HC Deb 13 March 1846 vol 84 cc1010-41

The Report on the Customs and Corn Importation Resolutions was brought up. On the Question that they be read a Second Time,


thereupon rose to move that the Resolutions be read a second time that day six months. He felt bound to make this Motion, because he considered they were about striking a fatal blow at the prosperity of this country, and to put at hazard the national credit, by the removal of protection to British industry—that system under which commerce, agriculture, and manufactures, had attained their present state of greatness and renown. It was under that principle of protection to native industry, that they had been able to compete successfully with foreign countries; under that system had grown up their ships, their Colonies, and their commerce, which had excited even the envy and admiration of Napoleon Bonaparte, who declared he would give half of his empire for them. He thought that by abandoning that principle they would be in serious danger of losing these advantages. What grounds had been urged for abandoning this principle? They had been told that experience had proved that those articles from which protection had been removed, had increased in price; in fact, that by the removal of protection, the price of the article had universally increased. [Sir R. PEEL: The price universally increased! I did not say so.] He regretted if he had misrepresented the right hon. Baronet; but he certainly understood the right hon. Baronet to argue from the fact, that the price of cattle had risen under the provisions of the late Tariff—that the diminished protection had proved a benefit rather than an injury to the interests for which protection had been taken. He thought that the argument of the right hon. Baronet had been already fully answered. It was proved, beyond a doubt, that the price which butchers' meat had maintained, had arisen from causes very different from the removal of protection. He would not weary the House by details upon the subject; but he might just briefly state, that, owing to disease and a dry season, graziers were obliged to send their cattle to market before they were fat—they had no food for them: added to this, a panic had seized the graziers on account of the Government measure—a low price was the natural consequence of these things at the time, and a short supply in subsequent years, which short supply naturally increased the price. He would not go at length into a refutation of all the arguments that had been advanced by the right hon. Baronet, showing how the removal of protection had favourably influenced trade and manufactures; but he would just mention one department of manufactures, which came under his own immediate knowledge—the glove trade—for he resided in the neighbourhood of the largest glove manufactories in England. This experiment was the first tried in free trade; and the effect of this experiment was, that out of 100 manufactories existing at that time in Worcester, there were only forty now remaining; and by the last census, there were 800 houses vacant in that city. He knew a number of glove manufacturers, who were maintaining their families in comfort, contributing their shares towards the public burdens and to an increase of the wealth of the country, who were thrown out of employment, and driven into indigence for the remainder of their days, by the removal of protection. What became of the poor operatives who had been brought up to this trade, and could do nothing else? Their labour was their capital—their skill had been rendered valueless—they were thrown out of employment, could work at none other, they became a burden upon society, and were reduced to the utmost destitution. The noble Lord the Member for the city of London, had, in his work on the Constitution, shown the fallacy of the argument, that when one employment fails, another can be taken up; he stated that it could not be done—the blacksmith could not become a silk weaver; he showed that it was not safe to be guided by general principles, but that they should look to practical effects, and take care how they meddled with trade. Not only in Worcester, but in Hereford and the adjoining neighbourhood the glove trade was extensively carried on; but in many of the latter districts there was not now a vestige of it. Was it not mere clap-trap, therefore, to talk of buying in the cheapest and selling in the dearest markets? They bought cheapest in the French markets, in this instance, and they paid very dearly for it, indeed, for they ruined a very important branch of their own manufactures. Cheapness did not always consist in the small quantity of money paid for an article; for although at a low price, the article was often too dearly bought, when at the expense of their own trade: to the money paid must be added the cost of the destruction of capital, and the ruin of the individuals whose skill, whose capital, and whose labour was involved in the issue. The noble Lord the Member for Lynn had shown so clearly and so ably the evils which the removal of protection had caused in the silk trade, that he felt it unnecessary to enter upon it. No one could have listened to the unanswered and unanswerable speech of that noble Lord, without being convinced of the evil which resulted from what was called buying in the cheapest and selling in the dearest market. The arguments of the noble Lord had not been answered—they were irrefragable. It was a vain anticipation for hon. Members to expect that any measures under the present monetary system, would ensure continued prosperity to trade and manufactures. Every year showed that some branch of industry was in great distress and depression. Manufactures suf- fered one year — then agriculture; they probably both revived in another year; and then it was imagined that the country was in a prosperous state. But it was all a false prosperity. After the termination of the war in 1815, very general and extreme distress ensued. Of course, causes for this were sought. First, they blamed the change from war to peace; but the evil remained so long that practical men began at length to see that it could not be attributable to that cause, and they were forced to find out another. It was next attributed to over-abundant harvests; the bounties of Providence were blamed as the cause of national suffering. Then followed the time of wet seasons, and the distress was ascribed this time, with too much truth, to the bad weather; but that temporary evil passed away, and still the nation suffered; and then they were driven to search for some other cause. It was next attributed to our having too many people; and emigration was proposed as the remedy. We were to ship off our surplus population. But of what did that surplus consist? Not the drones of society. They would have been of no more use abroad than they were at home. No; it was the industrious, the skilful, and the small-capital men of the country that were to be exported; and to show how little of real knowledge, or of sound judgment, were brought to bear on the subject, he would mention the singular fact, that at the time to which he alluded, two Committees were sitting upstairs, who carried on their deliberations next door to each other, the one for the purpose of preventing more corn from coming into the country, and the other to send away the mouths. Too many loaves, and too many men—such was the singular paradox which these Committees attempted to meet. Such were the remedies which, from time to time, had been adopted for these ever-recurring evils. Now, what was the master evil—what was the cause of all their distress—the cause which was even now in operation, and which would certainly not be removed by the propositions that were now before the House? He did not know whether he dared to mention it; but he would throw himself upon the kind indulgence of the House. He never had in that House at any length entered into consideration upon the subject, and he would entreat them to hear him, while he briefly explained what he really thought was the cause of all their distresses, and, having done that, he would leave it. The monster evil was the Currency Bill of 1819. [Laughter, and cries of "Hear, hear!"] He knew that it was his misfortune, and a deep and a heavy misfortune he felt it to be, to differ from a large majority of the House; but he would not shrink from stating his opinions in opposition to theirs; for, as long as he held a seat in that House, he felt it to be his duty to declare his opinion. He, therefore, would not shrink from stating as his opinion, that to the Bill of 1819 was to be attributed all those alternations of false prosperity, and consequent reactions of adversity, they had been struggling with. Ever since the Bill of 1819, remedies had been applied to the ever-recurring evils, and applied in vain. They had refused to inquire into the real cause of these evils, and till they did so, they never would find a remedy: and he warned his right hon. Friend (Sir R. Peel) that his present propositions would prove as complete a failure as any of the remedies that had been formerly proposed. They might say Committees had been appointed. But how had those Committees conducted their inquiries? Would it be believed, that on the first inquiry, which was instituted in the House of Lords, the following incident occurred between a noble Lord and a director of the Bank of England. The director was throwing out a hint that it might be a dangerous step to adopt the course then proposed of returning to a gold payment. He was met by Lord Grenville in this curious way. His Lordship said— Sir, we sent for you not to toll us of the consequences of returning to a gold standard—not to give an opinion as to the propriety of the attempt; but we sent for you to ascertain the best way of carrying out this object — an object which we have already resolved upon. That remark at once shut the mouths of practical men; and those who saw the dangers which were coming were prevented from laying before the country their opinions on this essential point. In order to a real inquiry into the merits of this subject, they must call before them practical men, not pseudo-philosophers—men who bigotedly adhered to abstract principles, without regard to the obstacles that lay in the way of reducing them to practice. He would illustrate his meaning by an idea that just occurred to him. Suppose a man were in a wood on a fine starlight night; he did not know his way out, except generally that his way lay towards the north. He fixed his eye, therefore, upon the polar star, and proceeded confidently onwards, but before going far he came to a deep river over which he could not pass, and thus in spite of himself he was obliged to turn back to the south. That, he thought, was an exact illustra-tration of the value of abstract principles without regard to practical difficulties. Yet this was the course now adopted. They were all for free trade, never minding the difficulties into which these principles and a circulation based on bullion would throw the country; not caring for the destruction of capital, manufactures, and trade: they had resolved to go back to the ancient standard of value, caring nothing for the consequences that ensued, showing that without hesitation they would destroy a nation rather than abandon what they called a principle. He called upon the House not to expect any good from the plans that were now proposed, for he believed they would produce a great and severe aggravation of the evil. He hoped they would rather follow the advice of the right hon. Baronet the Secretary of State for the Home Department, who once thought as he now did. It was that right hon. Baronet who taught him on this great subject; and though he might now think proper to dispense with his former speeches and publication, he could not got rid of the impression those speeches and that publication had made upon him. He was the admiring pupil of the hon. Baronet of Netherby. He could not be an unconvinced follower of the right hon. the Secretary of State. But it might be said, what was wrong in the Bill of 1819? He would tell them in a few words. They commenced the war with a debt of 300,000,000l., and with a trifling depreciation in the currency. They went on, and during the war the debt increased to 800,000,000l., and they had created a depreciation in the currency of more than 33 per cent. What did they do at the end of the war? They resolved at once to go back to the ancient standard of value. They said the public faith required it, and that they had always intended to go back to that ancient standard. But how could hon. Gentlemen hold that opinion when they recollected what took place in 1810 and 1811? In the first of these years, after a debate of five nights, and in the second year, after a debate of six or seven nights, they came to this memorable conclusion—and he was not sure but his right hon. Friend the present First Lord of the Treasury himself had voted for the proposition—that there was no depreciation in the currency—that there was no departure from the standard value—that a 1l. note and a shilling were for all legal purposes of equal value with a golden guinea; and yet after this, in 1819, they called upon the country to recognise the depreciation which before they denied to exist. They said that justice required them to return to a point which they formerly declared they had never left, and to find a remedy for an evil which they before declared had no existence. But it ought to be remembered that country gentlemen and others confiding in the Resolution of the House in 1810, had made settlements for their younger children—had entered into mortgages and agreements, having no fear of the country returning to the ancient standard of value, because this House had declared that they had never moved from it. They expected, therefore, that the charges they had made, and the burdens they had consented to, would remain in force to be measured in the currency in which they had been incurred. But these persons were at once turned round upon by the House, who said to them, we must return to the ancient standard of value. But they were not even content with that—they did more than return to the ancient standard of value. The ancient standard consisted of gold and silver jointly, with precautions against melting and exportation. He knew that those precautions were evaded; but he knew that the evasion took place at considerable risk; but now they had altogether thrown the trade of exportation open, and removed the moral checks which formerly existed; and the effect of the present measure would be to aggravate the evil, as the bullion would more than ever be exported for corn. He knew this was denied on the other side, as it was argued that foreigners would take our manufactures in exchange; but he thought such results would not ensue. Foreigners bringing their corn to this country would have the option of taking the taxed manufactures of this country in exchange; or they had another option, and that they would make use of, of going to the Bank of England for gold, and then carrying that gold away and buying with it the untaxed manufactures of other countries. That was the process which would go on; and he warned his right hon. Friend, that many and great as were the difficulties which pressed upon him now, he would have this one added, that the gold would go out of the country which ought to be spent in the wages of labour at home; causing a want of food on the one hand, and on the other a want of the means of paying the wages of labour. With reference to the subject in hand, he begged to say, that he agreed with his hon. Friends near him on this important point—that protection to native industry was essential to the prosperity of all classes in the country. He would say more—that it was essential to the maintenance of the public credit—essential to the safety of the Crown—essential to the well-being of the community. On what principle could they defend the introduction of foreign, labour to compete with home labour, unless the two were placed on equal terms? He believed they were all agreed in this, that taxation fell ultimately upon labour; and therefore he claimed protection, not for any class, but he claimed it for the British labourer; for as he bore a large share of the taxation of this country, no foreigner ought to be permitted to compete with him, unless he contributed the same share to the taxation and the local burdens of the country. That principle this country had always maintained, and it was by the maintenance of that principle that she had risen to such a high station—that she had been enabled to establish her ships, Colonies, and commerce. He wished to preserve them. It was essential to maintain the principle of protection, if this kingdom were to be, as she had ever been, the mistress of the seas, the envy and admiration of the world. He hailed the passing of the Canadian Corn Bill, for he thought there ought to be free trade with all our Colonies. They ought to be treated, as what, in fact, they were, parts of the British Empire: like counties, as much an integral portion of the kingdom as Dorsetshire and Hampshire. They had adopted that principle with respect to Canada; but what were they now doing? They were about to take the cup which they had raised to the lips of the Canadians, and to dash it to the ground. Canada was preparing for the new corn trade—she had built mills—she had sown a greater breadth of land; but now the corn to compete with the produce of this country would come, not from the Canadians, who would take our manufactures in return, but from countries on the Continent, who would take our gold in return. In illustration of this, he stated that he met, two days ago, a gentleman in a railway carriage near Coven- try, who told him that several large orders for watches from Canada had already been countermanded, because the Canadians saw that the necessary effect of the proposed measures would be to stop the importation of corn from Canada. He (Mr. Spooner) thought it right to say, that while he agreed with his hon. Friends near him on the principle of protection, he differed from them on the question of the sliding-scale, which he thought militated against the only principle on which protection could be claimed. Protection was claimed and given on this principle, that whatever articles came into this country must bear an equal share of taxation with corresponding productions of this country. Now, that was not the principle of the sliding-scale. The duty was not laid according to the taxation bearing on the home produce, but according to the price which the home produce brought in the market. He believed that the sliding-scale aggravated the evils of the monetary system, because under it corn was kept up till it reached its highest average, and then a great glut was suddenly let in upon the market. He thought the sliding-scale bad in principle, and it had been proved to be bad in practice; but much as he preferred a fixed duty, even that, under the present system of currency, would be totally inefficacious. These, he begged to state, were no new doctrines of his own. They were opinions which had been published in the year 1826 by his right hon. Friend the Home Secretary; and he would assure his right hon. Friend that nothing would remove from his mind the impression his writings had produced; and he would tell his right hon. Friend now, that he did not believe he would rise and say he had altered his mind. The hon. Gentleman then proceeded to quote the following passages from Sir James Graham's work on Corn and Currency:It is impossible to establish a fixed protecting duty with fairness, when the standard of value is itself unfair. This appears to me," said the right hon. Baronet, addressing the landowners, "the very core of the whole subject—the point on which you have committed the most fatal errors. Yon have fought for high prices, and concurred in measures which render them impossible. You have retained your monopoly, but consented to a change in the value of money, which must destroy its efficacy. The ground which you still endeavour to defend is no longer tenable; and the points which you surrendered, ensure your defeat. If I might venture to allude to the conduct of the landed interest in this last Session of Parliament, I should say, that it affords conclusive evidence of the blindest adherence to the single object of high prices, coupled with an entire misapprehension of the means by which this object might be attained, and of the general principles on which prices must depend. The price of commodities, and of corn amongst the rest, is compounded of two ingredients—of the supply in the market compared with the demand, and also of the value of money; itself the measure of value, liable, however, to great variation, in proportion to its quantity. He found also that the right hon. Baronet, in speaking of the compact which he affirmed to have been made between the landlords and those who concerted and maintained the monetary measures introduced in 1819, thus expresses himself:— For it is well known, that in this last Session (1825) they bargained with the King's Ministers to support the further contraction of the currency, on condition that the Government did not destroy their monopoly by a repeal of the Corn Laws. And then further, the right hon. Baronet remarked— So far from urging the Government to bring separately under the view of the Legislature the questions of currency and corn, it was the decided interest of the landowners to have insisted on a careful revision of both these subjects conjointly. They are in themselves intimately blended; it is absurd to talk of price without reference to money; and it is impossible to alter the quantity of money without affecting prices. Disjointed discussion on these two vital points is the precise cause of the dangerous conclusions now sanctioned by Parliament, which threaten with ruin and degradation the whole class of existing proprietors. Now, he would appeal to his right hon. Friend, whether he still held those opinions. If his right hon. Friend did not, he hoped, before this debate was brought to a close, his right hon. Friend would give the House some clear and substantial reasons for his change of opinion; and if his right hon. Friend did so, he would not say that he would not be converted, but he would not surrender his opinions while unconverted, and he must continue to hold his present views. Much had been said of the danger that had pressed upon them a few years ago, when they had a bad trade and high provisions. No one could be more sensible of that danger than he was, living at the time in a manufacturing district, and being an active magistrate in the neighbourhood; but he could tell the right hon. Baronet at the head of Her Majesty's Government that the high prices of provisions did not cause the bad state of trade. No, the bad trade arose from circumstances which could be easily explained in Committee, or, in that House, if he were not afraid of trespassing upon their indulgence. But if they would give him a Committee to investigate these matters, he would show that that distress had been occasioned by circumstances which would again occur—which had compelled the Bank of England to withdraw the circulating medium to force prices down to the level of the Continent, in order to retain gold in this country. Hence the misery, the discontent, which they all so deeply deplored; and he warned the right hon. Baronet that at no distant period he would see the same distress recurring. The nation was again upon the eve of a great change. Many plans had been tried to cure evils pressing upon the nation, but without avail. A large, sudden, and evanescent amount of trade had recently manifested itself in the country. This could not last. Commerce would again languish; and if the moment recurred when a high price of food followed a reduction of wages, the consequences would not be obviated by such measures as were now introduced by the right hon. Baronet. The evil would then be enhanced by the loss of the gold which would leave the country. That evil would be greatly aggravated by the disappointment which would be felt by the working classes, who were led to expect from the proposed measures a low price of food, and a continuance, at least, of the present rate of wages. In this they would be sorely disappointed. Before he sat down, he would say a few words to his noble and hon. Friends on his right hand, who more immediately represented the landed interest. Did they wish that the aristocracy should maintain the position they had so long held—a position essential to the preservation of our ancient institutions—the integrity of the Constitution, and the safety of the Crown? Did they wish to retain their titles and estates, and to hand them down inviolate to their descendants? Let them examine this question, use the power they possessed, and force the Ministers to institute a searching inquiry into the cause of the evils of which they complained. They must not trust to a continuance of the system which had ever proved, and would prove inefficient for the purposes for which they advocated it. He would call also on the fundholder, if he wished his property to be rendered safe, and if he desired that public credit should continue unassailed, to oppose the measure now before the House, and to join the landlords in compelling the Minister to institute inquiry. He called upon the merchant and manufacturer, if they desired to secure a trade to themselves and their dependents, by which steady profits were to be realized, and to put down that system of wild speculation by which, though some had made large fortunes, multitudes had been ruined—to join in calling for and in forcing this inquiry. To the statesman he would say—if he were desirous to restore harmony, to put an end to the unconstitutional proceedings of the Anti-Corn-Law League, and to other dangerous meetings—if he wished, by restoring prosperity to all classes, to maintain peace, safety, and prosperity—to yield this inquiry, and no longer delude himself by expecting efficiently to remedy the evils under which we had so long suffered, while a system was maintained that had so long been the great monster evil, aggravating every other evil, and paralysing every remedy. The hon. Member concluded by submitting his Motion to the House.


said, the original Motion, to which the hon. Member had moved an Amendment, was, that they should take into consideration the Report upon certain Resolutions which had been agreed to in a Committee of that House, for the purpose of making alterations in the duties levied upon the importation of certain articles of Customs. Before that Report was brought up, numerous petitions had been presented to that House, setting forth the inconvenience which every description of trade in the country was suffering in consequence of the uncertainty which prevailed as to whether any or what reductions were to take place. He believed, though a difference of opinion might exist as to some of the propositions included in the Resolutions before the House, yet that with respect to the propriety of a very large proportion of those reductions in duty, there was no difference of opinion whatever. The hon. Member for Birmingham, the representative of one of the greatest manufacturing and commercial towns in the country, had professed to meet those Resolutions by proposing that they should be reported that day six months; but the main argument of his speech was that a great mistake had been committed some years ago with regard to the arrangement of the monetary system of the country; and he contended that a Committee should be appointed to inquire whether all the causes of the distress of the country were not owing to the measure of 1819? It was no doubt a matter of the greatest importance to this country that our currency and monetary system should be placed upon a substantial and sure foundation; but he confessed he was extremely surprised that upon that occasion, when every hour was of consequence, the hon. Member should have attempted to divert the attention of the House from the question properly before it to that subject. He should have thought that the hon. Member would have attempted to have shown that some injurious consequences would have arisen to the country in consequence of the adoption of certain of these measures, [Mr. SPOONER: I intend to do so by and by.] If the hon. Member meant to do so by and by, he felt it to be quite unnecessary to consume the time of the House now. He was obliged to the hon. Member for saying that this was only a preliminary step. When the hon. Member referred to particular items, he should feel bound to state the reasons which had induced Her Majesty's Government to propose these deductions. As it was, after the explanation which the hon. Member had given, he felt that he should be only wasting the time of the House if he went on now.


did not know whether many hon. Members were aware of the fact, that contemporaneously with the introduction of these great free-trade measures a Bill had been proposed and read a second time for extending the operation of the Bill of 1819 (of which the hon. Member for Birmingham complained) to Scotland and Ireland. The course adopted by the Government was this—that whilst they brought in measures to expose our domestic industry to foreign competition, and thereby to reduction of price, they at the same time introduced measures restrictive of the currency, which would also depress prices; thereby doubly attacking native industry and the value of its products. He knew the subject was distasteful to the House; but he was quite confident that they could not fully appreciate the effect of any great measures like the present, which would cause a considerable reduction in the price of the articles produced by the labour of the country, if they looked solely at the question of price as a matter between the supply and demand for those articles, and knew nothing of the relation of the medium of exchange to articles which were to be exchanged; for price consisted of two elements: the relation of the articles to be exchanged to each other; and, secondly, of their relation to the medium of exchange—of the value to be given by each party for the use of it. Those who considered price without reference to this second element, saw only half its bearing.


did not wish to press his Motion to a division. He only desired to point out the real aspect of matters, and in some degree to point attention to the injury which had arisen from measures that had hitherto been passed. He would, therefore, withdraw the Motion he had proposed.

Amendment withdrawn. Resolutions to be read a second time.

On the Question that Bronze Manufactures not enumerated, be charged with a duty for every 100l. value, 10l.,


said, that if the proposed reduction of duty with regard to articles of bronze of foreign manufacture were agreed to, several valuable manufactories in Birmingham would be destroyed, and a great many men thrown out of employment. He would move the omission of the article, and that the present duty be retained.


hoped his hon. Colleague would withdraw his Motion. He could not understand upon what principle they could abolish protection as regarded land, and not as regarded manufactures. He had told his constituents that if the duty on foreign corn were taken off, they would have to submit to the duty on foreign manufactures being reduced, or perhaps abolished. He had called upon them to deliberate upon the subject, and to decide one way or the other, and they had accordingly decided on trying the policy of reduction. The only fault which he found with that policy was, that the whole of the protective duties were not equally reduced, and upon that point he begged to ask the right hon. Baronet opposite whether he would take measures at the end of three years for accomplishing that object?


would answer the questions of both hon. Gentlemen. The first hon. Member for Birmingham had stated that if the protective duty on foreign bronze articles were reduced from 15l. to 10l. several bronze manufacturers in Birmingham would be ruined. Now what had been the effect of the present duty? The whole amount of duty paid on the importation of articles of bronze of foreign manufacture during the last year was only 78l. They were now going to continue a duty of 10 per cent, and the hon. Gentleman had undertaken to prophesy that the bronze manufacturers of Birmingham would be ruined. He hoped that prediction would be recorded, for it would, perhaps, be worth while to remember it. He would venture to say, that with a duty on the foreign article of 10 per cent, the bronze manufactures of Birmingham would not be ruined; and that in a year hence the amount of duty paid, though it might exceed 78l., would not be such as to cause the slightest apprehension. With respect to the question of the other hon. Member for Birmingham, he thought he had very wisely dissented from the opinion of his Colleague. The hon. Member had asked him the question which the noble Lord opposite had asked him the other night—viz., whether he was prepared to fix any particular period when the protection now continued should terminate? That was a question for the consideration of Parliament. If the hon. Gentleman and those who represented the manufacturing interest should come forward and say that there should be a particular time at which such protection should absolutely cease, he was not at all sure that he would not acquiesce in their views.


wished for free trade in the true sense of the word, and thought that as the duty had been reduced on the manufactured article, the duty on copper ore, a raw material, should also be reduced.


said, that upon the question now before the House, he wished to observe that he had consulted a portion of his constituency residing in Birmingham, because he had, of course, been desirous of not advancing opinions on matters on which he did not possess the opinions of practical persons; and he could assure the House that, day by day, as the measure was more fully seen, so, day by day, did the opinion gain ground that distress must follow, if passed into a law; and that those who felt its effects would not easily be able to recover the injury it must do them. In support of the statement made by the hon. Member for Birmingham, he would read a letter to the House he had received from a person to whom he had applied for information: not feeling himself capable of affording a practical opinion, he had obtained the judgment of one far better versed than himself in the matter. This letter, as he had before observed, would support the statement made by one of the Members for the town of Birmingham; and it had emanated from one of the largest manufacturers in the place, who said he had also consulted several of the principal merchants there, and their conviction was, that in those cases— Where much manual labour was required, free competition with France, Belgium, and Prussia, would be very injurious, and unless we obtained reciprocal favours, would, in many instances, be ruinous," the labour there being so much cheaper. The writer added—"The greater part of the Birmingham and Sheffield articles are now prohibited from entering France; and on the remainder the duties are so great that very few of any kind are sent; pretty nearly the same is the case in Prussia and Belgium; the duties on all English manufactured articles have been increased within the last few years in every country in Europe, and the greatest possible efforts are being made by each Government to supply their own wants. The document he had read might be taken as a true index of the opinion held by his constituents in the town of Birmingham, and fully corroborated the statement made by one of the hon. Members for that town.


trusted that the hon. Member for Birmingham would not press his Amendment. At the same time he must say, that the Resolution recognised a principle which by right should be extended to the farmer. Although the right hon. Baronet would not say when he would take off the remaining duties, he must ask what chance any other duty had of being maintained merely as a protection, and not as a revenue duty, now that the keystone—as hon. Gentlemen opposite called it—of protection was gone. The right hon. Baronet said, he expected to see the time when the manufacturers would come and ask him to take off all remaining protective duties; but even there he showed more regard to the manufacturers than he had done to the farmers, for he had not heard that the farmers had yet gone up in procession to the right hon. Baronet to implore him to take away their protection. As the right hon. Baronet claimed credit for being so far-sighted, perhaps he was also clear-sighted; in that case, the right hon. Gentleman would be conferring an obligation upon him (Mr. S. O'Brien), and his friends, by explaining by what process he proposed to distinguish buck-wheat meal from wheat, meal. He would challenge any man, even the right hon. Baronet the Member for Stamford, who generally saw as far into a millstone as any man, to distinguish the one from the other by their appearance.

On the Question that the duty on Bronze Powder be 10l.,


said, it would be in the recollection of the House, that he had presented a petition, signed by 500 of the paper-stainers of the metropolis, complaining of the proposed reduction of duty on foreign paper. It was but fair that some equivalent should be given to them; and as bronze powder was an article much used in paper-staining, he would propose that it should be allowed to come in duty free. With regard to the reduction of the duty on foreign paper, he believed that the rich alone would be benefited by it. On the common paper the duty would be prohibitory, and the only paper that would come in would be that which would be used in such houses as those in Grosvenor-square. At the present moment, he was sorry to state, that a great number of the employers of these paper-stainers had given notice to their men, that they did not intend that any loss which might arise from the proposed reduction should come out of their profits, but that it should come out of the wages of those whom they employed. A manufacturer at Islington, who employed about sixty hands, had given such a notice; and in another establishment conditional orders had been accepted, the employers holding back one-fifth of the men's wages until the Tariff was settled. In the event of its being passed, one-fifth would be deducted from the wages of these parties, and that he thought would be very unfair towards them. In 1842 the duty was 1s. It was then proposed to reduce it to 3d.; but, in consequence of representations which were made to the right hon. Baronet opposite, it was allowed to remain unaltered. It was now proposed to reduce it to 2d., and with such a duty the paper-stainers of this country believed that they would not be able to compete with the foreigner. On the best sort of paper made in this country there was an excise duty of 2½d., while the foreigner paid no excise duty at all; and he thought that if any alteration was to be made, the paper-stainers should at least be allowed to import bronze powder duty free, it being, as he had stated, much used in their trade.


said, he had recently received a deputation from the paper-stainers on the present subject, to whom he had explained that what they had to pay in this country in the way of excise duties did not by any means act as an injury to them, in consequence of the extent of the virtual protection which their manufacture enjoyed. With respect to the bronze powder of Birmingham, it had been admitted that that article had recently so much improved that it was now generally used in this country in preference to that of foreign production. That body had also allowed that with respect to design, the foreign manufacturers generally excelled them; and the acknowledgment of inferiority in this respect, on their parts, was calculated to encourage the public to patronise the foreign manufacture in preference to the home. But he considered that the best mode by which the manufacturers of this country would improve in the matter of design, was by exposing them to compete with the foreign manufacturer.


considered the silk weavers, the hatters, the boot and shoe makers, as well as the paper-stainers and every other home manufacturer, would have equally to complain of this foreign competition.

Motion agreed to.

Upon the Question, that "Butter the cwt. 10s. stand part of the Resolution,"


objected to any reduction of the import duties upon butter. He said it formed, if he might so speak, almost the staple manufacture of many parts of Ireland, and that even with the present rate of duty the Irish farmers were barely able to compete with foreigners. How, then, he would ask, could they expect to do so when the duty was reduced from 21s. to 10s., as proposed by Her Majesty's Government? He argued that the effect of this reduction would be to drive Irish butter almost entirely out of the market; and he could not conceive how any Irish Member could with propriety support the proposition of the Government to receive the duty. From the years 1827 to 1841, the exportation of Irish butter into Portugal had decreased from 29,909 cwt. to 5,900 cwt., whilst the importation of foreign butter into this country during the same period had increased. Under these circumstances he thought it was not unreasonable to ask, that protection should be continued upon butter and cheese. In 1842, when the Tariff was under consideration in that House, it was considered as an act of justice to Ireland, that the articles of butter and cheese should not be interfered with. He could not see now, why, under a pretext of impending famine, the Government should endeavour to deprive Ireland of one of her most desirable sources of industry. He was surprised that Irish Members had not raised their voices against this proposition; but as they had not, he should do so, and should endeavour to exclude both cheese and butter from the Tariff. He should oppose the Motion.


was not surprised at the opposition of the hon. Member to the proposed reduction of duty upon cheese and butter, especially when he considered, as had been observed by the hon. Member, that they formed the staple manufacture of Ireland. The hon. Member had stated that no reduction was made in the duties upon these articles in the Tariff of 1842, because it would have been considered an act of injustice to Ireland to have done so. Now, he begged to state, that the sole ground upon which his right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade and the right hon. Baronet at the head of Her Majesty's Government resisted the Motion of the noble Lord opposite, was solely upon the ground of revenue, the amount of duty being 200,000l. per annum. He would refer the hon. Member, however, to the state of the butter trade up to the year 1816, when the duty upon foreign butter was not more than 3s. per cwt., and up to which time the butter trade in Ireland flourished; and looking to the increase in that trade in Ireland since 1816, he could not see reason to apprehend danger from the importation of foreign butter. The hon. Member had stated that the exportation of Irish butter to foreign countries had decreased; but he had not stated the quantity which had been sent from Ireland into Great Britain. Now the fact was, that the article of butter being one of prime and necessary consumption in this country, had increased in a greater proportion than the increase of population. Unfortunately, in 1825 there was no official account of the quantity of butter imported into this country from Ireland; but it had been ascertained upon data on which perfect reliance might with safety be placed, that the quantity of butter imported into Great Britain from Ireland, from 1825 to 1837, had nearly doubled, being not less at the present time than 1,000,000 cwt. The price of foreign butter imported into England was, and always had been, regulated entirely by the price of the English markets. It was well known that when trade was prosperous generally throughout the manufacturing districts, that a larger quantity of butter was required than this country was able to produce; it was, therefore, necessary for them to get a supply from other sources; but he thought, that instead of the Competition of the foreigner, in the article of butter, having an injurious effect upon the Irish producer, it would tend to stimulate him to greater exertions to improve by every means in his power the manufacture of so necessary an article of life; and if this was the result, he could only say, that the Irish would have nothing to apprehend from foreign competition, more especially with a protective duty of 10s. per cwt., which he considered quite ample. He believed the result of this proposition would be, that Irish butter would be so improved as to be able to compete with the best foreign butter produced. He admitted, however, that, considering the article of butter to be one of necessity, the duty was only to be justified on account of the large amount of revenue.


hoped the hon. Member for Dublin would press the question to a division; and if he did not, he should himself feel it necessary to take the sense of the House on the proposed duty.


said, that the right hon. Baronet the Vice-President of the Board of Trade, had stated that, after all, the hon. Member for Dublin need not be alarmed, for no great deal of butter would be imported. This reduction involved the alternative, that if no more butter was imported than last year, there would be a loss of revenue; but if there was double the quantity imported, it would compete successfully with our own production, which was deprived of protection.


said, that the hon. Baronet had only considered the producers, but the Government would not forget the consumer. By this reduction revenue was risked, but he was confident that it would be made up by increased consumption; nor would the increased importation injure the agricultural interest, for such an injury depended on the quantity produced at home, as compared with the importation; but when the quantity of butter consumed was considered, he was sure the hon. Baronet would feel that care should be taken that there should be no scarcity of that article. It was one of those articles which constituted a comfort of the lower classes, and no such importation would ensue as would injure the agricultural interest. When he resisted the reduction of this duty on former occasions, he did so distinctly on the ground of revenue, which was so large that he could not afford to lose it, but now that there was a relaxation of duties, it ought to be among the first.


said: If, Sir, one argument more conclusive than another could have been produced why we should have rejected the proposition of the Government in regard to this article, it was that of the right hon. Gentleman (Sir G. Clerk) who begins by telling you that it is the staple manufacture of Ireland on which it is proposed to reduce the existing protection by one-half; and of which, as he believes, incredible as the statement appears, 1,000,000 cwt. are annually imported from Ireland into this country. Why, good God! Sir, the price of butter, as the right hon. Gentleman says, is 80s. per cwt.; and, if you are going to decrease the protection by 10s. on 1,000,000 cwt. of butter, the amount lost to Ireland—if Ireland suffers the whole loss—will amount to 500,000l. Well, Sir, and if you are not going to reduce the price of butter by taking off protection, of what good will the reduction be to the consumer? If the reduction is to be productive of any advantage to the English consumer, you must reduce the price by reducing the protection. Therefore, I have a right to presume that the object of Her Majesty's Ministers, and the object of this House in giving up an amount of duty little short of 125,000l. per annum, must be to reduce the price of butter; and, if you do that, you must injure Ireland in a corresponding degree. I should have thought, Sir, that this was not the time when we should be disposed to carry any measures that could by possibility prove injurious to Ireland. We are told, Sir, that Ireland is, if not in a state of actual famine, at least in great distress; and we are called upon, and we willingly respond to that call, to vote a sum of 230,000l. for the purpose of relieving, by public expenditure, the people of that portion of the Empire. If the position of the sister country is then so critical a one, is this the moment, I ask, in which we ought to carry measures that may injure her to the amount of half a million sterling per year? Which are the counties that produce the greatest quantity of butter in Ireland? The county of Cork is, I believe, more celebrated than any other. [Hon. MEMBERS: Kerry and Carlow.] Well, Kerry, Cork, and Carlow. Now, what has been the statement made a few days ago, by one who ought to be a good authority upon Irish matters—the "Times Commissioner?" We see it stated by the "Times Commissioner," that he had it from the authority of the secretary to the savings bank at Cork, that the small agriculturists—the conacre farmers, I believe they are called—the "frieze-coats" of the county of Cork, within a circuit of twenty miles round the city, have laid by no less a sum than 200,000l. in savings alone in the course of the last year. Upon this authority, we find that the small farmers of the county of Cork have saved 200,000l., which, we are told, amounts upon an average to 34l. each. So that such is the flourishing state of the county of Cork under protective laws—under protection to the agriculture of Ireland, and protection to Irish produce of all descriptions—wheat, oats, and, above all, butter—that no less a number than 6,000 small farmers have been able to lay by from their savings 34l. each within a year. And are you now going, by making an alteration in those laws, to check the prosperity of that large number of industrious agriculturists? I think, Sir, it would be unwise to choose this as the moment in which to withdraw protection from Irish butter. What says the right hon. Gentleman (the Chancellor of the Exchequer)? Why, he tells us whatever may be the duty upon butter, that exactly the same amount of Dutch butter will be imported? In God's name, then, why not take the duty from the Dutch? I cannot understand the principle upon which Her Majesty's Ministers are proceeding. They fling duties away in large sums—125,000l. on butter, and 70,000l. on cheese—without any object that I can understand, unless it is to bring foreign produce into competition with English and with Irish produce. I could understand them if they flung away the malt duty—a tax amounting to 60 per cent on the raw material; but they seem to be in no hurry to reduce that. The reduction of the duty on malt would be a measure of relief exclusively conferred upon the English producer and consumer. Yes, the drinkers of beer and the barley growers would divide the entire benefit, and therefore it is that Her Majesty's Ministers will not for the world touch the Malt Tax. If the object of reducing duties is to relieve the consumer, I beg of hon. Gentleman to say whether they do not think a reduction of the duty upon tea would not be as advantageous to the consumer as a reduction of duty upon butter. Yet Her Majesty's Ministers do not propose to reduce the duty upon tea; and why have they not made such a proposition? Why, for no reason that I can see, except that tea does not come into competition with the produce of Great Britain. Well, then, Sir, the right hon. Gentleman says, "Oh, depend upon it, the reduction will not injure Ireland; Ireland has a protective duty of 3s. per cwt." Why, has the right hon. Gentleman forgotten that Great Britain was at war with almost the whole of Europe for twenty years before; and was not that a sufficient protection to Ireland? Was there an opportunity of importing butter from Holland, or from any other country? These, Sir, are the reasons why I cordially concur in the opposition to this article being admitted into the schedule now before us.

The House divided on the Question, that Butter 10s. cwt. stand part of the Resolution:—Ayes 213; Noes 111: Majority 102.

List of the AYES.
Acland, T. D. Dennistoun, J.
A'Court, Capt. D'Eyncourt, rt. hn. C. T.
Aglionby, H. A. Dickinson, F. H.
Ainsworth, P. Divett, E.
Aldam, W. Douglas, Sir C. E.
Anson, Hon. Col. Drummond, H. H.
Baillie, Col. Duke, Sir J.
Baillie, H. J. Duncan, Visct.
Baine, W. Duncan, G.
Bannerman, A. Duncannon, Visct.
Barclay, D. Duncombe, T.
Barkly, H. Dundas, Adm.
Baring, rt. hon. F. T. Eastnor, Visct.
Baring, T. Ellice, rt. hon. E.
Baring, rt. hon. W. B. Ellis, W.
Barnard, E. G. Elphinstone, H.
Berkeley, hon. C. Escott, B.
Berkeley, hon. Capt. Etwall, R.
Bernal, R. Evans, W.
Blake, M. J. Evans, Sir De L.
Bodkin, W. H. Ewart, W.
Botfield, B. Ferguson, Col.
Bouverie, hon. E. P. Fitzroy, hon. H.
Bowes, J. Flower, Sir J.
Bowles, Adm. Forster, M.
Bowring, Dr. Fox, C. R.
Bridgeman, H. Gisborne, T.
Bright, J. Gill, T.
Brotherton, J. Gibson, T. M.
Browne, hon. W. Gore, M.
Bruce, Lord E. Gore, hon. R.
Buller, C. Goulburn, H.
Busfeild, W. Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.
Butler, P. S. Greene, T.
Cardwell, E. Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.
Cavendish, hon. G. H. Hall, Sir B.
Chapman, B. Hamilton, W. J.
Chichester, Lord J. L. Hamilton, Lord C.
Christie, W. D. Hastie, A.
Clay, Sir W. Hatton, Capt. V.
Clerk, rt. hon. Sir G. Hawes, B.
Cobden, R. Hayter, W. G.
Cochrane, A. Heathcoat, J.
Cockburn, rt. hn. Sir G. Herbert, rt. hon. S.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. Hill, Lord M.
Corry, rt. hon. H. Hindley, C.
Craig, W. G. Hobhouse, rt. hon. Sir J.
Crawford, W. S. Hogg, J. W.
Cripps, W. Hollond, R.
Currie, R. Hornby, J.
Curteis, H. B. Horsman, E.
Dalmeny, Lord Howard, hon. C. W. G.
Dalrymple, Capt. Howard, P. H.
Dawson, hon. T. V. Howard, Sir R.
Hughes, W. B. Plumridge, Capt.
Hume, J. Price, R.
Humphery, Ald. Rawdon, Col.
Hutt, W. Reid, Sir J. R.
James, W. Reid, Col.
James, Sir W. C. Russell, Lord J.
Jermyn, Earl Russell, Lord E.
Jervis, J. Scott, R.
Jocelyn, Visct. Scrope, G. P.
Johnstone, H. Seymour, Lord
Kelly, Sir F. Seymour, Sir H. B.
Labouchere, rt. hon. H. Smith, B.
Lascelles, hon. W. S. Smith, J. A.
Loch, J. Smith, rt. hon. R. V.
Lockhart, A. E. Smythe, hon. G.
Lyall, G. Smollett, A.
Macaulay, rt. hon. T. B. Somerville, Sir W. M.
Mackinnon, W. A. Stansfield, W. R. C.
Macnamara, Maj. Stanton, W. H.
M'Carthy, A. Stuart, Lord J.
M'Geachy, F. A. Stuart, H.
McTaggart, Sir J. Strickland, Sir G.
Mahon, Visct. Strutt, E.
Mangles, R. D. Tanered, H. W.
Marshall, W. Thesiger, Sir F.
Martin, J. Thornely, T.
Martin, C. W. Tollemache, hon. F. J.
Masterman, J. Tomline, G.
Matheson, J. Towneley, J.
Maule, rt. hon. F. Traill, G.
Meynell, Capt. Trelawny, J. S.
Mildmay, H. St. John Trench, Sir F. W.
Milnes, R. M. Tufnell, H.
Mitcalfe, H. Villiers, hon. C.
Mitchell, T. A. Vivian, J. H.
Moffatt, G. Vivian, hon. Capt.
Molesworth, Sir W. Wakley, T.
Morris, D. Wall, C. B.
Morrison, Gen. Warburton, H.
Morrison, J. Ward, H. G.
Moystyn, hon. E. M. L. Wawn, J. T.
Muntz, G. F. Wellesley, Lord C.
Napier, Sir C. White, S.
O'Connell, D. Williams, W.
O'Connell, M. J. Wilshere, W.
O'Connell, J. Wood, C.
Ord, W. Wood, Col. T.
Osborne, R. Worsley, Lord
Palmerston, Visct. Wortley, hon. J. S.
Parker, J. Wyse, T.
Patten, J. W. Yorke, hon. E.
Pechell, Capt. TELLERS.
Peel, rt. hon. Sir R. Young, R.
Peel, J. Baring, H.
List of the NOES.
Acton, Col. Bentinck, Lord G.
Alford, Visct. Bentinck, Lord H.
Allix, J. P. Beresford, Maj.
Antrobus, E. Borthwick, P.
Arbuthnott, hon. H. Bramston, T. W.
Archbold, R. Broadley, H.
Arkwright, G. Broadwood, H.
Austen, Col. Brooke, Lord
Bagge, W. Bruce, C. L. C.
Baillie, W. Buck, L. W.
Baldwin, B. Chandos, Marq. of
Bankes, G. Christopher, R. A.
Barrington, Visct. Churchill, Lord A. S.
Bateson, T. Chute, W. L. W.
Bell, M. Clayton, R. R.
Benett, J. Cole, hon. H. A.
Bennett, P. Compton, H. C.
Courtenay, Lord Liddell, hon. H. T.
Deedes, W. Lockhart, W.
Disraeli, B. Lowther, hon. Col.
Dodd, G. Mackenzie, T.
Douglas, Sir H. Maclean, D.
Duckworth, Sir J. T. B. Manners, Lord J.
Duncombe, hon. A. March, Earl of
Duncombe, hon. O. Miles, P. W. S.
Du Pre, C. G. Miles, W.
Fellowes, E. Mundy, E. M.
Finch, G. Neeld, J.
Fitzmaurice, hon. W. Neeld, J.
Floyer, J. Newdegate, C.
Forbes, W. Newport, Visct.
Frewen, C. H. O'Brien, A. S.
Fuller, A. E. Ossulston, Lord
Gore, W. O. Packe, C. W.
Granby, Marq. of Palmer, R.
Halford, Sir H. Palmer, G.
Hall, Col. Pigot, Sir R.
Halsey, T. P. Rashleigh, W.
Harris, hon. Capt. Rendlesham, Lord
Heathcote, G. J. Repton, G. W. J.
Henley, J. W. Rolleston, Col.
Hildyard, T. B. T. Seymer, H. K.
Hinde, J. H. Shaw, rt. hon. F.
Hodgson, F. Sibthorp, Col.
Hodgson, R. Sotheron, T. H. S.
Hudson, G. Spooner, R.
Hope, A. Spry, Sir S. T.
Hurst, R. H. Thompson, Ald.
Hussey, T. Tyrrell, Sir J. T.
Inglis, Sir R. H. Vyse, R. H. R. H.
Irton, S. Waddington, H. S.
Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H. Walpole, S. H.
Jones, Capt. Williams, T. P.
Knight, F. W. Yorke, hon. E. T.
Knightley, Sir C. TELLERS.
Law, hon. C. E. Grogan, E.
Lennox, Lord G. H. G. Tollemache, J.

On the Question, that Button Metal for every 100l. value, 10l. stand part of the Resolution,


objected to a reduction of duty on foreign buttons. He was of opinion that unless protection was continued for this branch of manufactures, our trade would suffer materially from German competition. He would not divide the House upon the subject, but content himself by recording his opposition to buttons being included in the schedule.


said, that when the duty received on buttons was 15l. per cent, the amount of revenue derivable therefrom had been 9l. Under those circumstances, he could not see what apprehensions the button manufacturers could feel by reducing the duty to 10l. If his hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham (Mr. Spooner) thought the difference proposed would injure the trade, he (Sir R. Peel) could not agree with him. His hon. Friend really did not give Birmingham fair play.

Question agreed to.

On the Question, that Cotton Articles, or manufactures of cotton, wholly or in part made up, not otherwise charged with duty for every 100l. value, 10l. stand part of the the Resolution,


said, that with regard to the abatement of duty on cotton stockings, from 20 to 10 per cent, the reduction would have a most injurious tendency upon an important article of manufacture in the midland counties. As the Representative of an agricultural and manufacturing district, and connected with land in the midland counties, he would oppose any abatement of duty on cotton hosiery. The present was, he considered, a matter deeply interesting to agriculture in those counties, because the operatives employed in framework knitting in the counties of Leicester and Nottingham, resided for the most part in the country villages in the vicinity of towns, and were dependent upon the poor rates levied upon land, and not upon manufactories, when out of employment. Thus, any abatement in duty likely to cause a less demand for home produce, would have the effect of materially injuring this important branch of native industry. He could refer to documents quoted in that House to show what opinion competent witnesses had formed with respect to the withdrawal of protection from the framework knitters of the midland counties. The hon. Baronet read a portion of the evidence taken before a Commission appointed to inquire into the state of the framework knitters in the counties of Leicester and Nottingham, and proceeded to say that 100,000 persons were employed in the manufacture of cotton hosiery, and that the sum of 2,287,000l. was annually paid in wages. The exports for the three years, including 1814–15–16, amounted to 575,872 dozen pairs, and the value to 1,156,022l.; while during the ten years from 1834 to 1843, the average declared value fell from 1,136,022l. to 410,408l. This falling-off was to be traced to Saxon competition; for the home consumer, to meet the low prices of the foreign article, resorted to the manufacture of a fraudulent article in order to compete successfully. The fruits of this competition resulted in an article of so inferior a description, that the manufacture got into discredit, and consequently the demand became gradually less and less. So successful had the Germans also been in producing gloves of a superior description, that gloves could be imported into England at half the price they sold for here. It was not at all unusual for a respectable London and New York house to import gloves from Germany for the wholesale trade. The trade of the framework knitters had declined between 30 and 40 per cent since 1815; and abundant evidence could be adduced to show the distress that prevailed among the persons employed in that branch of manufactures. If this abatement of duty took place, coupled with free trade in corn, the distress of the frameloom operatives would be considerably augmented; because the experience of past years testified that when the price of provisions was low, wages declined in direct ratio; and the condition of the operative population became much aggravated. He saw nothing in anticipation but misery—that misery and ruin which would follow from the competition that would result from the proposed measure. There was much said on the subject of British industry, and on the skill and perseverance of British workmen: that was all true; but the persons who indulged in that species of argument, were not those who would feel the pressure—as that pressure could only be fully felt by the operative, whose interests would be affected by the removal of that protection to which he was entitled.


did not rise for the purpose of contradicting the statement made by the hon. Baronet as to the misery of the framework knitters; on the contrary, he fully concurred with him that their situation could not be worse; but for many years previous he knew it had not been better. This knowledge he obtained from a long residence among them; and he feared that no measure could be introduced that would cause that branch of trade again to flourish. If anything could alleviate the misery which the hon. Baronet so truly described, it was, in his opinion, the opening of the ports, and giving to those suffering tradesmen food at the lowest price. He did not believe they were adverse to the proposed measures of Her Majesty's Government; he could say, that neither from his constituents, nor any other parties connected with the hosiery trade, had he received any remonstrance against those measures; and he was firmly convinced that the only chance left for the revival of that branch of manufacture, was the carrying into immediate and full effect the system of unshackled free trade.


could not understand the argument that if the operatives of the hosiery trade had suffered so much under protection, the reduction of protection one-half could remedy the evil which all admitted to exist. He could not think how hon. Gentlemen who adopted such an argument, could reconcile to their own minds what involved so apparent a contradiction. But, however they might reconcile it to their own minds, or endeavour at present to explain it away to the operatives, the time would come when their interests would be so materially affected as to convince all parties of their mistake. The subject then before the House was one of no ordinary interest, as it concerned a very large class of the community; and, being so, it should not be hastily legislated on. It demanded serious attention—it required due consideration—especially when it was well known that of the working classes in manufacturing districts, even in a single town, there were no less than one thousand families totally dependent for relief either on public charity or the workhouse. Under such circumstances, the proposition of the right hon. Baronet should be well considered before ultimately decided on; a proposition, the tendency of which would be to effect a greater depression. For his part, after giving the subject due consideration, and knowing the injurious effects which must follow, he would enter against the reduction of the present protection his most decided protest.


would feel it his duty to divide the House on the subject. An unjust accusation had been thrown out against those on his side of the House, that because they were themselves deprived of protection they were indifferent about the interests of others. He was quite sure so unworthy a sentiment never passed through their minds. Before, therefore, they would give up the cause of the hosier and the handloom weaver; before they would declare their case hopeless, they should make an effort for the continuance of that protection which they now enjoyed.


said, that the House must regret to hear of the melancholy picture that had been drawn by the hon. Baronet behind him (Sir H. Halford); but they must still remember that this was the state of things as they had existed under a system of complete protection. The hon. Member for Leicestershire had stated that the number of persons employed in the hosiery trade was 100,000; and that, a very short time ago, they had exported goods to the value of one million sterling. [Sir H. HALFORD: In 1815.] That in 1815 they had exported goods to the value of one million sterling; but that their ex- ports had since been reduced to four hundred thousand pounds. He had attributed that falling-off to the fact of fraudulent goods having injured the character of English goods in the foreign market. But the House would observe that the prosperity of the trade depended on its competition with the foreign trade; for if the labours of the framework knitters of Leicester and Nottingham were confined to the home market, they must remain in the greatest state of destitution; 100,000 persons being employed in the trade. The only chance of improving their condition would be by giving them a foreign trade. It was useless to prevent the introduction into this country of hosiery goods, unless means were taken to give them a foreign market; otherwise they would do no good to the framework knitters of Leicester and Nottingham. The House must consider whether these measures would have a tendency to extend the foreign trade. If so, they would confer a benefit on the framework knitters, as well as on the other manufactures of this country. For it was not competition, which the hon. Member for Leicestershire said had been the cause of their misery, but their exclusion from foreign markets. Under these circumstances, even if a complete protection were given them, and they were satisfied with the monopoly of the home market, they would be effectually prevented from introducing those improvements into the manufacture by which only they would be enabled to compete with foreign manufactures. The whole amount of duty received under the 20 per cent, had been only 700l., showing that it was quite insignificant. Believing that the continuance of the protection would not in the slightest degree benefit the operatives, he could not consent to any alteration in the proposal.


had attended a great meeting of the manufacturers of the midland counties, a few years ago, at Derby, at which statements were made as to the condition of their trade; and those statements were equally unfavourable with those the House had now heard; and yet the object of that meeting was to petition for the abolition of the Corn Laws, and the general freedom of trade. The ground the manufactures took on that occasion was this. They said—"We are now placed under certain disadvantages, compared to foreign countries, by the operation of the Corn Laws, combined with the restrictions laid on our trade: we have thus been, from year to year, driven out of foreign markets; our profits have been thereby reduced, and our operatives have been brought to the melancholy state in which they now are." Their object was not to petition for any protection whatever, but simply to ask that they should be placed on the same footing as the manufacturers of other nations; that they should have the same means of obtaining food, and be placed exactly on the same footing; and then, they stated, they should not be afraid of entering into fair competition.


said, he had presented a petition signed by 7,000 framework knitters, praying for the adoption of the measure of Government. He quite agreed in the statements that had been made as to the effect of those measures on the trade. In 1829 he had canvassed all parts of the town of Leicester, and nothing could exceed the misery and poverty which then everywhere prevailed. The tales told him were perfectly horrible: all this existed under a state of protection, the great panacea of the day.


said, he had presented a petition from the mayor and town-council of Nottingham, which had been agreed to unanimously—also a petition signed by 12,000 of the inhabitants of Nottingham—in favour of the measure; and such was their confidence in those measures, that though they considered Government had not carried the principle to the full extent, namely, immediate repeal, yet, for the sake of the benefit which the measure would confer on the country generally, they begged that their own protection might be taken away. Though he (Sir J. Hobhouse) had received no communication on the subject, he was far from denying that distress prevailed at Nottingham. Since his connexion with that town, he had not known a single year, or portion of a year, in which such complaints had not been made; but this had been during the continuance of the protective system. There was something vicious in the system under which these attempts of the frame-work knitters had been carried on; they had been seeking to force a species of manufacture which could not be carried on advantageously under that system; and when the measures of Government were carried, they would at least have no more to complain of than any person engaged in other manufactures.


asked, if when the amount of protection was 20 per cent, Saxon hosiery came into this country, how mnch more would come in when that protective duty would be reduced to 10 per cent? Would not, he would ask, a very large quantity be imported? Would not, then, the Saxon trade deprive this country even of the advantage of a home market? Would not the natural consequence be the total ruin of the operatives in Nottingham on its reduction to 10 per cent? Total free trade, or the proposed reduction in the present protective duty for hosiery, must almost, if not altogether, drive the home manufacture out of the market. He hoped, therefore, an effort would be made on that occasion to allow those operatives to remain as they were; for if now they were not able to compete with the foreigner with a duty of 20 per cent, would it not be totally impossible for them to compete with him when it would be reduced one half?


thought there should be a great distinction made between the state of the trade and the state of the operative. Nothing could be more frightful than the condition of the operative. How came it to be so bad? Because he did not receive his full share of the profits. Did people suppose, were the duty raised to 40 per cent, it would at all be to the advantage of the operative, that while the master manufacturer received 18s. a dozen, the operative only received his 8s. Was that a fair share for him to receive? Last year there was a law passed called the "Ticket Act," the carrying out of which, he thought, would be of great advantage; and believing it would be useful in its operation, he would call on the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government to enforce that law, which, if properly administered, would confer great benefit.


wished to know, if at the meeting alluded to by the hon. Member opposite (Mr. Strutt), there had been a single operative present to assert the claims of his class; if not, and the meeting consisted only of capitalists, he could view the proceedings only as an attempt to reduce yet further the miserable pittance the men still had.


in allusion to the remark of the hon. Member for Finsbury, declared his belief there was not a magistrate in the county of Leicester who would not do his utmost to carry into effect the law of last Session.


said, that that hon. Gentleman would have them believe that all the distress had originated in the pro- which was given to the stockingers; but he would like to know, if protection were that bane to the stockingers, how came it that the Saxon, under protection the most stringent, was able to enter into competition with the stockingers of England, so as to be able almost to drive them out of the market? He apprehended there was no country in which manufactures were more stringently protected than in Saxony, and yet the result was, that Saxony was able to rival England, not only at home but in all the markets of the world. He recollected the account which was given by Mr. M'Gregor, of the manufactures of Saxony, He stated that there stockings were made for 3d. a pair: while the Member for Nottingham told the House that there the charge was 8s. a dozen. He wanted to know how the stockinger of Nottingham and of Leicestershire could, under a productive duty of 10 per cent, and charging 8s. a dozen for stockings, compete with the Saxon who could sell his stockings at 3d. a pair, or 3s. a dozen? The hon. Member for Leicestershire had stated to the House that 100,000 persons were engaged in the stocking business. Was his noble Friend who asked protection for agriculture, prepared to try the experiment of free trade on the 100,000 stockingers?

The House divided on the Question—Ayes 190; Noes 102: Majority 88.

List of the AYES.
Acland, T. D. Chichester, Lord J. L.
A'Court, Capt. Christie, W. D.
Adderley, C. B. Clay, Sir W.
Aglionby, H. A. Clerk, rt. hon. Sir G.
Ainsworth, P. Cobden, R.
Aldam, W. Cochrane, A.
Archbold, R. Cockburn, rt. hon. Sir G.
Baillie, Col. Colebrooke, Sir T. E.
Baine, W. Corry, rt. hon. H.
Baldwin, B. Craig, W. G.
Barkly, H. Crawford, W. S.
Baring, rt. hon. W. B. Cripps, W.
Barnard, E. G. Currie, R.
Berkeley, hon. Capt. Curteis, H. B.
Blake, M. J. Dawson, hon. T. V.
Bodkin, W. H. Dennistoun, J.
Botfield, B. D'Eyncourt, rt. hn. C. T.
Bouverie, H. E. P. Dickinson, F. H.
Bowes, J. Douglas, Sir C. E.
Bowles, Adm. Drummond, H. H.
Bowring, Dr. Duke, Sir J.
Bright, J. Duncan, Visct.
Brotherton, J. Duncan, G.
Browne, hon. W. Duncannon, Visct.
Bruce, Lord E. Duncombe, T.
Busfeild, W. Dundas, Adm.
Cardwell, E. Eastnor, Visct.
Cavendish, hon. G. H. Ebrington, Visct.
Chapman, B. Ellice, rt. hon. E.
Ellice, E. Muntz, G. F.
Ellis, W. Napier, Sir C.
Elphinstone, H. Norreys, Sir D. J.
Escott, B. O'Connell, D.
Etwall, R. O'Council, J.
Evans, W. O'Connell, M. J.
Ferguson, Col. Osborne, R.
Fitzroy, hon. H. Paget, Col.
Flower, Sir J. Palmerston, Visct.
Forster, M. Parker, J.
Gibson, T. M. Patten, J. W.
Gill, T. Pechell, Capt.
Gisborne, T. Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.
Gladstone, Capt. Peel, J.
Gore, M. Plumridge, Capt.
Gore, hon. R. Price, Sir R.
Goulburn, rt. hon. H. Rawdon, Col.
Graham, rt. hon. Sir J. Reid, Sir J. R.
Greene, T. Reid, Col.
Grey, rt. hon. Sir G. Russell, Lord J.
Hall, Sir B. Russell, Lord E.
Hamilton, W. J. Ryder, hon. G. D.
Hamilton, Lord C. Sandon, Visct.
Hastie, A. Scott, R.
Hatton, Capt. V. Scrope, G. P.
Hawes, B. Seymour, Sir H. B.
Hayter, W. G. Smith, B.
Herbert, rt. hon. S. Smith, J. A.
Hill, Lord M. Smythe, hon. G.
Hindley, C. Smollett, A.
Hobhouse, rt. hon. Sir J. Somerville, Sir W. M.
Hollond, R. Stansfield, W. R. C.
Hornby, J. Stanton, W. H.
Horsman, E. Stewart, J.
Howard, hon. C. W. G. Stuart, Lord J.
Howard, P. H. Stuart, H.
Hughes, W. B. Strickland, Sir G.
Hume, J. Strutt, E.
Hutt, W. Thesiger, Sir F.
James, Sir W. C. Thornely, T.
Jermyn, Earl Tollemache, hon. F. J.
Jervis, J. Tomline, G.
Jocelyn, Visct. Towneley, J.
Kelly, Sir F. Trelawny, J. S.
Labouchere, rt. hon. H. Trench, Sir F. W.
Lascelles, hon. W. S. Tufnell, H.
Loch, J. Villiers, hon. C.
Lockhart, A. E. Vivian, J. H.
Lyall, G. Vivian, hon. Capt.
Macnamara, Maj. Wakley, T.
M'Carthy, A. Walker, R.
McGeachy, F. A. Warburton, H.
McTaggart, Sir J. Ward, H. G.
Mahon, Visct. Wawn, J. T.
Mangles, R. D. Wellesley, Lord C.
Marshall, W. White, S.
Martin, J. Williams, W.
Martin, C. W. Wilshere, W.
Masterman, J. Wood, C.
Matheson, J. Wood, Col. T.
Meynell, Capt. Worsley, Lord
Mitcalfe, H. Wortley, hon. J. S.
Mitchell, T. A. Wyse, T.
Moffatt, G. Yorke, H. R.
Molesworth, Sir W.
Morris, D. TELLERS.
Morrison, J. Young, R.
Mostyn, hon. E. M. L. Baring, H.
List of the NOES.
Acton, Col. Antrobus, E.
Alford, Visct. Arkwright, G.
Allix, J. P. Austen, Col.
Bagge, W. Hope, A.
Baillie, W. Houldsworth, T.
Bankes, G. Hudson, G.
Barrington, Visct. Hurst, R. H.
Bateson, T. Hussey, T.
Benett, J. Ingestre, Visct.
Bennet, P. Irton, S.
Bentinck, Lord G. Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H.
Bentinck, Lord H. Jones, Capt.
Beresford, Major Knight, F. W.
Borthwick, P. Knightley, Sir C.
Bramston, T. W. Law, hon. C. E.
Broadley, H. Lennox, Lord G. H. G.
Broadwood, H. Liddell, hon. H. T.
Brocklehurst, J. Lowther, hon. Col.
Brooke, Lord Maclean, D.
Bruce, C. L. C. Manners, Lord J.
Buck, L. W. March, Earl of
Chandos, Marq. of Maxwell, hon. J. P.
Churchill, Lord A. S. Miles, P. W. S.
Chute, W. L. W. Miles, W.
Clayton, R. R. Milnes, R. M.
Clifton, J. T. Mundy, E. M.
Cole, hon. H. A. Neeld, J.
Compton, H. C. Neeld, J.
Courtenay, Lord Newdegate, C. N.
Deedes, W. Newport, Visct.
Disraeli, B. O'Brien, A. S.
Dodd, G. Palmer, R.
Duckworth, Sir J. T. B. Pigot, Sir R.
Duncombe, hon. O. Rashleigh, W.
Du Pre, C. G. Rendlesham, Lord
Fellowes, E. Repton, G. W. G.
Finch, G. Rolleston, Col.
Fitzmaurice, hon. W. Seymer, H. K.
Floyer, J. Shaw, rt. hon. F.
Forbes, W. Sibthorp, Col.
Fox, S. L. Sotheron, T. H. S.
Frewen, C. H. Spooner, R.
Fuller, A. E. Thompson, Ald.
Granby, Marq. of Tollemache, J.
Grogan, E. Vyse, R. H. R. H.
Hall, Col. Waddington, H. S.
Halsey, T. P. Walpole, S. H.
Harris, hon. Capt. Williams, T. P.
Heathcote, G. J. Yorke, hon. E. T.
Henley, J. W.
Hildyard, T. B. T. TELLERS.
Hinde, J. H. Halford, Sir H.
Hodgson, R. Packe, C. W.

Further consideration of the Tariff adjurned till Monday.

House adjourned.