HC Deb 22 May 1843 vol 69 cc689-747

The Order of the Day for resuming the adjourned debate on the Canada Corn question having been read,

Mr. Wodehouse

said, that the only apology he could make for intruding himself on the House on so important a question, was the fact of finding himself opposed to a Government similar in principle to those Governments which for four and twenty years he had supported. The noble Lord the Secretary for the colonies had said, that the measure was simply a boon to the Canadians; he wished he could look upon it in that light, the more particularly as he understood that on its success rested the existence of the present Government, or at least the retention of office by the noble Lord. The noble Lord should recollect that he belonged to a Government which belonged to the world, and the world could not afford to hare its interests circumscribed within the narrow limits of personal honour. No matter how personal honour might be engaged, he believed that the measure now proposed would be detrimental to national interests, and holding that opinion he felt bound to declare it, and to ratify his opinion by his vote. The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade had stated, that no smuggling could take place under this law, but he begged to remind him that British machinery was every day smuggled into Switzerland to cheat the Customs of Austria and France. A very small portion of smuggled corn coming in at a particular juncture might seriously affect the markets, and in that case the millers would be the parties who would suffer most. The millers considered themselves to have been very badly treated, and had stated to him that the Legislature had shut its doors against them. He was bound to say, that he believed their statements to be correct. The right hon. Gentleman had alluded to prices, but it appeared to him that this was a subject which ought to be connected with another —namely, the renewal of the charter to the Bank of England. It was also his opinion, that much of the distress was owing to the manner in which the currency question had been settled. It was said, that our Corn-laws had produced an ill feeling and a hostile tariff in the United States. Now, he wished to call the attention of the hon. Member for Montrose to an extract from the report of the Hand-loom Weavers' Commission, held in 1840. Mr. Dickson, the hand-loom weavers' commissioner, stated that our Corn-laws were an apology for high tariffs against British goods by foreign nations, and he quoted the opinion of the American minister at Washington, in a note addressed to Sir Stratford Canning, in which Mr. Addington, the American minister, was alleged to have said — I have only to add that, had there been no restriction on the importation of foreign corn into Great Britain, the tariff never would have passed here. Now, this was a declaration very much in favour of the arguments of the hon. Member for Montrose. But his answer was, that this extract was a most incorrect version. What Mr. Addington said was this— I have only to add, that had no restrictions on the importation of foreign grain existed in Europe, generally and especially in Great Britain, these tariffs never would have passed. Would not the hon. Gentleman the Member for Montrose admit that this was different from the statement the hon. Member had quoted, and that it bore out what Mr. Clay, an authority on American affairs bad stated, that it was impossible to carry out the principles of free-trade unless all nations consented? He trusted he might be permitted to state the grounds on which he believed the Corn-laws might be defended. This everlasting teasing must lead to the discouragement of the agriculture of the country. Yes, the everlasting teasing of those who sought to repeal those laws must ultimately lead to the discouragement of the agriculture of the country. He contended that the perpetual din against the Corn-laws must inevitably lead to the discouragement of agriculture and of the cultivation of the soil. Suppose, in the course of nature, they were to have such a recurrence of seasons as between 1795 and 1801, what would be the result, when they could no longer be saved by the superior cultivation of the soil, which, in the plenitude of their conceit, they were now seeking to destroy? This was the ground on which the Corn-laws were to be defended. The fluctuations, of which so much had been said, were less in England, during the existence of the last Corn-law, than during the previous 200 years; and, by returns presented last year, it appeared that, with the exception of Sweden, the fluctuations in the price of corn were less in England than in other continental countries where no Corn-law existed. Feeling as he did, he was compelled to do his duty, painful as it was, without looking either to the right or the left; and, though he had been attached to the principles of the present Government all his life, yet he must, on this occasion, vote against the bill and against the Government.

Mr. Ellice

said, if he were to follow his hon. Friend he should have to enter into a discussion on the general question of the Corn-laws. The opportunity of doing so was certainly rather tempting to him, inasmuch as during the recent debates on that question he had—as he thought he ought to do—given way to younger Members representing large constituencies, who were anxious to address the House, instead of reiterating the opinions which he had declared on many former occasions. He had lately given what might be considered a strong vote on the subject of the Corn-laws. He had given that vote because it was his conscientious opinion that of all taxes which could be devised, the worst was a tax on the food of the people. He had given that vote also in the belief, founded on some examination of the subject, that English agriculturists, possessing the skill and other advantages which were justly claimed for them by their advocates, had nothing to fear from competition with the agriculturists of the whole world. But, although these were his opinions—opinions not lightly taken up, but formed after great inquiry into the state of agriculture in various parts of the world—he had had too much experience of the evils arising from sudden changes in our fiscal regulations—whether the changes were founded on a good or a bad principle—to be anxious for any violent change. He believed, that if but a little moderation were exhibited on both sides, the necessary changes might be gradually made with advantage to the various interests of the country, and ultimately we should arrive at the desired result, that this country, without restrictions on commerce or taxes on food, might safely compete with the agriculture of the world. His hon. Friend had adverted to a subject which was of a rather inviting character to him, namely, the old question of the currency in connection with the Corn-laws on account of the part he had always taken on that subject. What was the history of the present Corn-laws? For many years the country, under the temptation of relief from the pressure of the moment, thought proper to depreciate the standard of value, until, at last, towards the end of the war, the only question mooted was whether the depreciation had extended to one-half or one-third of the value. It had been said, that the act of 1819, known as the bill of the Tight hon. Baronet, the First Lord of the Treasury, had effected the change which then took place in the currency, but that was not the case; the change began in 1815. On the return of peace it was announced that the Government was determined to restore the former standard of value. That was the origin of the Corn-laws. Those laws were proposed to protect the landed interest from the consequences which the change in the currency had entailed upon every debtor interest in the country. When the right hon. Baronet brought in his bill, in 1819, he divided the House against it, not because he differed from the principle of the measure, but because he had fearful anticipations of the consequences which the proprietors of the country, in ignorance, were going to take upon them- selves. All that, however, had gone by. It was impossible to go back; and although he was one of those who were most anxious and apprehensive on the subject of the measures adopted with respect to the currency, yet from the time when Parliament came to a final decision on the question he had always opposed, and, as long as he might have a seat in that House he always would oppose any reconsideration of the matter. He had gone further than most of his friends in this respect, for he had opposed several little alterations to which they had assented from time to time, and which he thought tended to a return to the old state of things. He did not like to see bank notes made a legal tender under any circumstances. The Corn-laws were passed as be had before stated, to shield the landed interest from the effects of the change in the currency, but from time to time, since 1815, it had been found necessary to lessen their pressure on the community. It was said, that the Corn-laws would now remain as they were; but he did not believe that there was any man in that House, and scaroly any man in the country, who put the least faith in that statement. The hon. Member for Norfolk complained that the present measure was a meddling with the Corn-law. Why, good God, how could it be otherwise? Look at the effort of those gentlemen whom the hon. Member had, as he thought, unjustly depreciated—he meant the Anti Corn-law League. What had that association sprung from? It was not of natural growth; it had sprung from the feelings of the people that they could not rely on the justice of that House, and it became them to take some measures to counteract the power of the landed interest. He bad always refused to belong to that association, because he could not be present at its discussions and he did not like to be made responsible for the heat, excitement, and exaggeration which must naturally prevail when men were debating on a subject so full of points of irritation and anger. For that reason be had always refused to belong to the League; but he was not the less sensible of the advantages which, from their exertions, had resulted to the suffering people of this country. When he rose he did not intend to say one word on the general question of the Corn-laws; but he had been led astray by the hon. Member for Norfolk, who certainly bad addressed very few arguments to the question under the immediate consideration of the House. It occurred to him as probable that his experience in Canadian affairs might enable him to give the House some information bearing on the subject before them, and that he might also correct one or two erroneous statements which had been made, doubtless unintentionally, but which, unexplained, might exercise considerable influence on the opinions of some hon. Members. The first erroneous statement he would notice was made by the hon. and learned Member for Bath. It was new to him to hear, as the hon. and learned Member had stated, that Canada did not grow corn enough far her own consumption. It was true that, during the last three or four years, in consequence of the crops being destroyed by the fly, a great deficiency of produce had been experienced in Lower Canada; but he was old enough to recollect that there used to be considerable exportation of corn from Lower Canada to this country, and to Upper Canada when that province was not able to provide itself with food sufficient for its own population, and the numerous emigrants who were occasionally poured into it. The statement of the hon. and learned Member was correct, if applied only to a recent period. During the last three or four years the crops in Lower Canada had been completely destroyed, and he believed that the wisest course which the people of that province could take, would be to abstain for a year or two from growing corn, in order that the fly might not be generated in the seed. With respect to Canada, he would say this, that if the gentlemen of England really wished to encourage agriculture in that country, and to encourage also the stream of emigrants—whom every man must wish to see settled in a comfortable state on their arrival in the colony—there were no means by which they could effect those objects at less cost to their own interests than by establishing a free trade in corn between Canada and this country. Abstractedly speaking, the bill to be proposed by the Government contemplated a free trade in corn between Canada and England. He did not look to the indirect trade with the United States. If his noble Friend (Lord John Russell) could give them free trade with the United States, as well as with Canada, be would vote with him, because that would be a greater boon than was offered by the Government; but his noble Friend knew that no Government could do that at present. Everything which was done in the way of concession—in the way of abolition of restrictions on trade—must be in the nature of compromise. He wished it were otherwise. He had voted for the abolition of all duties on corn; but he had lived too long in the world to refuse, because he was unable to obtain all he wanted, to get what he could—more particularly when it would be a step to something better. He objected as much as his noble Friend to the restrictions imposed on the trade between Canada and the United States. He had no doubt they were contrary to all principle, and that they were open to all the objections which had been urged by his right hon. Friend (Mr. Labouchere), for he at the same time, knew that Canada was suffering from protection, having been suddenly withdrawn from one of her important interests by the alterations made in the timber duties. If the noble Lord opposite would amend his measure, and give them free trade with the United States, he should like it all the better; but the hon. Gentleman behind the noble Lord would exclaim—" the present proposal is bad enough; for God's sake do not open the flood gates of importation from the United States." The hon. Member for Bath was mistaken when he supposed there was any inability on the part of Canada in common years, and more particularly in years of abundance, to grow more corn than was sufficient for her own consumption. Though it would be unreasonable to expect that Canada could supply this country with any very great amount of corn, still she would, generally, have such a surplus for exportation as would greatly increase the trade between the two countries. The hon. and learned Member for Bath made another statement, in which he could not concur, as to the risk which there would be of smuggling American wheat into Canada. He knew the whole country well, and could undertake to say that wheat could be smuggled into Canada, in any considerable quantity, only from two directions; one was from the Genessee country, bordering on Lake Ontario, and the other was from the western country, above the falls of Niagara. Now a quarter of corn weighed nearly 500lbs, and in a country where transport, particularly by land, was most expensive, was there any temptation to escape the payment of 3s. of duty by smuggling an article of five hundred pounds weight? His right hon. Friend near him (Mr. Labouchere) talked a good deal the other night about tea having been smuggled across the frontiers. No doubt an article which could be put into a man's pocket would be smuggled across an ill-defined frontier, but the case was different when the article was bulky, and when the whole sum which could be gained by smuggling 500lbs amounted to only 3s. To those who were afraid that the proposed measure would involve us in difference with our American neighbours, he would say, that the danger which he foresaw was not that of smuggling from the United States into Canada, but of smuggling from Canada into the United States. But unless his noble Friend was prepared to impose new restrictions on the intercourse between the United States and Canada, it would be impossible to avoid that evil. It had been truly stated, that all the wheat which would be fairly introduced into Canada from the United States, would pass along the Welland Canal; and he could inform the House, that the wheat which might be smuggled must be carried by land twenty-five miles. Some hon. Gentlemen opposite, knowing his opinions, might perhaps be disinclined to accept his statements; but he could assure them that the notion of smuggling wheat into Canada was perfectly visionary. He must be allowed to qualify that statement in one respect. During the winter, a small quantity might be carried over on sledges; but it would be an extravagant calculation to estimate it at more than a few thousand quarters. He quite agreed with his hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, that it would be much better to put the 4s. duty on the corn from New York, and allow it to come here direct from that place, than to compel it to take this circuitous route; and he had strong hopes that when the result of the proposed experiment had been seen, her Majesty's Government would have it in their power to effect such an improvement. English agriculture, with the superior skill of our agriculturists, and their greater command of manual labour, would be able to stand the competition of the agriculture of all the rest of the world. It was true, if they went back into the great plains in the interior of America wheat might be cultivated there at less expense than in this country; but then, they wanted there what they had in abundance in this country — namely, human labour; to say nothing of the great expense of transport down the Mississipi, in vessels which, as they could not be taken up the river again, must be broken up and burnt for firewood. The charges of conveyance from the interior of America were known only to those who had visited the country. The only wheat-growing states on this side of the Alleghanies, were New York and Pennsylvania, and perhaps a little might come in from Virginia, When he was last in America, in the year 1836, he found that New York was receiving supplies of corn from Canada, and hay from France. A great deal of argument had been founded on the evidence furnished by the Canada papers, relative to the protection to agriculture which this measure would give in Canada; to that evidence, he attached so little importance, that the moment he heard this subject was under discussion, he put away all his Canada papers, for he knew too well how evidence of such a kind was likely to be influenced. Before he gave his vote, it was necessary for him to address the House, because he totally differed from his hon. Friends near him as to the policy of the course they had deemed it proper to take. He could not, on any account, concur with his right hon. Friend, the Member for Taunton, in addressing her Majesty to disallow a measure that had been passed unanimously, or nearly unanimously, by a great Legislature, for such the Legislature of Canada was now, and passed, moreover, in consequence of a direct encouragement held out to them by the mother country. Parliament, he knew, was not bound by the policy recommended by any Ministry to Canada; but he must beg his right hon. Friend near him to consider the peculiar position in which that colony was placed. Parliament bad but lately determined upon a great experiment—perhaps a doubtful experiment—for the Government of that country. One of the ablest men of this country had been sent out to administer the affairs of that part of the empire, to conciliate clashing interests, and to allay the passions of different sects and parties; and did his right hon. Friend think it was safe, at such a juncture, to address the Crown to disallow an act which the people of Canada, rightly, or wrongly, believed was calculated to promote their interests? He perfectly agreed with his right hon. Friend respecting the impolicy of the restriction with which this boon was burthened, and would much rather have had it without any such restriction; but the boon, it appealed, was one that could not be granted to Canada without some compromise; and all Canada was expecting the boon, and was persuaded that it was a boon. Besides, he looked upon the measure as some approach, though n small one, to free trade; it was an advance towards the accomplishment of his own principles; and, under such circumstances, he could not do otherwise than vote for the proposition of his noble Friend (Lord Stanley.) Canada was suffering at this moment under great commercial embarrassment, such as never had afflicted that country before. The trade of Canada was under the greatest depression, and by refusing this measure, this boon, which the people of Canada expected, and on which they set a high value, Parliament would add to the already existing embarrassments of that colony, and to the difficulties with which the governor would have to contend who had been sent out to restore concord there.

Mr. Trotter,

as an extensive agriculturist himself, and representative of an agricultural constituency, thought the fixed duty of 4s., which this measure would impose upon American wheat coming through Canada, was a far better protection than the fluctuating duty from 1s. to 5s., that now existed. The average duty per barrel levied on flour, under the present system, was Is. per barrel, and under the proposed one it would be 2s. 5d. He cordially supported the motion of the noble Lord (Lord Stanley), and considered it most prudent to foster Canadian agriculture, in order that this colony might take from us a larger amount of our manufactures.

Mr. W. Smith O'Brien

was anxious to state the grounds of the vote which he intended to give. When the Corn-bill was under discussion last year, he proposed a clause to allow colonial wheat to come in at a duty of 1s. In proposing this clause, he had certainly no intention of promoting the surreptitious introduction of American corn through Canada; his object had been merely to do what he considered an act of justice to the colonies. There was a school of political economists, he knew, who showed themselves more desirous to encourage importation from foreign countries than from our own colonies, but to that school he did not belong. As an abstract principle, he was quite ready to admit the policy of the most unlimited free-trade; but, if adopted by this country, it must be adopted simultaneously by other nations also; and if, by sanctioning differential duties, he could succeed in turning the stream of emigration to our own colonies rather than to foreign countries, he was quite content to bear the taunts that might be thrown out against him for so doing. The measure proposed by her Majesty's Government would not carry out the full principle of his motion of last year, and he could not but make it matter of complaint that the operation of the bill was to be confined to one colony. The Legislature of Prince Edward's Island had made a similar request last year, and had met with a refusal. Why was this? The only real question to determine was whether the duty imposed by the Canada Legislature was a sufficient equivalent for the protection now enjoyed by the agriculturists, and he (Mr. S. O'Brien) certainly thought the fixed duty of 4s. quite as efficient a protection as that which at present existed. He would pass over the argument respecting the possibility of smuggling from the United States. That part of the subject had been pretty well exhausted. It bad been argued that this advantage ought not to be given to the colonies, because they were not liable to the same taxation as this country, but that was an ungenerous argument, and one to which much importance ought not to be attached. He should have thought that the friends of free-trade would have readily agreed to this measure as far as it went, and he was surprised that the right hon. mover of the amendment should have rested so much stress on the danger of raising up a new rested interest in Canada, seeing that be (Mr. Labouchere) was the very Member of the Government who proposed the measure by which the East Indian sugar grower was placed on the same footing as the West Indian. He could not persuade himself that the corn growers of this country really felt jealous of the successful industry of their Cana- dian fellow-subjects. The greatest amount of wheat ever imported into this country from Canada, in one year, including what had passed through the colony from the United States, did not exceed 250,000 quarters; and his impression was, that Canada corn would never be imported into this country with advantage when prices were below 52s. or 53s. Upon the whole, he should give his vote with great cheerfulness for this measure, but not from any confidence in the present Government, whose continuance in office, he believed, was a real calamity to his country; and so strongly was he persuaded of this, that if his vote could have the effect of putting them out of office, he was not sure that he might not be tempted to vote against his own proposal. But he had not. yet arrived at that stage of political morality, and he would now only entreat the noble Lord the Secretary for the Colonies to concede to other colonies not equally powerful a measure similar to that he was about to propose in favour of Canada.

Mr. Buck

said, that when the right hon. Baronet had last year brought forward his scale of duties, be had lent him his support, in the belief that the measure then proposed would have the effect of settling the question, and he must regret that the result had not realised the expectations of the right hon. Baronet and the country by securing for corn a price of 56s. or 58s. He believed that the introduction of American corn at a low duty through Canada would be alike injurious to the millers and the agriculturists of this country, particularly at a time when, instead of 56s. or 58s., they were scarcely able to realise 46s. Nothing was more injurious to the agricultural interest than uncertainly, and with much pain he felt forced to admit, that within the last two years the state of uncertainty had been greater than at any other period within his recollection; and when he reflected on the means and capabilities of America, and on the great impulse that would be given to Canada by this measure, he thought there was quite enough to arrest the exertions of the most indefatigable agriculturist of this country. Why should the noble Lord disturb the present arrangement? AH the country asked was repose, but that it never could have until her Majesty's Government consented to pursue a course different from that they had pursued of late. They were about to legislate, moreover, on very insufficient information, which, indeed, had been ridiculed by every one who had spoken. On this point he perfectly agreed with what had fallen from his hon. Friend the Member for Dorsetshire, and with such information he could not give his vote for the proposition of her Majesty's Government. He could not give his support to any measure which would reduce the price of agricultural produce lower than at the present moment. The right hon. Baronet said, when he imposed his Income-tax last year, that the farmer would not feel it; the landowner and occupier were, however, both Called on to contribute 3 per cent, of their incomes, and the produce of the soil was reduced 50 per cent, in value. That might be thought an extravagant statement; but in order to obtain proof of it he had adopted the measure of writing to the clerk of the union in which be resided for a statement of the amount of the contracts during this year and the last, and found the result to agree with what he had said. The burthens on the agricultural interest were at the same time increasing; the payments on account of poor-rates were larger, though it was said the rates bad been reduced 25 per cent., and the expense of gaols, constabulary, and other items charged on the county rates had greatly increased. He thought it a bad return of her Majesty's Government to the agricultural interest for its support, to bring forward a measure such as this, which would hare the effect of placing the agriculturists in a position more galling than any in which they could be placed. Those who had come into the House with the determination to resist measures of free-trade, must feel themselves aggrieved when they were asked to support such measures. He could understand the course taken by the hon. Member for Wolverhampton on the Corn-laws, which was at feast consistent. If that measure were carried, it would be the means of throwing out of cultivation thousands and fens of thousands of acres of land; and he had never heard what was to become of the honest and industrious individuals who cultivated it. Were they to be driven to seek a precarious livelihood in the manufacturing districts, or forced to spend the remainder of their days in the workhouse? That would be the end of such measures as those to which he referred, and, therefore, he was fully determined to resist the adoption of any measure which would tend to place the agricultural interest in a still worse position than at present.

Sir C. Napier

had never seen a plain, simple, straightforward matter, so completely misunderstood as the present. Parties were now placed in an extraordinary position. Gentlemen opposite complained of the noble Lord for giving them an additional duty on Canadian corn, and Gentlemen on that side were praising the noble Lord for putting on a higher duty than before. He thought it impossible to misunderstand what the noble Lord (Lord Stanley) said. The noble Lord distinctly declared that he was not going on the road of free-trade, but that he meant to give protection to the agricultural interest of Canada. More than that, the noble Lord warned hon. Gentlemen on that side, if they were friends to free-trade, to vote against the motion, and he for one intended to take that advice. The duty proposed by the noble Lord was one of 4s., double the average duty of 2s. 1d. under the old sliding-scale. The effect of it would be to check the importation of corn from the United States to Canada, and therefore also from Canada to England, because all the Corn which Canada sent to England must be replaced by com from America. As to the duty on corn in this country, under the new law the average was 8s. 5d. a quarter, while the well known proposal of the noble Lord the Member for the City of London, was a fixed duty of 8s., so (hat the difference between the noble Lord and the right hon. Baronet opposite, was only one of 5d. It was his determination to vote for the motion of the right hon. Member for Taunton.

Viscount Sandon

said the noble Lord near him had made a statement as to the expense of conveying com from America to England, which, if correct, was quite sufficient to remove from the mind of even the most sensitive agriculturist any alarm he might feet as to the probability of an inundation of Canadian wheat and flour. Doubts had been thrown on that statement, but he bad referred to a very intelligent merchant, unconnected with the North American colonies, and had found that the noble Lord's statements were rather under than over the mark. It was impossible that any very great quantity of corn or flour could be introduced into this country from Canada until the facilities of internal transport in America were greater and the expenses less. It was of great importance that that colony should be treated as a part of the United Kingdom; for having united the two provinces, and formed of them one flourishing and powerful community, we could only retain them in the empire by the tie of amity. For himself, he would have no great apprehension, even if there were no duty imposed on wheat crossing the frontier of Canada; and as to the fear of smuggling, he confessed that seemed to him one of the idlest apprehensions in the world. He supported the measure, because it would increase the revenue of the colonial treasury, and provide a larger market for the Canadian farmer, and probably also furnish increased employment for the British navy, while no quantity of corn could come in, that would be sufficient to overflow the market of Britain, and further depress the agricultural interest.

Mr. Hawes

did not believe, that the Friends of the noble Lord opposite would desert him on this occasion, and therefore he attached no importance to the intimation of the noble Lord, that the proposal of the scheme might probably be his last official act, should Parliament advise the Crown to withhold its assent from the Colonial Bill. The only question they had to consider was, whether they should or should not give their consent to the Colonial Act. He contended, that they were not interfering with the colonial legislature in the course proposed by his right hon. Friend, for they were acting in accordance with the usual practice observed on similar occasions. The act had passed the colonial legislature clearly in contemplation of a discussion upon the subject in this House, and of course the Canadian legislature were aware they must abide the consequences. He particularly wished, as a free-trader, to address himself to the free-traders in that House, and he would ask them whether they could by any possibility, consistently with their own views, support that act? What was the preamble of the act? An assertion of the principle of the English Corn-laws. He would distinctly state, that the object of that act was to give protection to the native agriculturists. Now, he understood his hon. Friends around him stoutly to object to the enunciation of that principle, directly or indirectly. If, therefore, they voted against his right hon. Friend in support of the bill, they would be acting in flat opposition to the principles they had from time to time advocated in that House and elsewhere. The hon. and learned Member for Bath made out conclusively he thought, that Lower Canada did not grow enough corn for her own consumption, and that she would have to look for the next one or two harvests to a foreign supply. Besides that, every one knew that the trade in Upper Canada had been a trade in American wheat. The right hon. Gentle man the Vice-President of the Board of Trade had stated that in former debates, and yet they were now about to exclude the American wheat, by imposing a duty of 3s. on its admission into Canada. The practical effect of the noble Lord's measure would be, with the hope of encouraging the produce of Canada to keep out American wheat, of which Canada obtained a supply in times of scarcity. But could it benefit the consumer here? The noble Lord said, it was a boon perfectly insignificant—an amendment of such a limited scope as to be scarcely worth consideration —that it was utterly impossible any great quantity of wheat could come in, and that hon. Gentlemen need not be alarmed; and he would frankly tell them, that this bill as a means of increasing the introduction of corn, was mere waste paper. It was essentially a protective measure, and his astonishment was, that any Gentleman connected with an agricultural county would not support it. They would see, that it was not a bill that would do them any harm; but let not his hon. Friends take the extremely opposite view of the case, and say that they got one tittle of improvement in free-trade by it. The noble Lord went into statements, showing the quantity of corn that had been from time to time imported, and said, that the imports from 1830 to 1843 were 1,153,000 quarters, and that 378,000 quarters of that came in at 67s. Now, under the old law, he meant before the measure of last year, supposing the price to be above 67s., whatever additional supply came in would be charged with a duty of 6d. only. But by the measure of the noble Lord, that would now be changed to a duty of 4s. That was the effect, therefore, upon the consumer here. But he would go further. According to the returns he found, that since the passing of the Corn-law in 1828, from 40 to 41 per cent, of all colonial flour and wheat had come in at a duty of 1s. Now, the effect of the noble Lord's measure would be to admit that produce not at a duty of 1s., but at a duty of 4s. Another strong argument against the noble Lord's measure was, the temptation it afforded for smuggling. The House had heard the testimony of the hon. Members for Coventry, Bath, and Liskeard, that the measure was likely to lead to an extensive system of smuggling. One of those hon. Members had said that the homeward bound vessels would smuggle, and that could not be prevented in the St. Lawrence. The hon. Member for Coventry had said that 100 quarters might be smuggled; but if 100 quarters might be smuggled, he would like to know why 100,000 might not be smuggled also. If it would pay to send over 100 quarters, it would pay to send over 100,000. The smuggler only wanted to know whether he should gain profit upon his enterprise, and if he could only make as much as was gained by the regular trader, there would be smuggling still; and he thought, that smuggling even in flour would go on extensively. The hon. and learned Member for Bath had also asserted that the measure would lead to smuggling and its attendant immoralities. Thus all these authorities on the question agreed in the opinion that under the operation of the proposed mea sure very extensive smuggling, or at all events smuggling, would be entered on. The measure was supported by some hon. Members, because it was an acknowledgement of the principle of a fixed duty. The noble Lord, in opening the subject, appeared to touch this part of it very tenderly, fearing perhaps what might be said to him on some future occasion, when the question of a fixed duty for this country again came before Parliament. But to those who were prepared to support the measure because it admitted the principle of a fixed duty, he would observe that there was a great difference between the proposition of a fixed duty as regarded this country and as regarded the colony. Much as he desired to see the Corn-laws done away with, he could yet contemplate the possibility of a fixed duty being necessary for the sake of revenue; but a fixed duty on Canadian flour and wheat would put three-fourths of the duty levied into the colonial Exchequer, not into our own. This, he conceived, made a material difference. But admitting for a moment that the views of the Canadian legislature were to be acceded to, what equivalent did they offer? Did they propose to reduce their duties on our manufactures imported into Canada? Nothing of the sort; no such proposition was made to us, except, indeed, in some vague intimations of a probable movement to that effect in the Canadian legislature. The fact was, the noble Lord must have some very strong reason behind, that could thus induce him to bring forward a measure involving a principle so troublesome to the Government at the present moment, and so likely to arouse against them their own supporters. Could it be that the noble Lord had found that a proposition of the kind was a good means whereby to rule and manage the Canadian Parliament. The noble Lord was going to raise the price of land in Canada. He (Mr. Hawes) knew that the effect of the measure must be to raise the price of land there. Indeed, that object was avowed in the papers laid upon the Table of the House; for it was said that the measure would stimulate emigration, and if emigration was stimulated, the competition for land must be encouraged. This country was at present involved in a fearful struggle for the repeal of the Corn-law and was that a time to impose a Corn-law in a colony? Did the Government think there would be hereafter no struggles in Canada for the repeal of the Corn-law about to be imposed—that there would be no contests between the owners of land there, and the advocates of free trade? He still thought that the Corn-law of last year was an improvement, hut considering the principle that had been enunciated by the right hon. Gentleman, he was really astonished that he should now ask the House of Commons to give their assent to the measure now under consideration. He confessed that a knowledge of these facts led him not to pay so much attention to the opinions of the hon. Member for Coventry and other Members, as perhaps, they might really deserve. He repeated that he thought that we ought to derive some benefits in return from Canada by the reduction of duties on our manufactures. For the last ten years our exports to that colony had been nearly stationary with the exception of 1840 and 1841, in which years, in consequence of the high price of corn in England, there was a much larger importation from Canada. In 1840, when corn was at 60s. 4d. here, we imported 670,000 cwt. of flour, and 801,000 quarters of wheat. In 1841, when corn was at 64s. 4d., we imported from Canada 682,000 cwt. of flour, and 70.000 quarters of corn. Now, if the object of this measure was to give increased facilities of export to Canada, surely we ought to have a corresponding advantage in a reduction of the duties on our manufactures. He deprecated the measure, however, as an introduction into Canada of the elements of the Corn-law dispute which now agitated this country. Why did the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government, after all the opinions he had expressed in that House, seek to originate in Canada the strife between manufacturers and land owners? The measure, too, was an unfriendly one towards the United States, and that at a time when their tariff was likely to come again under consideration, and to be dealt with ca-cording to the spirit, whether friendly or hostile, in which we might meet them. A more unfavourable opportunity for such a measure, could not have been chosen, for we were about to impose an additional duty on corn and flour imported from Canada, when hitherto what had been imported, had been American produce, and not the excess produce of Canada. The measure would in this respect be a great blow to American trade, and be regarded as such by the United States. It was stopping the indirect trade at the very time that you afforded no evidence of a disposition to give facilities to the direct trade. On the other hand, from all the accounts to which he had been able to get access, he did not see that the importation of corn from America would be such as ought to give the landholder any just ground of fear. They ought rather to look to Dantzic as the port from which the greatest supplies might be expected. He did not, however, for the reasons he had stated, look at this measure as really one in advance towards free-trade. The noble Lord had himself called it an insignificant boon to Canada; and he (Mr. Hawes) agreed with him in the opinion as far as it went; but he also thought that it would be really prejudicial to the colony, and that it would set one class against the other, and excite the same disputes that now raged in this country, and he, therefore, hoped that the noble Lord would not proceed with his measure, but agree in advising the Crown not to give assent to the act of the colonial legislature.

Mr. Darby,

alluding to the right hon. Gentleman, the Member for Taunton, asked whether it were to be expected that a Member of the Government which had carried the union between the two pro- vinces of Canada should step in between that united legislature and the Crown, and propose an address to her Majesty to the effect that, under no circumstances, the royal assent should be given to the first act they bad passed. He should give his opposition to the amendment of the right hon. Gentleman, for he thought it would be better to decide upon the proposal before the House than to address the Crown to withhold assent from an act of the Colonial Legislature. With respect to the measure before the House, as far as differential duties went, he was in favour of it. There must be differential duties while there was a colonial system, and without protection there could not be that colonial system upon which the greatness of the country so much depended. When, however, the duties upon colonial produce were so small as to interfere with the labour and capital of this country, then there was an undue extension of that principle. If it was admitted that this measure would not introduce Canadian wheat to such an extent as to affect the interest of the producers of this country, then he said it was not a measure of free-trade. He contended that a fixed duty could not be maintained in this country, and if passed by the Legislature, it could not be supported. What was wanted was prohibition when home produce could supply the country, and free importation when it could not. He thought the present measure would disappoint the expectation of persons who held the doctrines of the Anti Corn-law League, and for this reason, that he thought the duty upon wheat coming from America was fully as good as before. He thought, also, if they gave Canada this boon, it would be an additional reason why the question of the Corn-laws should not be dealt with hereafter, and that a proposition to deal with them would not be listened to, because then a new source of supply would have been opened to this country. With regard to the operation of the present law, he admitted he had been one of those who thought, when it was proposed, that the scale was too low. He had not yet had the opportunity of determining whether he were right or wrong in that opinion. Although he had tried to get a higher scale yet he could not at this time honestly say that the new law had been the cause of the present depression of prices. There had yet been no experience of the work- ing of the law. If the measure now proposed was to lead to depression of prices, he for one would be no party to it. He had found that the papers laid before the House were inaccurate, and the statements and calculations not to be depended upon. He was, therefore, for the present without information, and had to seek it where he could. Under these circumstances, he should claim in every stage of the bill, up to the third reading, the opportunities of gaining information, and if he found the effect of the measure would be to depress prices, he should then vote against it. But if, on the other hand, he found that the hon. Member for Lambeth was right, and that it was a measure of protection, and not of free-trade—not one that would admit corn to the injury of the agriculture of this country—it should receive his support. He confessed he did not believe, from the statements of the right hon. Baronet both before he came into power and immediately after taking office, that it was the intention of his Government to alter the then existing Corn-law. At the same time he considered the right hon. Baronet was perfectly right in saying that he would not bind himself irrevocably to that law. With regard to the present question, as relating to Canada, he thought that if the Government had had it in contemplation to reduce the present duty of 5s. to 1s., it would have been stated that the Government would reduce the duty upon condition that the Canadian Legislature imposed a 3s. duty on American corn. Throughout the whole of the speeches during the debates on the English Corn-law, no indication of any such intention was given; he, therefore, thought that he and those who entertained similar opinions with himself on this question, had a right to complain. More explicit information ought to have been given; at the same time, if he found that the present measure were calculated to benefit Canada by giving additional employment to labour, while it was building up a buttress in support of the Corn-law of this country, he would readily give his assent to the measure.

Mr. Hume

was anxious to condole with the hon. Member for North Devon (Mr. Buck), who had told the House that the agriculturists had been in a state of perplexity and uncertainty for three years, and were now in distress, which they could no longer submit to Now, it was just three years ago, that he and those on his side of the House, told that hon. Gentleman and his agricultural Friends that, if they did not bring this question of the Corn-laws to a speedy settlement, they would be kept in a constant state of perplexity and uncertainty. He, at the same time, stated to the hon. Gentleman and his Friends the Government, that they were attempting impossibilities. They thought, because they had the command, by a majority of the House of Commons, that they could command and keep up the price of corn; but he then informed them, and they had found it out, that they could not do so. If they had yielded a free trade in corn three years ago, or even had agreed to a low fixed duty, they would have been in a much better condition now than they were. He would advise them to profit by the experience of the last two or three years, and come round at once to him and his Friends, and adopt the principle of free-trade. This country and the whole civilized world would be benefited by a free-trade in Corn. Why, according to the hon. Gentleman's own showing, things could not be worse with the agricultural interests than they were at present. He might complain, and threaten not to vote with the right hon. Baronet, (Sir R. Peel), but, if he did not, he must vote with him (Mr. Hume). The hon. Gentleman bad no other alternative. He and his Friends were, in truth, the chief cause of all the existing distress in the country; and this the farmers were fast finding out. As his (Mr. Hume's) vote on the present measure would differ from the votes of several of his Friends immediately around him, it was necessary he should explain the grounds of that vote. It was his intention to vote against the amendment of the right hon. Gentleman, the Member for Taunton, and in favour of the original resolution of the noble Lord (Lord Stanley). He did so, not because he considered any material reduction of duty on corn would be effected by it—if they merely calculated that duty at 3s. on introduction into Canada from the United States, and 1s. on introduction into Great Britain, making together 4s. He also admitted, that the imposition of the 3s. duty in Canada, was creating a protection to the landed interests there, equally against his own principles as against the consumer in Lower Canada — of that there could be no doubt. It might appear at first sight a contradiction for him a free-trader, to take the course he intended to take; and it was to explain that which, after due consideration of the state of the corn trade of the Canadas and Great Britain for many years past, was not a contradiction, that he wished to state to the House. In the first place, he would inquire what had been the effect of the law as it now existed, with respect to the importation of flour and corn from Canada? And in reference to this bill and its probable effects, he could not but think, that a most unfounded outcry and alarm had been raised in this country. What were the facts? For the last twelve years—that was to say, from the year 1831—wheat and wheaten flour, from the United States and from every part of the world, had been admitted into Canada free from any kind of duty; and through Canada the same could have been imported into Great Britain at a duty varying according to price, and what had been the result of that trade under that freedom? He would admit, for argument's sake, that the whole of the wheat and flour admitted into Great Britain in that time, was of Canadian growth. The duty in England on Canadian importation had varied from 5s. to 6d. a quarter. When the price was 55s., the duty was 5s.; 56s., duty 4s.; 57s.., duty 2s.; above 58s., duty 1s., and 6d. per quarter, at or 60s.above. In the year 1836, the average price of wheat in England was 48s. 6d., and there was not one grain of wheat imported from Canada into England, and only 18,025 cwt. of flour, equal to 5,150 quaters of wheat. In 1837, the average price of wheat was 55s. 10d., no wheat was imported, and only 9,528 cwts. of flour. In 1838, the price rose to 64s. 7d., and the only wheat and wheaten flour imported was 11,356 quarters. In 1839, the price here was 70s. 8d., and yet there were only 27 quarters of wheat, and 27,094 cwts. of flour imported, making together 7,768 quarters. In 1840, the price fell to 66s. 6d., and 8,192 quarters of wheat, and 478,969 cwts. of flour were imported. The aggregate stood thus:— In 1841, the price was 64s. 4d., and 70,299 quarters of wheat, and 628,914 cwts. of flour, making the aggregate equal to 249,989 quarters of wheat. In the last year, the price was about 62s. 2d., and wheat and flour equal to 183,291 quarters were imported. The average of those twelve years of free-trade in corn between the United States and Canada, and a low duty in England of 2s. 1d. for the last five years, was only 91,768 quarters yearly. This small importation was when there was a perfect freedom of trade from all the world to Canada. The House must see how very small an amount of corn and flour was then imported from Canada into England. Consider what were the impediments to importation into this country. In 1839, the duty was only 6d. a quarter, and yet no more than 7,768 quarters were imported into England from Canada in that year. If price was any temptation to importation, it then existed; for the price of wheat in this country, in 1839, was 70s. 8d. a quarter; and yet, with that high price, and that low duty, only 7,768 quarters were brought to this country. If, when the price of wheat was 70s. per quarter in England, and the duty only 6d., only that small quantity was imported, what could be expected with wheat as at present under 50s.? He, therefore, put it to the House, whether a most unnecessary alarm had not been created upon this subject throughout the agricultural districts of England? He was quite surprised at the language of some hon. Gentlemen on the Ministerial side of the House, who had spoken as if England were about to be flooded with grain from Canada, and the farmers ruined, if this measure were to become a law. As a further proof of the groundlessness of such an alarm, he would state that, in 1841, when the duty was only 1s. 9d., and the price was 64s. 4d. a quarter, only 249,989 quarters were imported in the whole year. He would refer the House to the papers on the Tabled where it appeared that returns from thirty-eight counties and towns in Upper Canada were obtained, stating the remunerating price at which wheat could be grown, and the prices given were all at 5s., and above, except three places, where the prices were 4s. 6d, and 4s. 9d. a bushel, or 40s. say, a quarter. The expense of bringing a quarter of corn from Chilicothe, in the state of Ohio, to Liverpool, was 26s. 2d., viz., 1s. 7d. per bushel on the average of many cargoes to Montreal, and 1d. 7½d. thence to England, which added to 40s., cost of corn itself, would require a quarter of Canadian corn *See P. P. 240, of 1843. † P. P., No. 218, of 1843. to be sold for 66s. 2d. at Liverpool to pay the importer. At such a price, what ground was there for the least alarm that this would injure the British agriculturist? Was not a charge of 26s. 1d. per quarter for freight and charges a sufficient protection for the British farmer? Was it to be expected that prices could ever rise up in England, to what they had been in these past years? It was, in his opinion, impossible. Therefore, both as regarded price, and as regarded quantity, the British agriculturist had nothing to fear. Looking at the price of wheat at New York, in ordinary years, it was his firm belief that if corn were admitted to be brought direct from New York to England, without any duty at all, it would do no injury to the ling lish farmer, while it would greatly benefit the community at large. America must, undoubtedly, diminish her expenses in growing and carrying wheat and flour greatly, before she could compete to any extent with our own agriculturists. He might state to the House that he did not desire to see wheat lower in this country, than what with a free-trade the aver age price would be in Europe; and he would hazard a guess that that would be about 50s. He next came to consider what would be the probable effect of the measure before the House. It was a change of duty in this country from 5s., to 1s., for he had nothing to do with the 3s. duty levied in Canada, and he would state why. Power had for the first time been given to the colonial Legislature to regulate their own internal taxation, and it was quite competent, therefore, for Canada to reduce or to increase the tax on corn imported into that country as they pleased. He would state to the House what had occurred in the colonial Legislature during the discussion of the law for imposing a duty of 3s. on the importation of American corn into Canada. Great difference of opinion existed in the House of Assembly on the subject, probably as much as existed in this House. If it had not been for the speech made by the right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel) in the House of Commons, in March 1842, the colonial Government would not have been able to carry that bill. The right hon. Baronet on that occasion said, that he should be happy to treat our North American colonies as an integral part of this country, and to consider them as English counties. When Mr. Harrison, the secretary of the Canadian Government, introduced the resolutions on which the bill was to be founded, he stated that the expectation which had been created by the speech of Sir Robert Peel had been made certain by the letter from Lord Stanley on the 2nd of March, 1842, to Sir Charles Bagot. The people of Lower Canada were convinced that the bill was calculated to increase the price of food in that province: but they believed it would give them the corn-carrying trade, for 3,000 miles west of Quebec, which would compensate them for the loss of the timber trade, and at the same time afford them the means of improving the revenue of the country, and enabling the people to pay higher for their food. It had been said, by the noble Lord (Lord Stanley), that the bill was carried with unanimity in the House of Assembly, but that was not the case. It was very much opposed, and after a stormy debate, carried for the 3s. duty. No person, especially those holding office, should endeavour to persuade the House that the bill was agreed to in Canada by an unanimous vote. The debate took place on the 29th of September, 1842, Mr. Leslie in the chair. It was proposed that the House should resolve itself into committee, to consider the question of imposing a duty on the importation of foreign corn. The report in the newspaper stated that the question was put amidst a bushel of cries of "Order," "question," Hear him, &c." during which several Members in vain attempted to speak, the motion was carried in the affirmative. Then Mr. Harrison rose to propose that the amount of duty should be 3s., which was carried. After a long debate, Mr. Childe then proposed, that all other descriptions of agricultural produce should be subjected to a duty; upon which, a scene of clamour, uproar, and confusion, that defied description, took place. The motion was amended and re-amended; and on a division, there were thirty-seven for the motion, and twenty-three against it. The members of Lower Canada were generally against it. There were four or five divisions. Mr. Viger stated that it was on the ground that the colonial legislature had the power to alter the act whenever they pleased, that Mr. Harrison's proposal was finally adopted by the House. And on that ground alone it was that he (Mr. Hume) gave his vote for the present measure, leaving it to Canada hereafter to art for themselves, as regarded the duty, as they should think proper. They would, no doubt, next year decrease the duty if they found 3s. too high, or increase it if they thought that sum too low. And why should they not? They were now to be masters of their own financial affairs. The British House of Commons had nothing to do with the colony. That power given by the British Government was of great importance; and he should expect the right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel) to act n the same spirit towards all our other colonies. Why should he not allow wheat and flour to be imported at the same rate of duty from the Cape, from Bengal, and from every other British colony? The principle of the present measure was in this respect, in his (Mr. Hume's) opinion, of the greatest value. His hon. Friend below him rejected it, because the act of the Canadian government had laid on a duty of 3s. per quarter, but he maintained that it was on the principle of a fixed duty of 1s.. a quarter, for he had nothing to do with any duty that the colony itself might impose. In the course of the debate in the House of Assembly, Mr. D. B. Viger said, That he was opposed to every species of protective duty, as these duties were on all occasions imposed at the expence of some part of the community; but, as the Imperial Government had conceded to the House of Assembly the right of legislating for Canada in matters relating to its commerce, and had declared that it was desirous to extend the further boon of admitting all Canadian agricultural produce into England free of duty, he (Mr. Viger) could not see any objection to the imposition of a duty on corn coming into Canada from foreign countries to which Great Britain had not yet extended that privilege. It was not (said Mr. Viger) for the House of Assembly to say what the mother country ought to do with respect to the importation of foreign corn, it was sufficient for them to know that Canada was favoured by the mother country, not only by the proposition of admitting its agricultural produce at a shilling duty into England; but also by the declaration of Sir Robert Peel that he was desirous that Canada should become as a new county added to England. Whether the expectations excited in Canada by that declaration of the right hon. Baronet would be realised by the present measure, he (Mr. Hume) certainly entertained some doubt; but if they were not at present, they must be by and by. He had been highly pleased at hearing the sentiments expressed by the noble Lord, (Lord Stanley) the Secretary of State for the Colonies respecting colonial Government. They were such as he had never heard from that noble Lord before. The noble Lord stated, that this was a boon to Canada. It was, as a pecuniary boon, a very small one, but the power of the colonial assembly regulating their internal affairs, as a principle, was an immense boon. The noble Lord also said it was a measure that would encourage agricultural industry in Canada. Undoubtedly it would in some degree do so, but the British House of Commons had nothing to do with that. The noble Lord went on to say, that every man of common sense must prefer a fixed duty on corn to a sliding-scale —of course the noble Lord was speaking of this particular measure, where the range of duty would only be from 5s. to 1s. Still these were sentiments he was delighted to hear, and he hoped they would not be lost, but that the noble Lord's associates in the Cabinet would share them, and that this country would benefit by them. It was impossible to apply one rule to a sliding-scale from 1s. to 5s.; from a sliding-scale from 1s. to 70s., and therefore Sir Robert Peel's scale was condemned by his own Colleagues. It was only by degrees that they could get their rights, and he doubted not that they would, by and by, get rid of their sliding scale also, if not of duties altogether. The noble Lord went on to state, that her Majesty's Government were desirous to fulfil the pledge given to Canada. The House of Assembly had passed the Bill imposing 3s. duty, under the belief, and in confidence, that United States' wheat, when admitted to Canada on that duty, would be also admitted at 1s. to Great Britain, there would be the disappointment. Now, although he did not believe this measure would fulfil that pledge, still he should be sorry in any way to prevent its being passed into a law. He should be unwilling to be a party in rejecting the bill. It was of much importance, that they should throw on the Government the great responsibility, and the necessity of proposing further measures if it should be found that this bill did not fulfil the pledge they had given to Canada. It was delightful to bear the noble Lord (Lord Stanley) say, that it was much better to maintain our colonies by the ties of love and affection, than by a coercive system. It was one of those refreshing sentiments of which they had not heard much for many a day. But now these were enunciated by a Minister of the Crown, and all the other Cabinet Ministers were ready to say, Amen. The despatch of the noble Lord (Lord Stanley) on the 2nd of March, 1842, was a most important document, and he would read two paragraphs from the newspapers to show the grounds of the expectations entertained by the Canadians in consequence of that despatch, and the manner in which they looked to the pledge of the Government being fulfilled:— Sir R. Peel, it was said, is not accustomed to waste words, still less to use very expressive words without regard to their meaning. On the 23rd March last, during a debate on the tariff, Sir R. Peel declared that he thought we ought ' to consider our colonies as an integral part of this country.' Another report of his speech gives the words, 'to consider them as English counties.' It is, however, certain, that in one or other form of words the Prime Minister made the remarkable declaration that in his opinion the principle of protection ought not to be applied against colonies—that these portions of the empire ought to be as free of the home market as Ireland or an English county. When this emphatic and striking declaration of the Premier reached Canada, the people there rejoiced aloud. The British Government (for like most people elsewhere, they considered Sir R. Peel to be the Government) had expressed an opinion in favour of free-trade between Canada and England; they might now hope that the loss of their timber monopoly would be compensated by a new trade in wheat and flour; they calculated over again the cost of production and carriage; they successfully urged their local Government to proceed with the improvements of the St. Lawrence navigation: they boasted of the advantage of really and truly belonging to the British empire. Still, Sir R. Peel had merely uttered an opinion. When, or if ever, he should be able to give effect to that opinion, was a matter about which he had not said one word: his declaration, however gratifying, did not convey anything like a promise; hope was all that the colonists had any right to indulge in. But, in the following month of September, this hope was turned into certainty: the declaration of opinion took the shape of a promise in the despatch of March 2nd, though only published in Session 1842, and now, what was that promise? The noble Lord, (Lord Stanley) in his speech, stated generally, that it would be seen by the document on the table that it was the wish of her Majesty's Ministers to place the Canadas in the most favourable situation, but that they could not conceal from themselves that the United States were adjoining Canada, and therefore, as regarded corn, they must have some protection to prevent great importations from the States. Then, what said the act?— Whereas the chief objection to the free admission of wheat and wheat-flour to the said United Kingdom from Canada arises from the free admission of foreign wheat into Canada; Therefore they proposed to levy a duty of 3s. After that, they expected not only that wheat-flour, but that wheat should be exported, and it was on that expectation they founded their estimate of the advantage they should derive from the whole measure. He would therefore submit to the right hon. Baronet that the present plan would not be a fulfilment of the pledge given to Canada, and that in order to keep faith with the Canadians, they must be allowed to bring wheat of the United States, as well as flour at 1s. duty. It was of importance to know, what was the opinion entertained by the people of Canada, and what they expected when they assented to put a duty on American corn. In a petition presented to her Majesty by the President and Council of the Quebec Board of Trade, the following appeared;* That the commercial interests of the province are now depressed and suffering to an unprecedented extent, chiefly in consequence of the measures lately adopted by the Imperial Parliament, withdrawing or greatly limiting that protection which its principal products formerly enjoyed, in competing with foreigners in the markets of the mother country and your Majesty's other colonies. That, in consequence of these measures, your Majesty's subjects in this province, from their greater distance from these markets, can only now successfully compete with foreigners therein under the most favourable and rare circumstances; and should your Majesty assent to the said act of the Legislative Council and Assembly of Canada, without at the same time conferring on your Majesty's subjects in this * P. P., 218, of 1843, province some countervailing privilege in their trade with other parts of the empire, jour Majesty's petitioners firmly believe that the result will be the utter prostration of the trade of the country, and the ruin of those engaged in it. That it appears from the preamble of the said act, that it was enacted upon an express assurance by persons representing your Majesty's Government in the Legislature, that some such countervailing privilege would be granted, and that, without such an assurance, it would not have been passed. Wherefore your Majesty's petitioners humbly pray, that your Majesty may be graciously pleased to withhold the Royal assent to the said act, until a law shall have been passed by the Imperial Parliament, authorizing the admission into the United Kingdom and the other colonies, free of duty, of all grain and flour exported from this province."

That petition was signed by the president and nine other members of the council, who further state— That the flour hitherto exported from Canada, has been chiefly made from wheat the growth of the United States. Therefore even a shilling duty was beyond the mark, and it is expected that wheat from the United States now introduced into Canada, is to be admitted into England, as If it were the produce of Canada. But that is not allowed by the bill before the House. In the report of a special commission of the Legislative Assembly it was stated that wheat, from the northern and western parts of the United States, might be carried by the Hudson River to New York at an expense of 3s. 6d. a quarter less than it would be carried down the waters to Canada; therefore they prayed for the fulfilment of the pledge made to them, by Lord Stanley's letter of 2nd March, 1843, to Sir Charles Bagot; and, on that ground, Government would do well to maintain that promise, by admitting corn and all flour of the United States, coming through Canada into this country free of duty. He should not have dwelt so much upon this point if trade in Canada were not so much depressed by the changes made by the tariff, and for which the carrying trade of corn may be some compensation. The expenditure of the army alone there had been upwards of a million sterling yearly, but that was diminishing. Canada had lost the lumber trade, consequently, unless the Government would favor the Canadians by enabling them to become the carriers of corn from the United States, free of duty, they must still further suffer. He said from the United States, for there was no secret in the matter; it was from thence the corn and flour had hitherto come, and in future must come; and he did not think that Parliament should consider the 3s. duty that had been imposed in Canada.[Hear, hear.] That might be taken off by themselves, and if they found that duty injurious to the province, why should it not be? I am quite surprised (said Mr. Hume) at the hon. Gentlemen who cheer me. They seem to think that he House of Assembly in Canada is like the House of Commons. It is no such thing. The House of Assembly is elected by the whole people, and you must not think that a House, elected by the whole population, will allow any injurious legislation to continue for a year without amending it? I will further explain. It is the best argument in favour of universal suffrage. In England, laws are passed for the benefit of the few, and not for the interests of the many; but that will not henceforth be the case in Canada. I wish all governments to be conducted for the welfare of the people; and while the House of Assembly continues to be elected by a large portion of the population of that country, it is quite evident that such an assembly will not allow any laws to exist long that are injurious to the community at large. Before two years had elapsed, the country gentlemen of England would be of his opinion, and would see that to injure Canada was to injure the empire. For this reason, he thought that the objects of the act passed by the colonial Legislature, — namely, " a free transit of corn from the United Slates," ought to be supported. Ere long, an increase of suffering in England, from our protective system, would compel us to change that system; as one doctor and one set of prescriptions had failed to relieve the industry of the kingdom, it was necessary to try others, and that of free trade, ere long, would be tried. Destroy the commerce and industry of the country, as we are now doing by our Corn-laws, which are undermining the sources of revenue of this country, and the land in the end must pay for it; retribution would fall where it was due, and if hitherto capital and land had borne very light burthens, they would, he (Mr. Hume) feared, be heavy enough in a short time, if the same protective plans were pursued. It became Parlia- ment to re-consider its vicious legislation, and to allow the principles of reason and common sense to prevail in the future government of the country. All he asked of members was, that they should act like men of sense; this was, perhaps, requiring much, but it was not requiring more than some time or other they would be compelled to grant. He, for one, should support the motion, by which wheat and wheat-flour should be admitted into this country from Canada at a duty of 1s.; and it would end, he sincerely hoped, ere long, in the establishment of a free-trade in corn, direct with the United States—a change essential alike for the future welfare and prosperity of Great Britain and the United States.

Mr. Cumming Bruce

could not throw any additional light upon this subject, which had already been so amply discussed; but he was very desirous of stating to the House the nature of the vote he intended to give, his reasons for that vote, and the peculiar circumstances under which he gave it. At Easter last he attended an annual meeting of the county which he had the honour to represent, and at that meeting a resolution was proposed deprecating any alteration in the law respecting corn, as regarded Canada; and, also, another resolution condemnatory of the extent to which the Government had already carried free-trade principles. This last resolution, at his suggestion, was withdrawn; but the resolution deprecating any alteration in the Canada duties was unanimously agreed to. A petition, grounded upon this resolution, was proposed and signed by most of the resident proprietors, farmers, and tenants in the county. He was asked to support the petition, and he promised to do so, and he had since presented the petition to the House. Since then, however, the speeches he had heard in that House, and other information which he had received, convinced him that he was mistaken on the question when he promised to support the petition of his constituents. He found that, instead of lessening the protection to the home grower, the proposition of her Majesty's Government was calculated to increase that protection—as it went to establish a fixed duty of 4s. instead of 2s. as at present; and, moreover, he did not at all look upon this as a measure of free-trade, to which his constituents were opposed. He therefore thought he was fulfilling the wishes of his constituents in supporting it. But these were not his only or his principal motives for giving his support to the measure. He regretted that the Government should have found any necessity for disturbing the adjustment of the Corn-law question made last year, because whatever might have been then said upon the subject had certainly been forgotten, and it would have been better not to have revived it, if it could have been avoided. But the honour and character of the Government were pledged and committed on this question, which with him was the strongest motive for supporting it. If the Government, after the pledge they had given, did not persevere, they would not only betray the greatest inconsistency, but would show a degree of weakness that must be highly injurious to the country. He considered that the strength and stability of the Government, and the continuance of the right hon. Baronet, at the head of it, paramount to all other considerations. The great fault of the late Government was its want of sufficient strength to carry through any measure for the advantage of the country; and his desire was, that the present Government should not be placed in the same predicament. He was quite aware of the disagreeable position in which he stood, after the promise he had made to his constituents—but he was prepared to pay the penalty of the error he had fallen into by sacrificing his consistency to his duty. If he should find that the course he had pursued gave dissatisfaction to his constituents he should hasten to place at their disposal the trust they had reposed in him, and which he was only desirous of holding so long as he could do so with satisfaction to them and credit to himself, and with a continuance of that good feeling that had hitherto subsisted between them.

Mr. F. Baring

said, that the most important point in the argument of the noble Lord (Lord Stanley), and that on which the whole measure of the Government rested, seemed to him to be the question of good faith. The noble Lord had applied a considerable portion of his declamation to that point, and endeavoured to prove that the good faith of the House was pledged by having raised expectations in Canada which it would not be consistent with the honour of the House to abandon; and if he believed with the noble Lord and the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone), that the House was a party to the pledges given by the Government, he should at once call upon the House to concur in the resolutions, whatever might have been his opinion of the policy or propriety of them. He must say he should not be quite satisfied with redeeming; pledges given by the House in the same way that the hon. Member who spoke last redeemed his pledges to his constituents, who having stated to his constituents, that he should oppose the measure, now said, that further information had induced him to support it. If the House had been a party to a pledge given by the Government, he for one should not be willing to change his mind, or think it very creditable to walk off from his solemn declarations; but was it the case, that the House was pledged, as argued by the noble Lord? Was it even the intention of Government to bring forward this measure when first they proposed the Corn-law? He put that question distinctly, and he looked to have an answer. He believed the Government had no such intention. He went further, and said, that the Government had not only no such intention, but they had directly the reverse intention. On the 9th February, the right hon. Baronet proposed his Corn-law scheme. In that scheme was found a duty which was very nearly a fixed duty, being 5s. up to a certain point, and then dropping to 6d. The right hon. Baronet proposed a duty on colonial corn; but he gave not the slightest notice, that it was not to be a final measure. Nor was that all. The very day before the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) had proposed a measure with regard to the colonies, he proposed a 3s. duty on corn imported into Canada; therefore the first intention of the Government was to have a sliding-scale, and a fixed duty of 3s. besides; and, consequently, they had no intention when first they proposed the corn bill of bringing forward the resolutions now on the Table. Their first intention was to have a scheme directly the reverse of this. It might have been the case, that when the noble Lord proposed a sliding-scale, from 1s. to 5s., he thought that there was no man of common sense who would not have preferred a fixed duty; but why was no intimation of that given to the House? The very first day of the Session his noble Friend near him had stated his objections to imposing a 3s. duty, as introducing a Corn-law into Canada. So far, therefore, from both sides being at first unanimous in favour of imposing this duty of 3s., the noble Lord near him had from the first taken the objection which was now taken on that (the Opposition) side of the House. On the 25th of February last year, when Mr. Christopher's motion was under discussion, he pressed the point upon the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Gladstone), and from the answer then given no person could suppose, that a despatch would have been sent out to Canada bearing a different interpretation. From the language used by the right hon. Gentleman this could not be inferred. His words were, that— With respect to the question which had been alluded to, he believed that no one in that House would contend that Soy regulation ought to be adopted in the new Corn-law which should raise a new barrier as against our trade with the United States. He had proposed laying a duty of 3s. on wheat imported into Canada. Should Parliament, however, lay a merely nominal duty on the importation of Canadian flour and wheat into this country, he would not venture to pledge himself, that it would not be right to lay the duty on the importation of American wheat into Canada, which stood in his resolution; but, if Parliament should adhere to the principle of a 5s. duty on the importation of Canadian wheat and flour into this country, in that case the 3s. duty would not be pressed upon the House. No one from the use of such language could conceive that it was the intention of Ministers to send a despatch to Canada. For his own part, he thought the right hon. Gentleman felt, that he was mistaken as regarded a 3s. duty, and conceiving that he adopted the course as a fair excuse for withdrawing, he did not press the matter further. That, however, now appeared to be the first announcement of an intended change of policy on the part of the Government. On the 28th of February a debate took place, in which something as to the intention of Government was made known, but not in a way in which the House of Commons should be dealt with by the Government of the country. The House was certainly thin on the occasion, but whether full or empty on so important a point the intentions of the Government should be fully specified. In a subsequent discussion the 3s. duty was withdrawn, whilst the duty on flour was continued; but the arguments then used were different from those adopted now. Much was then said about intercolonial policy; but the despatch was seat out in the meantime, whilst it was urged, that if Canada accepted the terms the bill should pass. Not a word, however, was said about ulterior measures. He did not mean to accuse the Government of any intention to deceive the House, but he was satisfied, that on that occasion nobody had conceived that the Parliament had pledged itself. There were so many little changes in the policy pursued respecting Canada, that he did not wonder at the expression of smiling gratitude which passed over the features of those sitting on the Ministerial Benches when they heard the hon. and learned Member for Bath say, it was unfair to twitt the Government for any change which they had made, or to indulge in allusions to the sliding-scale. In the discussion of last year, nothing was heard of the common sense of a fixed duty, as contrasted with a sliding-scale. There was then no symptom of the preference which was now avowed in behalf of a fixed duty. Those who had heard the changes rung on the other side so loud and so often in favour of the sliding-scale, could scarcely have supposed, that after all the laudation of the sliding-scale a despatch would be written out to Canada recommending the fixed duty. It was argued, that having proposed terms to Canada the House should not trifle with the colony; but he would ask would they be warranted in trifling with England? Whose fault was it that the House of Commons was placed in its present position? Government had had it in its power to state its plan frankly. It could have had the despatch laid upon the Table of the House, and then there could have been introduced into the bill of last year a clause to reduce the duty, as was done in the case of Indian sugar. If they wanted to take the opinion of Parliament on the question that would have been the frank and open mode of proceeding; but if they were now placed in a difficult position as respected Canada the fault lay with those who had thus raised the expectations of the colony. Now with respect to what fell from the noble Lord the Secretary for the Colonies when he said that no man of common sense would hesitate in the choice between a fixed duty of 1s. and a varying one ranging between 1s. and 5s. The noble Lord asked who would not prefer the simplicity of the former mode, but the question then arose as to whet was to be done with our other colonial possessions. Two questions arose on this point. One was, if all our colonies enter into similar engagements to those entered into by Canada, would they not naturally expect to be treated in the same way? And the next question was, if the fixed duty was preferable, in a common sense view, to the sliding scale, ought it not to be generally adopted? Why should not New Brunswick have the advantage of it as well as Canada? If the fixed duty was common sense, were they prepared to go on with that principle? Would they give the benefit of the common sense principle to the other colonies, or would they still keep them under the sliding scale? Would they follow out the principal of colonial policy—namely, that our colonies should be treated as if they were so many counties? or would they apply the principle of a fixed duty to Canada only, and retain all our other North American possessions under the operation of the sliding-scale system? Corn coming from the Cape of Good Hope was treated in the same way as foreign corn. Was it proposed to keep up and continue these anomalies? If that was the intention, upon what ground was it that a benefit should be conferred on Canada from which all our other colonies were to be excluded? Was it because Canada was somewhat more powerful than our other colonies? Was it done on the old principle, that what was not accorded to right should be yielded to agitation? Or was there some other power at work which directed principle in one way, and practice in another? In the proposition made there were two parts working to the same end. One went to increase the differential duty between Canadian and foreign corn, and the other was to raise the agricultural interest in Canada and make a corn law for that country which would raise the price of corn in the home market there. This must be the result of the measure. He would admit that the passing of the measure would not interfere with the consumption in this country, nor did be think it would be of any advantage to consumers in Canada. On the contrary, he rather thought it would tend to raise the price there. To this country, then, it would be no advantage: in Canada it would be injurious to the consumers, and its only effect would be to bolster up the agricultural interests in that colony. To such a proposition he was opposed, as well upon the broad principle as upon the results which he contemplated from its operation. Everybody, in and out of the House, must admit that our present corn laws could not be of long continuance. Their fate was sealed. The House might attempt to foster and bolster up the agricultural interests in Canada, but they would ultimately find out that, as was the case with the timber duties, they would be obliged to withdraw their protection, and they would also find that the same sort of evils would follow in the one case as in the other. It would have been much wiser if the duties which were imposed for the protection of the limber interests had been done away with many years since, for if such had been the case several parties would have been saved from ruin, and before a long time elapsed it would be found that they must deal with corn as they had dealt with timber. They would soon find out that the worst policy which they could pursue would be to afford a protection to Canadian corn—which must before long be withdrawn. Capital would be applied to land and mills under the supposed security of an act of Parliament, but the Parliament would ultimately be obliged to retrace its steps, and then the same calamities would occur as took place under the alteration of the timber duties, though not, perhaps, to the same extent; and the longer the protection was continued, the more severe would be the fall of those for whose security it was intended. Almost all those on that (the Opposition) side of the House opposed the principle of the noble Lord's measure, though some found palliating circumstances. It was seldom that a bad measure was brought before the House in all its naked deformity. It was always connected, in one way or other, with some immediate advantage; but the advantage would soon pass away, whilst the evil would continue permanent. For his own part he was not an advocate for the immediate abolition of all existing protections. He was aware of the calamities and individual sufferings which must follow the adoption of such a course; but whilst he would not advocate the immediate abolition of all protection, he held it to be a point of wisdom to avoid offering any fresh protections, as doing so would be only to continue and persevere in a bad and dangerous principle. It was said that a 3s. duty was a very small protection; but the principle being once adopted would it stop there? Was that the nature of protecting duties? Was there nothing in the paper which had been laid upon the Table?—was there nothing in the resolution to hint the contrary? Was it not obvious that there was a party in Canada which was looking to protection for all agricultural produce? If the House once began in this manner, they would proceed from one point to another, and, at last, they would not know where to stop. Another colony had already adopted the example set by Canada, and whenever the principle was once sanctioned, it would be impossible thenceforward to stem the tide. It had been objected that the House ought not to interfere with an act of the Canadian Legislature, and he would admit the force of the argument if Canada had acted of its own accord and without reference to any communication coming from this country; but Canada had not acted freely in the case. Canada was bribed into the course it had pursued by the offer of a Corn-law. It was said to the colony, "If you act in a particular manner you shall have such and such advantages." Leave Canada alone to its own legislation, and do not say, " If you pass such a law we will give you so much in return."

Sir R. Peel:

Judging from the notices upon the paper, I apprehend that future opportunities will offer themselves of going more fully into the general question. I shall not, therefore, trouble the House, at the present time, by entering into details and figures, but shall confine my observations to two points; first, to that just adverted to by the right hon. Gentleman, namely, the character and object of this particular motion; and, secondly, to the circumstances under which the Government have thought it their duty to bring this question under the consideration of Parliament. I say I shall apply myself to these two points, reserving all details for future discussion. In these cases it is always of importance, instead of travelling over the collateral facts, to come at once to the consideration of the motion before us. In this case the question is, shall we present an address to the Crown, praying her Majesty to withhold her sanction to the Act passed in the last Session of the Provincial Parliament of Canada? Now reserve your opinion of that measure if you please—offer it, if you like, your firmest opposition when the proper period arrives for opposing it; but, whatever may be your opinion of the measure itself, do not forget the course you are asked to take—do not fail to remember that the right hon. Gentleman requires you to address the Crown) to withhold the Royal assent from this, particular enactment. With respect to this measure there are three parties standing in immediate connexion—I mean the Crown, the Colonial Legislature of Canada, and the House of Commons. The Colonial Legislature of Canada has passed an act imposing a duty on wheat on its importation into Canada. It is perfectly well understood by the House, that if the House refuses to sanction the resolutions of my noble Friend, in that case the Crown will withhold its sanction from the acts of the Colonial Legislature. But what we are now asked is, to address the Crown praying that that consent may be withheld. Why, was there ever an instance of the House being asked to take such a course as this? Can you show me a single precedent for such a proceeding? Was there ever an instance of the House addressing the Crown for the purpose of preventing the passing of an act of a Colonial Legislature? Exercise your own functions; reject our proposition if you please, but do not take on yourselves such a proceeding as that of asking the Crown to refuse this bill its sanction. Consider under what circumstances this bill is offered to your notice. It comes before you almost as the first act of an united Legislature. It is an act passed at the instance of the Crown, and you will do well to spare the Crown the mortification of rejecting a measure which the Crown itself advised. If the Crown invited the Colonial Legislature to pass this act, and if you have full power to prevent its operation by the exercise of your own functions, why should you not exercise those functions, instead of asking the Crown to use its power in contravention of its own advice? I say, I doubt if there be a precedent for asking the Crown to oppose its veto to an act of a Colonial Legislature; and if there is no precedent surely it will be hardly wise to set such an example in a case in which as in the present, the act is almost the first act of a Legislature only just convened. It would be infinitely better in such a case for the House of Commons to exercise its own functions, and reject our proposition at once:—it would be infinitely better for the House—it would be infinitely better for the Crown, and certainly it would be infinitely more respectful to the Legislature of Canada, which will commence its career under anything but happy auspices if you ask the Crown to veto almost the first measure which that Legislature agreed to pass. Sir, there are circumstances under which the House of Commons has an undoubted right to ask for the interference of the Crown with reference to the acts of Colonial Parliaments. In giving power to those Parliaments you took a security that in the case of acts affecting the rights of the Crown or of the Established Church, such acts should not be passed until they had been laid before the House at least thirty days, and until the House had had the privilege of addressing the Crown upon the subject. The cases, however, in which you reserved this power were all distinctly mentioned in your enactment; they were the cases of measures affecting the clergy reserves, the ecclesiastical establishments, and the rights of the Crown. You did not ask for reservation regarding other measures, and, not asking for it, you tacitly admitted that with those measures you had no right to interfere. Your not asking for any reservation, except with respect to certain acts, conclusively shows that with respect to other acts—with regard for instance to all commercial acts—you did not consider yourselves wiser than the colonial legislature, and consequently, that you did not seek to advise the House respecting those enactments. I do hope, therefore, that you will not lend your sanction to such a precedent as that you might establish by calling on the Crown to exercise its veto with respect to this bill. You can gain no object by such a proceeding, and depend upon it, it would be infinitely better to leave the subject to the decision of the Crown acting on the advice of the Executive. Now with respect to the circumstances under which this motion is proposed. The right hon. Gentleman has said that we had not this measure in contemplation during the last Session of Parliament. [Mr. F. T. Baring. " I said it was not contemplated when you first proposed the Corn Bill."] I assure the right hon. Gentleman that it was. On the 8th of February my right hon. Friend proposed to place a 3s. duty on American wheat and flour imported into Canada. Great apprehension was expressed At that time there was an indi- cation of opposition, and that opposition was directed to the principle of imposing by the act of the British Parliament a duty on American corn imported into a colony having an independent Legislature. Well, in the course of the same month, my noble Friend (Lord Stanley) addressed the House on a proposition of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Limerick, having for its object to impose a duty of 1s. only on each quarter of wheat the produce of British possessions out of Europe. My noble Friend, on that occasion, in the face of the House of Commons, of the people of Canada, and of all who were interested, made these observations— My right hon. Friend," he said," has distinctly told the House that he will not press for a duty on American corn imported into Canada. Now, that was on the 28th of February. The intention of the Government to subject Wheat brought into Canada to a duty of 3s. per quarter had been at that time abandoned, and three days previously my right hon. Friend (Mr. Gladstone) had announced its abandonment. And why had it been abandoned? No doubt in consequence of the opposition which had been raised to the constitutional principle—to the principle of a duty being laid by the British Parliament on articles imported into a colony having an independent Legislature. The proposal having been thus abandoned, it was at this time that my noble Friend made use of the expressions I am about to read. The proposition had been abandoned. There could have been no object in concealing the intentions of the Government. The noble Lord then made use of these expressions; and though they may not be remembered here they were remembered in Canada, and no doubt had their influence with the colonial Legislature. These were the expressions of my noble Friend:— My right hon. Friend has distinctly told the House that he will not press for a duty on American corn imported into Canada. If we thought fit to remove the duty levied upon the importation of Canadian corn into this country, it is not just to call upon us, under the plausible argument of giving encouragement to Canadian agriculture, to relieve from the burthen of duty all the corn and flour which passes from America through Canada, taking, at the same time, no means to prevent our being inundated with American corn. This is the ground on which I, for one, cannot concur with the motion of the right hon. Gentleman. Now, observe what followed. The British Corn-bill had passed. There could have been no reason for wishing to conceal the intentions of the Government; but if there had been would my noble Friend have used this language— If there was any alteration of the law which regulates the importation of wheat into Canada—if there was such a restriction on wheat going into Canada as would free this country from competition with American corn under the name of Canadian corn—then I think the Canadians would be entitled to a greater relief; but if you do not choose to do this—or if you do not wish to set free the trade both of American and Canadian grain, then I cannot see any reason why we should do that indirectly which you have refused to do directly. And having made that declaration in the face of the House of Commons, and hearing little comment on it, my noble Friend did write that despatch in which he communicated to the Canadian Legislature the declaration of the Government, that if Canada did affix an import duty upon American grain, we should consider that we were bound to give to Canada the boon which for so many years back she has been anxiously soliciting. And now, having heard what my noble Friend said on that occasion, let the House listen to the language of the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Labouchere). What right had the Canadians to suppose for one moment, that if they passed their bill (hey would now be met by this formidable opposition? What was the language of the leaders on the other side? The right hon. Gentleman said on that occasion,— The Canadian people are the best judges of the benefit which they will gain from such a measure, and their own colonial reprentatives should decide as to its advantages or disadvantages. I will not assert, that it will not be right for the Government to confirm this act, if they agree to the measure. Upon that point I will express no opinion; but I do contend, that the Legislature of England has no right to meddle with a plan, the effects of which are supposed exclusively to be confined to one of her colonies. Now, I do not contend for one moment, that the right hon. Gentleman pledged himself by those expressions to support the Canadian measure, but I do say, that he used language which, in conjunction with the language of the Government, might have fairly justified the Canadians in believing, that if they passed such a law as they have passed, he would not be the man to ask the House of Commons to address the Crown to refuse that law its sanction. I do not, I repeat, contend that the right hon. Gentleman's expressions bind him to support the measure. I do not contend, either, that the functions of the House of Commons are fettered by the assurances we then held out to Canada. The House of Commons has no doubt a perfect right to judge for itself whether Canada has or has not fulfilled all the conditions essential to the complete scheme. If you think the House has not, you will reject our propositions; but what I ask is, that you will not escape from the responsibility which you will in that case exercise by attempting to throw that responsibility upon the Crown. Sir, the right hon. Gentleman has referred to what he terms our "abandonment of the sliding-scale." For my own part, I see no abandonment whatever of the principle in our abandonment of a varying scale and adoption of a fixed duty in this one particular instance. The question is, " Is it fitting under the circumstances of Canada, that Canadian wheat and flour should be admitted into the ports of this country?" My opinion is, that political circumstances make it the wiser course for us to give to Canada greater facility of commercial access, and my opinion also is, that the agriculturist of England may give that access without running any risk of injuring their own interests. All the speeches which I have heard from the other side tend, indeed, to confirm me in this belief. The speeches of the two right hon. Gentlemen show conclusively that so far from trifling with the agricultural interest and proposing to remove a pro tection,—I am doing my duty by them; and the speeches of more than three-fifths of the Members on the same Benches go to prove that those agriculturists, so far from opposing the measure, ought to render us their best support, because, instead of an injury, this bill, according to them, is to confer on agriculture an additional protection. [Cheers.'] Those cheers confirm that impression, and therefore I will no longer believe, that we are removing a protection, but will leave it to hon. Gentlemen opposite to reconcile their opposing and conflicting charges as best they may. And now, Sir, let me ask a question. I am taunted with adopting a fixed duty. Will hon. Gentlemen opposite tell me how they would deal with a fixed duty in this case? There is to be, according to their plan, a fixed duty of 8s. a quarter on foreign corn. Now, what will they do with colonial produce? I presume they would not subject that produce to a duty of the same amount? But the American corn—corn of foreign growth—comes to England through Canada. How could they levy a fixed duty of 8s. on American corn brought from New York and New Orleans, and, nevertheless, permit American corn to come to this country duty free through Canada? I should like to know how they would deal with that fact? Would not that be opening a "back door? Would not that be giving a preference to the western states over the southern. Or, perhaps, hon. Gentlemen would propose to apply only a duty of 1s. to corn passing through Canada? But in this case there would be an undue preference given to America over other nations. If a nominal duty would not do, then there must be a fixed duty; for there is no other mode, in fact, of levying a duty, simply because there is no system of averages in Canada. And here I nay remark, that what my noble Friend, Lord Stanley said, is perfectly true respecting the difference in the policy of a fixed duty ranging from 8s. to 12s., and from 1s. to 20s. The argument, of course, applies with the more force as the difference between the extremes expands; but, al though well stated by my noble Friend, this is not the point on which I rely, for I mainly rest my defence of the use of the fixed duty in this instance on the fact— which is beyond dispute—that in Canada you can take the duty in no other form. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Baring) asked me why I did not follow the example set in the case of East Indian sugar, and make our legislation dependent upon that of Canada, giving the Privy Council the power of reducing the duties in case Canada made a corresponding reduction. Why, in that case, I fear I might be no more certain of pleasing than I am now. I might, for instance, be met by such a notice as that which the noble Lord the Member for Loudon has upon the paper, who, in opposition to the argument of the right hon. Gentleman, intends in a few nights to move, that, So much of this resolution shall be omitted as refers to' an act agreed to by the Legislature of Canada, and renders the legislation of the Imperial Parliament dependent on that of the provincial legislature. The right hon. Gentleman says, "Why not pass a law giving power to the Privy Council to make reductions in the event of the colonial Legislature making correspondent reductions?" The noble Lord says, "Why render the legislation of the Imperial Parliament dependent on that of the colonial Legislature." That is not the principle on which you ought to proceed. I answer the right hon. Gentleman, therefore, that I fear, even if I were to adopt his proposition, I should scarcely be relieved of my difficulty. Sir, to go back to the main question, that this is a boon to Canada cannot, I think, be denied:—that it is a boon which may be granted without injury to agricultural interests ought, I think, to be admitted. And when the noble Lord referred to the timber duties, I could not help calling to mind, that when once quoting an opinion of Lord Sydenham to the effect that it might be possible to make an arrangement with Canada in the shape of compensation for the loss of her timber trade,—I say I can't help calling to mind, that when quoting that opinion, and hard-pressed as to what the compensation was to be, the noble Lord admitted that that compensation might be afforded in the shape of a greater facility for the introduction of her corn. I think that was admitted; at any rate it was generally understood. Sir, after the proposition which we made to Canada—after her acceptance of that pro position, and her fulfilment of its provisions—I must say that I do think the faith and honour of the Executive Government are pledged to carry through this measure. Under what circumstances did we propose the bill? We found a strong and almost unanimous feeling in Canada that the greatest advantage would arise to Canada if its wheat and flour could be admitted into this country. Their two great articles of commerce were timber and corn. The Canadas differed from other provinces in being a corn growing country and able to export it. Their situation was peculiar. We found also that a rebellion having sprung up in that country, the expense of suppressing that rebellion did not fall short of 2,000,000 of money, granted by direct votes of the House, added to which was the cost of maintaining the army there and transporting that army, and the increase of your navy, the whole expense falling very little short, in my opinion, of 3,500,000l. Then a perilous experiment had recently been tried. We found on coming into power that there were no fewer than twenty-two battalions of infantry stationed in Canada; that the boundary question was unsettled; Lord Ashburton's mission having not yet succeeded, the controversy still was going on; and then a perilous experiment of very doubtful and uncertain issue had been tried—two classes of the population, with interests and feelings apparently opposed to each other, two different races of people who were set against each other, had been united lately by an act of the previous Government, to which I gave my support because I thought it afforded the best chance of securing future good government. The hazardous experiment of the union of the two Legislatures was tried: we looked at these things, we regarded the expenditure for suppressing the rebellion, and the cost of the twenty-two battalions of infantry to maintain peace there; we bore in mind the unsettled question on the frontier, and that we were involved in a dispute with a powerful country at a great distance from our resources, and we added to this that the honour and security of England were not safe unless you carried with you the cordial good will and cooperation of the people of Canada. You have professed your readiness to support your relationship with Canada, and you are bound in honour to support it; and there can be no doubt that the Government in introducing the measure attached this important consideration to it,—that it would be taken as an indication of cordial good feeling towards Canada. And I now say that unless you carry that cordial co operation of the people of Canada with you, the weakest point of the whole empire, the point most exposed to danger will be Canada. It is easy to talk of dissolving that alliance; but in point of honour and in point of policy you cannot set that example. If your connexion with Canada is to be dissolved, your connexion with New Brunswick, with Prince Edward's Island, and with Nova Scotia may follow; indeed, you will never be able to determine the point at which, in point of policy,—apart from a feeling of honour,— you must terminate your course. The more of ill-will, the more of dissension and unwillingness to submit to connexion with this country there are, the greater will be the temptation for foreign Powers to interfere. Her Majesty's Government were deeply impressed with the truth of these sentiments; and we did consider what facilities we could give to Canadian commerce with this country, thus drawing closer the bonds of union, without departing from the principle of the bill we passed last year with respect to the protection of agriculture, and without injuring the agricultural interests at home. Such was the importance we attached to that measure, which was met with so much hostility here; for if it did not pass by the unanimous consent of the Canadian Legislature, it was at least adopted by general consent. We refused to attach to it any reservations or conditions implying injurious suspicions of the honour or good faith of the Canadians. Those were the circumstances under which we proposed, or, if you will, invited this measure. It was assented to by the Legislature of Canada. Would they have passed it had it been pregnant with temptations to smuggling? True, there are persons who for the trifling sum of 2s. would undersell the fair trader; but the man must be mad who would attempt to smuggle corn under this bill, for the cost of conveying the corn would defeat the smuggler's object. When did you hear of smuggling corn from France when the duty here was 25s. or 26s.per quarter? And if, with a channel not more than from twenty to thirty miles across, when the duty was 25s., you had no smuggling from France or Belgium, do you think that, with the interest of the Canadian grower there to watch for himself, and the influence of the Canadian Treasury to take care that the duty is paid, and with the extent of the lakes and the expense of the navigation, smuggling will be carried on? Why, a quarter of wheat weighs 500lb., and the profit that could be got upon smuggling a quarter of wheat would not satisfy the smuggler, while it would be impossible for him to smuggle corn in a great bulk. It is irreconcileable to commonsense that American corn can be smuggled in any quantity; therefore, do not reject the measure on the ground that there is a danger of smuggling, for no such danger exists. But bear in mind what must be the effect upon the Canadian Legislature if, meeting for the first, time after all the events that have occurred, and after passing this act for the purpose of facilitating and increasing their inter course with you, the first step which you take towards that colonial Legislature is to refuse them this measure, in respect to which you cannot show that there is any probability of dangers from its coming into operation. If they think a 3s. duly to their interest, coupling that interest with our advantage, can you deny that, they are the best judges in the matter? Are they not so? Why have you permitted them to legislate? Why have you permitted them to sit as a popular assembly? Why do you say that it is not for the interest of Canada that they should be al lowed to levy a duty of 3s. on the export of Canadian corn? This is very much of the same spirit in which you proposed the extinction of the colonial Legislatures altogether. There is, I say, a disposition on your part to undervalue these colonial Legislatures. They are popular assemblies. While they exist they must be considered as the best judges of the colonial interests. As I said before, the honour and faith of the Government are committed to them. This proposition is not made inadvertently as a single act of a colonial minister,—as a mere colonial measure,—it is brought forward at the instigation of the governor, with the full assent of the Government, by my noble Friend, as the organ of the Government; not deeming it to be a mea sure of any very great importance, little believing that it would excite that opposition or those apprehensions which it has produced; but honestly believing that it would be taken by Canada as an indication of friendly feeling, and cordial goodwill of this country. I believe that it will be so taken, if it meets with the assent of this House. If it is rejected, and undoubtedly the House possesses the power to reject it, I believe that the advantage to be thereby derived to any principle of free-trade will be but a sorry equivalent for the disappointed hopes of the Canadian legislature and the Canadian people.

Lord J. Russell

Before addressing myself to the proposal now before the House, I must remark that I heard with considerable pain the declaration of the right hon. Baronet, that he considered Ca nada that part of the British empire which was most in danger.

Sir R. Peel:

The purport of my observation was, that without the good-will of the people the colony might be in danger.

Lord J. Russell

If such was the pur- port of the observation of the right hon. Baronet, I must say that I think such an expression is most unnecessary, and will improperly lead persons to suppose that the province is in danger. It strikes me that such an observation is quite unprecedented—with regard to any part of her Majesty's dominions. With regard to some parts of this very country, I may ask, are they safe, unless they possess the general support of the people? The same observation surely must apply in all cases, and, therefore, I maintain that such an observation coming from the right hon. Baronet is most imprudent—and tends, as far as possible, to weaken the authority of the Crown in the province in reference to which it was made. The right hon. Baronet, in the first instance, applied himself to the constitutional part of this question, and the right hon. Baronet, like the hon. Member for Bath, her Majesty's learned counsel, insisted on the affront to the prerogative of the Crown, which it would be for the House of Commons to address her Majesty to refuse her assent to this act. The right hon. Baronet said, that it would be a mortification to the Crown; but I conceive it is only constitutional for this House to go up to the Crown and say,— "Your Majesty is ill-advised; the advisers surrounding your Majesty have advised a measure totally inconsistent with sound policy, and we, who are better in formed of the interests and the policy of this country, counsel your Majesty not to give your assent to this bill, which has been procured by their measures." Is there anything inconsistent in such language, anything mortifying to the Crown? Mortifying it may be to the Ministers—but to suppose that it would be mortifying to the Crown seems to be great assumption as if the right hon. Baronet were identifying himself with the Throne and using an unconstitutional indecorum of language not to be expected from the right hon. Baronet. But, with regard to the constitutional merits of this question, I really think the right hon. Baronet has not looked into the act regarding Canada, or into those acts that at former times related to Canada. Sir, there is a provision in the act of union, and in former acts in respect of Canada, saying, especially with regard to certain subjects—such as the position of the Roman Catholic and Protestant clergy, and her Majesty's rights to and in the province, and other matters— that any other act passed in the legislature of Canada shall be reserved for assent in this country, and that it shall be laid for a certain time on the Table of the two Houses of Parliament; and that if either House of Parliament address the Crown, " it shall be void and have no effect;" in fact, not be an act at all. Well, then, the right hon. Baronet will say there is nothing about foreign duties, nothing about customs duties imposed on the frontier; but if the right hon. Baronet had looked to the next section (No. 43) he would have seen that the whole of the legislation, as regards the trade of the province, is reserved to the Imperial Parliament; for it declares That with respect to any new duties and customs the Imperial Parliament shall have all the powers it hitherto had, provided only, that the amount of any custom duties that may hereafter be levied upon Canada shall not be paid into the Treasury of this country, but form part of the revenue of Canada. That clause, if he mistook not, was added to the bill in the House of Lords; certainly, it was a constitutional provision, by which not only is the power of reversing an act of this kind reserved to the Imperial Parliament, but that power was reserved by the act of 1778. Lord Sydenham, whose opinions were quoted by the President of the Board of Trade on a former night, had stated that it would be very gratifying to Canada if she had further powers in this respect. And what did he ask? Did he ask for unrestricted power in Canada with regard to these matters, not subjected to the approval of the two Houses of Parliament? By no means. But he said, it would be gratifying to Canada, that in consideration of their local knowledge, they should have the power of originating such acts, but that they should not have the sanction of the Crown until they had been laid before both Houses of Parliament, and that they should not be allowed to pass contrary to an address to the Crown from either House of Parliament. Such was the doctrine that the noble Lord advocated on the power of the House of Commons or the House of Lords to address the Crown on these subjects; and it is nothing more than, according to their constitution, they have a right to expect. But with respect to this question, there is something more. If it had been an act passed previously by the Legislature of Canada, on a review of their own interests, and then brought before this House, it might have been argued that we ought not to interfere with matters purely colonial; but what is the fact? It is not one of the new acts arising out of the legislation uniting the two provinces of Canada; on the contrary, Lord Sydenham stated in his despatch that this very duty, or a duly of a similar kind, was brought before him, was considered, and was rejected. Therefore it is no special measure, arising out of their own voluntary determination to pass an act of this kind. The measure has been agreed to by the Colonial Legislature only on the suggestion and the bribe offered to them by the noble Lord—first, that the duties here should be reduced—and next, that they should have the whole amount of revenue collected paid into the Colonial Treasury, instead of that of the United Kingdom. Then, I say, that this surely is a case in which there can be no affront offered to the legislation of Canada, if we propose to interfere and address the Crown upon this subject; but, from my own view of the matter, I should propose a much stronger course. I have no objection to lower the duties now existing upon Canadian corn coming into this country; and I shall be quite ready to go into committee on that question; but I would bind the Legislature of Canada by no condition whatever. You may be sure, that the Canadians do not wish for the imposition of this duty upon American corn. They have many reasons against it. The hon. Member for Montrose stated, that there had been a stormy debate, and much anxiety was felt to know whether this corn was to be admitted duty free, in consequence of the imposition of a duty upon American corn and flour. The Canadians wish a boon, but they do not wish to have conditions imposed upon them, which they say, are so disagreeable. Sir, passing from the constitutional consideration of this question, there is one point on which no answer has yet been given. We have at present a very complicated system of corn duties. We have the system of the sliding scale, extending from 20s. to 1s., and we are now to have a duty of 3s on the American frontier, and 1s. here, making a duty of 4s on the Canadian; and in respect of our other possessions, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward's Island, we are to have a sliding scale from 5s to 1s. Why is there to be this triple system? Is it not enough to have a double scale; and will you be pre pared to grant the same boon as you give to Canada to New Brunswick, and your other colonies, if they should ask you for it? To me the whole scheme appears in judicious and futile, and attended with no advantage to counterbalance the disturbance it will cause. I can only account for its being brought forward by supposing that the Government thought, after the great measures of last year, that everything would be so quiet this year, every thing so settled in Scotland, so tranquil in Ireland, that there would be nothing to dispute about, or give interest to a debate, unless some measures of this kind were brought forward. If this were the expectation, it has not been realized, and we might have been spared the discussion on this insignificant measure. What I object to, however, is the principle on which the right hon. Gentleman opposite seems peculiarly to pride himself—on which he made the proposal of last year, and on which, I think, this measure is founded. The right hon. Gentleman declares that the colonies are to be considered as integral parts of the empire, and governed as an English county. With respect to Ca nada being an integral part of the empire, it has been so ever since 1763—ever since the peace of Paris. There is no doubt about that. We defended it with the best blood of our soldiers and sailors. Their best blood was shed in the defence of that colony. But, then, he said that it is to be an English county. That is a different thing altogether, and is an impossibility in itself. What is an English county? An English county is a county which, in respect to its trade and communication with other counties, has everything free. Between Yorkshire and Lincolnshire you don't find any restriction in the communication. You do not find 5 per cent duty levied on the manufactures of Yorkshire when they enter Lincolnshire; but you find, that both counties were equally subject to the burthens of the country and the support of the army and navy; and every part of England, Scotland, and Ire land is alike subject to those burthens, and to the support of the army and navy, by which the empire is defended. Is that the case with Canada? By no means. She bears no part of those burthens. How then will you make Canada an English county, when she imposes 5 per cent duty on your manufactures, and is free from all your public burthens? What, then, is the meaning of this declaration? It seems to me to have a very mischievous meaning indeed, because the meaning of it is, that you will defend monopoly and restriction in every part of our colonial empire. It means, as I think, that you are in many respects so burthened by your past laws, so fettered by the restrictions that have been imposed, that you are unable to adopt those principles which the Ministers declare are the principles of common sense, —namely, the principles of free-trade as affects this country. All those who are for free-trade, must admit that you ought, if possible, to allow people to go and buy where and when they please, and sell where and when they please; that the common sense of the matter is, that that is a subject upon which the people can themselves decide; that they know where to buy the cheapest, and sell the dearest, and that therefore any legislation upon the subject is impertinent and unnecessary. But then you have difficulties to contend with in respect to certain matters in England, and I am one of those who feel the mischief of suddenly taking off these restrictions; still there are but a limited number of subjects,—there are only a few of our manufactures that need any sort of protection; but there is the very important article of corn, and it may be one or two other matters, on which protection is required. In respect to many articles, our climate does not produce them, and therefore we have no need of restriction or monopoly. But if you take the whole circle of our colonies, and the whole of our empire, and apply this system of monopoly, there is hardly an article on which you are not to impose some legislative restriction and bar to the enjoyment and the trade therein. Wine—you have no wine, and therefore you would procure the best from other parts. But the Cape of Good Hope produces wine also, and you therefore give it the advantage of a monopoly. Your own country does not produce sugar; but your West Indian colonies do, and therefore you must give the advantage to the West Indies, and prohibit your people from having sugar cheaper and better from other places. It is exactly the same thing as to this colonial corn. All those papers which lie on the Table of the House, and all the arguments used by these committees and Boards of trade in favour of the restriction, do but show the mischief and evil of it. My noble Friend says, there is a difference of 9s. in the transport along the Erie Canal by way of the St. Lawrence; but taking it at 5s. or 6s. only, the difficulty will arise, that everybody will prefer the Erie Canal by which to send corn to England. The natural inference will be, let us have it by way of the Erie Canal, it is 5s. or 6s. cheaper. But no; your colonial principle of making Canada an English county says, " now let us show what the wisdom of Parliament can do; let us make them bring their corn by the way which they would otherwise never think of." The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade says, because the transport will be 10s. to Montreal, and 12s. or 14s. from Montreal to England, making together 22s. or 24s. for cost of transport alone, which seems to me a reason why corn should not come that way, and should be brought direct from the United States. I am quite ready to admit that there should be some difference in point of duty in favour of Canada over America, but I say let things take their natural course as much as possible, and interfere as little as possible with the trade of the world. What is the proposal of the Government? It is this, to contrive by the niceties of legislation, and by means of new restrictions, to force people to send American corn in this direction, for it is idle to say, that we can now get any Canada grown corn. You say you may hereafter have Canadian corn this way; but I have lately seen a certain letter which was read at some county meeting by the Member for Essex, and which he states was written by a person of very high authority; in the confidence of the Government, of great talent and consideration, which says— That Canadian wheat from the reduction to 1s. duty on its admission into this country, would have some extension of cultivation in consequence; but that at present Lower Ca nada did not grow sufficient for its own consumption, and Upper Canada did little more than counterbalance the deficiency. Then, if this be so, the bill is either to make American wheat come by an expensive and inconvenient route, or else to enforce a production in Canada which does not now exist; to nurture up by means of new, artificial protection, a landed interest, in that colony, in order that some time hence, when it is deemed necessary to alter the Corn-law, you may be embarrassed with all these questions about mortgages and settlements of which we heard too much the other night, I think the Ministers must have an abstract love of protection—free-traders, as they professed themselves to be last year, they must have a love of protection or rather restriction for its own sake, to induce them to propose a protection which has never existed before, in order some time hence to produce all those evils which every man of sense is now deploring, that he cannot at once get rid of in this country. As such is the state of things, I do hope this House will agree to the proposition of my right hon. Friend. Among the apprehensions of Gentlemen connected with the landed interest is, that we shall have a large and an immediate influx of corn from Canada. There may be smug gling—after what I have heard, I cannot venture to deny that; but after seeing what arc the expenses of transporting corn from the top of Upper Canada and the western provinces of America to this country, I cannot believe there would be such an influx of corn as many Gentlemen apprehend. But that there should be a great want of confidence on the part of the farmers is a matter which I can perfectly understand. I can understand very well too, that, not having daily communication with the Members of the Government, the Members of this House do not altogether believe in the reality of that small capacity of Canada for sending corn to this country which the Ministers of the Crown insist on. For the last three years I have seen nothing but deceptive statements on the part of the Members of the present Government as to the corn duties and free-trade; and there seems so much shuffling from one principle to another in their speeches and declarations, that I cannot wonder at the want of confidence shown at the Berkshire meeting, and at other meetings of farmers. Last year we had these contradictions in Gentlemen's own speeches. We were told in one speech that it was a great thing for this country to reduce the price of meat, and to introduce cattle from abroad; and in the same speech we were also told that there would be scarcely any cattle introduced, that it could not affect the price of live cattle, and that nobody need think of the changes but as a matter of the least possible importance. And I think the last week afforded a similar example of such statements. We were discussing the budget, and when the question was if we were to bear the burthen of the income-tax some time longer, the right hon. Gentleman said, I have made such alterations in the customs, and so lowered the price of living in consequence, that many persons tell me they can pay the income-tax very easily out of the savings they make through the operation of the measures of last year. Such is the effect of my measures that you will see the income-tax can be well afforded. That argument was very useful for that day, but it would not do for another, for some time afterwards came the corn-law question, and then the great majority of the advocates of that law, having no such feeling about the lowering of the price of corn, a different story was told; then the whole of the reduction in the prices of provisions was said to be caused by the distress of the manufacturing interest, and the consequent inability of the town population to consume the produce of the agriculturists. When we hear such different doctrines promulgated, and when the Government is so continually shifting about without keeping to any one ground or principle but states on alternate days, or even on one and the same day, and in one and the same speech things the mot contradictory, now saying they are not going to introduce free trade, and that they are defenders of the corn law, and then declaring that the law must be alter ed, when these things are continually happening, what wonder is it that the farmers should not very readily believe what they are told, and that they should be alarmed by apprehensions of new and further alterations in the corn law. My own opinion is, without agreeing in their apprehension, that the farmers have good reason for their mistrust, and seeing the harm and mischief that are done, and the fears that are created, I should say, do not make any changes unless you have a very essential object in view—do not touch these subjects except you make an alteration which the country will experience as benefit. On these grounds, as well as on others, I do not admire the discretion of the Government in introducing this question. As hopes have been held out to Canada, and I find reason to complain of the present scale of duties on corn coming from that colony. I shall be quite willing to consent to a reduction of the duty. But the right hon. Gentleman the President, of the Board of Trade did certainly use a most extraordinary argument, in answering the reproach that the Government had adopted a fixed duty. He said that from 1828 to 1842 there was a fix ed duty, and that it was only changed by the sliding-scale of last year, and there fore it is not an old law under which interests had grown up which we were now about to alter. But does not that argument show the instability and caprice of the Government? They had a fixed duty of 5s., but they were so enamoured with their sliding-scale, that they said, even as to colonial corn, we will use the sliding-scale. A sliding-scale there shall be—a sliding-scale there must be; and accordingly a sliding-scale was established by act of Parliament. And having shown their caprice in changing the then law, they are now going to be capricious again, make a new change, and adopt a fixed duty. Can any thing more plainly show that these Ministers, who call themselves conservative Ministers are now acting in the spirit of mere innovators, and are making changes for the mere sake of change. When an alteration is to be made without a prospect of benefiting either the people of Canada or England, or any mortal soul whatever, then these Ministers say, "We are the men for change, and change we will make, let its consequences be what they may."

The House divided on the question that the words proposed to be left out stand part of the question —Ayes 344; Noes 156: Majority 188.

List of the AYES.
Ackers, J. Bagot, hon. W.
Acland, Sir T. D. Bailey, J.
Acland, T. D, Baillie, Col.
A'Court, Capt. Baillie, H. J.
Acton, Col. Baldwin, B.
Adare, Visct. Balfour, J. M.
Adderly, C. B, Bankes, G.
Ainsworth, P. Baring, hon. W. B.
Aldam, W. Baskerville, T. B. M.
Alexander, N. Bateson, R.
Alford, Visct. Bell, M.
Alex, J. P. Bentinck, Lord G.
Antrobus, E. Beresford, Major
Arbuthnot, hon. H. Berkeley, hon. G. F.
Arkwright, G. Bernard, Visct.
Ashley, Lord Blackburne, J. I.
Astell, W. Bodkin, W. H.
Attwood, M. Boldero, H. G.
Borthwick, P. Eliot, Lord
Botfield, B. Ellice, rt.hon. E.
Bowes, J. Ellice, E.
Bowring, Dr. Emlyn, Visct.
Boyd, J. Escott, B.
Bradshaw, J. Esmonde, Sir T.
Bramston, T. W. Estcourt, T. G. B.
Broadley, H. Farnham, E. B.
Brooke, Sir A. B. Feilden, W.
Brownrigg, J. S. Fellowes, E.
Bruce, Lord E. Ferguson, Col.
Bruce, C. L. C. Filmer, Sir E.
Buckley, E. Fitzroy, hon. H.
Bulkeley, Sir R. B. W. Fleetwood, Sir P. H.
Bunbury, T. Flower, Sir J.
Burrell, Sir C. M. Follett, Sir W. W.
Burroughes, H. N. Ffolliott, J.
Campbell, Sir H. Forbes, W.
Cardwell, E. Forester, hn. G. C. W.
Cartwright, W.R. Forster, M.
Castlereagh, Visct. Fox, S. L.
Chapman, A. Fuller, A. E.
Charteris, hon. F. Gaskell, J. Milnes
Chelsea, Visct. Gladstone. rt.hn.W.E.
Chetwode, Sir J. Gladstone, Capt.
Cholmondeley, hn.H. Glynne, Sir S. R.
Christopher, R. A. Godson, R.
Chute, W. L. W. Gordon, hon. Capt.
Clayton, R. R. Gore, M.
Clive, Visct. Gore, W. O.
Clive, hon. R. H. Gore, W. R. O.
Collett, W. B. Goring, C.
Collett, J. Goulburn, rt. hon. H.
Colquhoun, J. C. Graham, rt. hn. Sir J.
Colvile, C. R. Granby, Marquess of
Compton, H. C. Grange, J. C.
Connolly, Col. Greene, T.
Coote, Sir C. H. Grimston, Visct.
Copeland, Ald. Grogan, E.
Corry, rt. hon. H. Hale, R. B.
Courtenay, Lord Halford, H.
Cresswell, B. Hamilton, J. H.
Cripps, W. Hamilton, G. A.
Currie, R. Hamilton, W. J.
Damer, hon. Col. Hamilton, Lord C.
Darby, G. Hampden, R.
Davies, D. A. S. Hanmer, Sir J.
Dawnay, hon. W. H. Harcourt, G. G.
Denison, E. B. Hardinge, rt.hn.SirH.
Dickinson, F. H. Hardy, J.
Disraeli, B. Hatton, Capt. V.
Divett, E. Hayes, Sir E.
Dodd, G. Heathcote, Sir W.
Douglas, Sir H. Heneage, G. H. W.
Douglas, Sir C. E. Henniker, Lord
Douglas, J. D. S. Hepburn, Sir T. B.
Douro, Marq. of Herbert, hon. S.
Dowdeswell, W. Hervey, Lord A.
Drummond, H.H. Hillsborough, Earl of
Duffield, T. Hinde, J.H.
Dugdale, W. S. Hodgson, F.
Duke, Sir J. Hodgson, R.
Duncombe, T. Hogg, J. W.
Duncombe, hon. A. Holmes, hn. W. A'C
East, J. B. Hope, hon. C.
Egerton, W. T. Hope, A.
Egerton, Sir P. Hope, G. W.
Hornby, J. Mordaunt, Sir J
Houldsworth, T. Morgan, O.
Howard, P. H. Morgan, C.
Hughes, W. B. Morris, D.
Hume, J. Mundy, E. M,
Hussey, A. Murray, C. R. S.
Hussey, T. Neeld, J.
Hutt, W. Newport, Visct,
Ingestre, Visct, Newry, Visct.
Inglis, Sir R, H. Nicholl, rt. hon, J
Irving, J. Norreys, Lord
James, W. Northland, Visct
James, Sir W. C. O'Brien, A, S.
Jermyn, Earl O'Brien, W. S.
Jocelyn, Visct. Owen, Sir J.
Johnson, Gen, Packe, C. W.
Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H. Paget, Lord W.
Jones, Capt. Pakington, J. S.
Kelburne, Visct Patten, J. W.
Kelly, F. R. Peel, rt. hn. Sir R
Kemble, H Peel, J.
Ker, D. S. Pennant, hon. Col
Kirk, P Philips, M.
Knatchbull. rt. hn.SirE Phillpotts, J.
Knight, H. G. Pigot, Sir R.
Knightley, Sir C. Plumptre, J. P.
Lambton, H. Pollington, Visct.
Lascelles, hon. W. S. Pollock, Sir F.
Law, hon. C. E. Ponsonby, hn, C. F
Lawson, A. Powell, Col.
Lefroy, A. Pringle, A
Legh, G. C. Rashleigh, W.
Lemon, Sir C. Reid, Sir J. R.
Lennox, Lord A. Repton, G. W. J.
Leslie, C. P. Richards, R.
Liddell, hon H. T. Roche, Sir D.
Lincoln, Earl of Roebuck, J. A.
Lindsay, H. H. Rolleston, Col.
Lockhart, W. Rose, rt. hon. Sir G
Lopes, Sir R. Round, C. G.
Lord Mayor of Lon- Round, J.
don Rous, hon. Capt.
Lowther, J. H. Rumbold, C. E
Lowther, hon. Col. Rushbrooke, Col.
Lyall, G. Russell, C.
Lygon, hon. Gen. Russell, J. D. W
Mackenzie, T. Ryder, hon. G. D
Mackenzie, W. F. Sanderson, It,
Mackinnon, W. A. Sandon, Visct.
Maclean, D. Scarlett, hon. R. C
McGeachy, F. A Seymour, Sir H. B.
Mahon, Visct. Shaw, rt. hon, F.
Mainwaring, T Sheppard, T.
Mangles, R. D. Shirley, E. J
Manners, Lord C. S. Shirley, E. P.
Marsham, Visct. Sibthorp, Col.
Marsland, H. Smith, A.
Martin, C. W Smith, J. A.
Marton, G. Smith, rt. hn. T. B. C.
Master, T. W. C Smyth, Sir H.
Masterman, J. Smythe, hon. G
Maunsell, T. P. Smollett, A.
Maxwell, hon. J. P. Somerset, Lord G.
Meynell, Capt. Sotheron, T. H. S.
Mildmay, H. St. J. Spry, Sir S. T
Miles, P. W. S. Standish, C.
Milnes, R. M. Stanley, Lord
Stanley, hon. W. O, Vesey, hon, T.
Stewart, J. Vivian, J. E.
Stuart, H. Waddington, H. S.
Sturt, H. C. Wakley, T.
Sutton, hon. H. M. Walsh, Sir J. B.
Talbot, C. R. M. Ward, H. G.
Taylor, T. E. Welby, G. E.
Tennent, J. E, Wellesley, Lord C.
Thesiger, F. Whitmore, T. C.
Thompson, Ald. Wilbraham, hn. R. B.
Thornhill, G. Williams, W.
Tollemache, hn. F. J Williams, T. P.
Tollemache, J. Wood, Col.
Tomline, G. Wood, Col. T.
Trench, Sir F. W. Wortley, hon. J. S.
Trevor, hon G. R. Wyndham, Col. C.
Trotter, J. Wynn, Sir W. W.
Turner, E. Yorke, hon. E. T.
Turnor, C. Young, J.
Vane, Lord H. TELLERS..
Verner, Col. Fremantle, Sir T.
Vernon, G. H. Clerk, Sir G.
List of the NOES
Anson, hon. Col. Dick, Q.
Archbold, R. Dull, J.
Arundel and Surrey, Duncan, Visct
Earl of Duncan, G
Bailey, J. Jun. Dundas, Adm,
Bannerman, A Dundas, D.
Barclay, D. Dundas, hn. J. C
Baring, rt, hn. F. T. Du Pre, C. G.
Barnard, E. G. Eaton, R. J.
Barrington, Visct. Etwall, R.
Barron, Sir H. W. Ferguson, Sir R. A.
Bell, J. Ferrand, W. B.
Benett, J. Fitzroy, Lord C.
Berkeley, hon. C. Fitzwilliam, hn. G. W.
Berkeley, hon. Capt. French, F,
Berkeley, hon. H. F Gill, T
Blackstone, W. S. Gisborne, T.
Blewitt, R.J. Gore, hon. R.
Brotherton, J. Greenaway, C.
Browne, hon. W Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.
Buck, L. W. Grosvenor, Lord R.
Busfeild, W, Guest, Sir J
Byng, G. Hallyburton, Lord G
Byng, rt. hon. G. S. Hastie, A.
Carew, hon. R. S. Hawes, B.
Cave, hon, R. O. Hay, Sir A. E.
Cavendish, hon. C. C. Hayter, W. G.
Cavendish, hon. G. H. Heathcote, G. J.
Childers, J. W. Heneage, E.
Clay, Sir W. Henley, J. W
Clements, Visct. Hill, Lord M
Cochrane, A. Hollond, R.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E Horsman, E,
Cowper, hon. W. F. Hoskins, K.
Craig, W. G. Howard, hn. C. W. G.
Curteis, H. B. Howard, hon. J. K.
Dalmeny, Lord Howard, Lord
Dalrymple, Capt. Howard, hon, H.
Dawson, hon. T. V. Howick, Visct
Denison, J. E. Labouchere, rt. hn. H.
D'Eyncourt, right hon. Langston, F. H.
C, T. Layard, Capt.
Leveson, Lord Ross, D. R.
Long, W. Russell, Lord J
Macaulay, rt. hn.T.B, Russell, Lord E.
Maher, V. Scholefield, J.
Manners, Lord J. Seale, Sir J. H.
March, Earl of Seymour, Lord
Marjoribanks, S. Sheil, rt. ho. It. L.
Marshall, W. Smith, rt. hn. R. V.
Martin, J. Stansfield, W. R. C.
Maule, rt. hon. F. Stanton, W. H.
Miles, W. Stewart, P. M.
Mitcalfe, H. Stuart, Lord J.
Mitchell, T. A. Stuart, W. V.
Morison, Gen. Strickland, Sir G
Muntz, G. F. Strutt, E.
Murphy, F. S, Tancred, H. W.
Napier, Sir C. Towneley, J.
Neeld, J. Traill, G.
Norreys, Sir D. J, Trelawny, J. S.
O'Brien, J. Trollope, Sir J.
O'Connell, M. J. Tyrell, Sir J. T.
Ogle, S. C. H. Vivian, J. H.
Ossulston, Lord Vivian, hon. Capt.
Paget, Col. Wall, C. B.
Paget, Lord A. Watson, W. H.
Palmer, R. Wawn, J. T.
Palmerston, Visct. Wemyss, Capt.
Parker, J. Wilde, Sir T.
Pechell, Capt. Wilshere, W.
Pendarves, E. W. W, Winnington, Sir T. E.
Philips, G. R. Wodehouse, E.
Pigot, rt. hon. D. Wood, B.
Plumridge, Capt. Wood, C.
Ponsonby, hn. J. G. Worsley, Lord
Protheroe, E. Wyse, T.
Pusey, P,
Redington, T. N. TELLERS.
Rendlesham, Lord Tufnell, H.
Rice, E. R. Thornely, T.

House went into committe pro forma, and resumed. Adjourned at a quarter to one.