HC Deb 16 March 1846 vol 84 cc1056-110

The further proceedings on the Report of the Customs and Corn Importation Resolutions was resumed.

On the Question, that Hops, the cwt., 2l. 5s., stand part of the Resolution,


said, this was a subject of deep and paramount importance to the county he had the honour to represent, and with which, of course, he was principally conversant, though he had every reason to believe that the matter was of equal, if not of greater magnitude, as respected Sussex and other hop-growing counties. In 1842 the duty on the import of hops had been reduced from 8l. 10s., or 9l., to 4l. 10s.; but the latter sum was certainly acceded to by the hop-growers, as not an inadequate amount of protection. It was now proposed, however, to reduce the duty from 4l. 10s. to 2l. 5s.; and the hop-growers were universally of opinion, that under such a duty they would be utterly unable to maintain a competition with the foreign producer. It should be recollected the home hop-grower had to pay an excise duty of 1l. per cwt., a burden which, of course, the foreign producer had not to hear, and which, therefore, operated, pro tanto, in favour of the foreigner, and against the home producer. The real amount of protective duty on the English hops was therefore reduced to 25s. per cwt.; a duty entirely inadequate to protect the hop planter of this country. Those who were acquainted with the growth of hops knew that it required some time to bring the article to perfection; and that bringing a plantation into a state fit for production was attended with heavy preliminary expenses. Moreover, large sums were invested in the building of vast houses in which to dry the hops, so that a great amount of capital was invested in the raising of hops. There were from 20,000 to 30,000 acres occupied in the raising of hops in Kent alone. And it was a most important consideration in connexion with this subject, and showed how inseparable from the question of protection were the interests of labour—that in the growth of hops, at least 8l. more per acre were expended than in the cultivation of any other species of arable land; that is, that where 10l. per acre was expended in the wages of labour in the growth of hops, only 2l. per acre would be expended in the same way in the cultivation of wheat or any other grain. The labour likewise engaged in the raising of hops was not that of men alone, but of women and children. So that, in fact, in the hop districts, large populations had grown up around and arisen from the hop plantations in which they were engaged. The reduction of the duty would, by exposing the hop planters of this country to a ruinous competition, inflict irreparable injury on their interests. It was but justice, therefore, that, under such circumstances, if the customs duty were to be thus ruinously reduced in favour of the foreigner, at least the excise duty should be proportionally reduced in favour of the home grower, who then might have some chance of success in an otherwise hopeless competition. It was of great importance to bear in mind, in this question, that the consumer would not be benefited one jot by the reduction of duty. So small was the quantity of hops employed in brewing of beer, that when the effect of the duty was taken in detail, the reduction of the duty could not have the effect of lowering the price in any perceptible degree—certainly not more than one farthing per gallon; while, on the other hand, there was the certainty of irreparable injury—the prospect of utter ruin to an interest which proved the source of abundant employment to the poor, and in which large sums were invested. He pressed these considerations humbly, but earnestly, on the attention of the Government.


did not know that he could add anything to that which he stated when this subject was brought under consideration by the hon. Member for Sussex, in the year 1842. It was stated that the duty being 9l. per cwt. in 1842, it was reduced to 4l. 14s. 6d. per cwt. Alarms of the same nature as those expressed by the hon. Member for Kent were then expressed, that hops would then cease to be cultivated, and that the people would cease to be employed. But it appeared that, during the three years which had elapsed since 1842, only two cwt. of foreign hops had been brought in, while the duty which had been paid had not exceeded 10l. in the three kingdoms. He apprehended that the countries from which any formidable competition could be expected were very distant from this. Some hops, he, believed, were grown in the United States; but they could not stand a long voyage, and were very much inferior to those grown in Kent. The produce of Kent, with the duty of 1l. per cwt., could enter into competition with the produce of America, or any foreign country. The introduction of hops into this country from any other had been hitherto a bad speculation, though sometimes the price was exorbitant. But if in dear years a moderate quantity were brought in, controlling the exorbitant prices, he (Sir B. Peel) thought it would be for the general advantage of the consumer, and he very much doubted if it would not be advantageous to the hop-growers themselves. He could not consent to repeal the excise duties on hops, and lose 170,000l. revenue, or 200,000l. in prosperous years. The question was, whether the hop-grower in this country, with a protection of 25s., that is, deducting the 1l. excise duty from the 2l. 5s. protection duty, could not enter into competition with the foreign grower, except when the prices were so exorbitant as to render it for the interest of the consumer that they should have a foreign supply. He could not add anything to that which had been said upon what had been brought before them by the hon. Member for Sussex. He could not then consent to a reduction of the excise duties; and he could not think it desirable to maintain so high a duty as had been paid on foreign hops for the last three years, during which time only two cwt. had been imported, and 10l. duty had been paid.


said, to repeal the Corn Laws was bad enough, but to reduce the duty on hops was worse. It would ruin all the landowners, tenants, and labourers of Sussex and Kent, and it would throw thousands out of employ. It was impossible to estimate the distress that must arise. At least the excise duty ought to be reduced. Foreign hops would be sold here for less than they could be raised at in Sussex. English capital would soon be directed to the increased production of foreign hops. The repeal of the malt duty which pressed so heavily on the agriculturists and the country, would be a great benefit to the entire community; and the right hon. Baronet (Sir J. Graham) might recollect his own declaration, that the repeal of the malt tax must follow the repeal of the Corn Laws. The right hon. Baronet had represented that the hop-planters had made a great opposition to the last reduction of duty: it was true, and they had only agreed to the 4l. 10s. duty, on being assured that it should remain as a permanent and efficient protection.


concurred in what had been expressed by the hon. Members for Sussex and Kent. The growth of hops stood in peculiar need of protection; and that it was totally unnecessary to reduce that protection on account of the consumer, was evident from this, that the prices had been moderate on an average. The fallacy of the right hon. Baronet was in assuming, that because 4l. 10s. might be adequate protection, 2l. 5s. could be so. But, in truth, it was only a protection to the extent of 1l. 5s., when 1l. per cwt. was deducted for the excise duty, to which our hop-growers were exclusively subjected. If the Government persisted in their resolution to reduce the duty, the most ruinous results must ensue in the hop-growing counties. He feared that no reasoning and no appeals would induce the right hon. Baronet to modify his proposition; but the right hon. Gentleman would teach the farmers of England a bitter lesson they would not readily forget—that they were to expect permanence in no measures but such as operated to their detriment and disadvantage. Such were the fruits of that free-trade mania with which the right hon. Baronet had been unhappily inoculated from the opposite side of the House. Had he any influence with the House, he would not hesitate to use it to induce them to increase the protective duty on hops, rather than diminish it. But, as he knew that the hop-growing was carried on in few counties, and that Members for other districts were not acquainted with the importance of the subject, he despaired of making any impression on the House, and could only express an earnest hope that, on some future occasion, they would be induced to reconsider a matter so momentous.


wished it to be understood, that when the hop-growers remonstrated with the Government on the last reduction of the duty, they did so under the impression that it was to be a reduction to 22s. instead of 4l. 10s., with which latter sum they were satisfied, and expected that it would be maintained. It ought not to be forgotten that extra tithes and poor rates were charged on hop grounds to the extent of some 4s. or 5s. per cwt.; which was of course a proportionate drawback on the protective duty. Then again another circumstance operated very unfavourably to the English hop-grower: he had to pay the duty when his hops were dry; whereas the foreign producer could keep his hops in bond till they were required for consumption; meanwhile the English hop-grower lost the interest of his money. Since 1842 foreign hops (Belgian for instance) had been offered freely in the river at 2l. 2s. per cwt., free of duty; the hop dealers in London offered 6l. 6s. per cwt. including duty; and with a 4l. 10s. duty, the foreign hops were excluded; but with a 1l. 5s. duty, of course at that price they would come into competition with our own hops. He had been informed on good authority that hops could be brought from America at 2l. per cwt., and the freight would be only 2s. or 3s. more; so that they would be nearly on the same footing as the Belgian hops. The Report of the Commissioners of Excise Inquiry (Sir H. Parnell, Mr. Baring, and Mr. Wickham), all stanch free traders, recommended that, concurrently with the reduction of the import duty, there should be a repeal of the excise duty. The average price of British hops had been 5l. 9s. per cwt.—not at all a high price—whereas foreign hops could be sold for 2l. 7s. per cwt., inclusive of the 2l. 5s. duty now proposed. He understood that the proposed alteration in the law of settlement in the hop districts was to be retrospective instead of prospective. This would be felt as a very hard case in the hop-growing districts. Supposing the hop grounds were broken up, what would become of the poor people who had been located in those parishes? It was, in fact, like breaking up a manufacturing town, and leaving all the workmen to be maintained by the owners of the destroyed factories: the population was as much crowded together. He sincerely hoped that the right hon. Baronet would not throw prices so low as to prevent the English grower of hops continuing his cultivation. The right hon. Baronet had said, the precarious crop introduced a kind of gambling into agricultural pursuits. The hop-grower must have a certain capital to go on with in case of a bad year; and when they had districts in England where there were men of capital, and who were capable of carrying on the cultivation, he really did not see why they should be interfered with in their speculations. The question, then, was, should Government ruin those men, or should it not? There was another thing. In these hop districts a great quantity of coarse linen was consumed yearly in making hop bags, while the coals for drying amounted to at least 10,000 tons annually. He hoped the House would take this into consideration, and would either consent to let the foreigner pay a higher duty, equivalent to the excise duty on hops, or would take off the duty on hops altogether. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Kent had clearly showed that a reduction would have no real effect in lowering the price to the consumer, and therefore it would be needless to touch upon that. He thought if the right hon. Baronet wished to give cheap beer to the people, he should take the duty off malt.


thought the proposed reduction would be advantageous to the public, and he doubted the accuracy of the calculations which had been made by the hon. Member who had just sat down with respect to the average price of hops in England. He recollected one year, the year 1817, in which the price was as high as 38l. per cwt. He did not think it at all likely that the cost of carrying American hops to this country would not exceed four or five shillings per bag; nay, he held it to be quite impossible, for it cost as much to convey them from Canterbury and Maidstone to London. Even though many of the hop gardens were to be thrown out of cultivation, the consequences would not be very disastrous, for there was no description of ground which grew better wheat than that which had previously been cultivated under hops.


said, he thought the present question had not been put strongly enough in favour of the hop-growers. Hop-growers were not merely agriculturists, but they were at once agriculturists and traders, and therefore might suffer the casualties which attend both the traders and the agriculturists, A bad crop of wheat or oats was a rarity; but the hop-grower could not insure himself from casualties even from one year to another. Formerly, they looked to a surplus of one year to supply the deficiency of another. They knew that high prohibitory duties would prevent foreign hops from coming in. The course of nature generally brought it round that good and bad harvests were just sufficient to make up in good years the deficiency of bad years, Any hop-grower having capital could sell his hops, because he was enabled to store it up to meet the demands of scarce years; but if the facility which Government gave at present were removed, that could not be the case in future. He thought there were peculiar circumstances to prove that hops ought to be treated with particular leniency, especially when they remembered that hop-growers paid the enormous excise duty of 2d. in the pound. They were also put to the annoyance of having an excise officer to stamp every bag of hops, and compelled to pay toll before it could be taken out of the store. When all this was considered, besides the uncertainties of time and season, he did think it was a very great hardship for the hop-growers of Kent to have their protection taken from them while an expensive and burdensome excise duty was still levied upon their produce, He thought that if there was to be free trade, there should be free trade between Maidstone and London. He understood there was at the present moment a large London brewer who had ordered a quantity of hops from America, which at once went to prove that they could be brought into England. The hop trade in Kent supported and provided food and sustenance for numbers of the labouring classes of that county. It had been said that a great spirit of gambling was abroad; but if the excise duty were taken away, there would be none. The trade would then be carried on without any of that spirit of gambling which was now complained of. He thought that, considering hops were subject to a heavy excise duty, it demanded, if anything, a much greater protection.


said, that the right hon. Baronet had alluded to the great profit which had been made by the hop-growers. It was very true that some large capitalists had made much money, but it was not the case generally speaking; for so great was the spirit of competition in this country, that the profit was lowered very considerably. The small hop-grower invariably lost money after a series of years, while the large grower made great profits. The year 1817 had been alluded to in the course of the evening; but there was a very great blight during that year, and therefore it ought not to be quoted as a precedent, as it was a very extraordinary year. Hops could not be grown, he was informed, under 40l. an acre, of which 12l. went to pay the wages of men, women, and children. He could assure the House that a large number of hop grounds would be thrown out of cultivation in consequence of this measure. The hop-grower, however, would not object to the protective duty being lessened, if the Government would at the same time take off a portion of the excise duty.


said, that he was very glad he gave way to the hon. Gentleman who had just addressed the House, as he had told them that although the system of protection amounted to a prohibition, yet the effect of it upon the hop-grower was such as to make hop grounds for the most part losing concerns. He thought no argument could be stronger than that, for attempting some change in the system which had proved so detrimental to small people engaged in the growth of that particular article. When the hon. Gentleman talked of a perfectly free trade in hops, he should consider what the proposition was before the House. The Government did not put the English hop-grower on the same footing as the foreigner, but it put double the duty upon the foreigner to what it did on the home grower. The hon. Member for Maidstone had said, that were they not deprived of their present advantages, they could hold their hops over against a deficiency; but was such a mode of gaining a profit what the Government ought to support, as fair to the consumer? The hon. Gentleman had also expressed great fear that we should have American hops introduced into this country; but on that head, he had been sufficiently answered by one of his own party. He wished the hon. Gentleman would mention the name of the large brewer who had sent to America for hops; because if his name were once known, he would undoubtedly lose all his custom. Much had been said against the excise duty. It had been said, that the foreign hops would not require to have the duty paid till they were taken out of bond, while the duty on home-grown hops must be paid when they were dried. Such was not the fact; the excise duty was not paid until a considerable time afterwards. He believed the excise duty was considered by many hop-growers to be a protection to them.


said, that there were other gambling speculations going on in this country than gambling in hops. There was a little gambling going on in railway speculations just now; but he was not exactly of opinion that any trade ought to be put down because gamblers chose to speculate upon the honest pursuits of other-persons. He apprehended that the hop-growers themselves were not the gamblers—it was the London speculators who were the gamblers. It had been stated by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that the House heard from the hon. Member for Sussex that hop-growing had been a losing concern for some years past; but the right hon. Gentleman proposed a different remedy to that which he should propose. He should propose that the excise duty be taken off. He was glad to hear, in the early part of the evening, the strongest proof of the advantage of the abolishment of the excise duties. The abolition of the excise duties upon glass had brought a considerable reduction of outlay to the Government, by the employment of a less number of excise officers; and he thought they had a reasonable ground for supposing that one hundred excise officers might come off, and upwards of 10,000l. a year be saved, by abolishing the present hop duty. That would be a means of giving assistance to the hop-growers. A gentleman had called upon him that morning and assured him that in the year 1836, under the regulations of the Excise, he had paid 18s. 8d. a cwt. upon fifteen tons and a half of hops, which were grown in 1836, which was a good year; the result was, he was obliged to hold his hops till 1840, when he was tired of holding them, and then he sold the hops, with that duty of 18s. 8d. paid upon them for 16s. It had been stated that in 1817 or 1818, hops were 38l. the cwt. Would they admit foreign-grown hops to remedy such disastrous effects as this? He wished to call the attention of the hon. Gentlemen on the Treasury bench to one thing. Suppose they were to throw the hop-grounds out of cultivation, what did the Government mean to do with the Tithe Commutation Act? He understood that while wheat land paid 7s. an acre towards the tithes, hop land paid 29s. He admitted that a duty of 4l. 10s. a cwt. was a higher duty than was required; but at the same time, he thought that duty reduced as it was now proposed to be reduced, was too small; but the forms of the House prevented him from proposing any intermediate duty; and, therefore, whilst he protested against his vote to-night being considered as a vote in favour of a duty which was almost prohibitory, yet he had no other option than to propose that that part of the Resolution be omitted.

The House divided on the Question, that Hops the cwt. 2l. 5s. stand part of the Resolution:—Ayes 91; Noes 44: Majority 47.

List of the AYES.
Aglionby, H. A. Ellice, rt. hon. E.
Aldam, W. Ellis, W.
Baine, W. Escott, B.
Baring, rt. hon. F. T. Etwall, R.
Barnard, E. G. Fitzgerald, R. A.
Bernal, R. Fitzroy, hon. H.
Blewitt, R. J. Flower, Sir J.
Botfield, B. Goulburn, rt. hon. H.
Bouverie, hon. E. P. Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.
Bowles, Adm. Greene, T.
Brotherton, J. Hanmer, Sir J.
Browne, hon. W. Hatton, Capt.
Bruce, Lord E. Heathcoat, J.
Busfeild, W. Hindley, C.
Butler, hon. Col. Howard, P. H.
Cardwell, E. Hughes, W. B.
Carnegie, hon. Capt. Hume, J.
Chichester, Lord J. L. Humphery, Ald.
Childers, J. W. Jermyn, Earl
Clerk, rt. hon. Sir G. Jocelyn, Visct.
Cobden, R. Kelly, Sir F.
Collett, J. Kirk, P.
Collins, W. Langston, J. H.
Corry, rt. hon. H. Lockhart, A. E.
Cowper, hon. W. F. M'Carthy, A.
Crawford, W. S. Mangles, R. D.
Cripps, W. Masterman, J.
Dalrymple, Capt. Mitchell, T. A.
Dickinson, F. H. Moffatt, G.
Douglas, Sir C. E. Molesworth, Sir W.
Dundas, Adm. Mostyn, hon. E. M. L.
Ebrington, Visct. Muntz, G. F.
Neville, R. Thornely, T.
Osborne, R. Trelawny, J. S.
Parker, J. Trench, Sir F. W.
Pechell, Capt. Tuffnell, H.
Peel, rt. hon. Sir R. Vivian, J. H.
Peel, J. Wakley, T.
Philips, J. R. Warburton, H.
Phillpotts, J. Wawn, J. T.
Plumridge, Capt. White, S.
Seymour, Lord Williams, W.
Somers, J. P. Wood, Col. T.
Staunton, Sir G. T. Yorke, H. R.
Stewart, J. TELLERS.
Strutt, E. Young, J.
Thesiger, Sir F. Baring, H.
List of the NOES.
Allix, J. P. Hope, A.
Arbuthnott, hon. H. Houldsworth, T.
Austen, Col. Liddell, hon. H. T.
Baillie, W. Lygon, hon. Gen.
Bankes, J. Manners, Lord J.
Benett, J. March, Earl of
Bonnet, P. Miles, W.
Bentinck, Lord J. Newdegate, C. N.
Bentinck, Lord H. O'Brien, A. S.
Beresford, Major Packe, C. W.
Borthwick, P. Palmer, G.
Brocklehurst, J. Repton, G. W. J.
Buck, L. W. Richards, R.
Deedes, W. Rolleston, Col.
Disraeli, B. Sheppard, T.
Dodd, G. Sibthorp, Col.
Finch, G. Spooner, R.
Frewen, C. H. Stanley, E.
Fuller, A. E. Thompson, Ald.
Gaskell, J. Milnes Worcester, Marq. of
Granby, Marq. of
Halford, Sir H. TELLERS.
Hall, Col. Plumptre, J.
Hodgson, R. Knight, F. W.

On the article Leather,


said, that with respect to boots and shoes, he understood that great distress had ensued among the boot and shoemakers, consequent upon the last reduction in the Tariff affecting these articles. He knew that many houses in London, which had paid 500l. a week wages, had shifted their establishments to Boulogne. One of these houses had exported a great number of shoes and boots. He was of opinion that the reductions would not only injure the trades which they affected in the metropolis, but press with still greater severity on the inhabitants of the country towns and hamlets. He thought that the electors of Stafford had made a bad bargain for themselves by the recent election. He would not divide the House on the question.

On the Question that "Platting of Straw the lb., 5s.,"


regretted that the right hon. Baronet had made this article the subject of still further reduction. The right hon. Baronet said, he regretted that he had not in the Tariff of 1842 proposed a still lower rate of duty; but he did not think the right hon. Gentleman had any reason for regret, except that he had reduced the duty at all. Before 1842, the duty was 10s.; but it had by that measure been reduced to 7s. 6d. The House might not perhaps be aware that there were from 30,000 to 40,000 people employed in the manufacture of straw plait in the counties of Hertford, Essex, Buckingham, and Bedford. It appeared to him that one of the great advantages derived by those employed in that business was, that they were able to plait the straw in their own homes. Many children and girls were employed under the eyes of their own parents. In Tuscany a particular sort of grass was cultivated for this purpose, which he was told did not grow in this country. He had himself seen it growing near Florence. From inquiries made he was led to believe there were three kinds of plait—one was of a very fine nature; the second fine, but less so than the first; and the third of a coarser sort. It was only concerning the two former kinds that apprehensions were entertained. Fine straw was of great use to the retailers in London; but that particularly fine quality was used entirely by the upper classes. He put it to the House, if it were not a hard case that the poor operatives should suffer, to make this kind of plait somewhat cheaper. The people of this country would find it impossible to compete with those of the north of Italy. The article, as he had already said, was exclusively used by the upper classes, and he was sorry to say that his countrywomen gave it the preference over the produce of their own country; but as it was, he thought that when these ladies would wear so fine an article, they ought to be made to pay for it. Much had been said about improving the condition of the lower classes; but he thought reduced wages, that would follow from this measure, was a bad step towards it. He thought it would operate injuriously upon the poor women and children employed in this trade. It must be known that plait was an article of which a great quantity could be wrapped in very small bundles; and that, consequently, the freightage was trifling. He would be glad to know the number of convictions for smuggling this straw plait, for great smuggling of this article had, in 1842, been urged as one of the reasons for lowering the duty.


was sorry if any injury had been done to the straw-plait manufacturers by the measure of 1842. At that time the duty was 17s. 6d. [Mr. REPTON: Ten shillings.] No; 17s. 6d., and that, too, be it recollected, upon a guinea's worth of the article. It was, in 1842, reduced to a duty of 7s. 6d.; and they now proposed to reduce it to 5s.; still leaving a protection of 20 per cent upon an article which could be, and had been, smuggled with the greatest facility. Since the reduction of 1842, he was proud to say the straw-plait workers had introduced such improvements in the plaiting of the article, as to be enabled to produce a superior quality; so that there was no ground for the apprehension entertained by the Member.

Question agreed to.

On the Question, that all the articles included under the head Silk Manufactures stand part of the Question,


said, he would propose the omission of items upon which it was proposed to reduce the duty to a very large extent. In doing so he would meet the challenge of the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government, who challenged any one to show that any material interest had been injured by the lowering of duty for any length of time. The right hon. Baronet assumed, not only that no interest had been injured, but that all had been benefited, either immediately or within a very short period of the time when such an alteration was made. He should have felt some hesitation in taking up a subject on which he could not pretend to any practical knowledge or information, neither could he say it was one in which his constituents were especially interested; but he felt for the many weavers whose interests would be injured by the reduction of duties, and he had obtained a degree of information which reached to a certain period, was full and accurate, and of an authority that could not be disputed. Within six years of the alteration made in the silk trade by Mr. Huskisson, circumstances had occurred which, so far from showing any improvement, evinced that inconvenience and suffering had been the result—in fact so much so that Parliament, then under the control of a Whig Government, felt itself constrained to yield to the demands of those engaged in that trade, and appoint a Committee to inquire into the subject. In 1832 a Committee was appointed, of which he was a Member. There were upon it twenty-three Members of the House of Commons, of whom as far as he was aware, only seven were now in the House. The right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government was a Member of that Committee; but, so far as his recollection extended, attended it very seldom. He (Mr. Bankes) had since thought that if the right hon. Baronet had attended it more frequently, he would not have thrown out the challenge he had given, because he must have felt that the mass of evidence there tendered was entirely opposite to his present views. The hon. Member for Montrose was also a Member of the Committee, and a constant attendant at the sittings; and that hon. Member would not dispute the authority of the evidence it received. The sittings of the Committee extended over a period of five months, from March until August. It was appointed— To examine into the present, state of the silk trade, and to inquire what effects had been produced by the changes in the laws relating to the silk trade, since 1824, and whether any legislative measure could be devised compatible with the general interest of the country, which would have the effect of promoting it; at the same time to prevent smuggling in silk manufacture, and to report thereon to the House. The Committee sat almost incessantly, and only closed its labours with the Session. The Report of the Committee was only laid on the Table the last day of the Session, and was in these words:— Your Committee regret that they are unable to make any general or full report on several matters committed to their consideration; but the various interests included, and the extent of the subject brought before the Committee, as well as the great number of witnesses they had to examine, and the knowledge that many others still remain to be examined, compel us at this late period of the Session only to lay the evidence taken before the House. Had he (Mr. Bankes) been a Member of the ensuing Parliament, he would certainly have moved for the re-appointment of the Committee; but he had not been in that House for several years after. When the Committee drew near to a close, the late Sir Fowell Buxton, who was one of its Members, prepared a Resolution, which he submitted to the Committee as a foundation for its Report. He had the honour of assisting him, and Alderman Waithman also took part in preparing it. A day was fixed upon which this Resolution was to be discussed. When the day came, one of the Members, the then Member for Coventry, as he believed (Sir H. Bulwer), did not attend, from illness or some other cause. The consequence was, that the Members of the Committee were divided equally for and against the Resolution. The chairman (Mr. Sanford) was known to be in favour of the views of the supporters of the Resolution, and his casting vote would have decided it in their favour. Before the division took place, however, a Member of the Committee was sent for, who had never been at any previous sitting (Sir Henry Parnell), and he voted against them. This was the reason why no other than the meagre Report which they saw on the Table had been produced, and which was sufficient to assure them that no complete inquiry had taken place; but a mass of facts had been recorded which indisputably proved that the complaints of the petitioners were well founded, and that the silk trade had experienced severe depression from the measures introduced by Mr. Huskisson. There might be still a very large capital engaged in the manufacture of silk; but it had been proved, and he would forthwith direct their attention to the evidence, that the lowering of the duty had had the effect of lessening the wages of the operatives engaged in that trade more than half—that, from a state of comparative case and comfort—he had almost said indulgence, in which they were before the change was made—they had been thrown into fearful and general distress during the six years that intervened between the passing of the measure and the appointment of the Committee. The hon. Member then proceeded to read extracts from the evidence given before the Committee in question. Mr. William Brunskell after one or two observations made by him, was questioned as follows:— How do you think the measure has affected the ribbon trade?—I think great distress has taken place in the ribbon trade from foreign competition. Do you consider that smuggling has increased in this period as compared with the period prior to 1826?—Amazingly. Are you aware of any manufacturers who thought well of the scheme when first proposed, and who have since altered their opinion?—Yes. I have reason to think there are several, and I will name them if the Committee wish (witness did name them). What difference is there between the wages of the English and the foreign workman?—I should think the English workman has, generally speaking, very nearly double. Are you not aware that a great number of weavers in Spitalfields are thrown out of employment by the same article being manufactured in Manchester?—I am not aware of that. Is it not a fact, that taking the whole of the goods now made in Spitalfields, that a quality is made much better than it was a few years ago?— I should say not; I think they made better goods ten years ago than they make now. You state that wages in Spitalfields have been reduced 50 per cent since 1820?—Yes; from 40 to 50 per cent. Do you attribute that to the introduction of goods from France.—Yes; mainly I do. There would be found in another part of the Report, an estimate of the average weekly earnings of weavers in full employment, in the plain ribbon trade, including satins and sarsenets. From the evidence of Mr. Benjamin Poole, it appeared that in 1815 the wages was 18s.d. per week; in 1816, 17s.; in 1818, 14s. 6d.; in 1819, 18s.d. again; in 1824, 17s.; in 1826, the year after the reduction, 14s.; in 1829, three years after the alteration, they fell to 10s. 10d., from 18s.d. He also found in that Report an account of the money actually paid for poor rates in Coventry—the parish of Coventry, for the support of permanent casual poor. At Lady-day, 1824, the amount paid for poor rate in that parish for permanent and casual poor, was 1,307l. 10s. 3d. In 1830, six years after, the poor rate rose to 2,192l. 19s. 2d. Then, as regarded the evidence of Mr. Brocklehurst, he gave a statement respecting Macclesfield; he mentioned the number of spindles in employ, which were, in 1824, 276,000, and 10,000 people employed; in 1828, four years after, and two years after the alteration of duty, the number of working spindles in that town was reduced from 276,000 to 159,000—whilst the people, who in 1824 were 10,000, were reduced to 5,254. But in the year 1831, a reduction still more remarkable occurred: the number of spindles was reduced to 120,000, and the people employed to 3,000, having been 10,000 in 1824. Then as to wages. In 1824, the wages of the able man in this trade was 18s. a week, the wages of young men 14s., of young women 12s. a week, of children from 7s. 6d. to 3s. 6d. In 1828, four years after, the wages of able men, which had been 18s., were reduced to 8s. 6d.; the wages of young men, which had been 14s., were reduced to 7s. 3d.; the wages of women, which had been 12s., were reduced to 6s.; the wages of children, which had been from 7s. 6d. to 3s. 6d., were reduced to 3s. 6d. and 1s. 9d. But in 1831, But in further reductions took place, for the wages of able men were reduced to 4s. 7d. which had been 18s., the wages of young men to 4s., of women to 3s., of children to 1s. Then let them take the poor rates of Macclesfield. In 1824, the gross expenditure of poor rates was 4,201l. 18s.; in 1829, five years after the poor rate was more than doubled—it amounted to 8,670l. Then let them take the number of families receiving relief. In 1825, there were fifty-six families in that town receiving relief; in 1831, 511. Now, could any one withstand such facts as these? Was he to be told now, even supposing the statement was true, which he could prove it was not, that it was true the silk weavers did suffer for five or six years, but that they had now recovered? That would not meet his case. He had answered the challenge which had been thrown out, to produce a single case where mischief had resulted from the reduction of protection; and he had shown that great and enormous mischief had been the result of a rash alteration in those duties—an alteration of the effect of which the House was warned, but which being sanctioned by the great name of Mr. Huskisson, was carried as triumphantly as any of those alterations which the House was now achieving. He would not say but the great manufacturers might be ready to try this great experiment, and to share in the glory which was anticipated from the new system, and which was to find imitators in every part of the world. But they could afford to stand the risk of five or six years of depreciation, and sustain the disadvantage which unrestricted competition would cause them; but he begged the House to remember that that which was a mere temporary disadvantage to them, was ruin to the poorer classes. The House could not re-establish them—it could not indemnify them for the injury which was brought upon them. He thought, therefore, they ought to pause, and give the operatives time to recover from the injuries which had already been inflicted upon them. The manufacturers would no doubt speak for themselves—some of them were present in the House; but he should be surprised, indeed, if any of them would rise and toll him that the operatives were in favour of this change, or that they did not look forward with great and reasonable dread to the farther mischief which these measures were likely to bring upon them. But it might be said, it was true, the Spitalfields weavers were ruined; but what business had they to settle there? The hon. Member for Montrose said that. [Mr. HUME: No, no.] The hon. Member denied it, but he had heard the hon. Member say something very like that, namely, that the weavers had no business to settle there. Others said, "True, the business had disappeared from Spitalfields, but it had risen in other parts of the country." Then, where was it? He had not been able to discover it in other parts of the country. It was not the same sort of trade it was—not the trade which gave the high wages—it was not the trade which wrought the valuable kind of manufactures, which branch of trade alone gave the high wages; and when he was met, as he had no doubt he would be, with returns from the Board of Trade, showing a great increase in the weight and bulk of the silk exported, he begged to say that would not meet his argument in regard to wages—it rather confirmed his apprehensions, that they had lost the manufacture of those fine and valuable fabrics which were bought by the rich, till, in consequence of the change they were enabled to buy them from foreigners; which were bought by the rich who could afford to pay high prices: and for the fabrication of which the master manufacturers were enabled to pay high wages. Those fabrics ought to have been encouraged, and not to have been surrendered in despair of being able to compete with the taste or with the dyes of France. At the very moment the change took place, they were in the act of surmounting these obstacles; they were discovering the means of being able to compete with foreigners both with respect to the dyes and to taste; so much so, that it was stated before the Committee that a fabric was seized at the Custom-house as French, which was afterwards proved to be an English one. The quantity of silk now manufactured might be as much as before; but what he contended was, that those expensive fabrics which alone gave high wages, were now given up in a great measure. Therefore, when it was said that the persons formerly employed in Spitalfields had now gone to Manchester and Nottingham, he said it was not to work those fine and beautiful fabrics. They were engaged in the manufacture of silk it was true; but it was silk of an inferior nature—what was called the husks and knubs. [Cheers.] Hon. Members cheered him. Was it a matter of indifference to the operatives? did they think what wages they got? That was his case. It was nothing to prove to him that the same number of people were employed who would have been employed under other circumstances. His case was, that great numbers of them were employed at wages so low as hardly to provide sufficient subsistence for themselves and their families. It required no intimacy with the feeling of the working classes to know that they were not agreeable to the proposed change. Reports of meetings had been published in the public journals: one of these was held at Manchester, and the report described it as numerous and enthusiastic, Mr. Cann was unanimously called to the chair; and he stated that the proposed Tariff would have the effect of lowering their present low rate of wages. Then the meeting was addressed by Mr. Bennet, who declared to the meeting— That he had been a weaver for fifty-seven years, and he found by hitter experience that every advance towards free trade only lowered their wages; he would ask who they were who were now the leaders of free trade? Not the manufacturers, but great capitalists who could buy goods anywhere, and would buy them where they could get them the cheapest, never earing about the labourer. He would ask who were Cobden and Bright? Two men who had amassed large fortunes by getting work done cheap, and only wanted the repeal of the Corn Laws for their own benefit. But he was sure that neither the weavers, nor, in fact, any body of working men, when the matter was properly explained to them, would be led away by the cry of cheap bread. But then Mr. Cobden said bread would not fall much in this country, but would rise on the contrary abroad; but the manufacturers there would not raise their workmen's wages any more than our manufacturers, because their food was dearer; and thus we should make the poor there worse off than they were at present, and do no good to ourselves. For our manufacturers and capitalists took care, when bread was cheap, to make that an excuse to lower wages; but they also took care, when food was dear, not to raise them. Huskisson's measures had brought ruin upon numbers of poor families, and Sir Robert's, he was sure, would prove worse still. Mr. Jones said he quite agreed with the previous speaker, and he thought the best thing they could do was to petition against the measure, because he was sure that they could not compete with the French unless we had taxation as low, and wages still lower. Mr. Field then moved the following Resolution:—'Resolved that we, the weavers of Manchester, in public meeting assembled, are of opinion that the reduction of duties upon foreign silks will be a very great injury to the silk trade of this country; and we, therefore, resolve to oppose it by every legal and constitutional means.' He (Mr. Field) could also recollect the vast amount of misery which Huskisson's measure had inflicted on the silk trade of this country, and the misery and starvation which that measure had brought upon the weavers generally. It had had the effect of lowering their wages one-half, and Peel's measure would, if passed, do the same; and he was sure it would benefit no class of persons but the fundholder, the large capitalist, and the fixed annuitant. It was very well for such men as Mr. Hume to advocate low wages, just because his lady would get a silk dress about sixpence cheaper, or perhaps, a new bonnet threepence cheaper. The fact was, that the capitalist and large manufacturers were not content with taking their sweat, but they had taken their flesh, and now they wanted to open their bones and suck the marrow out. He concluded by proposing the Resolution, which was seconded by Mr. Cavenner. Mr. Clough then moved, 'that a petition be presented to both Houses of Parliament, against the passing of Sir Robert Peel's measure, and instead of it to grant protection for labour to the working classes.' There was another meeting held in a different place on the same day. It appeared that these meetings were perfectly open; and yet the Resolutions were carried without one dissentient voice. Now, if he found that even in Manchester itself such language was openly held, could he doubt that the working classes generally were averse to the change? True, he found no persons of wealth or consideration taking part in these meetings; but that was no reason why the House should disregard them. They were meetings of the working classes, who were awake to the danger to which they were exposed by these rash experiments. They were persons who had felt the evils; and, therefore they were alive to this fresh attack. It was true that other trades and occupations had not shown the same feeling, because, happily, they had not hitherto felt the same degree of injury. Now, he had been told that the Spitalfields weavers had gone to Manchester: well, he had traced them to Manchester, and this was the wretched condition in which he found them, that they were scarcely able at present to provide food for themselves and their families, and reasonably anticipating that if this fresh change were made, their condition would become worse than ever. But it was very singular that in few parts of the kingdom did they hear much of this class of persons. His attention had been drawn incidentally to this subject, by looking over the Report of one of the Inspectors of Factories, whose attention was necessarily directed to the subject of mills and factories through the kingdom. In looking through the Report of Mr. Saunders for the year 1845, whose districts comprehended the counties of Derby, Hertford, Kent, Lancaster, Leicester, Nottingham, Somerset, Wilts, and York, he found this result, that from comparing the number of mills in October, 1838, with those in January, 1845, there were in the former period, of cotton, 204 mills, in the latter period, 263 mills; being an increase of 59. Of wool, in the former period, there were 566 mills, in the latter period, 655; being an increase of 89 mills: of worsted fabrics, in the former period, there were 388 mills, in the latter 438, increase 50: of flax mills, in the former period, 59 mills, in the latter 65; increase 6; and then came silk, which employed in the former period 69 mills, and in the latter 63; being the only trade in which there had been a decrease. He found also that the total number of children under his observation in Lancashire was 13,000, while the children employed in the silk trade was only 800. Therefore, looking to this extensive district of the country, he did not find that the silk trade, which had been expelled from London by these experiments, had been largely established in any other part of the kingdom. He did not dispute that there were many manufactures which were called silk, but which were not formerly thought worthy of that name—manufactures where silk was mixed with cotton, worsted, and other articles; but he begged again that the House would bear in mind that it was the question of wages he was arguing. There was a paper which had been largely circulated, and from which, therefore, he would quote but little; but there were a few particulars which he begged to lay before the House as a fair summary of his case, and as containing matter well deserving their attention. It appeared, then, that the wages of the silk weaver were less by one-half now than they were in 1824: he thought the evidence he had quoted had already established that fact. He trusted he should hear in the course of the debate, that, in many parts of the kingdom, the higher rates of wages were resumed; for he did not deny that the manufacturers now could and did carry on the higher fabrics, but not to the same extensive degree as before; they had not increased in the same proportion as they would have done if protection had not been withdrawn; and therefore he had a right to assume that a large proportion of those who were now earning small wages would have been employed in a more profitable way, if these alterations had not been made. The second statement contained in the paper to which he had referred was, that the annual value of the silk manufactured in England was less by 2,000,000l. or 3,000,000l. sterling than it was in 1824. Here again they had to deal with quality, not with quantity, because the exports of silk to France, which were so much spoken of, consisted of coarse yarns for fringes, &c., while the imports from France consisted of the finest fabrics, so that the average value of English silk exported to France was 7s. 6d. per lb., while the average value of the French silk imported to England was 56s. per lb., which marked the difference in the quality of the silk and in the value of the labour. The declared value of the English exports of silk into France was somewhere above 156,000l., while the declared value of the French imports into England was above 1,000,000 sterling. He might state that a portion of his constituents were interested in the silk trade; and when he had on a former occasion opposed the reduction of the duty on thrown silk, and urged the case of his constituents upon the right hon. Baronet, he received for answer that his was one of the counties which had been beaten out of their manufactures by the discovery of new machinery; and, above all, by the discovery of steam. Now, he could assure the right hon. Baronet, that the manufacture of thrown silk could be quite as well carried on by water power as by steam. But the fact was, in consequence of the reduction in the duties, where there had been two large establishments employing a great number of hands, there was now only one establishment, the hands were considerably reduced, and the rates of wages, though there was every disposition on the part of the masters to pay liberally, were still in no degree so high as they had been before. Thus the population of that district had to a large extent been thrown out of work, particularly young females were deprived of employment which was profitable to them, and in no degree injurious to the health; for it was a singular fact, that the health suffered less in the silk than in any other manufacture. For those reasons, in addition to others, he trusted that the case of those persons would meet with the sympathy of the House. He did not wish to mix it up with other questions. He should prove an interested and unworthy advocate, if he were to damage the cause of these unfortunate persons by mixing it up with any other question. Vote as they would upon other questions—state if they chose that the case of the agricultural labourer rested on a different footing; but let them not in their wish to carry the Corn Laws, do injustice to this particular class of persons who had already suffered so severely from the Tariff, and who, if they were now in a prosperous state, were but recovering from the depression to which former experiments had reduced them. If it could be shown that they were now in a flourishing state, he said, leave them so; and for years to come let them enjoy that protection to which they were so much entitled. Those richer fabrics which afforded the high prices, could only be purchased by the wealthy. They were the only persons who could complain of the high prices; and he trusted that class would let it be a part of their privileges—a part of their pride—if they were to adorn their palaces with hangings of these fabrics, that in these expensive articles of dress and of furniture, they were contributing to the high wages of the operative classes. He would certainly divide on this subject; because, as had been said, it involved other interests; for the questions of dress and millinery related to the same subject—they all related to the pride and the pleasure of the rich. They might, by the abolition of the Corn Laws lower the amount of wealth of the nobles of the land; but depend upon it, it would still be their pride and their happiness to contribute to the just remuneration of the working classes. He concluded by moving the omission of all articles in the Tariff which included silk.


said he had been a Member of the Committee of 1833, to which the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Bankes) had referred, and that he had taken the part of the operatives in the silk trade during that investigation. He gave the hon. Member credit for sincerity; but he begged to remind him that the question was not whether we could return to the old system of prohibition. That was quite impossible. It was assumed that if we did, the former rate of wages might still be obtained; but he apprehended no such result would follow, the competition for employment being too great. The hon. Gentleman said he did not know what had become of the silk trade that had left Spitalfields; and he asked where it was gone? He was sorry to say that since 1832 the number of parties engaged in the silk trade in Spitalfields had been reduced from 14,000 to 9,000. It was also assumed, and it was quite true, that if you admitted the silks of France, the whole of the very superior fabrics would come from that country. That was the case undoubtedly; and it would be so for some time yet, because in France there was a richer description of silk grown than reached this country, all of which they consumed. He had been in the silk trade thirty-five years, and he could assure the House that the best description of silks now imported from France had never, at any time, been manufactured in Spitalfields, although there had been a great improvement in the manufacture of this country, and although in operative skill the workmen of Spitalfields were equal to the execution of anything that could be produced in France. He would, however, revert to one point he had omitted, and give the House an idea of what had become of the silk trade. Ribbons formerly made in Coventry were now manufactured in Derby; large houses had been established at Manchester, Battersea, and Congleton. At Coventry they now made a description of goods hardly known there twenty years ago—gauze ribbons. Broad silks were manufactured at Leigh, Middleton, Manchester, and other places. With regard to the prices at which these goods could be imported from France, he had a return in his hands from Lyons, from which he was satisfied that, weight for weight, excluding gauzes, our goods were quite as cheap as those manufactured in France. There was little to fear from competition. Let our inferiority be no longer proclaimed, but let us, by sound legislation, induce men of enterprise, capital, and energy, to embark in the trade, and it would soon be found that Spitalfields would not only rival, but be superior to, the manufactures of France. Broad silks—bandanas for instance—were made in large quantities by the hon. Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Brocklehurst), exceeding in quality and cheapness those of France, so much so that they were printed and exported to a very great extent to France and other parts of the Continent.


begged to interrupt the hon. Member. The article of bandanas were manufactured in India, printed in this country, and then sent to France. They were not the manufacture of Macclesfield.


assured the hon. Member that Indian bandanas were not only printed in this country, but also that his (Mr. Brocklehurst's) own cloths were printed, and then sent into France, through Belgium. He admitted that there had been a diminution in the wages of the operatives within the last few years; but that, he contended, would have occurred had the system of protection been continued. If these duties were removed, he felt convinced that men of capital would embark their money in the silk trade, which would thus be placed on a systematic footing, the same as regulated the cotton trade. He believed that in a few years these duties would be removed altogether, and he knew that one of the most intelligent manufacturers of Spitalfields had provided for the anticipated change by sending his sons to the manufacturing towns of France.


said, the hon. Member who had just sat down spoke of the sons of a manufacturer being sent abroad for the purpose of being taught the modes of conducting the silk trade in France; and to his (Mr. Brocklehurst's) apprehension, by this fact the weakness of the argument of the hon. Member was proved. What would become of the weavers of Spitalfields until these persons returned with new notions of trade? The hon. Gentleman spoke largely of broad silks, but took a very narrow view of the subject. The hon. Gentleman also spoke of Spitalfields being under the direction of "brokers;" but he should have said "wholesale dealers," who, in fact, addressed language of this description to the manufacturers—"These are our prices: if you like them, take them; but if you do not choose to accept, we shall send our travellers to France, and supply ourselves from that country." In the town of Macclesfield was a population of 40,000 to 50,000 persons, and it was his duty to defend them on all occasions from attacks made against them. It might be argued by some that if one particular employment was destroyed, the operatives of that employment might resort to theirs. That principle, however, he disregarded. It was not possible shoemakers could turn themselves into milliners, or other trades make equally strange metamorphoses. The hon. Member for Leicester said, he wished men of capital would enter the silk trade, though he (Mr. Brocklehurst) did not observe the hon. Member showed why they had hitherto kept away. He supposed, however, he wished an inference to be drawn that protection drove them from that trade. If such was the intended inference, he could not admit its truth. He had been entrusted with a petition to present to that House, signed by a large proportion of the manufacturing population of Macclesfield, which clearly evinced the feeling of the operatives upon the subject. These petitioners stated, that they perceived with deep regret that the remission of the silk duties in 1824, and the admission of foreign silk goods in 1826, had been regarded as successful measures, when their effects, as the petitioners stated, had been most disastrous to them—thousands of them having been thrown out of work, and been compelled to depend upon the public kitchen for their support; not the operatives only, but many of the small manufacturers had in consequence been ruined. The petitioners regarded the silk trade as one which ought to be preserved, in case of any depression in the cotton trade; and they therefore prayed such favourable consideration from the House as that branch of business might be thought worthy of at their hands. His hon. Friend had laid great stress upon the circumstance of our exporting silk to France; but the fact was, that whilst we exported 20,0001. worth of silk goods, we imported from France 150,000l. worth. So much for the boasted reciprocity. The hon. Member proceeded to quote at some length from Mr. Deacon Hume's evidence before the Committee on the Silk Trade, in 1832, in support of the views which he had entertained. It was said that the effect of maintaining the duties was to give encouragement to smuggling; but it was quite possible to prevent smuggling, unless it took place with the connivance of the officers. It was quite evident, from the returns which had been laid on the Table of the House, that the Government had not obtained as great an amount of duty under the existing system as they would have obtained under the former system.


said, that the hon. Member for Dorsetshire had, at the commencement of his speech, promised to show that the silk trade was a case in which not only temporary but permanent injury had been inflicted, by the alterations in our fiscal system which had taken place in 1824 and 1825. The hon. Member had entirely rested his statement on the evidence taken before the Select Committee of 1832, of which he was a Member; and the hon. Member wished to make it appear that the Government of that day had felt such doubts as to the expediency of retaining the new system which had been introduced two years previously, that they willingly consented to inquiry. But the then Vice-President of the Board of Trade, the late Lord Sydenham, distinctly stated to the House that he went into the Committee, not entertaining the slightest doubt of the soundness of Mr. Huskisson's policy; without any intention of increasing the duty on silks, and still less of reverting to the exploded system of prohibition, but because he considered that the rates fixed in 1826 were too high, that they held out a temptation to the smuggler, and he made an addition to the instruction to the effect, that the Committee was to consider what steps could be taken for the prevention of smuggling. He admitted that several witnesses had made statements as to the distress among the operative silk weavers in consequence of the fall of wages. He did not deny that at particular seasons great distress did prevail in the silk trade, as in every other branch of our manufactures; but the hon. Member should have shown that such distress was peculiar to the silk manufactures, and also that it had arisen entirely since the alteration in the duty. The hon. Member should have referred to the evidence which had been taken before Committees at former periods, and the statements then made as to the state of the silk trade while enjoying the highest degree of protection. Had the hon. Member read the statement of Sir Fowel Buxton, made at the Mansion-house in 1816, when a meeting was called to take into consideration the distressed state of silk weavers? Why, the distress of 1841 was nothing as compared to the distress of 1816, when the people were dying in the ditches about Bethnal Green. Neither was such distress confined to 1816. Sir Fowrell Buxton referred to 1812, and the exertions rendered necessary on that occasion. Then in 1818, they had petitions from the silk weavers of Coventry, and a Select Committee was appointed to inquire into the facts. The distress then was infinitely greater than in 1832, and statements were put forth that the best men were working 100 hours in the week, and only obtaining 5s. 9d. wages. Therefore, when the hon. Member quoted particular years, he ought to admit that the distress to which he alluded had not been caused by the alteration of the duties in 1826, seeing that greater distress than had occurred subsequent to the alteration had previously taken place under all the supposed advantages of monopoly. The misfortune of the silk trade had always been that it was a manufacture of an article of luxury, anil therefore liable to be affected by the wildest caprices of fashion. Sometimes the operatives were in full employment at high wages, at others they were completely destitute of employment and the means of subsistence. This state of things was aggravated also by absurd regulations, because by the Spitalfields' Act it was impossible to give higher or lower wages than was fixed by the Act. The manufacturer was prevented under a heavy penalty from offering wages higher or lower than such as he found fixed in a certain table. What was the consequence? The manufacturer, who under other circumstances might continue to employ the men in slack seasons at lower wages, was obliged to discontinue employment altogether; and the men were at once reduced to starvation, while the trade was ultimately driven from Spitalfields to Macclesfield and Manchester, were they were not exposed to the consequences of such absurd restrictions. In 1826 the language was, "Give us a few years to get out of the trade, as your changes will destroy it;" but the trade had been in a more flourishing condition since than before. What were the tests by which the state of a trade was to be ascertained? If they found that the importation of the raw material used in the manufacture, and that the export of the manufactured article, had increased, was not that a proof of extension? Silk was now no longer considered a luxury, to be exclusively engrossed by the rich, but was extensively used by the middle and even the humbler classes; and it was clear that if the duty had not been reduced, that would not have taken place. If they wished to discourage the use of silk goods, they could not adopt a better means than by reintroducing the system which had been in force previous to 1824. By that system a duty was imposed on the raw material, and a minimum of wages was fixed, so that at some periods enormous profits were realized, while at others complete destitution prevailed. It was impossible for the trade to flourish under such restrictions; and, accordingly, he found, on referring to the returns made on the subject, that from 1765 to 1817—a period including the triennial period after the peace—that the silk trade had only doubled; whereas since 1817 up to the present time it had more than trebled. The hon. Member for Macclesfield had referred to printed papers to corroborate his assertion with regard to the exportation of the coarser descriptions of silk manufacture. It was true that we exported a quantity of silk yarn, certainly of an inferior description to the fine Italian yarns; but he found that of the whole quantity of raw silk imported only about five per cent was exported, and that the average value of such silk was not 7s. 6d. a lb., but between 60s. and 70s. a lb. The hon. Member for Leicester had stated, that we could not compete with France in the manufacture of lighter fabrics. He believed that there was no doubt that our silk manufactures were quite equal in texture, quality, and colour, to any that could be manufactured at Lyons, and that the only thing they were superior to us was in taste. He felt convinced, that the only way for them to get over that difficulty, was by entering upon a fair competition with the French manufacturers. The hon. Member said, that the silk trade had not increased to the same extent as the cotton trade. But the cotton trade had never been protected to the same extent as the silk trade, but in a great measure had been left to rest on its own energies. The hon. Gentleman had also referred to the subject of wages. Upon no subject was it more difficult to obtain accurate information. With regard to the silk trade, he believed that all, without exception, were paid by piece work; and nothing could be more erroneous than to compare the prices paid to a weaver for a particular piece of goods twenty years ago, and the price paid him at the present time; for the improvement made in looms enabled a workman to execute now a far greater quantity of work than he could do twenty years ago even with the assistance of a boy. From the evidence taken before the Committee of 1832, it appeared that up to that time not the slightest improvement had been made in the looms of Spitalfields, and that they were in the same state as those which had been introduced by the French refugees more than a century previous. On referring to the Report on the State of Trade he found it stated, that immediately after the reduction of the duty in 1824 a greater stimulus was given to the manufacture, and that, during 1824 and 1825, the number of mills or spindles were more than doubled. Since that time improvements had been made by which the same number of spindles performed double the work they did previously, and on that account there had not been any great addition to the number of mills. But the hon. Member for Dorsetshire had asked, "Where had the silk trade gone, as he could not find any new silk mills in the north?" Why, the moment the fetters were taken off that trade, in 1824, a very great stimulus took place, and, at Macclesfield, advertisements appeared, stating that new mills had been erected, and that large numbers of hands were required; indeed, more mills were established than were required; for the improvement in the machinery was such that the mills were enabled to do double the work they did before; and, therefore, there had been no necessity for more mills; for the Report of Mr. Saunders, the Factory Commissioner, stated, that in 1843 the mill occupiers complained that they could not get hands enough, and that in Derby no fewer than 3,009 were employed. The Report went on further to say, that in March, 1844, four additional mills were set to work—that the total number of persons then employed in Derby amounted to 4,000 persons—and, that there was a difficulty experienced in obtaining a supply of hands, in consequence of the millowners showing a preference for those persons whose labour was more valuable from previous experience. It was, therefore, clear by this Report, that, whatever might have been the state of the silk trade fifteen years ago, that in the years 1843 and 1844 the mill-owners could not procure enough of hands to meet the demand for their manufactures. Having thus referred to the past and present state of the silk trade, he confessed he was at a loss to know where he was to look for evidence to prove that the silk trade was at this moment depressed. Trade had of late years, beyond all question, considerably increased; for since the reduction upon thrown silk, four times the quantity of raw silk had been manufactured; and, consequently, an increased number of persons had been employed. The hon. Members for Dorset and Macclesfield had maintained that, because silk was a luxury, and because it was extensively used in its manufactured state by the wealthy, it ought to be subject to a high duty, in order that a large revenue might be derived from it. He admitted that silk in its manufactured state was in a great part consumed by the wealthier classes; but he did not infer from that fact that the revenue would be benefited by the imposition of a high duty. Under the former system an ad valorem duty of from 25 to 30 per cent had been charged upon some articles, while upon others 40 and even 50 per cent had been charged; but the imposition of those heavy duties failed to increase materially the revenue, while it encouraged smuggling, and tended to the evasion of the duty. It was his impression that the proposed reduced duty would produce a larger amount of revenue than had hitherto been obtained, because the imports would be greater, and an effective check would be put upon the contraband trade. He was sure that the Coventry and Macclesfield silk weavers would not apprehend any injury from an ad valorem duty of 15 per cent; but that, on the contrary, the impetus which their trade would receive from a relaxation of the prohibitory law would have the effect of making that important branch of industry more prosperous than it had hitherto been. The House had been told, that since the year 1826 the silk trade had been injured by the reduction of duties that had already taken place; but this was not so, for upon the best authorities it had been proved that the silk trade was at present in a more flourishing condition than it had been for many years. Under those circumstances, he trusted the House would, by a large majority, support the Resolution proposed by Her Majesty's Government.


remarked that the impression among those connected with the silk trade seemed to be that of deep regret that the Government felt it necessary to propose a reduction of duty upon foreign silks. Such were the expressions of the petitions presented from Coventry, even when in favour of free trade. The right hon. Baronet (Sir George Clerk) had quarrelled with the hon. Member for Dorsetshire (Mr. Bankes), because he quoted from the evidence taken before the Select Committee in 1842; but in his opinion the present discussion savoured very much of the spirit of that Committee; and he thought that the conduct of Sir Henry Darnell, who voted on the Report of that Committee without hearing the evidence, was strictly analogous to the present conduct of Her Majesty's Ministers. He did not think that the right hon. Baronet had proved that an increase of wages had taken place since the relaxation of duty. In his opinion, so far from there being an increase, there had been a very considerable reduction. How could those who were anxious for the relaxation of prohibitory duties improve the state of the silk weaver, by removing the slight protection that was at present extended to his industry, when their French competitors set the fashions which ruled the trade, and had almost at their doors the raw material? But they said the trade was at present in a flourishing condition. He would grant that; and in doing so would ask whether there could be any better argument for proving that protection ought to be continued? The hon. Member for Leicester had remarked, that in 1824 he advocated protection for silk, because the Corn Laws were then in existence; but as they were to be removed, and other duties on articles of food were also to be removed, there would be a fairer competition amongst manufacturers, who would prosper in consequence. That was certainly a characteristic argument. Did it not prove that the hon. Member looked to the repeal of the provision laws as a means for reducing wages? He (Mr. Newdegate) had no doubt that object had great weight with master manufacturers, and that they would not be slow in the reduction of wages. He admitted that he felt roused when he heard hon. Gentlemen maintain that the silk weavers would not be affected by the reduction of duty upon foreign silk manufactures. He lived among them, and had continual opportunities of knowing their sentiments upon the subject; and one of those millowners, who had lately erected a large factory, informed him, that had he known, twelve months before, the intentions of the Government, not one stone of that building should have been laid. He would now allude to the aggregate quantities of silk entered for consumption in decennial periods, with a view to show that the increase of the quantity imported, without relation to its quality, was not the fair criterion of prosperity which the right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel) would have them believe. The right hon. Baronet's (Sir Robert Peel's) explanatory statement of quantities of silk entered for home consumption, from 1814 to 1834, showed—

In the ten years. Raw. Knubs, &c. Thrown. All sorts.
1814–1823 15,214,245 585,906 3,608,872 19,409,023
1824–1853 32,916,905 2,891,515 3,872,828 39,681,248
1834–1843 37,425,114 11,924,815 2,657,189 52,297,118
But of what quality was this increase constituted? Why, almost entirely of waste knubs and husks, as he (Mr. Newdegate) would show. The aggregate quantities entered for consumption for ten years, appeared by the table he held in his hand to be as follows:—
Total from 1834 to 1843 52,007,118
Knubs, &c., 1834 to 1843 11,924,815
Raw and Thrown 41,082,303
Total from 1824 to 1833 39,681,248
Knubs from 1824 to 1833 2,891,515
Raw and Thrown from 1834 to 1833. 36,789,733
Raw and Thrown from 1834 to 1843. 41,082,303
Raw and Thrown from 1824 to 1833. 36,789,733
Increase of Raw and Thrown 4,292,570
By this statement it appeared that the great increase had been in the inferior article, waste knubs and husks, which only contained 25 per cent of real silk, but which, by peculiar industry, had been wrought up in the consumption. The proportion of knubs, &c., as compared with raw and thrown silk, was, in the ten years of the protecting period ending 1823, l-40th of the whole quantity entered for home consumption; whilst in the latter period ending 1843, it had risen to l-5th of the whole quantity entered for home consumption; and in that proportion had the value of our trade deteriorated since 1823. Those were the happy results of free trade; and he would ask whether, after this deterioration of their products, the ribbon weaver was in a fit condition to be exposed to further competition? It had been asked how was it that they then competed with the foreigner, whilst more highly taxed, and labouring under burdens their rivals had not to hear? His answer was simply the fact, that the English operative worked harder than the foreigner. They thus competed, whilst France set the fashions against them; and in proof of their exertions he adduced this fact, that at the present moment, when for once they had fashion on their side in the manufacture of the seven-inch ribbon, the Coventry men had outdone their foreign rivals, with all their advantages of home-grown silk and light taxation. Let him not, then, be taunted with the empty assertion, that the energies of the ribbon trade needed bracing to exertion by further exposure to the breeze of unequal competition. The right hon. Baronet who had last addressed the House (Sir G. Clerk) had dwelt upon the difficulty of collecting these duties. That might well be the case, for he had heard that some of the Custom-house officers were so ignorant that they were unable to ascertain the difference between plain silk and fancy silk. He had made an application to Government upon a former occasion, that they would appoint competent officers to examine these goods, but his application had not been attended to. The late disclosure respecting the extensive frauds in the Custom-house, however, clearly showed that if the Government had been anxious to collect the duties they might have accomplished it. If a direct taxation (towards which he recognised a leaning on the part of the Government) were substituted for indirect, he did not think it would be much more easy of collection; at least, previous experience did not lead them to indulge in the hope that it would. He confessed he felt it a heavy tax upon his patience when he heard it asserted that the silk and ribbon weavers had not laboured to improve their products, when he knew of his own knowledge such was not the truth. In Coventry and its neighbourhood they had laboured to meet the spirit of competition that was abroad; and the manufacturers there had been eminently successful, as the evidence of the hon. Member for Leicester testified. He would not detain the House further than to implore the Government, as it was about to depress the agricultural interests, that it would not add to the difficulties of the labourers of his neighbourhood, by removing protection from the labour on which the subsistence of his family depended. The Government seemed actuated in this matter by a false feeling of consistency; and he thought that before sacrificing his constituents for such a reason, they might as well remember that it was not upon their consistency they could base any very strong claim to the confidence of the country.


would not trouble the House with any lengthy observations; for though he attached much importance to the inconvenience which delay would undoubtedly be productive of to the various branches of commerce interested in the settlement, still he rejoiced at it, because it would tend to show that the principles held by the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government (Sir R. Peel) were safe and valuable measures, and likely to promote the prosperity of the country at large. He confessed he had looked forward to the debate of that night with more than ordinary interest, because he fully expected that the challenge which the right hon. Baronet had offered would have been met on the silk question. The right hon. Baronet had challenged any hon. Member of the House to instance a single case in which either the consumer or the producer had been injured by the withdrawal of protection; and he (Mr. Hawes) therefore thought that, in the course of a debate which had already lasted three or four hours, some hon. Gentleman on the protection benches would have adduced evidence to show that either the consumer or the producer had been injured, and that the progress of trade had been retarded by the relaxation of prohibitory duties. But no hon. Member had accepted the challenge, and up to the present moment no facts had been adduced in support of the protective system, or tending to invalidate the assertion made by the right hon. Baronet. What, he would ask, were the tests of improving manufactures? Were they observable in the import of the raw material, or in the export of the manufactured article? If they were, all returns upon the subject showed that the imports of raw silk had greatly increased, and that the exports of the manufactured article had also increased. Did hon. Gentlemen remember the statements that had been made with respect to the probable amount of injury that would be inflicted upon the silk trade when Mr. Huskisson reduced his tariff? Upon that occasion it was said that everything would be in favour of the foreigner, and that the English manufacturer would have no chance in competing; for the moment that the relaxed duties came into operation the French would take possession of the market, and the English manufacturer would be ruined. But what had been the case? The imports had not decreased, neither had the exports decreased; but on the contrary, all the evidence that could be collected, and all the facts that could be brought to bear upon the subject, showed that trade had prospered more under a relaxation of duties, than ever it had done under the aystem of protection. The hon. Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Brocklehurst) had alluded to the low rate of wages received by silk weavers in this country as compared with foreigners, and had accounted for it by the relaxation of duties that had already taken place. This was an important subject, and deserving of the fullest consideration. He was willing to admit the state of things that with regard to all traders which depended more or less on handloom weaving, a considerable reduction had taken place, but that distress was caused by competition between handloom weaver and handloom weaver. If the hon. Gentlemen who occupied the protection benches had read the Report of Mr. Muggeridge, the Commissioner appointed to inquire into the condition of the silk weavers, they would find that the evidence adduced went to show that the cause of distress was not foreign competition, but competition among themselves. They were struggling against one another. The Report of the same Commissioner set forth that the loss of time caused by going to the masters for work, very much tended to reduce the wages of the operative, and that the defective state of their looms was another direct cause for their impoverishment. The factory system enabled millowners to improve their machinery, and thus successfully to compete with the foreigner; but the handloom weaver was not able thus to keep pace with the improvement of the age, and consequently suffered materially. Official returns showed that the declared value of British exports of manufactured silks had increased threefold since 1826, which was a strong argument for showing that the relaxation of duty had not injured the trade. The hon. Member for Macclesfield had quoted from Deacon Hume with respect to the state of trade up to the time the alteration in duty took place; but he had not continued the quotation to the next sentence, where a statement was made of the effect which followed in the three subsequent years. The hon. Gentleman had referred to the evidence of Mr. Deacon Hume, showing the amount of imports of raw and thrown silk in triennial periods from 1785 down to 1823; but the hon. Gentleman omitted the following sentence, in which Mr. Hume said—"I then take the three last years, 1829, 1830, and 1831, and find that in these years the raw silk was 3,075,000 lbs. against 1,900,000 lbs., and the thrown silk 374,000 lbs. against 355,000 lbs." He would venture to say that no trade had been so mischievously protected as the silk trade. With regard to the Spitalfields weavers, Mr. Deacon Hume said they were invaded by Manchester before they were invaded by Lyons. The Spitalfields weavers were ruined by the competition of Manchester and Macclesfield, when in point of fact they had a protected trade. The whole of Mr. Deacon Hume's evidence must be taken as adverse in the highest degree to the view of the hon. Member for Macclesfield. Mr. Deacon Hume was a public officer and a disinterested party; and therefore his authority was greater, and his opinion less prejudiced, than those of a silk manufacturer.


said, that he did not think the principle on which hon. Members wished to uphold protection to agriculture, was at all applicable to the question before the House. He had received representations from his own county requesting him to support the Government measure of free trade. Amongst them was a letter from a manufacturer in Leek, who stated that he did not think those measures were calculated to do any injury to the manufacturers of the country; and that taking them altogether he thought they would prove highly beneficial. The writer also said, that it was supposed that Macclesfield was more likely to suffer than other towns, owing to the circumstances of its manufacturing so much fancy goods, for the manufacture of which France was so renowned; but having conversed with several of the manufacturers of Macclesfield on the subject, his correspondent stated, that without exception they all declared that they did not apprehend any ill result from the proposed measures of the Government. At the close of his communication, he recommended the adoption of steps for promoting schools of design; many manufacturers, he observed, being of opinion that if as much pains were taken in this country to develop native talent as in France, they would soon be able to compete with the French in works of design. He was in favour of protection to agriculture; but with such a letter as that before him, and with no counter representation from the manufacturing inest, he could not consent to vote for the Amendment.


would not go minutely into the subject of this debate, which had been so well treated by those better versed in details. He had always stated his belief, even from the commencement of the discussions with regard to the silk manufacture, that it would be necessary to take the utmost care as to any measures that were applied to that trade. He never thought, however, that it would be possible to maintain the prohibition which many hon. Gentlemen thought to be indispensably necessary for the preservation of the trade to this country. In the original discussions he had always hinted it as his opinion that the silk manufacturers ought to look for relief rather from the peculiar burdens which affected them, and not their foreign competitors, than to the farther continuance of any great amount of protection. They had first the benefit of prohibition, and next of a large protecting duty, and they found neither one nor the other any security against the inroad of the smuggler. The time had arrived when the Government of the country proclaimed a great relaxation of the duties on provisions, and on other articles which particularly affect the producers in this as in all other industrial occupations. His constituents, though they had some apprehension as to the result, were still of opinion that it was their duty, in conformity with the general wishes of the country, rather to concur in the measures for the relaxation of the restrictions on trade, than to persist in requiring a protection which it would be impossible to secure against the inroad of the smuggler. It was very true, notwithstanding the accounts which were given from several quarters, that the condition of the artisans in some branches of the silk manufacture was far from that which he should wish to see. He was also aware that amongst his constituents certain branches of the ribbon manufacture had given way before the superior art of the foreign manufacturer. In addition to that foreign competition, our manufacturers had to contend with a heavy export duty on the materials of finer descriptions of silk. All these considerations tended to make him less sanguine as to the immediate effects of the relaxation of duties on this peculiar branch of manufaeture. But, on the other hand, his constituents felt they were about to receive a great measure of relief with respect to various articles; and he was happy to be able to assure the Government that they were perfectly willing to do the best they could to meet the new circumstances in which they were placed. They expressed their general satisfaction with the relaxation proposed, and more particularly for the removal of the duties on food; and in conformity with their wishes he should give his support to the measures of the Government.


said: The right hon. Gentleman asked us, what our opinion is of the prosperity of any trade? I think we may say on this side of the House, that we think the best test of the prosperity of a trade is a general rise in wages; and we have it shown to demonstration, that in every branch of the silk trade the wages have been gradually reduced since the alteration of the law from protection to free trade. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Leicester admitted at once that the number of Spitalfields weavers had been reduced from 14,000 to 9,000, through the effects of free trade. I think that fact affords pretty strong evidence of the injury inflicted on silk manufacturers by the operation of free-trade measures. The right hon. Gentleman the Vice-President of the Board of Trade, in answering—which, in my opinion, he did not do in the slightest degree—the most able speech by which my hon. Friend the Member for Dorsetshire proposed the Amendment, jumbled up the whole of the trade from 1816 to 1845. He mixed up the trade during the ten years of protection with that which occurred during the twenty years of free trade; and then he said, "See how under free trade, during the last thirty years, the trade of the silk manufacturer has prospered. For fifty years before 1816, the silk trade had only doubled; while in the thirty years subsequent to that period the silk trade had trebled." Why, good God! the first fifty years were years of war; and is it fair to compare the state of a trade carried on during war, and which depends for its subsistence on the raw material imported from a country which, during a great portion of that period, was in the hands of Napoleon—in the hands of an enemy of this country—is it fair, I ask, to compare the state of a trade carried on under those circumstances with the state of that trade during a period of peace? Is it fair to compare the state of trade during a period of war, when we were paying 70,000,000l. of taxes, with the state of that trade during a period of peace, when we were only paying 50,000,000l.? Taking the nine last years of the thirty referred to, which nine years were years of protection, and, comparing them with the former years, it will be found that, in six of those years, the silk manufacture had prospered and progressed at the rate of ninety per cent, while under the twenty-one years of free trade that manufacture had only increased a hundred per cent. Can any man contend that a trade which, in twenty-one years, had only increased one hundred per cent, had prospered in an equal degree with a trade which increased at the rate of ninety per cent in six years? The hon. Gentleman the Member for Lambeth has appealed to the immense increase in the exportation of silk manufactures; but I cannot ascertain from the Paper lately laid on the Table of the House, where he finds that great increase in the exportation of silk manufactures. I will take two periods of five years each. I will compare the last five years with the five years preceding; and what do I find to be the result? I find that the average exportation of silk manufactures for the five years ending 1840 was 771,908l. in value; while in the last five years, during which the hon. Gentleman told you that the exportation of silk manufactures had so largely increased, the average amount of exportation was but 709,582l., showing a decrease of 62,326l. in the average value of silk exported from this country. Now, let us look how the matter stands as regards the importation of silk manufactures from the countries in Europe. And here I must take leave to say that, whilst Her Majesty's Government have given us the amount of the exportation to all the countries in the world, when they professed to give us the importation of silk manufactures, they excluded the importation from the East Indies. Notwithstanding that, however, on comparing the same periods of five years already mentioned, I find that the average weight of silk manufactures imported during the five years ending 1840, was 220,000 lbs., the value of which, estimating them at 3l. the pound weight—which I am sure is under the mark—would be 660,000l.; but during the last period of five years the value of the silk, estimating it at the same rate, was 715,586l., showing an increase in the value of the silk imported of 55,586l., which is exactly within 5,000l. a year of the decrease in the exportation of silk manufactures from this country. You perceive, then, that the increased importation of silk manufactures from abroad, and the decrease in the exportation of silk manufactures from this country, travel on pari passu, and afford pretty strong proof that the silk manufactures of this country are not in a condition, even with a protection of thirty per cent, to contend with the manufactures of France. Sir, the hon. Gentleman the Member for Staffordshire (Mr. Adderley) has expressed an opinion that it is no business of this House to interfere in matters where the parties immediately concerned do not ask for such interference. I thought the Constitution of this country required that we should consider what is best for the general good of the country; and that it was not for us to wait to be taught by the constituencies what is for the interest of the country. We have well considered this question. It is one which has been before the country, and before the Parliament, for twenty-five years, and we think ourselves as well qualified to judge of this matter as any manufacturers that may live at Leek or elsewhere. But if any hon. Gentleman thinks that the manufacturers of this country desire to see this measure carried, I can tell dim a different story. The hon. Gentleman who last spoke knows the character of the three gentlemen who called on me yesterday morning. And what did they say? Why, that if they submitted at all, it was because they feared tyranny of this House. They thought the manufacturers entitled to greater protection; but they were afraid of the coalition of Gentlemen on this side of the House and Gentlemen opposite; and that if they asked all they wanted, and all they thought needful for them, they might loose even the small modicum of protection which Her Majesty's Ministers are willing to give them. What did these gentlemen tell me? Why, that since there was a free trade in silk, only two mills had been erected in Coventry—that Coventry stood still, while Saint Etienne, its rival town in France, flourished—that Saint Etienne flourished at the expense of Coventry. These gentlemen put into my hands a paper showing the different patterns of silk manufacture. The article at the head of these patterns, they informed me, is the least valuable, and that the only article which they are now able to manufacture in Coventry, and which they retain against the competition of foreigners—that article is plain silk ribbons—an article estimated at 39s. per lb. From the manufacture of satin ribbons, which the Government say are worth 53s. per lb., but which the manufacturer states to be worth 75s. per lb., Coventry has been entirely driven, even under a protection of 35 per cent. What chance, then, is there of retaining this manufacture there, with a protection of 15 per cent? The Government, I understand, have adopted as a criterion of the averages an article called Louisine, which is not worth 15s. a pound, and which the manufacturers tell me forms only a thirty-second part of goods of this description manufactured in Coventry. They also assured me that the advisers of Her Majesty's Ministers and of the Board of Trade were gentlemen whose interest it was to admit as much foreign goods as possible; that they were wholesale dealers (and I believe the hon. Gentleman the Member for Leicester is one), and proprietors of what are commonly known as "slaughter-houses." These men employ very few people. Two or three of these great houses reap enormous profits, and it is their interest to drive the English manufacturer out of the market, and to make their purchases in France, or anywhere that they may buy cheapest. Her Majesty's Ministers have listened to these men. Two or three of these large houses, called "slaughter-houses," employ about 150 persons, the greater part of whom, I understand, are employed in London during what is called "the season;" and at the end of the season they were sent about their business. How can the number employed by those slaughter-houses be compared with those generally employed in the silk trade? From the Population Returns, I find that 58,200 persons are engaged in the silk trade, in addition to which there are several thousand ribbon makers, and about 30,000 others not particularly distinguished. Can you compare a trade that occupies at the outside not more than a thousand persons, with a trade which gives occupation and subsistence to very nearly 70,000 persons? There is another article, the last but not the least valuable in this list—I mean striped and figured gauze. The hon. Member for Leicester was obliged to admit that already the ribbon weavers of Coventry were driven from this trade. Figured gauze is worth 180s. a lb., but the silk of which it is made is not worth more at the outside than 28s. a lb. Then, all the difference between 28s. and 108s. is spent in labour, and is lost to the manufacturers of that locality. To drive the English artisan out of the market, the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government is going to reduce the duty now paid—namely, from 27s. 6d. to 14s. But if Coventry could not withstand the opposition of French gauze with a duty of 27s. 6d., it was quite clear that it could not compete with it when that duty would be reduced to 14s. 6d. I shall now advert to the subject of wages, and on that point I did expect that the Member for Coventry would manifest a greater interest and certainly a larger share of sympathy. What did those gentlemen tell me, to whom I before referred on the subject of wages? They declared that the rate of wages was reduced 20 per cent since the year 1826. I speak on the authority of those three gentlemen whom I before mentioned, who assured me, and I rely on their word, for I believe them to be men of truth and veracity, they positively stated to me that since 1826, in Coventry, the wages of the ribbon weavers were reduced fully 20 per cent; and they were so low at present that it was scarcely possible to sink them lower; for, to enable the manufacturers to compete with opposition, they were obliged to drag those unfortunate ribbon weavers, who worked at their looms in the midst of their own families, to mills and to factories, so that their wages might be reduced to the lowest point. It was then perfectly clear that, unless the House were prepared to destroy every remnant of the trade of Coventry, it could not consent to the measure propounded by the Government. I shall next go to Macclesfield. The hon. Member who represents that town is a living witness of some of the consequences of free trade there. That hon. Member is a banker as well as a silk manufacturer; and he was a member of a deputation which waited on the late Mr. Huskisson in 1823 or 1824 to protest against a law which had for its object the removal of protection. He prophesied what too truly happened—for, instead of that hon. Member listening to all those dreams of prosperity which he was told would arise by the removal of those causes which bound the silk trade to the earth, and which prevented its soaring to a similar elevation with that of Coventry, he foresaw all the fatal consequences; so that while others drove forward in their fatal speculations, he held in his own hands a check which prevented an immediate and a destructive career. The hon. Member became a lender of money to many poor manufacturers, and to a very large amount; so that in many cases he had to become the unwilling possessor of mills; among others there was one mill which cost 14,000l., and which became his for 1,700l. That was the way by which he was enabled to carry on his trade in Macclesfield. I ask, do you call that prosperity? Was that any strong proof of the success of the free-trade scheme? In the Amendment proposed to the House, the silk manufacturer and the ribbon weaver are not the only persons concerned: there are also included in that Amendment the milliner and the dressmaker; and they formed not an insignificant class of persons, for I can tell you that the dressmakers amount to no less than 106,000 persons; and are you going so to affect that protection on silk dresses which would reduce it from 2l. 10s. to 1l. 10s. There are 106,000 dressmakers in England—there are 15,000 in London alone. Of the 106,000, more than one-third are engaged in Coventry. Am I to suppose you will leave all those individuals with their families to starve—am I to suppose you will leave them to take their chance for future subsistence—am I to suppose they will be left to drag out a miserable existence because they cannot approach this House, or loudly and intelligibly knock at its doors? Are the poor dressmakers to be left to pine in misery because they cannot vote for Members of Parliament—because they cannot employ the hon. Gentlemen for Finsbury, or for London, or for Westminster, to plead their cause—because they cannot have the benefit of their able advocacy? But was that a reason why their interests should be forgotten, why their claims to public consideration should be overlooked? By no means; the milliners and the dressmakers are a useful and an industrious class of the community, and their interests would not be assailed, without at least the benefit of my humble advocacy. The present amount of protection on hats and bonnets was 25s., and which it was proposed to reduce to 6s.; that was to nearly one-fourth. The present protection on caps is 15s., which is to be reduced to 3s. 6d., also nearly one-fourth; so that, under circumstances so distressing, the poor dressmakers will find their occupation all but gone. I brought before the House the other night what was the consequence of free trade in 1826; many of those milliners and dressmakers being thrown out of employment, had to seek an asylum in workhouses; numbers, from absolute want and from dire necessity, sacrificing their virtue, had to commence a life of prostitution; and you may depend upon it that the recurrence of similar evils will be the natural result of the measure now before the House if it pass into a law. Similar, I predict, will be the fate of many of the milliners and dressmakers of London. The Want of employment will force them to seek a refuge in the workhouse, or probably drive them to the streets, to the increase of demoralization. Looking on these things as the natural consequence of the measure, I pray the House to pause before so large a number of our fellow creatures are cast abroad in penury and in wretchedness. All they ask for is the continuance of 30 per cent; and let them have it. I implore the House, on their behalf, to permit the continuance of a boon so trifling, but a boon which will keep them from ruin—which will save them from destruction. I implore you to exercise your sympathy for them, and not to allow that reduction in the duty which will so seriously affect their interests. I fear, however, from the coalition which has been formed with Her Majesty's Ministers, there is little hope of success; and yet I cannot but expect that those whose duty it is to look after the morals of the people, will save from degradation—will save from prostitution—will save from wretchedness, from poverty, and from impending ruin, the milliners and dressmakers of this country.


Sir, I hope that any parties who may have to exercise a judgment upon the principles of commercial policy which it may be advantageous to apply to the silk trade, will maturely consider the facts that are within their reach before they come to any conclusion upon the mere impulse of feeling; that they will take the opportunity of contrasting the state of things which has arisen, not under a system of free trade, as my noble Friend has assumed, but since the repeal of prohibition and the admission of foreign silks to a qualified competition with domestic produce—with the state of things which presented itself during that happy period when, so far as the law was concerned, you had absolute and unqualified protection. You have the opportunity of ascertaining what were the results of unqualified legal and nominal protection in that most favoured seat—I mean so far as law can favour it—of Spitalfields. You had there complete prohibition of foreign manufactures; you relied upon laws prohibiting the import of those manufactures. Not only were the duties high, but they were absolutely prohibitory. Your policy was prohibition. Well, what was the state of things there under prohibition? Do you wish to revert to it? Do you believe that it would be for the interest of the working classes, for the interest of morality—do you believe that it would protect the females to whom my noble Friend has in the last part of his speech referred, from the temptations and dangers of prostitution? In Spitalfields what was the state of commerce? Why, periodically and in rapid succession, there were presented examples of suffering and vice which I defy you to parallel by anything that has taken place since the removal of prohibition. I begin with the year 1806; in that year a letter was written by Mr. Hale, a gentleman well acquainted with the state of Spitalfields, addressed to Mr. Whitbread, calling on him to make an appeal to the Legislature against the state of things existing in that district. Six years afterwards, in 1812, such was the condition of that district, that it became necessary to appoint a local committee; and the report of that committee, made at a subsequent period, in referring to the attempts made to relieve the distress, states— When a depression in trade materially diminishes the demand for labour, multitudes are at once deprived of employment, and suffer all the miseries of want. The applications to the parishes for support soon become more than they can relieve. A large proportion of those who are called on for the poor rates are themselves at these times in need of assistance, and under such circumstances to advance the assessment would increase the difficulty of collecting it, and often render the payment altogether impossible. Thus the utmost pittance that can be dealt out to the indigent is insufficient to support existence, and the distress becomes extreme. This was the state of Spitalfields and its neighbourhood when the association was first instituted in 1812; committees were formed, and subscriptions raised; and there was a temporary mitigation of distress. From the exertions made at that time, the committee had the happiness to know that many were rescued from perishing; but in 1816 it became necessary to reappoint the committee. They then speak particularly of the weavers:— They are inoffensive," they say, "and quiet in their demeanour, industrious in prosperous times, and peaceable in adversity. The operations of the committee were suspended as soon as the pressing necessity for them ceased; but they soon felt themselves "imperatively called upon to resume them by an extent and severity of distress that has not been equalled at any former period within our knowledge." They say, speaking of the weavers in 1816:— Of this class nearly two-thirds are at this time unemployed, and without the means of support; as well as a multitude of porters, labourers, and mechanics in different trades. They cannot disperse themselves in the country, which is already overburdened with poor, and where, at former times of difficulty, temporary work might have been obtained; numbers of old hands are now dismissed. Even the resource of the army and navy no longer exists for the destitute; and many are refused admission at the workhouses, which are too crowded to receive them. In order the better to assist the most afflicting cases, as more than 100 members compose the committee, they have divided themselves into thirty-eight sub-committees, each of which undertakes the visiting of a district. During the last eleven weeks, they have paid more than 8,460 visits, and distributed 856l., mostly in sums of from 1s. to 3s., among 3,360 families, which contain about 14,400 individuals; and while engaged in this service, they have witnessed an extremity of suffering of which those who are not themselves accustomed to explore the abodes of poverty can form but an inadequate idea. They find numbers who had been accustomed to support their families respectably, reduced from long want of employment to sell or pawn their furniture, which had been purchased with the savings of former years, to obtain food. Their bedding, their clothes, and the very looms and tools on which they were accustomed to depend for subsistence, are, in many instances, gone; and little is left them but the bare walls of their rooms. Pauperism is spreading to an extent truly alarming. Many decent families have had all they were possessed of seized to pay arrears of rent; others are deeply in debt for the common necessaries of life; some have deserted their homes in despair, unable to endure the sight of their starving families; and many pine under lingering diseases, brought on from the want of food and clothing. That report was made in 1816, and then such was the distress that 100 members formed themselves into sub-committees, in order that they might visit the various districts, and relieve the people at a time when the trade enjoyed all the advantages of protection. A meeting was convened in the city of London, and Sir Fowell Buxton (then Mr. Buxton) gave an account of the state of Spitalfields under this system. He said— We have all been educated in the belief that the necessity of going to the workhouse is the limit of human distress to the poor, yet such is the aggravated state of distress, that going to the workhouse is an object of absolute desire to the poor, and we are actually canvassed for our interest in their favour. What were the assigned causes of that distress? Sir Fowell Buxton made an appeal to those who were then attending that meeting, and it shows how delusive was this protection. He said— One of the causes of the distress under which Spitalfields is labouring, is the importation of French goods, and the wearing of them by the ladies of this town. If you will accompany us through those scenes of destitution and distress, at least we shall gain this advantage, that we shall discourage the use of contraband goods which destroy the means of subsistence of the inhabitants of Spitalfields"— A conclusive proof that though you professed to give them the advantages of absolute prohibition, yet your revenue laws were defeated in spite of prohibitory duties, and you did not succeed in giving them those advantages. Well, then, let me compare that account of 1816, under protection, with the Report which we have last received from the district superintended by Mr. Howell, that made in October, 1845. Mr. Howell says— Throughout the entire district a general scarcity of hands is noticed, and a consequent rise of wages. In the silk districts particularly, hands are very scarce, and I have been informed that instances are not wanting where children working half time have got as much wages, and in some cases it is said that they get more, than they did when they worked ten hours. I am told that a rise has also taken place in the wages of those who work ten and twelve hours respectively. Well, I contrast that Report from that district with the Report I have read from the Committee of 1816. In the one case you had, not indeed prohibition, but heavy duties; in the other case, you professed to give complete prohibition. Sir, we ask what are the tests by which you determine a flourishing manufacture? We say the import of the raw material has increased. Oh, but (you say) in the returns of the raw material are included certain descriptions of waste silk, called knubs and husks. But if you wanted a conclusive proof of the beauty and nicety to which our machinery has attained, it would be derived from the introduction of that species of manufacture. The terms may be vulgar, and may not suit the lips of some hon. Gentlemen; but you have improved those knubs and husks; by your skill and talent you have converted them into a beautiful material, and you have thus greatly increased the quantity of the raw material consumed. But let us exclude the knubs and husks. My noble Friend (Lord G. Bentinck) says that the hon. Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Brocklehurst) went before the Committee of Mr. Huskisson in 1824, and advised Mr. Huskisson on no account to incur the danger he was about to incur; but that Mr. Huskisson most unwisely refused his advice. What was the result? And what reflection do facts and figures throw upon Mr. Huskisson, for not having listened to the advice then given him? When that advice was given him—and here I throw out the knubs and husks from the account altogether — when that advice was given, that is to say, in 1819 or 1820, the quantity of raw silk entered for home consumption was about 1,500,000 lbs. On an average of the ten years from 1814 to 1823—I am speaking now of raw silk alone, rejecting altogether the waste silk—the annual consumption, when that advice was given to Mr. Huskisson, was 1,521,000 lbs. Mr. Huskisson rejected the advice; he substituted comparatively moderate duties for absolute prohibition; and the average consumption of raw silk in the ten years from 1834 to 1843, had risen from 1,521,000 lbs. to 3,742,000 lbs., as it appears to me, justifying the wisdom of the decision to which Mr. Huskisson came; and so far as the consumption of the raw material can be a test of a flourishing manufacture, showing that Mr. Huskisson was right in substituting moderate duties for prohibition. But is the feeling of the trade a test of success? From the trade itself I have received no such representations as those which have been referred to by hon. Members this evening. Take Coventry. I venture to say that if Coventry had felt any real alarm at the lowering of the protection from 30 to 15 per cent, she has energy and intelligence enough to make her representations known; but Coventry argues as other places argue—she sees that we do not propose an abstract reduction of the duties on silk; she sees, coincident with that reduction, a total repeal of the duty on meat; she sees the admission of maize at a nominal duty; she sees also a great reduction in the duties on the chief articles of subsistence, and the ultimate repeal of all those duties. Coventry foresees the benefits of these changes, and she is perfectly content with the reduction of the duty on silk, looking at the whole of the measures proposed by Her Majesty's Government. What is the case with respect to Leek? My hon. Friend the Member for Staffordshire went to Leek as a protectionist, expecting to be received with applause, and he was surprised to find them contented and satisfied with the proposals of the Government. Then, with respect to the letter from Macclesfield: why, the letter was accompanied by a memorial from the parties, who stated they were perfectly content to submit to a reduction of duties, and Macclesfield would be satisfied with a reduction of from 30 to 20 per cent. We propose a reduction of 15 per cent. There is, therefore, a difference only of 5 per cent between the representations of Macclesfield and the duty of the Government. From Spitalfields I cannot say that we have received many representations. I certainly received a deputation on the subject of silk; but when they looked at the other measures with which this reduction is accompanied, I do not think that there was any discontent expressed at the general measures of Her Majesty's Ministers. So far for the expressions of the trade; and I have a right to believe that the trade in general are satisfied with the whole measures which we propose. But my noble Friend (Lord G. Bentinck) has adopted another test. I say that we have a satisfactory result from the increased quantity of raw material entered for home consumption; but he will take only, as a test, the declared value of our exports during the period of the last five years. Now I say that this test is altogether fallacious. The late Mr. Alderman Waithman was always insisting that the country was ruined, because the declared value of our exports in cotton did not keep pace with the increase of our imports, and of our population; and he was always told that nothing could be more natural than that the declared value of cotton exported should not increase, for with the diminished cost of production, and the increase of mechanical facilities, the articles would, year by year, be sold for a diminished sum, and thus, though there was a greatly increased quantity produced and exported, yet the declared value of the exports at the Customs, would not increase in the same degree, might not increase at all, or might actually diminish. So it is with respect to silk. The cost of production has been diminished—during the last five years greatly diminished; the improvements in machinery, and the greater skill of our workmen, have caused a diminished cost of production; during the last five years also the duty on the raw material has been diminished; it would be strange indeed, therefore, if the declared value of great quantities of exports had not also diminished. During the last five years, therefore, my noble Friend will find that though the declared value of our exports may have decreased, that circumstance affords no proof of the trade being injured. As we decreased the price of the raw material in cotton, so is it with silk; the declared value may be less, but there is no less quantity exported. Now, I can readily account for the increased quantity of the raw material consumed. There is a growing taste for silk manufactures: it is a taste which we cannot do better than encourage. Cotton and wool have been heretofore formidable rivals with silk; and cotton and woollen goods have entered into general competition with silk goods. But there is a growing desire in this country for silk; and will it not be for the public advantage, by the low price of the article, to enable the public to consume it more largely, and shall we not be thereby doing the greatest possible advantage to the trade? Then, however, my noble Friend will say, that there will be an increase in the quantity of foreign articles brought into this country; and I agree with him that if we give a taste for silk manufactures, there will naturally be an increase in the importation of the foreign article. But, supposing that during the five years preceding the last there has been great smuggling of the foreign article—supposing that at the end of those five years we are enabled to check the Custom-house frauds, and thus to impede the illicit introduction of the foreign article—then, I say, that the increased duty paid for silk articles will afford no proof that the foreign trade is gaining ground, and is driving out our own manufactures. That is what I apprehend to be the real case with respect to silk generally, far under the duty of 30 per cent, smuggling has been carried to a very great extent. Twenty-five years ago this very article attracted the attention of the House of Lords, and formed part of the inquiry before the Committee on foreign trade. That very tribunal to which my noble Friend referred, as being the body to do justice to those parties whose distresses he detailed—that very tribunal which he hoped would reject this measure, if it it should pass this House—that very House of Lords appointed a Committee to inquire into the foreign trade of this country, and silk was one of the articles on which they reported; and what was the conclusion to which the House of Lords came in the year 1821? It was this:— That if a small duty only were levied on organzine silk, our manufactures would have nothing to dread from the competition of French silk, and that, even if the duty were reduced to 12 or 15 per cent, a considerable augmentation of exports might be reasonably expected. So the House of Lords, the very House of Lords to which my noble Friend appeals—that very tribunal—after mature consideration of the subject, after examining witnesses interested in the importation of silk, and interested in domestic manufactures, now twenty-five years ago, came to the conclusion that if we did reduce the duty on raw materials, the public interests would require that the duty on silk manufactures should not exceed 12 or 15 per cent. We take the duty at the largest of these two sums; and after an interval of twenty-five years, having reduced the duty on organzine silk, and upon all the raw material, and having given every advantage for the introduction of the raw material as far as we can, propose, not the greatest reduction of the duty on the article for the benefit of the consumer; but after this lapse of a quarter of a century, we adopt not their lowest amount of 12 per cent, but the highest amount of 15 per cent; and when the House of Lords shall refer to their own Report of their own Committee, I shall be surprised indeed if they do reject the present measure of Her Majesty's Government. My noble Friend has also referred to, and has naturally excited the sympathies of the House by placing before us the helpless and oppressed condition of that most unprotected class, the milliners and dressmakers of this country; but I think that if any class more than another have injuries inflicted upon them by the illicit introduction of goods which ought to pay the duty, it is the very class to which my noble Friend referred. I believe that contraband articles are largely introduced, and that there is a false reliance placed on protection. I believe that, at any time, upon payment of an insurance, silk goods and dresses to any amount and of the greatest cost, may be delivered in a contraband way for a sum not exceeding the duty which we propose. If this be so; if the taste for silk goods be on the increase; if we promote a still greater increased consumption by reducing the price of the article; if we enable the manufacturer to meet competition by compelling the sale in open day of the duty-paid article; if he be no longer subjected to the disadvantage of not knowing with whom and with what he has to compete; if we prevent the smugglers, who pay no duty, from meeting the honest trader, and inflicting great loss and injury from this competition in the disposal of his articles—the manufacturer of silk and the operative will have a better chance of employment, and of gaining that honest subsistence which they ought to gain from their continuous labours, than any advantage which they can derive from high nominal duties which we cannot enforce, for we cannot prevent the law being evaded. These are the considerations which have induced Her Majesty's Government to propose the measure now submitted to the House. We believe the interests of the revenue will be improved by a system of moderate duties; we believe that the interests of the manufacturers will be consulted by knowing the terms on which they have to deal; and we believe that the interests of those employed will be advanced, if it be possible to cut at this root of smuggling, and if we no longer profess to give a protection which is merely delusive, and which inflicts greater injury on the manufacturers and operatives than any which can be inflicted by fair and honest competition.


Sir, I shall not detain the House two minutes at this late hour of the night, whilst I briefly reply to one or two observations made by the right hon. Gentleman, in the hope that we may by one more effort induce some hon. Members to enter on the same side with us, and thereby become the advocates for the working classes of this country. The right hon. Gentleman in his peroration has laid the greatest stress upon what the silk trade suffers by means of smuggling, and he has told us of the difficulty that the Government find in checking its increase, so long as the duty of 30 per cent is continued; and, therefore, Her Majesty's Ministers have resolved upon its reduction. It appears most extraordinary to me that there should be so great a difficulty in preventing smugglers committing this great injury upon the silk trade, when the return for the risk is so very trifling, compared with the incitements that are offered to them for a similar risk in other branches of trade. For instance, they have an inducement of 1,200 per cent for smuggling tobacco, and 250 per cent for tea; and in these articles there appears to be no difficulty in suppressing illegal importation—it is only in that of silk that the stress is laid as to the extraordinary power of smuggling. But with regard to the silk trade, I am at a loss to know how the right hon. Gentleman has obtained all his information, unless it has been through that celebrated individual who has lately paid a visit to the Vice-President of the Board of Trade; I mean, Sir, that fortunate trader, Mr. Candy, with whom Her Majesty's Attorney General has lately had an interview, and by an acquaintance with whom the Treasury benches appear to have profited not a little. Now, Sir, the right hon. Gentleman has referred to the state of the silk trade in 1812, and without telling us what it was that led to it, he turned round to us and said, "See what protection has done!" That is very well in its way; but I want to know, was there nothing in the situation of the country to account for all this, except the existence of protection? That was a period of the most disastrous war, when wheat was selling at 120s. a quarter. It was at a period almost as unfortunate for all kinds of trade, as that other period to which the right hon. Gentleman referred; I mean 1816, which has been referred to as the most unfortunate for the mercantile interests of this country. And these are the only reasons that have been brought forward against the irresistible arguments advanced by my noble Friend (Lord G. Bentinck). Is the right hon. Baronet's case so bad that he can only protect himself by having recourse not merely to fallacies of political economy, but to historical fallacies, at once flagrant and contradictory of all experience? Sir, the right hon. Gentleman has also referred to the knubs and husks, which have occupied so much of our attention in the course of this debate; and the right hon. Gentleman has said, what does it signify if it employs labour, and produces that for which there is a great demand, whether the article be of much or little value? I wish to observe—but in the first place I may say, that these knubs and husks are no more to be compared with silk than sheepskin is to be accounted as wool—but taking it for granted, as stated, that as large a quantity as 1,700,000 pounds of the article has been consumed in ten years, I should like to know what is the amount of the advantages which have resulted to the operative classes. To work up 2,000 lbs. a week of that animal refuse would employ seventy persons; and to work up 2,000 lbs. (the same quantity) of raw silk would employ 800 persons a week. The calculation upon these data—for the correctness of which I believe I may pledge myself—to work up in this country 1,700,000 lbs. of that animal refuse, would occupy for one year 1,200 persons; whilst to work up the same quantity of raw silk in one year would employ 13,600 persons. And now I leave the House to decide upon the comparative value of the two articles of the Tariff; and also which will produce the greatest amount of employment for the people. The right hon. Gentleman, to my great surprise, has attempted to account for the increase in our exports by alleging as a fact that it has proceeded from the duty having been reduced upon the raw material; whereas the real state of the case is this: the duty on the raw material of silk has been, since the great alteration,1d. a lb., and the only change that has taken place since was the 5 per cent addition by the late Government. So it appears that instead of taking off the duty on the raw material, of late years we have actually increased it. I will not trespass one minute longer upon the House, but merely notice one other observation of the right hon. Gentleman. He has asked why the manufacturers have not petitioned? The right hon. Gentleman himself could have supplied the answer: they did not petition, for the same reason that the hon. Gentlemen opposite are at present quiescent about it—because they are satisfied to allow the Corn Law Repeal Bill to pass. But you may rely upon it that the manufacturers of England will soon show that there is a sympathy existing for the agricultural interests; and that this economical blunder will not be allowed to pass over, when the occasion has gone by during which it was necessary' to suspend critical observations.

The House divided on the Question that all articles included under the head "Silk Manufactures" stand part of the Resolution:—Ayes 220; Noes 114: Majority 106.

List of the AYES.
Acland, T. D. Egerton, Sir P.
A'Court, Capt. Ellice, rt. hon. E.
Adderley, C. B. Ellice, E.
Aglionby, H. A. Ellis, W.
Ainsworth, P. Elphinstone, H.
Aldam, W. Escott, B.
Baillie, H. J. Etwall, R.
Baine, W. Evans, Sir D. L.
Barkly, H. Ewart, W.
Baring, rt. hn. F. T. Feilden, W.
Barnard, E. G. Ferguson, Col.
Becket, W. Fitzgerald, R, A.
Berkeley, hon. C. Fitzroy, hon. H.
Berkeley, hon. Capt. Fleetwood, Sir P. H.
Bernal, R. Flower, Sir J.
Blake, M. J. Forster, M.
Blewitt, R. J. Fox, C. R.
Botkin, W. H. Gladstone, Capt.
Botfield, B. Glynne, Sir S. R.
Bouverie, hon. E. P. Gore, M.
Bowes, J. Gore, hon. R.
Bowles, Adm. Goulburn, rt. hon. H.
Bowring, Dr. Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.
Bridgeman, H. Greene, T.
Brotherton, J. Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.
Browne, hon. W. Hall, Sir B.
Bruce, Lord E. Hamilton, W. J.
Buller, C. Hamilton, Lord C.
Busfeild, W. Hanmer, Sir J.
Cardwell, E. Hastie, A.
Carnegie, hon. Capt. Hawes, B.
Cavendish, hon. G. H. Hayter, W. G.
Chapman, B. Heathcoat, J.
Chichester, Lord J. L. Herbert, rt. hon. S.
Childers, J. W. Hill, Lord M.
Clerk, rt. hon. Sir G. Hindley, C.
Cobden, R. Hobhouse, rt. hn. Sir J.
Cochrane, A. Hogg, J. W.
Cockburn, rt. hon. Sir G. Hollond, R.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. Hope, G. W.
Collett, J. Horsman, E.
Collins, W. Howard, hon. C. W. G.
Corry, rt. hon. H. Howard, hon. E. G. G.
Courtenay, Lord Howard, P. N.
Cowper, hon. W. F. Hughes, W. B.
Craig, W. G. Hume, J.
Crawford, W. S. Hutt, W.
Cripps, W. James, Sir W. C.
Curteis, H. B. Jermyn, Earl
Dalmeny, Lord Jervis, J.
Dalrymple, Capt. Jocelyn, Visct.
Dashwood, G. H. Johnstone, Sir J.
Dawson, hon. T. V. Johnstone, H.
Dennistoun, J. Kelly, Sir F.
Dickinson, F. H. Labouchere, rt. hon. H.
Douglas, Sir C. E. Langston, J. H.
Drummond, H. H. Layard, Capt.
Duke, Sir J. Legh, G. C.
Duncan, Visct. Loch, J.
Duncan, G. Lockhart, A. E.
Duncannon, Visct. Macaulay, rt. hn. T. B.
Duncombe, T. M'Carthy, A.
Dundas, Adm. M'Geachy, F. A.
Easthope, Sir J. M'Neill, D.
Eastnor, Visct. McTaggart, Sir J.
Ebrington, Visct. Mahon, Visct.
Mangles, R. D. Scrope, G. P.
Marshall, W. Seymour, Lord
Martin, J. Seymour, Sir H. B.
Martin, C. W. Smith, B.
Masterman, J. Smith, J. A.
Maule, rt. hon. F. Smith, rt. hon. R. V.
Meynell, Capt. Smythe, hon. G.
Mitcalfe, H. Smollett, A.
Mitchell, T. A. Somerville, Sir W. M.
Moffatt, G. Stansfield, W. R. C.
Molesworth, Sir W. Staunton, Sir G. T.
Morpeth, Visct. Stewart, P. M.
Morris, D. Stewart, J.
Morison, Gen. Stuart, Lord J.
Morrison, J. Stuart, H.
Mostyn, hon. E. M. L. Strutt, E.
Muntz, G. F. Tancred, H. W.
Napier, Sir C. Thesiger, Sir F.
Neville, R. Thornely, T.
O'Connell, M. J. Towneley, J.
O'Connell, J. Traill, G.
Ord, W. Trelawny, J. S.
Osborne, R. Trench, Sir F. W.
Paget, Col. Tufnell, H.
Palmerston, Visct. Turner, E.
Parker, J. Vane, Lord H.
Patten, J. W. Villiers, hon. C.
Pechell, Capt. Vivian, J. H.
Peel, rt. hon. Sir R. Vivian, hon. Capt.
Peel, J. Wakley, T.
Pennant, hon. Col. Walker, R.
Philips, G. R. Wall, C. B.
Philips, M. Walpole, S. H.
Phillpotts, J. Warburton, H.
Plumridge, Capt. Wawn, J. T.
Price, Sir R. Wellesley, Lord C.
Protheroe, E. White, S.
Pulsford, R. Wood, C.
Rawdon, Col. Wood, Col. T.
Reid, Sir J. R. Wortley, hon. J. S.
Reid, Col. Wyse, T.
Russell, Lord J. Yorke, H. R.
Russell, Lord E.
Russell, J. D. W. TELLERS.
Ryder, Hon. G. D. Young, J.
Sandon, Visct. Baring, H.
List of the NOES.
Acton, Col. Cayley, E. S.
Alford, Visct. Christopher, R. A.
Allix, J. P. Churchill, Lord A. S.
Astell, W. Clayton, R. R.
Austen, Col. Clifton, J. T.
Bagot, hon. W. Colvile, C. R.
Baillie, W. Deedes, W.
Balfour, J. M. Disraeli, B.
Baring, T. Douglas, Sir H.
Bateson, T. Duncombe, hon. A.
Bell, M. Duncombe, hon. O.
Benett, J. Du Pre, C. G.
Bennet, P. Farnham, E. B.
Bentinck, Lord G. Fellowes, E.
Bentinck, Lord H. Finch, G.
Beresford, Major Fitzmaurice, hon. W.
Blackstone, W. S. Floyer, J.
Borthwick, P. Forbes, W.
Bramston, T. W. Forman, T. S.
Broadley, H. Fox, S. L.
Broadwood, H. Frewen, C. H.
Brocklehurst, J. Fuller, A. E.
Brooke, Lord Gooch, E. S.
Bruce, C. L. C. Granby, Marq. of
Buck, L. W. Grogan, E.
Halford, Sir H. Ossulston, Lord
Hall, Col. Packe, C. W.
Harris, hon. Capt. Palmer, R.
Heathcote, G. J. Palmer, G.
Henley, J. W. Pigot, Sir R.
Hildyard, T. B. T. Plumptre, J. P.
Hinde, J. H. Rashleigh, W.
Hodgson, R. Rendlesham, Lord
Hope, Sir J. Repton, G. W. J.
Hope, A. Richards, R.
Hudson, G. Rolleston, Col.
Hurst, R. H. Scott, hon. F.
Hussey, T. Seymer, H. K.
Ingestre, Visct. Shaw, rt. hon. F.
Inglis, Sir R. H. Sibthorp, Col.
Irton, S. Smyth, Sir H.
Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H. Spooner, R.
Jones, Capt. Spry, Sir S. T.
Knight, F. W. Taylor, E.
Knightley, Sir C. Taylor, J. A.
Law, hon. C. E. Thompson, Ald.
Lawson, A. Tollemache, J.
Lennox, Lord G. H. G. Trollope, Sir J.
Leslie, C. P. Trotter, J.
Lockhart, W. Turnor, C.
Manners, Lord J. Tyrrell, Sir J. T.
March, Earl of Waddington, H. S.
Maunsell, T. P. Walsh, Sir J. B.
Maxwell, hon. J. P. Worcester, Marq. of
Miles, P. W. S. Yorke, hon. E. T.
Miles, W.
Milnes, R. M. TELLERS.
Newport, Visct. Bankes, G.
O'Brien, A. S. Newdegate, C. N.

Further proceedings postponed.

House adjourned at half-past One o'clock.