House, has been so frequently mixed up with debates on the Corn-laws, that I shall make no apology for slightly glancing at it. Government are taunted with having excluded the article of sugar from the reductions of their tariff, and are loudly called upon for the free admission of foreign sugars. Do Gentlemen opposite forget that the sugar of Cuba and Brazils which they so clamourously plead for, are the produce of slave labour! In the name of consistency what has become of those high principles which forced the abolition of slavery in our own colonies but a few years ago? It is really difficult to believe that this proposition for the encouragement of slavery comes from the same party who were so importunate to wipe away the stain of slave holding coute qui coute. What has become of the red-hot zeal which then drove on the emancipation at every risk and at every sacrifice? It was only by an appeal to the best sympathies of our nature that the nation was brought to acquiesce in the large pecuniary grant, and the unprecedented invasion of the rights of private property which that measure involved. It was because they were brought to consider it a tribute due to justice and humanity that they sanctioned it. Are these moral obligations less strong upon us now? Where is the moral difference between practising crime ourselves, if it be so, and promoting and encouraging the practice of it in others? I shall not at this time occupy the House by going into a considera- 260 tion of the disastrous effects of this measure upon the property which is affected by it. I cannot, however, help calling the attention of the House to the exemplary patience with which the West India proprietors have borne their reverses, I believe this may in a great measure be attributed to a persuasion on their part that the Legislature were actuated by high moral principle in decreeing the emancipation of the slaves; but how must that body feel, and how will the virtuous part of this nation feel, if they now see that the Legislature having annihilated one half of the value of this once valuable property on the plea of humanity, turns round and annihilates the other half in defiance and despite of the same plea. Is not this gross injustice? Is it not worse? Is it not a mockery of virtue? It was gratifying to mark the approbation with which the right hon. Baronet's manly declaration in a former debate in vindication of consistency and principle, was received by this House; and I will venture to say, that it has been warmly responded to by the moral feeling of the nation at large. The right hon. Baronet said,—He did not think it right to give free admission to foreign sugar, without reference to the consideration whether or not it was the produce of slave labour. He stated this opinion in opposition; he stated it last year and he entertained it still. We ought to show to the world that we will not relax, for any pecuniary advantage to ourselves, those principles which we have hitherto maintained with regard to slavery.The right hon. Baronet added—
I think it would abate our moral influence if, for the sake of a free-trade in sugar, we were lightly to abandon our former principles.If so humble an individual may presume to offer a word of encouragement to the First Minister of this nation, I would venture to say that the statesman who has the courage and the virtue to rise above mere financial considerations of pounds, shillings, and pence, to vindicate the morality of his measures, may not only confidently reckon upon the support of the best part of the nation, but he may humbly hope for that blessing without which the cunning of man is but empty vanity. I will conclude by reading, as a warning to the House, a few remarks of the great apostle of free trade— Adam Smith. Speaking of commercial measures of legislation, recommended by master manufacturers and merchants, he says,— 261The proposal of any new law or regulation of commerce which comes from this order ought always to be listened to with great precaution and ought never to be adopted till after having been long considered, not only with the most scrupulous but with the most suspicious attention. It comes from an order of men whose interest is never exactly the same with that of the public.The concluding remark (Mr. Hampden observed) was more severe, and he did not adopt it. [Cries of ''Read on, read on."] If the House wished it he would do so.—It comes from an order of men who have generally an interest to deceive, and even to oppress, the public, and who, accordingly, on many occasions have both deceived and oppressed them.
did not approve of the present sliding-scale, the evils of which had been so fully demonstrated, that it was unnecessary for him to detain the House by discussing it. He wished, however, to mention one fact, that a great part, indeed nearly the whole of his agricultural constituents, had repudiated the system of the sliding-scale, and were prepared for a change, finding that that system had been of no value to them. He could not vote for the motion of the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, because it would be tantamount to a total and immediate repeal of the Corn-laws, to which extremity he was not prepared to go. He was, however, prepared to vote for the proposition made by the noble Lord, for a fixed duty of 3s. or 4s. He would be satisfied with that as a good compromise between the two extreme parties upon this subject. Under these circumstances, it appeared to him that he had no alternative, but must abstain from voting altogether. He could not go along with the hon. Member for Wolverhampton for total repeal, nor could he approve of the sliding-scale of the Government.
must vote against the motion of the hon. Member for Wolverhampton. He denied that the landed gentry were so imbued with prejudice and ignorance as had been stated, that arguments had no effect upon them. It had been alleged against them also that they supported the Corn-laws to keep up their rents, and that they had no feeling of sympathy with the manufacturers, but he believed that the landed proprietors were as well convinced as the manufacturers themselves of the connection be- 262 tween the prosperity of trade and that of agriculture. The hon. Gentleman who had just spoken ought in consistency to meet the motion with a direct negative, because it was one for nothing less than total repeal of the Corn-laws. He admitted that the Corn-law raised the price of food, but denied that it had caused greater fluctuations than in other countries. He believed if the Corn-laws were repealed to-morrow, it would not improve our commercial relations with the United States, France, or Prussia. Those countries had an increasing population to provide for. They had seen this country flourish under the system of protection, and they intended to proceed in the same course. Our tariffs had been reduced last year, but instead of meeting with a corresponding reduction from foreigners, the contrary had occurred. He contended that manufacturers possessed advantages in their coal, iron, and capital which agriculturists did not, and he asserted that the land bore heavier burthens than manufactures, and paid a much larger proportion of the poor-rates, and highway-rates. For this allegation he had the authority of the last edition of Adam Smith by Mr. M'Culloch. He must express his astonishment at the manner in which the members of the Anti-Corn-law League had proceeded in forwarding their views, and as this motion was brought forward in concert with them, he should give it a direct negative.
§ Mr. Aldam
said, much had been heard during the course of the debate of the distress of the farmers, and, he believed, without exaggeration—but this very distress was the effect of the Corn-laws, which, by maintaining the price of corn unnaturally high, had caused an excessive production. Under this prices were now depressed. A series of years had expired characterised by deficient harvests, high prices and commercial disaster. If they could judge from the experience of the last twenty years, they might now expect some years of abundance and low prices, in which the farmer must be a severe sufferer; but had the deficiency of past years been supplied from abroad, prices would have been moderate; the farmer would not have extended his growth, and when years of abundance came, he would have benefitted by them, instead of feeling them as at present, a misfortune. Suppose that they should have the same recurrence of 263 seasons as before; that they were now at the commencement of years of plentiful harvests, as in 1832; and that after these were to recur such a series of years of scarcity as commenced in 1838; the same fearful distress must recur from the same causes; attribute what they would to derangement of currency, or over-production, he believed that the price of food, and succession of harvests, was the fundamental circumstance which in a great measure, determined the prosperity or depression of the trade of this country—if the years of scarcity recurred, they should have the same commercial disaster. Gentlemen opposite would say no, the Corn-law had been changed, prices could not rise to the same height as formerly; but he believed it would be found not to be so; that prices would rise as high, or nearly so, under the new, as under the old law; for, should there be no demand from England for several years successively other countries would cease to grow for the English market, and when corn was wanted it could only be procurred at excessive prices. In spite of the amended law he believed the same fearful alternations of prosperous and adverse circumstances would occur, and this because by refusing to give the foreign farmer a fair chance with his English competitor, and by excluding him frequently altogether, he could not calculate upon our demand. It was this that caused a large manufacturing population to be dangerous—that they had been exposed decennially, for the last thirty years, to four or five years of distress and starvation; but were the trade in corn thrown open, had the foreign farmer always free access to our markets, they would never lack a supply of grain at a reasonable price; and these violent fluctuations, dangerous to the peace of the country, to the very existence of society, would be heard of no more, or at least be much mitigated in their extent. It was very unwise to leave out of consideration the interests of the foreign farmer. Should he be excluded for the next four or five years from the British market, he would be in this situation— that having grown considerable quantities of corn for our supply, encouraged by the regularity of our demand for the last five years, he would find it thrown upon his hands, and prices ruinously depressed. Finding the trade with England attended with such serious inconvenience, he would become an 264 advocate of protection to home industr and promote domestic manufactures for the purpose of raising up a market on which he could depend. There was a case of great importance at the present moment, to which these considerations ought to be applied. The case of the states of Northern Germany not included in the Zollverein — of Hanover, Oldenburgh, and Magdeburgh. The tariff of these states was much more favourable than was that of the German League, which was of importance, not merely from the magnitude of the market they afforded for English goods, but also because, from the extent and nature of the frontier which separated them from the territories of the league it would be difficult for that league to establish a much higher scale of duties. But these northern states were now hesitating whether to join the league; and should they be excluded from England for some years in the disposal of their grain, they would join the League in order to gain an advantageous market for their produce; but were England to trade with them on fair terms, she could at once take their grain, and furnish them with manufactures more to their advantage. He believed it to be of the greatest importance, under the present circumstances of America, to afford that country an advantageous market for her grain. He believed that great country to be now in a crisis of her commercial history, and that upon the course she adopted at present would depend whether her ports remained open to the commerce of the world, or following the example of France, confined her trade mainly to the intercourse of her provinces with each other. France was an instance of a country which having commenced the protective system, found it necessary to act more and more completely upon its principle, until at last she became useless to the commerce of the countries which surround her. America had the means of acting on the protective system to a greater extent, and with much less inconvenience to herself, than France, or than any other country in the world. Ranging from the colder regions of the temperate zone to the verge of the tropics, she had every description of climate; she had a great variety of soils in her vast area, and unparalleled means of intercommunication between her different parts, she had an ample store of minerals advantageously situated; she seemed to 265 possess every requisite for a manufacturing as well as for an agricultural country. There was only one means of averting the onward course of America towards protection; and that was by taking the corn of the farmers of the west; at present they were favourable to protection. They wished to raise markets for the disposal of their produce by encouraging the establishment of manufactures; they preferred dear manufactures, and some money to purchase with, drawn from the sale of their produce, to cheap manufactures, without the means of buying them; but those farmers of the west could turn the scale. Were they to be brought over to the support of free-trade, the United States would cease to act upon her present protective system, and the American trade would revive. Let England persist in her present course, and America would act progressively more and more upon protective principles, until the period would come, in a very few years, when she would be of little more use than any of those European states with which they were now carrying on a languishing and uncertain intercourse. Should the Government have decided upon maintaining the Corn-laws as they were, in the face of the great inconvenience and danger of such a course, she has yet the means of showing a disposition to extend the trade with America, without affecting the corn-trade in Europe. Of the several descriptions of grain grown in America, the principal in quantity produced was Indian corn or maize. It appeared, by an estimate which had been laid before Congress, that the total produce of maize of all the states in the year 1842, was 442,000,000 bushels, or about 55,000,000 quarters; which was more than all the grain of every kind yearly grown in this country. The wheat grown in the United Stales last year amounted to 12,800,000 quarters; and the aggregate of all grain, exclusively of Indian corn, was about 36,000,000 quarters. This showed the vast importance of maize in America. In Europe it was of less importance. In the great grain growing countries from which England was principally supplied with wheat, he believed little or none was produced; and in the Papal states it appeared, from M'Culloch's papers, on the trade of Italy, lately presented to the House, that the quantity of maize was only one-half that of wheat. He believed that if the free 266 importation of maize were permitted none could be procured except from America, and that a trade might gradually grow up with America in this species of grain which would become extensive; and that any relaxation would be important at this moment, as showing a disposition to favour the trade with that great and increasing country. He differed in some respects from the views of political economy which had been expressed by hon. Gentlemen on that side of the House. He did not think the maxim in all cases true which had been put forword—" Take care of your imports, and your exports will take care of themselves." He thought it was possible for a country to suffer by giving too great facilities of import, when her products were excluded from other markets. He believed that commercial treaties might be advantageous if it were possible to procure them; but he did not believe that England would be in any danger from opening her ports, he thought it probable that Russia might send her corn and refuse to take British manufactures; but he thought there would be no difficulty in paying her with the produce of Brazil and India; he thought the corn of the continent would be largely paid for in sugar; there had been an over-production of that most valuable article of commerce. Cuba and Brazil were suffering under unremunerating prices, and an extension of the consumption on the continent would enable them to take more of our manufactures. He thought English trade capable of great extension, upon the basis of an increased use of sugar; for, were the consumption of Russia proportioned to that of England, she would import sugar to the value of 10,000,000l., at the present value of Brazilian sugar, which was more than two-thirds of her present total imports; but to enable her to make this increase, she must acquire the means of exporting the only description of article she was able to export—agricultural produce. He thought the growth of the use of sugar on the continent furnished the most cheering prospect of the increase of British trade, for sugar must be supplied by countries, in the markets of which England can compete successfully with the world. As to commercial treaties, he feared experience was much against their utility; other countries would not make concessions without knowing the extent of advantage to be gained. He thought the better plan 267 was to make the reductions contemplated at once; to show the country benefitting by them the extent of her gain; to urge corresponding advantages for this country; and then, should all concession be refused, and should it be found that little advantage accrued to England by the augmented trade, to threaten to recall the reductions made; should this fail to extort fair terms, then to execute the threat. He thought that this course might be pursued in the case of corn; let the countries of the world experience the benefit of the English markets—let them propose, after a sufficient interval, corresponding advantages to English trade: should these be refused, and should the imports of corn from any country tend to derange the currency, by a great and varying excess of exports to England over imports from it, then let such restrictions be imposed on the trade of that country as the case may require. By commercial treaties, he feared, it was hopeless to effect anything, but by a proceeding of this kind, they might succeed in again opening the markets of the world to British manufactures. There was no danger to the currency. The exports had lately exceeded the imports, and a vast supply of gold had flowed into the country and was lying useless in the coffers of the bank. The staple trade of the borough he represented, the manufacture of woollens was suffering a progressive decrease, the import of sheep's wool in 1841 had been 56,123,0001bs.; in 1842, it had fallen to 45,833,000lbs., the quantity taken for consumption had fallen from 53,130,000lbs. to 44,61l,0001bs., which was less than the consumption of any year since 1837, while by a table which had been published by Mr. Bischoff, the author of an able treatise on the woollen trade, it appeared that the export of cloths had fallen progressively from 392,854 pieces in 1839, a year of small export, to 161,675 in 1842. In coatings the decrease has been from 25,025 pieces in 1839, to 8,433 in 1842, while in four other items, a large decrease had also taken place. It was to be feared that the loss of the whole export trade in woollen cloths could hardly be averted, and yet Government retained import duties on the raw material of the manufacture. In conclusion, he asserted that the Corn-law was the cause of great and dangerous distrust of the Government in the manufacturing districts; it was viewed as a law maintained by the aristo- 268 cracy for their own private interest, though opposed to the public good; it was the cause of extreme opinions; and the argument most successfully used by the advocates of extensive changes in the Constitution. He believed that the stability of society would be endangered by persisting much longer in maintaining them.
§ Mr. Benett
considered the present motion to be in effect a motion for the total repeal of the Corn-laws. That being the proposition, it was incumbent on those who supported it to show that the people of this country employed in agriculture could live as cheaply as persons engaged in the same pursuit on the continent. If this could not be shown, then free-trade in corn would be an injustice to the English farmer. The people of this country could not live so cheaply as in other countries, because the taxes were heavier; and the taxes were heavier because the people of this country had to pay a great amount on account of the national debt. This evil was aggravated by the change in the system of currency, by the bill of 1819, and the country was now suffering from the alteration which that measure effected in our monetary system. Before the country could be in a right condition, some great measure must be adopted. If they were not disposed to attack the monetary system which they had so unwisely established, then they must do some other "great thing" before they could have free-trade. Were they unwilling to subscribe their property to pay off the national debt? That was a great measure, no doubt. But the debt was a mortgage, which they were bound to pay. Had they courage enough to seize upon the property of the country, and pay off that debt? He knew they had not. Then were they inclined to abolish all other taxes and adopt a property and income-tax? Would they follow out the income-tax which the right hon. Baronet had introduced? He was ready for that, and he thought it was the only honest and prudent mode of raising a revenue for the country. Why should not the right hon. Baronet continue the property-tax which he had established, and which he (Mr. Benett) had no conception would ever be repealed. Why not repeal the malt-tax and substitute a property-tax? That would be a bold measure; but not too bold for the right hon. Baronet, since he had the power of carrying it. Let such measures be adopted, and then 269 this country would be put on an equal footing with other countries with respect to prices, and that being effected, he, for one, should not object to free-trade. But what would be the effect of an immediate repeal of the Corn-laws? The first effect would be the transfer of the property in land from its present owners into the hands of their money creditors. He did not speak of marriage settlements, which was a question between relative— fathers, sons, and daughters— though even in that respect, great changes of property would be effected, and property would be transferred from one branch of the family to another. But when a man mortgaged his estate, he did so upon the faith of the law as it stood, and upon the belief that the British Legislature would never do anything that was unjust. But by the change of the law, the mortgager's interest would be destroyed — the interest could not be realised, the mortgagee would foreclose, and the property would be transferred to other hands. Would that be just on the part of the British Legislature? Much had been said with respect to compensation should this Corn-law be repealed. He would state what were the classes to whom that compensation would be due. First, the landlords— they would not obtain their rents. Next, the farmers. It was true great pains had been taken by travelling orators to deceive the farmers, and to persuade them that their landlords could afford them relief by reducing then-rents. But before any such relief could be obtained, the farmer must sell off his stock, and reduce himself to a state of destitution. Upon the faith of Parliament, the farmer had stocked his farm, say to the value of 7,000l. Let the Corn-law be repealed, and the value of that 7,000l. stock would be at once reduced to 4,000l. But, said the Anti-Corn-law advocates, this would be compensated by the reduction of rent; that was a fallacy. The landlords would not reduce their rents until they were driven to do it as a matter of necessity. There was another injured class—the labourers. The farmers would always act upon your own maxim—" buy in the cheapest, and sell in the dearest market," and if the labourers were abundant, wages must be low. This would be the effect of repealing the Corn-law. But there were other classes that would be affected by this change. It should never be forgotten that the national debt was 270 chiefly contracted by money borrowed in a paper currency. But by a sudden repeal of the Corn-law you would deprive persons of the power repay the interest of the debt. It was impossible they could maintain their present standard of value if they repealed the Corn-law; and unless some other great act were done by the Legislature, the fundholder must inevitably lose his interest. He was, in principle, a free trader; and all he wished was to see this country placed upon such a footing, that the manufacturers and merchants of this country might be able to exchange freely their commodities for those of other countries. But he would not do as Gentlemen opposite wished to do—put the cart before the horse. Although he wished to see free-trade, he did not desire to have one interest sacrificed for the sake of the rest. He entreated the Government to take up | the whole question in a manner more worthy of the dignity of this great country, and more consonant to that justice which was due to the greatest interests of the State.
§ Mr. Hume
was quite satisfied that his hon. Friend the Member for Wilts did not mean to rob one party for the sake of enriching another; but his argument in favour of upholding the Corn-law, if successful, would inevitably produce that result. He was convinced that the country was hastening fast to ruin, unless some steps were immediately taken to stay the downward progress. It was the duty of the Government to watch over the various interests of the State, and to adopt a course calculated to avert the impending evil. The right hon. Baronet began a new course last year; he had so far propounded and acted upon sound principles; but why were not those sound principles to be carried further, and to be carried out? From month to month distress had increased, and difficulties had multiplied, and was it fit for those who had the direction of affairs to remain quietly at their posts, to observe the progress of calamity, and to make no attempt at relief? He wished to place before the House the real state of the country, to which sufficient regard had not been yet paid. No branch of trade was conducted so ill and so irregularly as the trade in corn. By a paper on the Table it appeared, that there were no fewer than forty acts of Parliament to regulate the import, and thirty-four acts to regulate the export of grain. All these 271 were varied and contradictory in their provisions, as might well be expected from the fact, that they were based upon no established or intelligible principle. They had been passed by the country Gentlemen from time to time to answer temporary purposes, and he appealed to the right hon. Baronet whether the object of the landed interest throughout had not been merely to protect and benefit themselves? If the country Gentlemen thought that they could continue the system much longer, they would find that they were mistaken. In 1828, 1829, and 1834, he had urged upon the Government the necessity of looking into the state of the corn trade on the Continent. He had warned the House, many years ago, of the formidable rivals, in many branches of industry, that would be found upon the Continent, when war was at an end, and time had been allowed for the cultivation of the arts of peace. When he had formerly recommended a change, his object was not that it should be made suddenly; but he had called upon the House to fix a duty for the importation of grain, and to reduce it by degrees until it was removed altogether. The effect of such a course would have been to have placed Great Britain on an equal footing with the Continent; and until the price of food in this country were no higher (allowing for the difference between a poor and a rich country) than with its neighbours, it would be impossible for it to maintain a competition with the growing manufactures of the rest of the world. If his advice had been taken even in 1834, the country would have been in a far better situation than at present. There was still time to repent, to be wise, and to introduce a remedy. England was the greatest empire of the globe, and England ought to be the cheapest market for every commodity. Bad legislation had hitherto kept her in an artificial state, and the laws respecting corn had been the main source of the evil. The right hon. Baronet had acknowledged that it was impossible for England to maintain the great monopolies which she had enjoyed during the war. Why, then was the corn monopoly to be preserved, which prevented the due action of the great springs of industry? Of late years Belgium had made rapid advances upon us; Germany was also in a state of progress, and America also, had made considerable strides. He was perfectly 272 confident, that in the end our capital must triumph if our affairs were brought back to a sound and healthy state, and if good principles were not only established but persevered in. The present state of distress was produced entirely by the Corn-laws. The change of system commenced last year had produced no material improvement: if there had been any beneficial change, it had been produced by other causes; and by maintaining the Corn-laws, we had shut many articles of our industry out of the continental markets. We had refused to take in exchange for our goods the commodities which other states could give us, and we had thus destroyed our makets and impoverished our own people. This fact was so apparent, that after the Speech from the Throne, stating the prevalence of distress, and that it had caused a defalcation in the revenue, that it was astonishing the right hon. Baronet should have paused in the course he had so well begun. Distress was undoubtedly the cause of the failure of the revenue; what then was the cause of the distress? It was want of employment, not among agricultural labourers, but among the manufacturing population. A fall had, therefore, occurred in the price both of stock and of grain, and how was this condition of affairs to be remedied? He was one who contended, that a Minister ought to propose a free-trade, not merely in corn, but in every article of import not absolutely necessary to raise the revenue. Who ought to make that change? The Government; and he looked to the right hon. Baronet to carry out his own avowed principles. Protection to one class was robbery of the rest; and if the right hon. Baronet were a supporter of monopoly, he was an encourager of robbery. Last year he would have reduced the expenditure to the revenue, but the right hon. Baronet took the course of raising the revenue to the expenditure. The right hon. Baronet had declared, that he would obtain a surplus, and he would maintain public credit by imposing an Income-tax. He had got his Income-tax, but had he got his surplus revenue! Certainly not— the means of paying taxes were diminished with every class. The power, therefore, of sustaining the weight of taxation was lessened, and he ventured to predict that the right hon. Baronet would not be able to increase his revenue unless he altered 273 his system. At this moment an expenditure of 52,000,000l. was a heavier weight than an expenditure of 75,000,000l. a few years ago. He had ventured to state this to the right hon. Baronet. [Sir R.Peel;" When?"] When the question was before the House last Session, he had then said, that increase of taxation would not be increase of revenue. The powers of the country to bear taxation were limited, as he told the late Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he proposed to impose an additional 5 per cent. upon the taxes, and the result showed that he was correct, for instead of raising 2,500,000l., the right hon. Baronet got only 217,000l. What was the present state of the income of the country? It was less than last year. There was a deficiency of 3,000,000l.; and to what was that to be attributed? To the inability of all classes, but principally of the large mass of artisans, to pay what was demanded of them, or to buy articles from which a revenue was derived. A total change of system was the only effectual remedy. Next year the right hon. Baronet would find, that his Income-tax produced less than in the pesent year: he would find a decrease not only in the assessed taxes, but in the Income-tax. He was happy to observe signs of a slight improvement in some branches of trade, but in general he had heard of no amendment, nor of any prospect of amendment. What then was to be done? We had lost the opportunity of making a gradual change. He did not want cheap bread: he wanted high wages and high prices as the proofs of prosperity. Monopoly had been tried, and had failed; it now only remained to adopt the opposite course; it was better to make the change now, than to wait until distress had been augmented. He agreed with the right hon. Home Secretary, when he said, that he had great doubt whether the Corn-laws had been of any benefit to the landed interest. The prospect of the country was gloomy; rents must be reduced, and poor-rates must increase, and next year the only resource of the right hon. Baronet might be to increase his Income-tax to 1s. 2d. in the pound. He was not of opinion, that the landed interest was the basis of the wealth of the nation; it was important that they should be rich; but they were to be enriched by the flourishing state of the trading and manufacturing interests. Only the other day a gentle- 274 man had died, of whom it was said he was worth 7,000,000l. [An Hon. Member said 2,000,000l.] He was willing to take it at 2,000,000l., but the wealth had been acquired entirely by industry and commerce. When that splendid fortune had been acquired all classes were successful and prosperous; but those who were then able to purchase manufactures were no longer able to do so, and his conviction was, that the system ought to be changed as soon as possible. No time could well be more favourable than the present; the price of wheat was at something like 40s. or 43s. per quarter. It was about the same on the continent, and some kinds of cattle were as cheap in this kingdom as abroad; therefore there perhaps never was a time when such a change could be made with so little risk; a slight temporary panic might be felt, as indeed it had been felt last year, but it would soon disappear, and the repeal of the Corn-laws was the only mode which would enable the country to sustain its burthens. Looking at the existing depression— at the increasing pauperism— at the 22 or 23 millions of unemployed capital in the Bank of England, everything seemed to require the immediate abrogation of the Corn-laws. The Corn-laws were the source of all the present sufferings. He should be glad to be informed what other cause could be assigned. As the debate was to be finished to-night, he hoped to hear the right hon. Baronet attempt to answer this question. He (Mr. Hume) had given his reasons for thinking that the refual of the Legislature to permit a fair exchange of commodities had thrown hands out of employment, and this was a point for the landed gentry to consider and decide; they of all men would be most benefited by an abandonment of the old vicious system, and he entreated them to reflect upon the consequences of proceeding in the ancient course. The budget this year had been a failure in all the leading articles, and what could the right hon. Baronet expect for the next year? With regard to the claims of the public creditor, the hon. Member for Wilts had said that the land was, in fact mortgaged to him, and he (Mr. Hume) was distinctly of opinion that faith ought to be kept, and must be kept with him. But it would be impossible to keep that faith unless some step were taken to reinstate the commerce and manufactures of the 275 empire. The plan of the right hon. Baronet seemed to be to do nothing more than he had done already. He had had the experience of a-year, and he found that matters were only growing worse because enough had not been done. No time ought to be lost in completing the change, and as the present moment was most favourable he had the greatest satisfaction in supporting the motion of the hon. Member for Wolverhampton.
Sir John Tyrrell
said, that if ever there were a question on which the House would have been justified in coming to a division four nights ago without further argument, it was the question now before the House. The hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume), in common with other Gentlemen who had addressed the House, had repeated over and over again every description of argument on both sides of the question; but in his humble opinion had failed to show that the distress which all persons in the House admitted was at all attributable to the present Corn-laws. He was a somewhat old Member of the House, though he seldom addressed them, but he never remembered a period when the hon. Member for Montrose, notwithstanding the variety of constituencies he had represented, had not stated that the period in which he happened to be addressing them was one of extraordinary and excruciating distress. The hon. Gentleman described the distress as universal; but he hoped this was not the case, though he deeply deplored that which unquestionably existed. But his principal object in rising was that the hon. Members for Wolverhampton and Stockport should not go off triumphantly with the impression that their opinion of the repeal of the Corn-laws as a remedy for the distress of the country was a growing and prevailing opinion, for he thought he should be able to prove the contrary on no less authority than that of the hon. Member for Nottingham (Mr. Gisborne), who was a jewel of the first water on the Liberal side of the House. That hon. Member had the other night exhibited to them the picture of an old farmer on his old mare; and, copying the hon. Member for Stockport, had described his ride from Birmingham to Liverpool, and the miserable state of the farms in that locality, which he attributed to nothing else than the idleness of the farmers, and the want of that stimulation which he proposed to administer to them. He confessed that he had come to another 276 conclusion. He was certainly of opinion that not only the Gentlemen of Warwickshire and Lancashire, but also Gentlemen on the other side of the House, had much of the sagacity of the deep-mouthed hound, and could smell blood a long way off, and therefore, instead of investing their capital in draining their land, they preferred investing it in railway shares and other speculations in various parts of the country. Although the agriculturists had been described as sinecurists, and he was aware that epithet came from his own side of the House, he thought it was the last description that could be properly applied to them. But the evidence he would adduce against the assumption of the progress of the opinions of hon. Gentlemen opposite was the statement of the hon. Member for Nottingham, that the advocates of a fixed duty were in point of numbers a miserable, contemptible, and paltry body. If, then, he were asked why he differed from those enlightened philosophers by whom the noble Lord the Member for London was surrounded, he answered it was because they boasted of the discovery of a new principle, which was as old as the picture drawn by the hon. Member for Nottingham. If hon. Gentlemen opposite had discovered a new principle, it was at least a merit they must share with foreign nations, who had also discovered a principle which he believed was founded in fact, for the Finance Minister of France had some time since intimated to Louis Philip, that such was the indomitable spirit, perseverance, and enterprise of the manufacturers of this country, that he should be compelled to add a duty of 15 per cent. to save their own manufacturers from utter ruin. This principle had also been discovered by other nations on the Continent and by America, while, as to the much boasted discovery of hon. Gentlemen opposite, it had been acted upon by every higgler, huckster, and pedlar since the memory of man. He thought it must he admitted that those who argued in favour of a free-trade in corn proved too much, because they admitted that the price would rise in consequence, and that the higher the prices rose the worse they would be rewarded. If then this great alteration was to take place, how was the blow to be sustained that would be felt in the transition? Both sides of the House admitted that it would be an advantage to the country that this question should be settled. There were, 277 in his opinion, two modes of settling the question. One was, according to hon. Gentlemen opposite concession— the other was a declaration of an unqualified and intelligible nature from the right hon. Baronet. It had been the boast of the right hon. Baronet that in all the measures of his life he had never trifled with the great interests of the country. The right hon. Baronet had declared on the hustings that he would lend himself to no measure which had a tendency to withdraw capital from agriculture. He must say, on the part of the farmers of England, that they were now in a state of irritation and alarm, arising, he believed, from the extreme caution which always distinguished the right hon. Baronet, and which he had told them he found so convenient. The right hon. Baronet appeared to have the ghost of finality constantly flitting before his eyes; and he must do him the justice to say, that he thought the right hon. Baronet was deterred from any positive declaration of intention with regard to agriculture by the haunting recollections of the former declarations of the noble Lord the Member for London. For this reason, although the right hon. Baronet so frequently and ably addressed the House, he so surrounded himself with caution that no expression should escape him which hon. Gentlemen opposite could take advantage of, that even if they of the agricultural party were to follow in his wake he was not certain that they would gather many crumbs of comfort. But this he did say, it was in the power of the right hon. Baronet to remedy this state of things by manfully stepping forward, and making intelligible the declaration which he had made to his constituents, and which he had repeated on several occasions. If the right hon. Baronet would repeat that assurance, it would give unqualified satisfaction to those he had the honour to represent; and the chance of hon. Gentlemen opposite of again taking their seats on the Treasury bench would be very small indeed. On the part of the agricultural interest, he must say that they gave the right hon. Baronet credit for having last year made every possible effort to revive the trade and manufactures of the country, with the least possible injury to the agricultural interest. Still, upon the whole, they did not think they were fairly and openly dealt with by the right hon. Baronet in first bringing forward the Corn-law, then the tariff, then the grind- 278 ing question, and now having, as it were, the Canada Corn Bill in his waistcoat pocket. The impression among the people was that the right hon. Baronet had staked his reputation as a statesman on his Corn Bill and his tariff, and he was bound to say that he did not think those measures were of a mischievous or dangerous tendecy. He must say that, in one respect the farmers had no right to complain, since they had called on the right hon. Baronet to prevent the frauds in the averages, and on this point he thought the right hon. Baronet might turn round on his accusers. The noble Lord the Member for London, after exciting a laugh against his right hon. Friend the Member for Kent, had endeavoured to impress upon them, for the fiftieth time, the advantage of a fixed duty over a sliding-scale. He hoped that when the noble Lord next favoured them with a dissertation on the subject, he would answer this plain question: If it were admitted by the advocates of protection that 80s. a quarter was too much, and by Gentlemen on the other side that 30s. a quarter was too little, on what principle was it, save that of this much abused sliding-scale, that these two extremes could be reconciled? Philosophers, by whom the noble Lord was surrounded, notwithstanding their claim that their principles were in the ascendant, were many of them very dear philosophers. On perusing their Blue Books, he must say that some of them were very dear in proportion to the amount of information which they afforded. It must be great humiliation to these Gentlemen to see themselves, as it were, riding at single anchor. Their hope was that hon. Gentlemen on his side were riding with springs on their cables, and that they were prepared to throw over the agricultural interest of the country. Such had been thrown out in the course of the debate; but he did not believe a word of it. According to their principles, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, instead of having a beggarly account of empty boxes, ought to find matters improving. He believed it to be the fact that at this moment beef in France was dearer than beef in Loudon. The manufacturers on his side of the House would bear him out in saying that the cotton manufacture was never in a more prosperous state than it was at this moment. He had endeavoured to state his opinions as an agricultural Member, and he trusted that the House would see, 279 in the division that would take place tonight, there would be no cause to regret the support of her Majesty's Government. He calculated on a large majority, and trusted they would not be disappointed.
Mr. Henry Berkeley
said, when it was considered the number of petitions he had laid on the Table, and the active part which his constituents had taken for the abolition of the Corn-laws, by various important public meetings, he trusted hon. Members would grant him but a few moments. When it was considered, too, the little regard paid to petitions laid upon that Table, he felt it to be incumbent upon the representatives of the people, to express the sentiments of their constituents on occasions so important as the present. It was true the great city he had the honour to represent did not feel that misery which more manufacturing districts presented, yet the depression of trade, the discharge of operatives, and the labour of those who could find work, reduced to half price—the ship yards closed, or only partially in operation, the broom at the mast-head of merchant ships, the manufactory of machinery, on which Britain once prided itself, hourly declining—all this with the increases of rates, all inadequate to meet the increase of pauperism, presented a picture harrowing to contemplate. Yet, under these circumstances, hon. Members opposite schooled them on their behaviour— insisted upon those who, in and out of that House, advocated the abolition of the Corn-laws, using courtly and holiday expressions. It was true he did not advocate violence of language— far from it. He knew that no cause gained any thing by intemperance of expression; yet it was difficult for the representatives of a starving population, all relief denied to them, to preserve perfect equanimity. The hon. Member for Ipswich (Mr. Gladstone) had remarked upon observations which had fallen from the hon. Member for Salford. He rebuked the hon. Gentlemen for saying that the agriculturists kept up the price of bread, in order to keep up their rents; nay, they all on the opposite side abused the Corn-law League for their tracts; they would not endure to hear of a conspiracy of the rich to defraud the poor. Did hon. Gentlemen think that such accusations were new? Did they think they originated with the advocates for the abolition of the Corn-law? Far from it. Such things were 280 said two hundred years ago, and by grave authorities; he would quote one, Sir Thomas More, Lord Chancellor of England; and in a work published by him in 1639, there were expressions used by that great authority against class legislation and political conspiracies of the rich to defraud the poor, which if they had been published in a Corn-law pamphlet, would have been termed inflammatory, immoral, and damnable, and turned out of the cottages of the poor, as in Dorsetshire. Sir Thomas More, said,Therefore, when I consider and weigh in my mind all these Commonwealths, which now a-dayes any where do flourish, so God help me, I can perceive nothing but a certaine conspiracy of rich men procuring their own commodities, under the name and title of the Commonwealth. They invent and devise all meanes and crafts first how to keep safely, without fear of losing, that they have unjustly gathered together. And next, how to hire and abuse the worke and labour of the poore, for as little money as may be. These devices, when the rich men have decreed to be kept and observed under colour of the commonalty, that is to say, also of the poore people then— they be made lawes. And that you may perceive this the more plainly— consider with yourselves, some barraine and unfruitful yeare, wherein many thousands of people have starved for hunger. I dare be bold to say, that in the end of that penury, so much corne or graine might have been found in rich men's barnes, if they had been searched, as being divided among them whom famine and pestilence then consumed, no man at all should have felt that plague and penury.Thus wrote a Lord Chancellor of England, and he thought such opinions, falling from such an authority, were a very fair precedent for those who employed the same on the present occasion. He would not further detain the House, but felt it to be his duty to return thanks to the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, on behalf of his constituents, and on behalf of himself, for persevering in that motion, the object of which, if adopted, he honestly believed to be the only cure for the prevailing distress, and furthermore persisting in a House constituted as the present, which by its very formation must be predetermined to reject it. It signified not, defeat might be present, but future victory could not long be delayed; the progress this cause had made among the agriculturists, and the dissensions evident among the opponents of the measure, afforded the strongest proof of it.
§ Sir Walter James
said, that this was a question of great importance, although much might be said on both sides. There were certain maxims of free-trade, which were so clear and distinct as to carry conviction to all minds, and among them was that free-trade was only barter, and that we ought to sell in the dearest and buy in the cheapest market. It appeared to him that corn was the standard of all value, and that in legislating upon this subject, they must legislate not only with regard to landed property, but with reference to every species of property. The question of Corn-laws was described to be one, on which the fundholders were ranged on one side and the landed proprietors on the other. Protection had been given to the interests of both, but that in favour of the fundholder he believed predominated. He spoke as a person whose whole properly was vested in the public credit of the country, but being thus situated, he was prepared to throw himself into the same boat with the landowners, and was willing to share any sacrifices which they might be called upon to make. He could not blind himself to the state of the country; it presented many uncomfortable symptoms, but he did not attribute these misfortunes to any particular party. He was fully prepared to assist her Majesty's Government in any means which they might adopt to get rid of the existing difficulties, and he was confident that there were means by which this country might be restored to a condition of the greatest prosperity. He looked to emigration and to an extension of trade as affording in themselves the ingredients of such a restoration. He believed that it was essential that the right hon. Baronet (Sir Robert Peel) should go on with those measures which he had commenced, so much to his credit, last year. Under all circumstances, the right hon. Baronet ought to proceed with the removal of commercial restrictions, and he believed that another most important effort for him to make would be to reduce the charge of the public debt, so far as was consistent with the public credit. He had no idea of voting in favour of the present motion, but he should qualify his vote by saying, that he was prepared to enter to the fullest extent into the causes of, with a view to remedy the existing distresses of the country.
§ Lord Worsley
said, he wished to put a question to the right hon. Baronet at the 282 head of her Majesty's Government, in order that when he rose to address the House, he might afford an answer. He had seen reported in the papers of that morning, a declaration made by a noble Lord in another place, a Member of her Majesty's Government, which could not fail to attract the attention of the farmers. He recollected that a declaration of a similar nature had been made by the right hon. Baronet at the early part of the Session, and the right hon. Baronet appeared to him to have taken pains to qualify that expression. The right hon. Baronet had said, that the Government did not contemplate any change in the Corn-laws during the present Session. He viewed with apprehension, and he believed that the farmers would entertain the same feeling respecting the declaration to which he had alluded, and he sincerely trusted that the right hon. Baronet would be able to tell the House that the report was an erroneous one. The noble Lord was reported to have said that,Her Majesty's Government did not intend to make any alteration in the Corn-law this Session; that the Canada Corn-bill was, in fact, no alteration of the Corn-bill of last year, because it was announced at the time.Now, he would ask any of the county Members on the other side of the House, whether they would not bear him out when he said, that they had had no intimation of any further change. He must also say, that he could n6t but believe that the farmers of this country had been deceived by what had been said in reference to the intentions of her Majesty's Government on this subject, because, although the right hon. Baronet had told the House that he had no intention to alter the system of Corn-Jaws, he had, at the same time, turned round to hon. Gentlemen behind him, and had declared that he would not accept their support if it was to be given on the supposition that he pledged himself not to alter the Corn-law. Before the retirement of the late Government, however, the farmers had been told that no alteration whatever was to be made, and that it was only to rally round the right hon. Baronet to prevent any such interference with their rights. When these circumstances were remembered, and that the majority of that House had been returned in consequence of the exertions of the landed interest—when it was known that it was a general impression amongst the agriculturists that there would be no 283 change—when it was recollected that the farmers had been told that the act of last Session was a settlement of the question— could any surprise be felt, he asked, that the farmers were discontented? He said, that they had reason to be discontented, and to call upon the right hon. Baronet for a clear exposition of his intentions. He could only attribute the conduct of the right hon. Baronet to this— that, having fruitlessly endeavoured to reconcile the conflicting interests upon this question, he had at length thrown up the task in despair, under the impression that the existing state of things was so bad, that it was impossible that it should be remedied. He thought that the country was entitled to have the real opinion of the Government, whether they thought the Corn Act was a good or a bad measure. In the announcement made the other evening in the budget, there was no mention made of agricultural distress; and on this point, too, the farmers had a full right to complain, for by the calculation of the right hon. Baronet of the amount of income-tax derivable from tenants, 150,000l. was the sum expected, whereas, in fact, the amount really derived from this source was 330,000l. He was aware that a great deal of alarm was felt on this subject. It had not been his intention to have addressed the House; but knowing how great and how general was the alarm that prevailed, he thought that it was but justice to the agricultural interest to ask for an explanation from her Majesty's Government, of the declaration that had been made by them, and the statement of which he had found in the morning papers, having taken care to confirm that statement as it appeared in the different papers.
§ Sir R. Peel:
The progress of this debate has confirmed the impression which I had before it commenced, that almost all the arguments which it was possible to adduce on each side of the House had been exhausted, and that it was not probable that any ingenuity on the part of any speaker could present either side of the question in a new point of view. I repeat, that what has passed in the course of this debate has confirmed that impression. In the course of this discussion, I have heard little that is new; I have heard little more than a repetition of former arguments. As for myself, having frequently been called upon to discuss this question— having had frequent opportunities of delivering my opinions upon it, 284 confess I have no new argument to offer; and nothing but the importance of the subject, and the position in which I stand, would have induced me to overcome the reluctance which I feel again to present myself to the House. I must, however, for one, thank the hon. Member for Wolverhampton— for the manner in which he has presented his motion to the House. With the opinions the hon. and learned Member entertains on the subject, it is creditable to him that he has solicited the decision of the House upon the broad principle involved in his proposition. There was no subterfuge either in the motion or in the speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman—there was no attempt to catch a stray vote by a plausible reference to the nature of the motion—the hon. and learned Gentleman does not call upon the House to resolve itself into a general committee on the Corn-laws, but he asks the House to resolve itself into a committee on those laws, specifying the precise object for which he solicits that committee, namely, to effect a total and immediate repeal of those laws. I shall address myself to that which is properly the subject of debate, and assign the reasons why it is impossible for me to give my assent to that proposition. The principle involved in the resolution is much wider than the resolution itself. The hon. and learned Gentleman proposes that to-night we should affirm the total and immediate repeal of the Corn-laws; but the great principle is further involved in the resolution, namely, that every duty on every article which savours of protection shall be at once abolished, and I think it would have been better, considering the principles avowed by the hon. and learned Gentleman, that instead of moving for the immediate and total repeal of the Corn-laws, he should have made his resolution concurrent with his argument and have proposed to the House to resolve that all duties savouring of protection should be abolished. Depend upon it, Sir, if the present motion is carried, long prescription, vested interests, the application of capital under the existing law, cannot operate to prevent the application of that great principle to duties being protection, or as you call them monopoly and robbery. If that be true as applied to the Corn-laws, do not—as the hon. and learned Member for Bath has said,—do not delude yourselves, for the same principle must be applied immediately and completely,—not by removing only 285 duties imposed for purposes of revenue, but to every duty which operates as protection to any interest favoured by law. Can it be questioned—and this is the only point on which I quarrel with the fairness of the hon. and learned Gentleman—can it be questioned that it would have been fairer to have advanced that principle boldly than to lay it down partially, when its consequences are so clear and apparent? But let us see what we are called upon to affirm by this resolution. Not a trade in this country, the produce of which is protected by a duty upon foreign articles entering into competition with it, can hope to retain that protection. There must be an immediate and complete repeal; for, observe, what your own argument is. You say that on the establishment of a certain principle, the practical execution of that principle is immediately to follow. From your argument, no vague inference is to be drawn. You have sounded the knell of protection by the adoption of that principle, and, therefore, you must immediately proceed to abolish, as respects manufactures, without exception, all and every duty upon the import of foreign manufactures which operates as a protection. Of course, then, this is a subversion of the whole arrangement that was made last year by the adoption of the tariff. How complicated are the consequences to which this leads. Every duty arranged last year by the tariff must undergo instant revision. If you are unwilling to sacrifice the revenue you must for instance restore the duties on colonial timber, because the imposition of a duty on foreign timber operates as a protection to colonial timber. Are you prepared to abandon the duty levied upon foreign timber? it operates as a protection, and if you are not so prepared, the consequence is, that you must replace the duties on colonial produce, and therefore, I say, that by acceding to this motion, I must not only abolish every duty on every article of the nature of provisions, but I institute an immediate reversal of the whole arrangements made by the tariff of last year, excepting so far as the revenue is concerned. But the next consequence that flows from the adoption of this resolution is the immediate subversion of the whole of the colonial system. The entire colonial system will at once be swept away, unless you will leave the colonial interests to drag on a precarious existence, without letting the capitalist know what is the legislation by which he 286 is to be governed; in fact, it follows, as the necessary consequence of the adoption of this resolution, that the whole colonial system must be at once abolished; that is to say, that this country must not, on a careful revision of the colonial system— must not, after a gradual and well-considered attentive consideration of the abstract principle, but upon a resolution to be affirmed to-night, consent to subvert at once the whole colonial arrangements so recently made. Of course, I apply to the colonists the benefit of the principle we claim for this country. At present, our manufactured goods are admitted into the colonies on a footing more favourable to us than to foreigners. Whether wise or unwise, this is the nature of our colonial connection. This country said to the colonies, "I will be responsible for your security and internal order, and the return I ask for is the favour and privilege of the admission of my manufactures." This is granted; and for this we give the colonies corresponding advantages. This is the system which has endured for years; it is a system that may be unwise, and contrary to sound principle in the abstract, but would any sane assembly of legislators, knowing the extent of our colonial empire, consent by the adoption of the resolution of to-night at once to subvert, without delay or consideration, the whole of that system. Have you who support this resolution considered the effect the adoption of its wide principle would produce upon countries like India and Canada? Admitting, for the sake of argument, that the principle involved in the resolution is wise, did you ever find any writer on political economy who recommended legislation on a principle of this kind? Do I say that I would protect these interests for the sake of individuals? No; but I say, looking at the extent of capital invested on the faith of the law, it is impossible to Contemplate what the consequences would be, not only to the landed interests, but to the manufacturers of this country and the interests of our colonists. The vote of the 4th of August in the National Assembly of France, by which all privileges were abolished, was not adopted with less consideration than would this principle, if you ask now at once to deal thus with these interests. Can you answer this argument? —can you deny that if you affirm the principle of this resolution as professedly applied to the protection to land, there ought to be a repeal of every duty which gives 287 protection, and which you call monopoly? — that monopoly ought to cease, that there ought to be no preferences of colonial interests, and no sacrifices in return. [Mr. Villiers: " Hear."] I am glad that the hon. Gentleman admits, that it is a necessary consequence. But with that admission, I ask the House if it feels that it is in accordance with the national interests and security by the vote of one night to adopt a principle like this. That is the question. You ought, as legislators, well to consider your votes — to anticipate the possibility that you may be in a majority. I am certain, if hon. Gentlemen will admit that, that it is not. honest from the conviction that you will be in a minority, and will escape the practical consequences of your vote, to vote contrary to this admission. I give hon. Members credit for the integrity of their motives, and I ask them then if they were responsible for the colonial interests of this country—if they were responsible for the public safety, and for the consequences that might ensue, not from injury to individual interests, but from the disturbance of capital to such an extent invested under laws which I will admit, for the sake of argument, require careful revision and alteration—would they, by the vote of one night, risk the consequences which the pledge of such a resolution would give? Now, observe, I have the admission of the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Villiers), which I expected, that though the principle of the resolution is applicable apparently to corn, yet there is no one article, whatever the extent of capital employed in producing it, the manufacture of which can be affected by the sudden import of immense quantities of foreign produce, but, whatever the consequences may be, the manufacturers of it must be prepared to adopt the immediate application of this principle. If I were prepared to agree to such an abstract principle as that embodied in the resolution, I should shrink from its application. Those who have none of the responsibility imposed on the executive Government of the country urge this measure; but no executive Government would indirectly incur the responsibility of immediately announcing and applying such a remedy. From the legitimate consequences flowing from the resolution of the hon. Gentleman, it does appear to me that I have stated conclusive reasons why, in the present state of this country, or in any conceivable state of this country, the representatives of the 288 country should act with more caution and deliberation than that with which they will act if they affirm the resolution tonight. If the hon. Gentleman should say to me that which I am sure he will not say, that I am assuming that the resolution includes principles more extensive than it does, that it is applicable to corn only, even then it would be utterly impossible for me to assent to the resolution as applied to the trade in corn. Sir, I concur in much that was said by the noble Lord as to the general principle which should govern the consideration of this question; I remain as opposed to him as ever upon the practical measure to be adopted; but as to the general principle with which we should view alterations in the Corn-laws, I do not materially dissent from the noble Lord. The noble Lord laid down the principle as strongly as it was put by any Gentleman on this side of the House, that even if these laws required alteration, you ought to be cautious in retracing your steps and applying remedies. That was the principle as laid down by the noble Lord, and he supported his opinion by reference to high authority— to the authority of Adam Smith, and he might have done it by reference to Mr. Huskisson. Every one who has considered this subject, the more carefully he has considered it the more convinced he has become of the abstract principle, and the more unwilling he has been to pledge the abstract principle by an incautious application of it to practice. I was sorry to hear the noble Lord after he had admitted that principle, take an unfair advantage of an expression used by my right hon. Friend the Vice-president of the Board of Trade in saying that "he had placed the landlord on the footing of a sinecurist." My right hon. Friend might have used the word "sinecurist" in enforcing the propriety of caution, where there were great vested interests at stake; but all that my right hon. Friend said was, even where you are dealing with that which is the most obnoxious interest even with the sinecurist, even there you recognise his claim for compensation; how much more, then, is there a necessity for cautious legislation, when you are dealing with the great body of landholders of this country, and with capital invested on the faith of the existing law? That was the argument of my right hon. Friend, and the noble Lord took an unworthy advantage of it in saying that my right hon. Friend classed the whole body of agriculturists with sine- 289 curists, and placed them on the same footing. Again, I think with the noble Lord, that not only for the protection of individuals, but for the public interest, great caution is necessary. I think with the noble Lord, that the landed interest is entitled to protection upon the just ground of being called on to bear special burthens. [Hear, hear.] Sir, I am stating ray opinion. I am repeating that I admit, that having frequently discussed this subject, as I stated at the outset, it is difficult to allege any new argument. I am stating my concurrence with the noble Lord with respect to the protection which ought to be afforded to agriculture on account of the burthens imposed on land which are not imposed on other property. It is the landed property of the country which maintains the Church establishment. I say that the greatest writers on this subject have admitted that the tithes do constitute a peculiar burthen upon the land. [Interruption.'] Permit me to state my own opinions; they are a fair subject for canvass. But I must say the advocates for liberality are the most intolerant of the opinions of others. My intention is to discuss this subject with the spirit and temper with which a subject of so much importance should be discussed. I shall avoid all personal imputations, and I shall not think it necessary to reply to those which have been advanced. If any one is to be deterred from expressing his opinions by abuse, or diverted from his argument by retaliating that abuse, it is impossible we can come to any conclusion; we cannot conduct the argument in a satisfactory manner, or in a manner worthy of the question. And I protest, because I may entertain opinions differing from the hon. Gentleman, against the imputation being cast upon me, of acting from improper or corrupt motives. The imputation affects me little; I shall not follow the example of those who use such personal imputations, having a strong conviction, that they recoil on their authors. I was stating that the land was subject to peculiar burthens; I should think no one will say it is not. I constantly hear this address made to the proprietors of land, " Beware of the course you are taking; the great manufacturing towns in the times of their prosperity have drawn the rural population within their limits. They have made no provision in the time of prosperity for the support of the labourers in the time of decay; and that they will 290 avail themselves of the existing law— disgorge the superfluous and unemployed population on the land, and having extracted from them, in the time of manufacturing prosperity, all the good they could, then that they will not support them in time of difficulty, but will return them to the land, and the burthen of supporting them will be on the land." And, therefore, I should have expected a ready assent to my argument that the land is called on to bear burthens imposed materially by the manufacturing districts. But observe what was the principle of the law; was it not the original principle of the law that the profits of stock in trade should be made subject to this burthen? Have you not departed from it? Why? Because the land is permanent, is tangible, is always visible; that there is less of inquisition, and less of exaction in levying the burthens on land, whilst you say it is impossible to determine the amount of stock or profit for the purpose of assessing it for the poor-rate or the county-rate, without occasional difficulty, and consequently you have abolished that principle of law, and the land is left alone to bear that burthen, which the original principle of the law contemplated should be partially borne by the profits of stock in trade. I will take the single case of barley. I think you raise 8,000,000l. or 9,000,000l. a-year from the tax on barley. I think the duty is above 8,000,000l., and in addition you subject the landowner to great difficulties in conducting his operations. You say to him, "In order to secure this revenue from a single article, we will interfere with the operations of your trade and subject you to peculiar supervision, interrupt you in the application of your capital, and prevent you from making the most of the barley you have." I know the answer to this statement will be, that this duty is not a burthen peculiar on land — that it is borne by the consumer. Let us try to apply the same sort of reasoning, supposing a tax were proposed to be imposed on the cotton manufacture. Supposing the manufactured articles of cotton were subjected to a duty for the purpose of raising 2,000,000l. or 3,000,000l., I apprehend the cotton manufacturers of this country would decidedly object to such an imposition. They would say, "At the time we are pressing you to take off the duties on raw articles, and while we complain of the duty on foreign raw cotton as a grievous exaction, to propose to raise two 291 or three millions by a duty on manufactured cotton, would be an act of folly and insanity, of which no man fitted to serve in office in this country could be guilty." If I answered them by saying that foreign silks and articles of foreign manufacture, which entered into competition with their goods, would come in more freely if their goods were taxed— that the tax on their goods would fall on the consumer, and that they (the producers) had no reason to complain— would they be satisfied with these observations? and, therefore, though I cannot admit that the malt-tax is to the extent in which it has been represented, a burthen exclusively on land, yet as the removal of the malt-tax would give great facility to the operations of those concerned in the malting business, I must say that it is a heavy duty on an article of agricultural produce, which must operate as a disadvantage in the application of capital in that particular direction. For these reasons, I have a strong impression that on the ground of special burthens there is a claim for protection on the part of the land. The noble Lord, the Member for Sunderland, denies that the land has any claim for protection, and he yet would consent to a fixed duty for the purpose of raising revenue. Now, I think the noble Lord, the Member for the City of London, on the principle which he holds, that extreme caution is necessary in dealing with these complicated interests, and that (looking to the cost of production and the special burthens borne by agriculturists) land is entitled to protection—that noble Lord, I think, would be able, on such a principle, consistently to advocate and maintain protection; but I must say my confidence in the maintenance of the protection offered by the noble Lord, the Member for Sunderland—namely, that a duty might be levied for the purpose of revenue, would be very weak indeed. In the first place, it is not clear, if there is no claim to such a duty on the ground of protection, that the duty, exclusively for the purpose of revenue, would be easily defensible; but of this I am sure, that the noble Lord would find it more difficult to maintain in argument that if it were right to levy a duty on corn, domestic corn, should escape from that duty. After all, what would a tax on foreign corn, though raised (it may be asserted) for the purpose of revenue— what would such a tax, from which British corn should be exempted, be but protection under a false pretext.
292 It would be neither more nor less than that. The noble Lord, the Member for Sunderland, contended that the land is entitled to no protection, and he said that if in 1828, a duty of 10s. had been imposed on foreign corn for the mere purpose of revenue, nobody would have found fault with it. If, then, the noble Lord's proposition were adopted, to give protection by the circuitous mode of extracting revenue from foreign corn, to which revenue domestic corn should not contribute, it is my belief, that the Anti-Corn-law agitation would not so soon cease as the noble Lord supposed. With respect to barley, the principle of the noble Lord is reversed, as I stated on a former night; and in this instance we have no scruple in taxing the domestic article. [Lord Howick: "There is no tax on barley — the tax is on malt."] The noble Lord intimates that my argument does not apply, because the tax is levied on malt, and not on barley. Then, instead of speaking of a tax on corn, if I spoke of a tax on bread, would that satisfy the noble Lord. For the reasons I have stated, and on the general principle, I concur with the noble Lord the Member for the city of London, that the land is fairly entitled to protection on just and equitable grounds; and I dissent from the noble Lord the Member for Sunderland, feeling very little confidence in the protection he offers by means of a fixed duty, imposed for the purpose of revenue, and which, in the course of this debate, has been reduced to 4s. or 3s. With respect to the existing law, I differ from the noble Lord the member for the city of London, still retaining my opinion, that if the noble Lord attempted to impose a duty which he contemplated, whether it were 8s. or 10s., it would be very doubtful whether the levy of it could be ensured under circumstances, the recurrence of which we must anticipate. Acting on the principle which the noble Lord opposite has advocated, that we should attempt a fair compromise of a long litigated question, I proposed, in the course of last year, with the concurrence of my colleagues, a measure which appeared to the Government, under all the circumstances of the country, to be an equitable and fair proposition. We did contemplate and did effect, I admit, a very material reduction in the amount of duty levied on foreign corn. But this is not the only point on which we affected the landed interest. We re- 293 moved altogether the monopoly of the supply of cattle and meat. We removed the prohibition which prevented the importation of foreign cattle and meat. This was hailed as a most satisfactory arrangement, and confident predictions were made by hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House that important consequences would follow from these measures to the trade of the country. I am now quite surprised to hear the tone of an hon. Gentleman opposite. He says, that from the partial application of our principles announced last year no good has resulted, and that we have done nothing by removing the monopoly of the supply of cattle and meat. All this, he says, has afforded no relief to the country and no stimulus to commerce, and yet the conclusion to which he comes is, to recommend us to proceed in the course we have adopted and to carry our principles into effect. It would have been more consoling to us, and certainly more consistent with reason, if the hon. Member had said, that the sound principles which we propounded last year had proved beneficial in their operation, not indeed to the extent which he expected, but still most beneficial, and this is an encouragement for us to proceed in the same course; but when he says that the Ministers have done nothing, and that their measures have entirely failed, and yet at the same time encourage us to proceed in the same course, I realty cannot understand the argument of the hon. Gentleman. We removed the protection on domestic timber, seeds, and on a variety of articles, and extensive alterations were made. I believe the effect of those alterations has been most advantageous. I can make no retraction of the principles on which I then acted. I am satisfied with them and desire their application. Therefore I dissent from the hon. Gentleman, and, looking at the reduced price of provisions and the increased comforts of the labouring classes of this country, I cannot regard without satisfaction, generally speaking, the operation of the principles on which her Majesty's Ministers have acted, though at the same time I deeply regret whatever partial distress may have been the consequence of our measures. The noble Lord opposite (Lord Worsley) has asked me to give some assurance with respect to the future. Her Majesty's Ministers proposed the Corn-law last year in the hope that it might be an adjustment of this question. They could not say that the measure should be irrevo- 294 cably final and unalterable; but her Majesty's Ministers had no dirty intention in their minds of proposing an abrogation of the Corn-laws. In a matter of this immense importance, I consider political support to be of no slight consequence; but, however painful it may be to lose it, I cannot attempt to conciliate political support by making any inconsistent declarations. Her Majesty's Government offered this law as a fair and equitable adjustment of the question; and they thought it would be met in a fair and conciliatory spirit by the landed interest: and I never will say, with respect to any law of this nature, that the fear of losing political support shall induce me to sacrifice my opinion. I tell this to the noble Lord, that I do not maintain the law, merely because it was passed last Session; nay, I must admit, that if it were true that the law is irreconcilable with the interests of the country, and that a better law could be proposed, it would be the duty of the Government to propose, and Parliament to adopt, such a law. It is utterly impossible, in a commercial matter like this, to combine influences for the purpose of maintaining, as you suppose, your consistency; because it is not like a great political principle, it partakes of nothing of that character. But I say, that intervening experience has not convinced me that the law is a bad one. With the opportunity of watching its operation, I see no reason to infer that the principle of a fixed duty is preferable to that which I proposed. What were the objections which were offered against the law last year? Let us see what they amounted to. In the first place, it was said that it would have no effect whatever in diminishing the price of corn; and I remember that a most confident prediction on that head was uttered by one hon. Gentleman, that it would keep corn at 72s. But there has been a material reduction in the price of corn. I know that some say, that is not in the least degree owing to the law; others again, attribute it to the law. However, the fact cannot be denied, that from some cause or other there has been a material reduction in the price of wheat, the main article of subsistence. I must say, that nothing surprises me more than to hear the cost of subsistence spoken of as a matter of indifference. The hon. Member for Montrose, as I understood him, expressed himself utterly indifferent to the price of food. The argument was, 295 that the high price of food was of no consequence if wages were high, yet no argument has been more frequent than that the price of food being higher here than on the Continent, it is impossible for the manufacturer to compete with foreigners. It has been argued, too, that several millions of money per annum have been absorbed by the high prices of corn; and a pamphlet was written by Mr. Greg to show that the quantity of money absorbed in the purchase of articles of subsistence prevented the manufacturers from having as large a market at home as low prices would have afforded them. That was the argument; there was the greatest advantage, it was said, in having the price of provision low, for then we could compete with foreigners, while at home it would enable parties to appropriate their money to the purchase of manufactured articles. Therefore I am surprised, whatever may be the cause of the price of corn being low, to hear that the reduction in price is of no advantage. But what is the object of all this? Is it not to try to raise an agricultural clamour about the lowness of prices. That is a most unfair and unworthy course. It was said again, that the importation of foreign corn would lead to the export of bullion, and derange the monetary system of this country. Well, there was a large importation of foreign corn last year, has there been any great export of bullion? At any rate, that has not taken place. It was said, also, that the system of averages which I introduced, would have no effect upon the admission of foreign corn; nay, it was said, that if it had any effect, it would be to diminish the average. Now it so happens, that the effect of increasing the number of towns has been to increase, rather than to diminish the average, and therefore to facilitate the admission of foreign corn. 1 was surprised to hear the hon. Member for Wolverhampton repeat the statement over and over again, that I guaranteed to the farmer a price of 56s. I have seen this constantly stated:—The First Lord of the Treasury promised that you should have a remunerating price of from 54s. to 58s., and now you have but 46s. How can you ever repose any confidence in him 1"My answer is a simple reference to statements which I did make. I was referring to the price of corn for some ten or twelve years before, and I stated all the difficulties of determining what would be a remunerating price; but I said the ave 296 rage of the ten or twelve preceding years was 56s., and I stated also that upon the adjustment of the Tithe Commission the average was also taken at 56s., and that as far as the Legislature was concerned, I thought it probable that the effect of this law would be to prevent oscillations to a greater extent than from 54s. to 58s. I further stated, that I did not see any advantage to agriculture in having the price of corn at a higher rate than 58s. But when you quote that, it is but fair that you should quote the qualification in the context. What was it that I said? At the same time, that I made a reference to the price of 54s. and 58s. I said this in the same speech, and immediately preceding that allusion—Nothing can be more difficult than to attempt to determine the amount of protection required for the home producer. I am almost afraid even to mention the term ' remunerating price,' because I know how vague must be the idea which is attached to it. The price requisite in order to remunerate the home-grower must necessarily vary; a thousand circumstances must be taken into account before you can determine whether a certain price will be a sufficient remuneration or not.Again, I said—Now, if we take the average price of wheat which determines the commutation of tithes, the principle on which the Tithe Bill passed, taking the average of seven years, we find the price of wheat during those seven years to have been 56s. 8d. If we take the average of wheat for the last ten years, we shall find that the price has been about 56s. 11d.; but in that average is included the average of the last three years, when corn has been higher certainly than any one would wish to see it continue. Allowing for that excess of price, however, 56s. 11d. was the average price for the last ten years. Now, with reference to the probable remunerating price I should say, that for the protection of the agricultural interest, so far as I can possibly form a judgment, if the price of wheat in this country, allowing for its natural oscillations, could be limited to some such amount as between 54s. and 58s., I do not believe that it is for the interest of the agriculturist that it should be higher. Take the average of the last ten years, excluding from some portion of the average the extreme prices of the last three years, and 56s. would be found to be the average; and, so far as I can form an idea of what would constitute a fair remunerating price, I for one should never wish to see it vary more than I have said. I cannot say, on the other hand, that I am able to see any great or permanent advantage to be derived from the diminution of the price of corn beyond the lowest amount 1 have named, if I look at the subject in connection with the 297 general position of the country, the existing relations of landlord and tenant, the burthens upon land, and the habits of the country. When I name this sum, however, I must beg altogether to disclaim mentioning it as a pivot or remunerating price, or any inference that the Legislature can guarantee the continuance of that price; for I know it to be impossible to effect any such object by a legislative enactment. It is utterly beyond your power, and a mere delusion to say, that by any duty, fixed or otherwise, you can guarantee a certain price to the producer. It is beyond the reach of the Legislature. In 1835, when you had what some thought was a nominal protection to the amount of 64s., the average price of wheat did not exceed 39s. 8d., and I again repeat, that it is only encouraging delusion to hold out the hope that this species of protection can be afforded to the agriculturist. To return, however, to the subject; I again say that nothing can be more vague than to attempt to define a remunerating price.Now, I think I have read sufficient to show that I did not undertake to guarantee by legislation any price whatever. With regard to the lowness of price, I think that the Corn-law of last year has not been the cause of it. When I speak of a reduction in the cost of living, I cannot claim either for the tariff or the Corn-law the full extent of that reduction. I fear the reduction in the price of agricultural produce has arisen to a considerable degree from that depression of trade and diminished power of consumption of which we have had too many melancholy proofs. I wish my agricultural friends to remember that I said before this discussion on the Corn-laws came on, that it was my firm conviction, as it still is, that the prosperity of the manufacturing and commercial interests of this country is much more essential to the prosperity of the landed interest than any Corn-law whatever. I am not using new language in expressing that opinion. I have said the same thing on more than one occasion before, and, Sir, if you could convince me that the Corn-law was the cause of the manufacturing depression which has existed, or, if I could bring myself to believe the exaggerated statements which have been made with respect to the cause of that depression, I should feel the strongest conviction that the agriculturists would best consult their own interests by consenting to an alteration. But I at once declare that I distrust those statements—that I do not believe the Corn-law to be the cause of the manufacturing depression. When the ton, 298 Gentleman tells me of former successes in trade— of the immense profits which were made by manufacturers in former years— let me remind him that all those successes and all those profits accrued under a Corn-law. If then the existing Corn-law be fatal to manufacturing prosperity, how does he account for the fact of such prosperity having occurred at former periods when the same law was in existence? I will show him that prosperity and the Corn-law have co-existed. It has been said that the greatest manufacturing prosperity of this country was in the years 1835 and 1836. The Corn-law was in operation during both those years. Yes, but your reply to this is, that in those years food was cheap. Why, so is food cheap now. It is nearly as cheap now as it was in 1835 and 1836; and why should I admit that it is the existence of the Corn-law which is fatal to manufactures, when I find that in those years you had the law in full operation, and at the same time had the public declaration of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce to the effect that trade was never more flourishing. But your greatest objection to the Corn-law is, that it has a tendency to encourage speculation. You tell us, among other things, that last year there was a rise in price just before the harvest, and that the consequence was, a large importation of foreign corn which was met by the abundant crop, and consequently proved unremunerative to its holders. Now, I think it is hardly fair to try the existing Corn-law with reference to the circumstances of the last year. What were the circumstances of the last year? Certainly in the spring of last year large speculations took place in the importation of foreign corn, and these speculations were entered into on the assumption that there would be an unfavourable and a defective harvest. There never was a period when greater exertion was made than in the spring of last year to bring in large quantities of corn, on account of the expectation that prevailed that there would be a failure of the harvest. That conviction remained in full force up to a very late period of the year, and the harvest turning out favourable, an occurrence so widely different from that which was expected, naturally caused losses which are not to be traced to the Corn-law. You are not testing the law fairly, therefore, if you try it by the circumstances of last year. But nevertheless, let us see what the law really did last year. It came into opera- 299 tion on the 28th of April. At the 13s. duty which then, or shortly after occurred, 26,000 quarters of wheat were imported. At the 12s. duty, the amount during the two weeks ending the 13th and 20th of May, 50,000 quarters were imported; and in the weeks ending the 18th and 25th of June, when the duty was 9s. and 10s., not less than 76,000 quarters Were brought in. This shows that the law did not operate badly. But the truth is, that both speculations were entered into, and the natural operation interfered with, in consequence of certain motions made, and speeches delivered within these walls. Some hon. Members were, up to the latest moment, loud in their predictions of a deficient harvest, and their language was very influential in inducing corn-merchants to enter into speculation, and the holders of corn to retain their purchases in expectation of a further rise. It was so late as the 7th of July that the hon. Member for Aberdeen submitted a motion to this House to give a power to the Queen in Council to remit the duties on corn during the recess. What would the speculator in corn naturally do when he saw motions of that kind made, and read such speeches, (which, of course, operated as an encouragement) but hold back his corn? What said the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton, a person of high distinction in this House, and who held a Cabinet office under the late Administration? On the 11th of July, at the very time when all those speculations were going forward, the noble Lord said, in this House:I venture to predict that if Parliament does not meet before November the Government will have to let out the bonded corn,That was the confident prediction of the noble Lord; I acquit the noble Lord of all improper motives. He was, I am sure, expressing a bonâ fide opinion, and never thought of interfering with the operation of the law; he believed that the harvest would prove defective—that another 2,500,000 quarters of corn must be imported from the Continent, at whatever price; but when the speculators heard a person in the situation of the noble Lord make that declaration, they would naturally say—and the greater their confidence in the noble Lord the more inclined they would be to say—" We will keep back our corn, for there is every prospect of a rise in the price;" and I must say, that if the agricultural interest have suffered from the sudden influx, at a critical period, of 300 large quantities of corn, they have to thank the noble Lord and his predictions for that influx of corn. But the noble Lord was not the only prophet of evil. There was another noble Lord—I mean the Member for Sunderland. That noble Lord, with the high sanction of his name, after the law passed, at a time when persons were pouring in corn to the extent of forty and fifty thousand quarters, at a duty of 10s. and 12s., gave notice of a motion to release all corn in bond at a fixed duty of 6s. a quarter until the month of March, 1843. Corn then was brought into this country under the belief that the harvest would be a bad one, and at the same time there were three Gentlemen in this House— supposed to speak with the best authority and most complete information on the subject— declaring that if the speculators kept back their corn they would be sure to have a much lower duty, and giving notice of motions, which, if they had been carried, would have effected that object. Is it not then, fair to suppose that the natural operation of the new law was, to some extent, defeated by predictions of this kind, that that law has not had a fair trial, and is not to be judged by the circumstances of last year? But to go to another point. I am taking the objections to the measure seriatim. I know that it has been a favourite objection to the sliding-scale that it has had the effect of preventing the employment of British shipping in the carrying of foreign corn, and of giving employment to foreign ships. It is said, that the duty on corn, varying inversely with the price when the duty is low, a sudden demand for foreign corn arises, which is shipped at foreign ports, and that few British ships are employed in carrying it. I know that this has been repeatedly urged upon the shipping interest for the purpose of inducing them to join in demanding a fixed duty in preference to a varying duty, which it was represented gave the advantage of the carrying trade to foreign ships. Now, what are the facts? I hold in my hand a return of the number of ships entered inwards with corn. In 1842 there were 4203 corn-laden ships entered in the ports of England. Of these 2346, or considerably more than one-half, were British ships. In 1841 the corn laden ships entered were in number 4705; but of these only 1887, or considerably less than one-half, were British. So far, therefore, as we can form a judgment, the present law does not operate to discourage 301 the employment of British ships. Next, looking to the question of steadiness of price, I can see no impeachment of the new law on that score. Of course the price being 64s. the object was to reduce it, and immediately after the harvest a fall ensued; but on the whole, looking at prices since the harvest, I own I cannot see that any formidable objection is to be made to the law on that ground. Looking, then, at the objections to the law—looking at the frauds which have been checked— looking at the export of bullion which the hon. Member for Wolverhampton himself allowed to have ceased. [Mr. C. Villiers: " I said it ceased when the importation was regular."] The hon. Member, in making that admission, spoke of last year—looking at the increased employment of British shipping—and looking at the state of prices which certainly have been steady, and not immoderately low—looking, I say, at these things, I do think that I am entitled to declare the present Corn-law to be an improvement on its precursor, and that it has worked anything but injuriously for the commerce of the country. Upon these grounds I see no reason for retracting the favourable opinion which I entertained and expressed of the present law. I think that frequent alterations in laws of this kind, are in themselves to be deprecated. I think, also, that the existing law, offered as a compromise, was a fair adjustment of the question. I believe that there was as willing and as cordial an assent given to it by the agricultural interest as could have been anticipated. I think they gave that assent upon the assumption and in the expectation that the law would not be again altered without good and sufficient reason. I do not mean to say that I could set up that as a ready argument against alteration of the law, if alteration were shown to be desirable; but, certainly, unless solid and sufficient reason for further alteration be shown, I think that that assent ought to prevail and hold good. Upon the subject of the Canadian Corn Bill, I do not now mean to enter; but I can state with truth, that the question of the admission of Canada corn was part of the original arrangement. It is no new measure, but one brought forward in execution of a promise given to Canada at the time this subject was under consideration, and which we feel it incumbent on us to fulfil. We know that the re-agitation of this question must expose us to difficulty and must have a tendency still more to alienate 302 the confidence of many who have supported us, but we consider that we have given an engagement to the people of Canada which it is our duty to fulfil—that we have held out to them expectations which it is our duty to realise. I hope in the course of what I have addressed to the House, I have answered satisfactorily the question put to me by the noble Lord. As I said before, we proposed the present measure of the Corn-laws, not with any secret reservation or secret intention of effecting another alteration; I contemplate no such alteration; my opinion is, that there has not been sufficient time allowed for trying the effect of the present law; but that so far as a trial has been given to it, the effect favourably confirms the anticipations I formed respecting it. The noble Lord the Member for Sunderland, has referred to my conduct on the Roman Catholic question, and stated that I should be prepared to make further concessions. The noble Lord also spoke of my being desirous to please both parties, but be that as it may, if I have had such an object in view, I am afraid that I have failed in accomplishing it. Persons in my situation —in the situation of her Majesty's Government—in endeavouring to steer a middle course, not adhering to one extreme or another, may expose themselves to that imputation. But that course was not taken with any other view than that of doing what we considered to be best for the public interests. I can solemnly assure the House that, in the course which we have taken—risking, as we did last year, the confidence and the friendship of many of our supporters—risking, I may say, the fate of the Government—that course was dictated with reference to what was best and most advisable for the public interests. And when I say that the same regard for the public interests shall influence me and her Majesty's Government, with respect to this important concern, I hope the House will believe that I do not make that declaration for the purpose of providing a refuge for myself and my colleagues against any political storms to which we may be exposed, but because I think it most suited to the magnitude of those interests and concerns which are placed in the hands of the responsible advisers of the Crown.
§ Viscount Howick,
in explanation, assured the right hon, Baronet that nothing was farther from his intention than to cast any imputation on his motives. What he said was, that the right hon. Gentle- 303 man's judgment had proved defective on a former occasion, and that he believed it would prove so again; that when upon the Catholic question he had found himself mistaken, he made the best reparation in his power, and that he would act similarly on this question.
§ Sir R. Peel
hoped the debate would be brought to a close that night. The subject had been already fully discussed. The course which the House had adopted, of not beginning the debate until about ten o'clock, up to which time the House was comparatively empty, left so short a time for discussion, that if they were to continue such a course and persist in adjournments, the debate could not be brought to a close within any resonable period, while the public business would be greatly impeded, He hoped that the House would not consent to any further adjournment. [Cheers and cries of " Divide."]
§ Mr. M. Gibson
did not understand what the right hon. Gentleman meant by saying that the debate did not begin until ten o'clock. He (Mr. Gibson) thought it had gone on throughout the night without cessation. Many hon. Gentlemen on his side the House were desirous of explaining the vote which they should give, and he therefore thought the motion for adjourning the debate a very judicious one.
Lord J. Russell
said, that when the right hon. Gentleman wished last year to put an end to the discussion after it had lasted a certain number of nights, he called on the House not to concur with the right hon. Gentleman, as several hon. Members, who ought to be heard, had not spoken. Now, however, that the question had been so long and so often debated, he did not believe, that either for the purpose of enabling the House to form a deliberate opinion on the subject, or enabling their constituents throughout the country to understand the grounds on which they voted, it was necessary that the debate should be again adjourned. Of course the right hon. Baronet was prepared to listen to any reply which hon. Members might think proper to make. If hon. Members behind him persisted in moving the adjournment of the debate, he should vote against the motion.
§ Mr. Cobden;
If he entertained any doubt as to the propriety of adjourning the debate at that time of the night (a quarter to one o'clock) the inhuman noises which proceeded from hon. Members would dispel that doubt. The course which hon. Members had taken satisfied him as to the necessity of an adjournment. [Cries of " Go on," "No adjournment."]
§ Mr. Ewart,
who spoke amidst great confusion, said, there were many hon. Members representing large manufacturing towns, he referred particularly to the hon. Members for Stockport and Manchester, who were anxious to address the House upon the important question under its consideration. These were the very men whom the House ought to hear, as they represented the movement for total repeal. [Continued cries of "Adjourn," "Divide," "Order."]
§ Mr. Villiers
said, the right hon. Baronet who opposed the adjournment, did not finish his speech till a quarter to one o'clock, and it was hardly fair to expect hon. Members then, to answer him, particularly as there was little probablity of their speeches being faithfully reported. It was only just that the representatives of the people should be heard.
§ Sir J. Hanmer
said, there was the greatest possible disposition to hear hon. Members. What practical result would be obtained from the divison? Four nights had already been wasted. As hon. Members persisted in moving the adjournment of the debate, he begged to move as an amendment that the House do now adjourn.
§ Mr. Ward
obtained a hearing after some further confusion, and said, it would be inconsistent with the character and dignity of the House not to dispose of the present question. He must be allowed to say, that if her Majesty's Government attempted in this way to stifle the voices of those who represented large towns, they could expect no other result from their conduct than this, that their measures would in turn be opposed and thwarted by those whom they thus sought to deprive of an opportunity of expressing the sentiments of their constituents. He would ask the hon. Member for Hull whether he 305 felt that he could conscientiously persevere in the motion which he had made.
§ Sir R. Peel
said, he should give his vote against the motion that this debate be adjourned, because he thought it had been sufficiently discussed. At the same time, he did not think it would be a satisfactory way of disposing of the question by a motion for the adjournment of the House, because it was important that the House should pronounce an opinion oh the main question, and that opinion would not be pronounced if an adjournment of the House was agreed to. The motion was of such importance that the country ought to know the sense of the House upon it. He (Sir R. Peel), hoped, therefore, that the hon. Baronet would not seek to dispose of the motion in a manner unsatisfactory to all parties— to those favourable, and to those adverse to repeal. If, therefore, the motion to adjourn the House was persisted in, he would vote against it.
§ Sir J. Hanmer
said, he had only one object in moving an adjournment of the House, namely, to protest, in the most forcible way, against the motion for adjourning the debate. Gentlemen around him were ready to remain there till daylight, in order to briing the debate to a close. If the hon. Gentleman opposite would withdraw his motion for adjourning the debate, he would be quite ready to withdraw his amendment.
§ Sir J. Hanmer
said, that after the appeals that had been made to him, he should certainly not persist.
§ The motion that the House do adjourn was withdrawn.
§ The House divided on the question that the debate be adjourned, when there appeared—Ayes 94; Noes 385: Majority 291.
|List of the AYES|
|Aglionby, H. A.||Berkeley, hon. H. F.|
|Aldam, W.||Blewitt, R. J.|
|Barclay, D.||Bowring, Dr.|
|Barnard, E. G.||Brotherton, J.|
|Berkeley, hon. Capt.||Browne, hon. W.|
|Busfeild W.||Marjoribanks, S.|
|Chapman, B.||Marshall, W.|
|Christie, W. D||Marsland, H.|
|Cobden, R.||Martin, J.|
|Collett, J.||Muntz, G. F.|
|Collins, W.||Murphy, F. S.|
|Corbally, M. E.||Napier, Sir C.|
|Crawford, W. S,||O'Brien, J.|
|Dalmeny, Lord||O'Connell, M. J.|
|Dalrymple, Capt.||Oswald, J.|
|Dashwood, G. H.||Parker, J;|
|Dawson, hon. T. V.||Pechell, Capt.|
|Dennistoun, J.||Philips, M.|
|Duncan, Visct.||Plumridge, Capt.|
|Duncan, G.||Ricardo, J. L.|
|Duncombe, T.||Roche, Sir D.|
|Dundas, Adm.||Ross, D. R.|
|Dundas, D.||Russell, Lord E.|
|Ebrington, Visct.||Scholefield, J.|
|Ellice, E.||Scott, R.|
|Ellis, W.||Seymour, Lord|
|Elphinstone, H.||Smith, B.|
|Ewart, W.||Standish, C.|
|Fielden, J.||Stuart, Lord J.|
|Fleetwood, Sir P. H.||Stuart, W. V.|
|Forster, M.||Strickland, Sir G.|
|Fox, C. R.||Strutt, E.|
|Gill, T.||Tancred, H. W.|
|Gore, hon. R.||Thorneley, T.|
|Hall, Sir B.||Trelawny, J. S.|
|Hastie, A.||Turner, E.|
|Hill, Lord M.||Villiers, hon. C.|
|Hindley, C.||Wakley, T.|
|Hollond, R.||Walker, R.|
|Horsman, E.||Wallace, R.|
|Hoskins, K.||Ward, H. G.|
|Hume, J.||Wawn, J. T.|
|Jervis, J.||Williams, W.|
|Johnson, Gen.||Wood, B.|
|Johnston, A.||Worsley, Lord|
|Layard, Capt.||Yorke, H. R.|
|Leader, J. T.||TELLERS.|
|Lord Mayor of London||Stanley, W. O.|
|List of the NOES.|
|Ackers, J.||Bailey, J. jun.|
|Acland, Sir T. D.||Baillie, Col.|
|Acland, T.D.||Baillie, H. J.|
|A'Court, Capt.||Baldwin, B.|
|Adare, Visct. *||Balfour, J. M.|
|Adderley, C. B.||Bankes, G.|
|Alexander, N.||Baring, hon. W. B.|
|Allix, J. P.||Baring, rt. hn. F. T.|
|Antrobus, E: '||Barneby, J.|
|Arbuthnott, hon. H.||Barrington, Visct.|
|Archbold, R.||BaskerWlle, T. B. M.|
|Archdall, Capt. M.||Bateson, R.|
|Arkwright, G.||Bell, M.|
|Arundel and Surrey,||Bell, J.|
|Earl of||Benett, J.|
|Ashley, Lord||Bentinck, Lord G.|
|Astell, W.||Berkeley, hon. G. F.|
|Attwood, M.||Bernard, Visct.|
|Bagge, W,||Blackburne, J. I.|
|Bagot, hon. W.||Blackstone, W. S.|
|Bailey, J.||Blakemore, R.|
|Bodkin, W. H.||Drummond, H. H.|
|Boldero, H. G.||Duffield, T.|
|Borthwick, P.||Dugdale, W. S.|
|Botfield, B.||Duncombe, hon. A.|
|Bowes, J.||Duncombe. hon. O.|
|Boyd, J.||Dungannon, Visct.|
|Bradshaw, J.||Du Pre, C. G.|
|Bramston, T. W.||East, J. B.|
|Broadley, H.||Eastnor, Visct.|
|Broadwood, H.||Eaton, R. J.|
|Brooke, Sir A. B.||Egerton, W. T.|
|Bruce, Lord E.||Egerton, Sir P.|
|Bruce, C. L. C.||Eliot, Lord|
|Bruen, Col.||Emlyn, Visct.|
|Buck, L. W.||Escott, B.|
|Buller, Sir J. Y.||Estcourt, T. G. B.|
|Bunbury, T.||Etwall, R.|
|Burrell, Sir C. M.||Evans, W.|
|Burroughes, H. N.||Farnham, E. B.|
|Campbell, Sir H.||Feilden, W.|
|Cardwell, E.||Fellowes, E.|
|Castlereagh, Visct.||Ferguson, Sir R. A.|
|Cavendish, hn. C. C.||Ferrand, W. B.|
|Cavendish, hn. G. H.||Filmer, Sir E.|
|Cayley, E. S.||Fitzmaurice, hon. W.|
|Chapman, A.||Fitzroy, hon. H.|
|Charteris, hon. F.||Flower, Sir J.|
|Chelsea, Visct.||Follett, Sir W. W.|
|Chetwode, Sir J.||Ffolliott, J.|
|Childers, J. W.||Forbes, W.|
|Cholmondeley, hn. H.||Forester, hn. G.C.W.|
|Christopher, R. A.||Fox, S. L.|
|Chute, W. L. W.||Fuller, A. E.|
|Clayton, R. R.||Gaskell, J. Milnes|
|Clerk, Sir G.||Gisborne, T.|
|Clive, Visct.||Gladstone, rt. hn. W.E.|
|Clive, hon. R. H.||Gladstone, Capt.|
|Cochrane, A.||Glynne, Sir S. R.|
|Codrington, C. W.||Gordon, hon. Capt.|
|Colborne, hn. W. N. R.||Gore, M.|
|Collett, W. R.||Gore, W. O.|
|Colquhoun, J. C.||Gore, W. R. O.|
|Colville, C. R.||Goring, C.|
|Compton, H. C.||Goulburn, rt. hon. H.|
|Connolly, Col.||Graham, rt. Hon. Sir J.|
|Coote, Sir C. H.||Granby, Marquess of|
|Copeland, Mr. Ald.||Greenall, P.|
|Corry, right hon. H.||Greenaway, C.|
|Courtenay, Lord||Greene, T.|
|Craig, W. G.||Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.|
|Cresswell, B.||Grimsditch, T.|
|Cripps, W.||Grimston, Visct.|
|Curteis, H. B.||Grogan, E.|
|Damer, hon. Col.||Grosvenor, Lord R.|
|Darby, G.||Hale, R. B.|
|Davies, D. A. S.||Halford, H.|
|Dawnay, hon. W. H.||Hallyburton, Ld J. F.|
|Denison, E. B*||Hamilton, J. H.|
|Dick, Q.||Hamilton, G. A.|
|Dickinson, F. H.||Hamilton, W. J.|
|D'lsraeli, B.||Hamilton, Lord C.|
|Dodd, G.||Hampden, R.|
|Douglas, Sir H.||Hanmer, Sir J.|
|Douglas, Sir C. E.||Harcourt, G. G.|
|Douglas, J. D. S.||Hardinge, rt. hon. Sir H.|
|Douro, Marquis of||Hardy, J.|
|Dowdeswell W.||Hatton, Capt. V.|
|Hawes, W.||Maclean, D.|
|Hawes, B.||Maclean, D.|
|Hay, Sir A. L.||Mc. Geachy, F. A.|
|Hayes, Sir E.||Maher, V.|
|Heathcote, G. J.||Mahon, Visct.|
|Heathcote, Sir W.||Mainwaring, T.|
|Heneage, G. H. W.||Mangles, R. D.|
|Heneage, E.||Manners, Lord C. S.|
|Henley, J. W.||Manners, Lord J.|
|Henniker, Lord||March, Earl of|
|Hepburn, Sir T. B.||Marsham, Visct.|
|Herbert, hon. S.||Martin, C. W.|
|Heron, Sir R.||Marton, G.|
|Hervey, Lord A.||Master, T. W. C.|
|Hillsborough, Earl of||Masterman, J.|
|Hinde, J. H.||Maunsell, T. P.|
|Hodgson, F.||Maxwell, hon. J. P.|
|Hodgson, R.||Meynell, Capt.|
|Hogg, J. W.||Miles, P. W. S.|
|Holmes, hn. W. A'C.||Miles, W.|
|Hope, hon. C.||Milnes, R. M.|
|Hope, A.||Mordaunt, Sir J.|
|Hope, G. W.||Morgan, O.|
|Hornby, J.||Morgan, C.|
|Howard, Lord||Morison, Gen.|
|Howard, P. H.||Mundy, E. M.|
|Howick, Visct.||Murray, C. R. S.|
|Hughes, W. B.||Neeld, J.|
|Hussey, T.||Neeld, J.|
|Ingestre, Visct.||Neville, R.|
|Inglis, Sir R. H.||Newport, Visct.|
|Irving, J.||Newry, Visct.|
|James, Sir W. C.||Nicholl, rt. hon. J.|
|Jermyn, Earl||Norreys, Lord|
|Jocelyn, Visct.||O'Brien, A. S.|
|Johnstone, Sir J.||O'Brien, W. S.|
|Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H.||O'Conor Don|
|Jones, Capt||Ogle, S. C. H.|
|Kelburne, Visct.||Ossulston, Lord|
|Kelly, F. R.||Owen, Sir J.|
|Kemble, H.||Packe, C. W.|
|Ker, D. S.||Paget, Lord A.|
|Kirk, P.||Palmer, R.|
|Knatchbull, rt. hn. Sir E.||Palmerston, Visct.|
|Knight, H. G.||Patten, J. W.|
|Knight, F. W.||Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.|
|Labouchere, rt. hn. H.||Peel, J.|
|Langston, J. H.||Pennant, hon. Col.|
|Langston, W. G.||Philips, G. R.|
|Lawson, A.||Phillpotts, J.|
|Lefroy, A.||Pigot, Sir R.|
|Legh, G. C.||Plumptre, J. P.|
|Leicester, Earl of||Polhill, F.|
|Lemon, Sir C.||Pollington, Visct.|
|Lennox, Lord A.||Pollock, Sir F.|
|Leslie, C. P.||Ponsonby, hon. C. F.|
|Liddell, hon. H. T.||Powell, Col.|
|Lincoln, Earl of||Praed, W. T.|
|Lindsay, H. H.||Price, R.|
|Lockhart, W.||Pringle, A.|
|Long, W.||Protheroe, E.|
|Lopes, Sir R.||Pusey, P.|
|Lowther, J. H.||Ramsbottom, J.|
|Lowther, hon. Col.||Rashleigh, W.|
|Lyall, G.||Reid, Sir J. R.|
|Lygon, hon. Gen.||Rendlesham, Lord|
|Mackenzie, T.||Repton, G. W. J.|
|Mackenzie, W. F.||Rice, E. R.|
|Richards, R||Thornhill, J.|
|Rolleston, Col.||Tollemache, hn. F. J.|
|Rose, rt. hn. Sir G.||Tollemache, J.|
|Round, C. G.||Tomline, G.|
|Round, J.||Towneley, J.|
|Rous, hon. Capt.||Trench, Sir F. W.|
|Rushbrooke, Col.||Trevor, hon. G. R.|
|Russell, Lord J.||Trollope, Sir J.|
|Russell, C.||Trotter, J.|
|Russell, J. D. W.||Tumor, C.|
|Ryder, hon. G. D.||Tyrell, Sir J. T.|
|Sanderson, R.||Vane, Lord H.|
|Sandon, Visct.||Verner, Col.|
|Scarlett, hon. R. C.||Vesey, hon. T.|
|Scrope, G. P.||Vivian, J. H.|
|Seymour, Sir H. B.||Vivian, J. E.|
|Shaw, rt. hon. F.||Waddington, H. S.|
|Sheil, rt. hon. R. L.||Welby, G. E.|
|Sheppard, T.||Wellesley, Lord C.|
|Shirley, E. J.||Wemyss, Capt.|
|Shirley, E. P.||Whitemore, T. C.|
|Sibthorp, Col||Wilbraham, hon. R. B.|
|Smith, A.||Williams, T. P.|
|Smith, rt. hn. T. B. C.||Wilshere, W.|
|Smyth, Sir H.||Winnington, Sir T. F,.|
|Smollett, A.||Wodehouse, E.|
|Somerset, Lord G.||Wood, Col.|
|Sotheron, T. H. S.||Wood, Col. T.|
|Spry, Sir S. T.||Wood, G. W.|
|Stansfield, W. R. C.||Wortley, hon. J. S.|
|Stanton, W. H.||Wortley, hon. J. S.|
|Stewart, J.||Wyndham, Col. C.|
|Stuart, H.||Wynn, rt. hn. C.W.W.|
|Sturt, H. C.||Wynn, Sir W. W.|
|Sutton, hon. H. M.||Yorke, hon. E. T.|
|Talbot, C. R. M.||Young, J.|
|Taylor, J. A.|
|Tennent, J. E.||TELLERS.|
|Thesiger, F.||Fremantle, Sir T.|
|Thompson, Mr. Ald.||Baring, H.|
§ Original question again put;
said, be represented a great commercial city, but owed his seat to the popularity and influence of a great landowner, therefore his views of the question were impartial, for self, after all, was a great motive. The hon. Member for Somersetshire had said, the agriculturists should yield no more concessions, while the hon. Member for Stockport on the other side cried out, "No surrender." Under such circumstances, how could there be any satisfactory settlement except by a compromise? He should vote for the motion, not as approving of immediate and total repeal, but as expressing an opinion that the existing law must be altered.
§ Mr. Borthwick
said, the real reason why the continuance of the debate was thus pertinaciously resisted was, that it was desired to carry the powerful speech of the right hon. Baronet to some agitating "convention," for the purpose of attempting at leisure, and with the aid of a hundred heads, to dissect, and if possible, damage, the arguments which none of the boasted advocates of free-trade in the House dared now endeavour to answer; to try to torture and twist it, with the hope of extracting some points of imputation, or some appearances of admission, and to exercise upon it all the tricks and arts of an insidious and disingenuous criticism. To defeat so unworthy an object on the part of men who had thrown away repeated opportunities of speaking, had they been only sincerely desirous of expressing their own opinions, he would lend his most earnest aid.
§ Viscount Sandon
said, the hon. Member for Stockport had had every opportunity to answer his right hon. Friend, and that he had not done so was because he felt himself unable. He protested against this new doctrine, that the leaders of a party, by holding back their speeches, should be able to protract a debate indefinitely. He was disposed to show that they were not to be trifled with; and all they could do was to mark their sense of this conduct by persisting in their opposition to the motion of the adjournment.
§ Sir R. Peel
disclaimed having delayed his speech for the purpose of preventing a reply. He would beg to be excused taking part in this renewed discussion on the adjournment.
§ Mr. Cobden
said, that the noble Lord (Lord Sandon) had not very charitably said he was unable to answer the speech of the right hon. Gentleman. The fact was, that there was not an argument in the speech of the right hon. Baronet that he had not answered fifty times.
§ Original question again proposed.
Mr. M.J. O'Connell
said, that his constituents were in a state of great depression, and believed it was caused by the fallacious system of so-called protection. Although he would have preferred the adoption of the course suggested by the noble Lord, the Member for Sunderland (Lord Howick), he would, under present circumstances, give his support to the motion of the hon. Member for Wolverhampton.
§ Viscount Dungannon
said, he would be sorry to see this question got rid of by a side-wind. He thought ample opportunity had been afforded to all hon. Gentlemen who were desirous of speaking on this question. The House had, on several important occasions, sat until six or seven o'clock in the morning before a division took place, and as he thought the course taken by hon. Gentlemen opposite was wholly uncalled for, he was determined to remain till eight o'clock in the morning, if necessary, in order to resist their proceedings.
Lord C. Hamilton
said, that the noble Lord had left the House because he was disgusted with the course that had been taken.
said, an hon. Member opposite had termed the conduct of hon. Gentlemen on his (the Opposition) side of the House, disgusting. He must say that he thought the course adopted on the opposite side was most unconciliatory and insulting.
Of course, it was un parliamentary; but if the right hon. Gentleman would allow him to take a word from the vocabulary of the other noble Lord, he would say it was uncalled for. And now he was prepared to sit even an hour longer than proposed by the noble Lord, and would willingly sit till nine o'clock.
§ Mr. M. Gibson
would submit to the right hon. Baronet, the Secretary for the Home Department, whether he would not answer the question of the hon. Member for Montrose. Was it not a tyrannical exercise of power to refuse to hear the minority at their own convenience. Public business was not so pressing as to require the debate to be terminated that night.
§ Mr. C. Villiers
opposed this amendment. This was a most indecent and improper mode of disposing of this question. He believed that this mode of disposing of a question would not be adopted in any other case: It was notorious that the majority of the House had a direct interest in this question. [Continued interruption]
§ Lord J. Manners:
Though on the ground stated by the hon. Member for Wolverhampton I should not think of withdrawing the motion, yet at the request of the hon. Gentleman I shall —
§ Motion that the House do adjourn put and negatived.—The question again put that the debate be adjourned.
Mr. M. J. O'Connell
said, that as they were deserted by their leaders on both sides (Sir R. Peel, Lord J. Russell, Sir J. Graham, and others, had left the House,) they must consider what was best for their own dignity and for the interests of the country. He hoped he should not appeal in vain to the common sense of the House. If the motion of the noble Lord were to be carried the hon. Member for Wolverhampton could renew the discussion on the plea that the discussion of the question had been got rid of in a most unjustifiable manner; and if those on his (Mr. O'Connells) side of the House pressed that motion to a division, they would be also in the wrong. He hoped, therefore, that the motion would be allowed to be withdrawn, and that mutual concession would be made by both parties.
Mr. E. Ellice
appealed to the Vice-president of the Board of Trade to endeavour to put a stop to the scene that had been going on for the last three hours. He thought there was no one who wished well to the dignity and authority of the House of Commons who would not lament the violence that had been exhibited on that occasion.
Mr. E. Ellice
thought it would have been better for the credit of the House had the hon. Member moved to exclude strangers some hours before. The public out of doors would not then have been made aware of what had been going on, and which he very much feared would not tend to raise the character of the House in their estimation. He must again entreat the Vice-president of the Board of Trade, who was the sole representative of the Government then present, to interfere. It seemed to him a matter of astonishment that her Majesty's Ministers should have left the House, considering the excitement which they saw prevailing among their own supporters, and which they made no attempt to allay.
§ Strangers were ordered to withdraw.
§ During the exclusion, the following debate took place:—
§ Mr. Hindley
entreated the House to show some respect to the Speaker, who had already been twelve hours in the chair.
deemed it most unwise to engage in such a controversy. The right hon. Baronet had admitted, in the course of last Session, that in such a contest the minority must inevitably prevail.
§ Mr. T. Duncombe
urged the necessity of mutual concession. If such a course were not adopted, the result might be that on future occasions public business might be impeded. Hon. Members might well exclude the reporters, for they were ashamed of their own proceedings.
§ Viscount Dungannon
asserted that he had done nothing which was not entirely in accordance with the forms of the House. He should vote against the adjournment of the debate.
§ Viscount Ebrington
said, that if the noble Lord was not out of order, neither were Members on that side of the House.
§ The House divided on the question that the debate be now adjourned.—Ayes 78; Noes 172: Majority 94.
§ Original question again proposed.
thought that these proceedings on the part of the hon. Member who moved to exclude strangers, were sufficient to show that this was in reality a question of rent. Hon. Members were convinced of the iniquity of the law, and were afraid of allowing their proceedings to go forth. He had received a requisition from his constituents, chiefly farmers, who were convinced of the futile and inane arguments of the majority, and had called on him to support the motion of the hon. Member for Wolverhampton. The scene which had been enacted would satisfy the world that the proceedings of that House were a mere farce.
§ The Speaker
called upon the hon. Member to retract an expression which must be deemed disrespectful to the House.
was willing to retract the expression if it were unparliamentary. He might at least say that their proceedings strongly resembled low comedy. He put it to the hon. Baronet the Member for Oxford whether these were proceedings, which in his opinion, would be likely to benefit the cause of the high Church party of which he was the prominent supporter in that House! The hon. Member concluded by moving as an amendment, that the Ecclesiastical Courts Bill be now read.
§ Viscount Sandon
rose and said, that when this discussion had commenced, he was convinced that the minority must succeed. He was content, for his own part, that they should carry their object, for he was sure such a result would have its due weight with the House, and the country. They had now gone far enough. He was content with their present position, and was willing that the opposition to the minority should no longer prevail, but in retiring he believed he carried with him the trophies of victory.
§ Lord Barrington
was convinced that such proceedings would lower the House in the estimation of the country.
§ Amendment withdrawn.
§ The House again divided on the question, that the debate be now adjourned.— Ayes 119; Noes 74: Majority 45.
|List of the AYES.|
|Acland, Sir T. D.||Hoskins, K.|
|Acton, Col.||Hume, J.|
|Aglionby, H. A.||Inglis, Sir R. H.|
|Alexander, N.||Jermyn, Earl|
|Allix, J. P.||Johnson, Gen.|
|Antrobus, E.||Layard, Capt.|
|Baillie, Col.||Leicester, Earl of|
|Baldwin, B.||Lincoln, Earl of|
|Barnard, E. G.||Lowther, J. H.|
|Barrington, Visct.||Lyall, G.|
|Benett, J.||M'Geachy, F. A.|
|Berkeley, hon. H. F.||Marsham, Visct.|
|Bernal, Capt,||Marsland, H.|
|Blackburne, J. I.||Martin, J.|
|Blewitt, R. J.||Martin, C. W.|
|Bowring, Dr.||Master, T. W. C.|
|Brooke, Sir A. B.||Milnes, R. M.|
|Brotherton, J.||Muntz, G. F.|
|Browne, hon. W.||Murray, C. R. S.|
|Busfeild, W.||Napier, Sir C.|
|Chapman, B.||Newry, Visct.|
|Christie, W. D.||O'Brien, J.|
|Christopher, R. A.||Oswald, J.|
|Cobden, R.||Paget, Lord A.|
|Collett, J.||Pechell, Capt.|
|Collins, W.||Philips, M.|
|Crawford, W. S.||Plumridge, Capt.|
|Dalrymple, Capt.||Ramsbottom, J.|
|Dashwood, G. H.||Ricardo, J. L.|
|Dawnay, hon. W. H.||Rolleston, Col.|
|Dickinson, F. H.||Ross, D. R.|
|Douglas, Sir C. E.||Round, J.|
|Duncan, G.||Russell, Lord E.|
|Duncombe, T.||Ryder, hon. G. D.|
|Dundas, Adm.||Sandon, Visct.|
|Du Pre, C. G.||Scholefield, J.|
|Ebrington, Visct.||Scott, R.|
|Ellice, E.||Seymour, Sir H. B.|
|Ellis, W.||Stansfield, W. R. C.|
|Elphinstone, H.||Stuart, W. V.|
|Fielden, W.||Strickland, Sir G.|
|Fielden, J.||Tancred, H. W.|
|Fellowes, E.||Tennent, J. E.|
|Fleetwood, Sir P. H.||Thornely, T.|
|Forbes, W.||Trelawny, J. S.|
|Forster, M.||Trotter, J.|
|Gibson, T. M.||Turner, E.|
|Gill, T.||Villiers, hon. C.|
|Greene, T.||Waddington, H. S.|
|Grimston, Visct.||Wakley, T.|
|Grogan, E.||Wallace, R.|
|Hamilton, W. J.||Ward, H. G.|
|Hamilton, Lord C.||Wawn, J. T.|
|Hanmer, Sir J.||Wellesley, Lord C.|
|Hastie, A.||Williams, W.|
|Henley, J. W.||Wood, B.|
|Hillsborough, Earl of||Worsley, Lord|
|Hindley, C.||Wortley, hon. J. S.|
|Wynn. rt. hn. C.W.W.||TELLERS.|
|Yorke, H. R.||O'Connell, M. J.|
|List of the NOES.|
|Ackers, J.||Hughes, W. B.|
|Arkwright, G.||Hussey, T.|
|Baillie, J., jun.||Ingestrie, Visct.|
|Blackstone, W. S.||Jones, Capt.|
|Blakemore, R.||Knight, F. W.|
|Borthwick, P.||Lawson, A.|
|Boyd, J.||Lockhart, W.|
|Bradshaw, J.||Long, W.|
|Broadwood, H.||Mainwaring, T.|
|Buller, Sir J. Y.||Manners, Lord|
|Chetwode, Sir J.||Masterman, J.|
|Clayton, R. R.||Maxwell, hon. J. P.|
|Clerk, Sir G.||Mundy, E. M.|
|Clive, Viscount||Neville, R.|
|Cochrane, A.||Peel, J.|
|Collett, W. R.||Plumptre, J. P.|
|Colvile, C. R.||Polhill, F.|
|Copeland, Ald.||Pringle, A.|
|Cripps, W.||Rashleigh, W.|
|Curteis, H. B.||Repton, G. W. J.|
|Darby, G.||Richards, R.|
|Duncombe, hon. O.||Rushbrooke, Col.|
|Eastnor, Visct.||Sibthorp, Col.|
|Egerton, Sir P.||Smith, rt. hn. T. B. C.|
|Ferrand, W. B.||Smollett, A.|
|Filmer, Sir E.||Spry, Sir S. T.|
|Fitzmaurice, hon. W.||Stuart, H.|
|Flower, Sir J.||Sutton, hon. H. M.|
|Fuller, A. E.||Taylor, T. E.|
|Gaskell, J. Milnes||Thornhill, G.|
|Gore, W. R. O.||Trench, Sir F. W.|
|Granby, Marq. of||Trevor, hon. G. R.|
|Henniker, Lord||Trollope, Sir J.|
|Hepburn, Sir T. B.||Yorke, hon. E. T.|
|Hervey, Lord A.||Young, J.|
|Hodgson, R.||Mackenzie, T.|
|Hope, A.||Fitzroy, H.|
§ Debate adjourned.
§ House adjourned at four o'clock.