HC Deb 20 March 1846 vol 84 cc1284-340

The Order of the Day for resuming the Adjourned Debate on the Question that the House do agree with the Committee on the Resolution respecting Timber, being read,


spoke as follows: I will not trouble the House long, but I am desirous of stating the reasons which compel me to oppose the present Resolution. I am anxious to accept the challenge thrown out by the right hon. Gentleman the other evening, whether the interests of the producer, as well as those of the consumer, have or have not been benefited by the reduced duties of the Tariff. Now, for this purpose, I will take the first four years immediately preceding the late Tariff, and the four years which have passed since that time, and I find that in the years 1838, 1839, 1840, and 1841, according to Prince's Price Current, which, I believe, is considered in these matters as good an authority as the Gazette, that the average price of timber was 5l. 11s. I will pass by the year of the Tariff, for that was naturally a year of great stagnation and uncertainty, but in that year the price was 5l. 5s. I then come to the years 1843, 1844, 1845, and 1846, and I find that in January last the price had fallen to 4l. 18s.d. being a difference and deficiency of 12s.d. Another reason why these reduced duties must injure the producer of timber is to be derived from the free importations now permitted, of tan leather. In consequence of the increased importation of that article, the demand for bark decreases, and a serious injury is in that indirect way inflicted upon the timber trade. But, in my opinion, it is the duty of the House to look not only to the home but to the colonial producer; and I invite its attention, while I briefly state the recent changes which have been made in the differential duties between colonial and foreign timber. Previously to the Tariff of 1842, the duty upon Baltic timber was 55s., and the cost of conveyance was 55s. also. The duty upon the timber of Canada was 10s., and so there was at that time a differential duty of no less than 45s. in favour of the colonial producer. But in the year 1842 the duty upon Baltic timber was reduced from 55s. to 30s., and in 1843 there was another reduction to 25s. The Canadian timber was also reduced from 10s. to 1s., and consequently there was left only a protective duty of 24s. It is now proposed to reduce the duty upon foreign timber from 25s. to 20s., and that in 1847 there shall be a still further reduction to 15s. So there will only be a protective duty of 14s. I trust also that the House will not forget that the carrying trade of Canadian timber is almost entirely in the hands of British merchants, and that it almost exclusively employs British seamen; and that, on the other hand, at least five-sixths of the Baltic timber trade is carried on by Prussians, Russians, Danes, Swedes, by all the nations which lie upon the Baltic. I believe it is calculated that in the Baltic timber trade there are employed 32,900 seamen, and of that amount the number of Englishmen is only 6,505. Are we then, I ask, to legislate for the benefit of the Prussians and the Swedes, for the benefit of the nations that lie upon the Baltic, or for the benefit of Englishmen? And how are the shipowners of Great Britain to contend against such odds as these? The hon. Member for Wolverhampton said, the other evening, that, if any foreigners were to come into this House, they would be astonished at the course pursued by the Gentlemen who occupy these benches; but I say that if any foreigners were to come here, they would be more astonished at the course pursued by Her Majesty's Ministers in protecting foreign consumers, and in levying heavy taxes on their own countrymen. The course pursued by the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, and the hon. Member for Stockport, has been true, and firm, and honest—consistent with the feelings they have expressed for years; but I confess I do not understand the course of Her Majesty's Government. I cannot understand a change which suddenly occurs during winter time. I do not see any reason why Her Majesty's Ministers should have reduced these duties, when the price of timber is now lower than it was last year; and seeing no reason for the reduction, but, on the contrary, believing that the reduction will operate most injuriously towards the interests of this country, I beg to move that "the words of the present Resolution be omitted."


said, the question before the House, is whether the House will agree to the proposed Resolution. If the noble Lord intends to oppose the Resolution, his proper course will be simply to negative the Resolution.


I beg, then, to state, that I shall give a most decided negative to the present Resolution.


certainly had expected that, after the noble Lord had stated his objections to the course of the Government, some Member of the Treasury bench would have risen to explain the reasons which induced the Government to propose so great an alteration in the duties on timber. It could hardly be that they underrated its importance, or that, having established the general principles of free trade, they felt that they could not omit this particular article. He would rather have postponed the remarks he wished to make until after the explanation of the Minister had been given; but he did not wish the House to go to a division without stating the grounds upon which he intended to oppose the Resolution. He had had the misfortune to differ from the Government in all the reductions they had made. He believed that the scheme of the Government, though it might be well-intentioned, would prove a futile attempt to promote the general welfare by inflicting an injury upon every interest in detail. Her Majesty's Government prided themselves upon being supported in this Resolution by the shipowners of the country; but he really did not see why such weight should be attached to the opinion of those shipowners, when upon a former occasion they had petitioned the House to an exactly opposite effect. It might perhaps be, that change of opinion without cause assigned found favour with Her Majesty's Government. A fellow-feeling made men wondrous kind; and a close sympathy might exist between a changeable Government and the changeable petitioners. He did not dispute the respectability of the shipowners who had signed the petitions in favour of this Resolution; but the House was under a very wrong impression if they supposed that the petitioners represented the general feeling of the whole body of shipowners. He did not presume himself to say what was the feeling of the whole body of shipowners; but this he did say, that those who had petitioned in favour of the reduction of duties formed a very small part of the entire shipping interest. The Government, however, were labouring under a great error if they supposed that these petitioners had become disciples of free trade. It was no such thing. They considered themselves as the first victims of free trade; they had for years suffered from its effects; and they had not obtained the sympathy of their fellow countrymen. They, therefore, had felt the not unnatural desire that others should be treated in the same manner as that in which they had been treated. He would refer to two passages from the petition presented the other night with great pomp by the right hon. Baronet from the shipowners of Sunderland. The right hon. Baronet would have exercised a sounder discretion if he had not moved that the petition be printed; for though its prayer was in his favour, its reasoning was against him. The petition stated that since the reciprocity treaties they had been unprotected; and that, therefore, they did not think themselves called upon to support protection to others. They did not deny that protection to some interests was necessary; but they felt the not unnatural desire to retaliate upon others for the treatment they had themselves received. The change, in the opinion of these petitioners, had been more recent even than that of the right hon. Gentleman; for he was convinced that last January every one of them would have signed a petition with an opposite prayer. The right hon. Baronet had laid upon the Table certain Returns to show that the prosperity of the shipping interest had been increased by the Tariff of 1842; but never had Papers more wofully disappointed the object of their producer. He would not trouble the House with any other figures than those taken from the Papers of the right hon. Baronet himself. He would take a series of years, both before and after the Tariff, and show the effect which the Tariff had had upon the prosperity of the timber trade. First, with regard to British tonnage, his figures would show that instead of an increase caused by the operation of the Tariff, the previous regular progressive increase had fallen off since 1842. In the two years preceding 1842, the increase of British shipping had been 621,881 tons, or at the rate of 21½ per cent per annum. But, in 1843, the shipping amounted to 3,619,000 tons; and in 1844, to 3,637,000 tons; the increase having only been 17,381 tons, or 1½ per cent. Thus, the remarkable fact was, that whereas for the two years preceding the alteration in the Tariff the rate of increase in our shipping had been 21½ per cent; for the two years following that alteration, the rate of increase had only been 1½ per cent. He would now call attention to the Returns of entries inwards and outwards, of British and foreign vessels, engaged in our foreign and colonial trade, in 1832 and 1845, which were as follows:—

1832 British vessels entered inwards 1,936,846
1832 Foreign 561,047
1845 British 3,669,853
1845 Foreign 1,353,739
It hence appeared that the British tonnage inwards had increased during this period, 1,733,000 tons; while the foreign tonnage had advanced by 791,688 tons. The increase in the British shipping thus had been only at the rate of 90 per cent; while the increase in the foreign shipping had been at the rate of 140 per cent. In 1838 the British tonnage was to the foreign as 3½ to 1; in 1845 it was, as compared with the foreign only, as less than 2 to 1. The Returns of vessels cleared outwards presented a similar result, being as follows:—
1832 British vessels cleared outwards 1,637,093 tons.
1832 Foreign 466,333 tons.
1845 British 2,947,257 tons.
1845 Foreign 1,361,940 tons.
Hence it appeared that the British shipping cleared outwards during this period had increased by 310,000 tons; while the foreign shipping had increased by 895,000 tons. The former had increased only at the rate of 80 per cent; the foreign at the rate of more than 190 per cent. In 1832 the British tonnage cleared outwards had been to the foreign as three to one; in 1845, it was to the foreign only as less than one and a half to one. There had certainly been an increase in the British tonnage during this period to a considerable amount. But then it should be borne in mind that our trade had at that time been greatly extended; and what he was arguing was, that British shipping had not had its fair share in the carriage of the augmented amount of merchandise. The figures he had quoted, however, though their result was lamentable enough, did not by any means display the full extent of the unfortunate truth on this subject; for in the accounts of British vessels and tonnage entered both inwards and outwards, were included large numbers and amounts for steam vessels, which carried but small cargoes, and the number of whose voyages caused them to form a most undue proportion of the whole. In 1841, the whole number of steam vessels belonging to the United Kingdom was 791; tonnage 95,796 tons; and in that year there were "entered outwards" 17,318 steam vessels, the tonnage of which were represented at the enormous amount of 3,264,000 tons! So that these 791 steam vessels, by the frequent repetition of their respective voyages, were swelled into an apparent aggregate of upwards of 17,000; and their united tonnage figured at the astounding total of more than 3,000,000 tons. Such was the nature and value of the returns relied on by the Government on the subject. He trusted he had said enough to show, that it was not because the shipowners had flourished under the free-trade measures, that they now petitioned the House to proceed in a similar course of legislation; but it was because they believed that for them free trade had done its worst, and because they hoped that by its more general application to other classes—however those other interests might be injuriously affected—some benefit might ultimately result to their own interest. True, timber would be cheaper by the Government measure; and it might be imagined that the shipowner would have an interest in that cheapness. It had been stated that the amount of duty paid for timber used in shipbuilding, formed only five per cent of the entire amount imported. When he had recently read that statement, he was met by a cheer, the import of which he understood to be this: that though the shipowner would not benefit by having foreign and colonial timber cheapened, he would benefit by having the price of home timber reduced. If the shipowner did so benefit, it was obviously at the expense of the producer at home. But what encouragement would there be to the raising of supplies of timber at home, fitted for the shipbuilding of this country? And in the prospect of a war particularly, would it be wise or prudent, or politic, to be dependent on foreign States for the requisite supply of so vital and essential an element in our maritime and commercial greatness? The ground, however, on which perhaps the determination of the Government to reduce the discriminatory duties on timber was most to be regretted, was on account of the effect which this policy would have on our relations with our Colonies. He had heard with approbation the sentiment expressed by the Government, as to their determination, on the part of this country, to maintain a firm attitude in respect to the United States on the Oregon question. But he believed if this measure were carried, not only would it be unnecessary on our behalf to contest the Oregon territory, but that we might safely make a present of Canada to the United States at once. It would appear that Ministers were actuated almost by hostile feelings towards our Colonies. The Government had already by their Corn Law measure proposed to take away the advantage given to Canada so recently as 1842, in respect to the importation of Canadian corn, and appeared really to have conferred that boon upon the Colony entirely for the wanton pleasure of immediately withdrawing it. The benefit which Canada had derived from the Corn Law discriminations between her grain and that of foreign countries had not been inconsiderable. Great quanties of Canadian corn had, within the last two years, been imported into this country, and 1,500,000 cwt. of Canadian manufactured flour. This important and increasing trade it was proposed now suddenly to destroy; and, simultaneously with that, to ruin the timber trade of this Colony. He deeply regretted that the Government should have been betrayed into such a course of policy. Still more deeply should he regret to see the House betrayed into an approval of it. He was reluctant to intrude further upon their attention, but would ere he sat down venture to propose one question, which, he hoped, any Gentleman who might rise on the part of the Government would attempt to answer, namely, "If we carried out free trade to its full extent, of what use would be our Colonies?" He knew it had often been asserted on the benches opposite, that our Colonies were incumbrances; but he little expected ever to hear such a doctrine propounded on the part of Ministers, still less to find it carried into operation in their measures. But of this he was sure, that such measures must inevitably lead to such results as that the Colonies must become eventually a burden only, and not a benefit. For these reasons he should cordially support the proposition of the noble Lord.


said, that his hon. Friend who had just sat down, commenced his observations by recommending to the right hon. Baronet at the head of Her Majesty's Government, a course which would have evinced much sounder discretion than moving that the petition from the shipowners should be printed; and he went on to say that these petitioners had changed their opinions, and that he believed that if they were asked to sign a petition, before the present measure had been announced to Parliament, they would have retained their former opinions, and would have signed a petition quite in opposition to the present measure. Why, did not his hon. Friend perceive that if gentlemen largely engaged in the shipping interests had changed their opinions, and had come forward solemnly to record that change of opinion, did he not see that everybody must necessarily attach increased force to that statement from a change in their opinions? If that had been done by gentlemen, not from their own convictions, but because Her Majesty's Government had announced the measure, did he not perceive the natural conclusion which that change led to? Did he not perceive how great the confidence must be on the part of those commercial gentlemen in those who proposed this measure, if on no better ground they thought it worth while to come forward in the face of Parliament and the country to withdraw opinions, which on former occasions they had solemnly recorded? Let him ask his hon. Friend, before he advised sounder discretion to Her Majesty's Ministers, what he would think of the discretion of an hon. Gentleman, who being entrusted with a different petition, moved that it be printed, when that petition contained a statement of this kind? Referring to 1842 it said, that petitions were presented to the Government and the Legislature by these very same parties, then, as now, purporting to be persons connected and conversant with the shipping interest. It recites that by those parties it was then universally contended, that the reduction of the discriminating duty to 25s. would eventually cause a transfer of a considerable portion of the timber trade from the Colonies to the timber-growing countries in the north of Europe. Another statement contained in it was, that the Shipowners' Association of Liverpool were of opinion that a reduction of discriminating duty on foreign timber to below 30s. was absolutely inconsistent with the shipping interests engaged in the Colonial timber trade. It also stated that it was indisputable that any reduction of the duty on foreign timber below 25s. would have disastrous effects on British navigation, while many contemplated most injurious consequences if it were reduced below 30s.; and some were apprehensive of dangerous results unless the duty of 45s. was exacted. Now, these Gentlemen set forth these opinions, as having been the opinions on which they insisted in 1842; they candidly admitted that not one of these expectations had been in the smallest degree verified, while all their experience in the interval had been on the opposite side. And what did they conclude by saying? Why, they manfully avowed that notwithstanding their experience, in spite of the facts, they stoutly adhered to their opinions. And this was the petition which, in the exercise of his discretion, his hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle had moved for and had printed with the Votes. Now, without meaning any disrespect to them, or his hon. Friend, he would submit to the House and the country whether, on their own evidence, the balance of sound discretion would be found in favour of them and his hon. Friend, or in favour of those who, concurrently with experience and in deference to facts, thought fit to change their opinions, and of the right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel), who had been entrusted with their petition which he thought sufficiently remarkable to be entitled to the special notice of the House of Commons. What was the evidence on which they altered their opinions? His hon. Friend said that these shipowners being the first victims of free trade, came forward with their petition for the purpose of saving others from a similar calamity. The shipowners the victims of free trade! His hon. Friend invented all sorts of reasons why the House should not draw from the change of tonnage from 1842 to 1845, which amounted to nearly a million tons, the obvious inference to which it was entitled. His hon. Friend argued that because British vessels had increased at a lower rate than others, that was a proof of the decline of our trade. Why, what a rule by which to institute comparison! If a man who had only one ship bought another, he increased his number 100 per cent; the owner of one hundred vessels must buy to the number of two hundred before he could have a proportionate increase to the other. We had increased between 900,000 and 1,000,000 tons; while in the aggregate all foreign ships had increased between 300,000 and 400,000. He was now speaking from an official account of the number of British and foreign vessels entered inwards and outwards in the respective years. They had increased from 974,392 tons in 1842, to 1,353,735 in 1845; and we from 2,680,838 to 3,669,853. The same paper gave the number of vessels, and of the men employed in navigating them; and the increase in the number of vessels which belonged to the various ports of the British Empire, was from 30,815 in 1842, to 31,320 in 1844. The calculation was not made for 1845; and, therefore, he was not in a condition to carry out the comparison; but, looking at the amount of tonnage, he was enabled to state that a very remarkable increase had taken place. With respect to Canadian timber, his hon. Friend asked of what value on earth the Colonies would be if this measure was passed; and said that when it was carried, and Canada ruined, we might make a present of Canada to any one who would accept it. When we had ruined Canada, his hon. Friend's proposition might be correct; but let the House consider whether we had ruined Canada. He found that in 1841—the last year of the old high duty—the amount of duty received was 450,000l. Now, allowing a proportionate deduction for the diminution of the duty, the amount ought to have fallen to 45,000l.; but instead of that the duty was—

In 1843 £68,000
In 1844 71,000
In 1845 94,000
so that the whole trade in timber with Canada had been more than doubled when the difference between the 10s. and the 1s. duty was considered. He thought, therefore, that the Government might put off making a present of Canada until the sound discretion of his hon. Friend was equal to the sound discretion of those whom he undertook to advise. The Chairman of the Liverpool Dock Committee had recently stated, "It had been represented that the timber trade of that port had declined; and that it had, at all events, reached its maximum, and would not increase. One fact alone exhibited, at least, its vast importance, viz., that there had been more artificers employed in its different department in this country during the last eighteen years, than in any other trade;" and then he proceeded to give the following statement of the number of vessels employed in Liverpool in the timber trade with British America:—
1838 305 vessels 160,000 tons.
1842 165 vessels 91,000 tons.
1845 453 vessels 239,000 tons.
A similar statement was given as to the numbers of "pieces" of timber imported:—
1838 15,000,000
1842 9,000,000
1845 28,000,000
So much for Canadian shipping in the timber trade—for the tonnage of vessels, for the number of men, for the quantity of timber—so much, in the very years which his hon. Friend had selected for his comparison, for the ruin of colonial interests, and the destruction of the intercolonial trade. Well, but with all this increase of colonial import—with an admitted increase also of import from the Baltic—what had been the effect upon the price of oak at home? His hon. Friend who sat beside him, the Member for Lewes, had furnished him from the Admiralty with an account of contract prices. Referring to the contracts for English oak, he found the results to be as follows:—
March, 1833 Same prices all round.
February, 1844
February, 1840 15 per cent. added to the foregoing.
1842 and to
March, 1843
December 1843 Reduction of 15 per cent on timber, plank, and treenails; 7½ on thick stuff.
January, 1846 Increase of 22½, on 1843.
Same as 1840–1842.
15 per cent above 1833.
Now, if the legislation of that House was based upon evidence of facts, he should like to know what facts would in future be relied upon when a case was to be made out against the reduction of the timber duties? A Committee of that House which sat in 1835, reported that the duty then imposed by law on timber the produce of Europe, as compared with timber the produce of our North American Colonies, was too great, and might be reduced; and they further stated it to be their opinion that, having due regard to the interests that had been created in British North America, a reduction of the protective duty not exceeding 15s. per load appeared to them to be a fair arrangement. That proposition was not successful then; but in 1842 a greater reduction of protective duty had been made. And had they not witnessed with satisfaction the result? Different kinds of timber were used for different purposes—for different parts, for example, of a house or of a ship. As you increased the supply of large timbers, you stimulated the demand for the planking; just as the consumption of timber operated upon the Excise by enhancing the demand for bricks. Thus while you increased the demand for labour, you cheapened the materials requisite to furnish for the people comfortable dwellings. Experience had shown that there was no reason why they might not take measures to increase the consumption of Baltic timber, and at the same time double the consumption of Canadian timber. Fortified by the facts which he had stated, he would venture to set up his own authority against that of his hon. Friend, confident that no such evidence could be brought against his predictions as he had produced in opposition to the views of his hon. Friend; and with a confidence not at all shaken by his hon. Friend's statements, he should ask the House to agree to the Resolutions.


explained, that in the return to which he had referred in relation to the steam vessels, the number of ships were not given, so that the remarkable apparent excess in the shipping was (notwithstanding the hon. Gentleman's attempted explanation) still referrible to the frequent voyages of the steamers included in the returns. He further wished to state that the question he had asked of the Government (and which the hon. Member had not attempted to answer) was, "If free trade were carried out fully, giving to other countries all the commercial benefits enjoyed by our Colonies—and we had thus all the burdens of our Colonies without being enabled to derive any advantage therefrom—what would be the good of our Colonies?


said, having sat on every maritime or mercantile Committee of that House for the last thirty years, and having had more communication with the shipping interest than most Members (besides his own personal connexion with it), he ventured to express his opinions on the subject, in which he had acquired some considerable practical experience. It had formerly been the policy of the British Government to encourage the enterprise of our own subjects and colonists, with the view of securing sure supplies of the great necessaries of commerce, especially timber; and under the protection conferred, with this object, on our Colonial produce, large establishments had been raised, and much capital invested with a view to obtaining supplies from our own Colonies. For his own part, he should be happy to see timber coming in from the east and from the west, proportioned to the demand; but he feared lest the effect of transferring the timber trade from our Colonies to other countries should be to injure that important interest — the shipping of this country. He had apprehended, at the time of Mr. Huskisson's measure, and still more when the recent changes in the Tariff took place, that such timber-growing countries as Norway might attract much of our timber trade; and he found that though a few years ago only fifteen Norwegian vessels, with a tonnage of 1,131 tons, visited this country, last year there were 1,127 vessels, with a tonnage of 170,000 tons. Mr. Deacon Hume had, in his evidence before the Import Duties Committee (whence much of the new doctrine on these subjects had emanated), stated that he would not mind if all the ships engaged in the Canada timber trade were destroyed, as the effect would be to benefit the revenue by directing the trade from Canada with low duties to the Baltic with high duties. It might be imagined that with views like these, those who were connected with the shipping interest of this country could have no sympathy. There was no doubt that timber could not be smuggled. He really thought it was a fair subject for taxation, and it was a tax of which no man complained. He believed there was a great increase in the timber trade, which was owing, in some measure, to the large number of our railways; and in the expectation of much being required, there was at the present time in Liverpool, a greater quantity of timber than had been known for many years. He thought the extent and improvement of the trade were reasons why the House, in the course it was about to pursue, should be extremely careful not to injure the maritime trade of the country.


, as a naval Member of that House, begged to make some observations upon the subject now before it. He believed that if this measure was carried, a heavy blow would be struck against the North American trade with this country. There was no occasion for him to call the attention of the Government to the maritime interest. He had ever observed that this interest had met with the most careful consideration. He should at once proceed to the facts upon which his opinion, with regard to the present measure, was formed. He would not attempt to detract from the cheering account of that trade which had been laid before the House. He had stated on a former occasion that he believed the Tariff to have worked most usefully for the country. But he must say that he also believed that the greatest amount of protection that could be given, ought to be given both to our colonial and native industry. He hoped, therefore, the Government would not reduce the timber duty, as had been proposed. He would ask whether, in the face of the evidence given in the Report of that Committee of British Shipowners, which sat in the year 1844, the Government would consent to lower those duties? He had not been able to arrive at the number of ships employed in the Canadian trade, but he did not think he should be over-rating them in stating them to be 1,200, and the men employed about 15,000. It was a very good school and nursery for our seamen. When he commanded a man-of-war on the North American station, he had completed his crew with first-rate seamen at the port of Quebec. There were upwards of 200 men there on an average at all times ready to enter our naval service. But it was not only this—we risked the loss of our Colonies. He would remind the House that the exports of this country to those Colonies were about 3,000,000; and those Colonies had no time allowed them to petition the House on the subject of these measures. He would call their attention to that fact, and remind them that on the last occasion when the timber duties were altered, there were several petitions presented to that House from New Brunswick and our other North American Colonies. He felt bound, therefore, to oppose the measure.


said, that the question before the House appeared to him to be of vital importance—it concerned an interest which had been attacked by the free traders. But the present measure was fraught with much mischief to every interest of the country, more particularly, however, to the shipping interest. He should endeavour to show to the House, that in no one instance had it been beneficial. The right hon. Baronet might not have all the responsibility on his shoulders of the evil that would attend the passing of this measure, although he seemed as if he were jealous of the noble Lord opposite in taking the credit of it. He recollected on one occasion calling upon the House to look into the condition which the country had attained under the navigation laws. She had given laws to all the Continent. He had called upon the House to consider whether these laws were not the source of all our prosperity; and the answer was that all these things were gained by the peculiar energy of the country in spite of bad laws. He thought that the right hon. Baronet stood in the light of Ahab's prophets of old. He would deceive himself, and bring down destruction upon a devoted people. His own conviction upon the subject of the navigation laws had never been changed. Had the country come to this, that they were to cast away the bread of their children to strangers? Had the time come when the lion and the lamb were about to lie down together in this country? He did not know whether the right hon. Baronet took credit to himself for being one or the other. When any individual took up a new theory he would lend himself to nothing but that which would carry out his own purpose; and perhaps it was not extraordinary the right hon. Baronet had done that. The House had heard the other night a statement of the effects which these new measures would have upon the silk trade. He could assure the right hon. Baronet that such was also the case with the shipowners of this country upon the passing of the navigation laws. He had himself sold ships for 5,000l. which cost originally 20,000l. He hoped he should not be considered as saying anything personally offensive to the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government; but he could not help thinking that the right hon. Gentleman had been acting in an ungenerous manner towards the House and towards the country in making the returns now before that House. Whatever was stated at the Table ought not only to be literally but substantially correct, and then the deductions would be equally correct. He thought that as the population of any country increased, so the means of conveyance from one place to another must necessarily increase. From the year 1820 to 1844 the increase of population was twenty-eight per cent. He would state what had been the increase in shipping. In the year 1820 the number of vessels was 21,969; in the year 1840 the number amounted to 21,983; and in 1844 there were 23,283 vessels, showing an increase since 1840 of 1,300 vessels. He thought, however, that it was necessary for the House to look with considerable doubt upon these returns. They had been made up by the introduction of a large number of steam vessels. The 30s. duty which had already been taken off timber, had gone into the pockets of the foreigner. The freight, which had been 14s. was now 21s., and therefore the foreigner now received not only 30s. for the original price of timber, but also received the original freight. He believed the present measure would entirely shut the British ships out of the Baltic trade; and was not the Baltic timber preferable to the Canadian timber? And he would appeal to any naval officer to say whether the Baltic trade was not of all others the one most calculated to make British seamen? Men might go three or four voyages across the Atlantic without receiving half the experience which they would acquire from a voyage to the Baltic. He was quite sure the time would eventually come when every hon. Member of that House would see the evil consequences that must result from the present measure. It had been stated, in allusion to a petition which had been presented against this measure, that counter petitions had been brought from different parts of their country. He believed there were no names in those petitions of persons connected in the smallest degree with the general shipping trade: they were engaged in the local trade only. The measure now before the House affected every interest, and not merely a single class. The public, he repeated, were deeply concerned in it. The principle proposed was a novel, a great and a grand principle—its application was quite another thing. It was nothing less than the withdrawal of the protection of the State from her own inhabitants—it was an abandonment of a doctrine which they had hitherto been taught should exist between the parent and the child, the master and the servant, the State and the subject. They were now about to establish the theory of buying in the cheapest and selling in the dearest markets—a theory very freely entertained and insisted upon by men who were not very scrupulous as to the mode in which they obtained property; but not, he thought, worthy of adoption by a great country like this, which had grown into power and prosperity by different means. That hackneyed language of "class interests," used by hon. Gentlemen opposite, was not at all applicable—they talked very freely of "monopoly," but he knew of no monopoly in the invidious sense which they used the term. If it meant the fact of a great body being engaged in one particular calling, who were anxious to maintain their own rights—why, then he thought that, so far from discountenancing them, the Ministry was bound to consult their interests, for it was the individual interest which created public interest; the country had chartered such monopolies, and chartered them to their own advantage. Look, for instance, at the East India Company. It was open to every individual in this country to buy and sell as best he might; in that respect there was perfect free trade. The foreigner too ought to be treated with, but on terms of reciprocity; not the sort of bargain which we made with Prussia, giving all the advantage to that kingdom. We ought to get a quid pro quo. At the same time that he was anxious for friendly intercourse with all countries, he could not wish to encourage that intercourse at the expense of his own, nor to confer an advantage on one portion of the community which might be ruinous to another.


, having been at a former period of his life connected with the timber trade, wished to take that opportunity of complimenting Her Majesty's Government on the great improvements that they had already effected, and were now effecting in that trade. Formerly all deals paid the same amount of duty, no matter what their dimensions might be. Thus a deal seven feet long, nine inches wide, and one and a half inches thick, paid the same duty as a deal sixteen feet long, three inches thick, and eleven inches wide. The Government were, however, at length induced to abolish this absurd distinction; and since 1842 deals were allowed to be introduced at a rate of duty varying according to their cubic dimensions. He would beg to draw the attention of the House for a moment to the effect of the differential duty between Colonial and European timber, as settled by the Tariff of 1842. Prior to that period this duty had been 45s.: but in 1842 it was reduced to 25s. by Her Majesty's Government. On converting the returns which had been previously entered by tale, and in the case of deals by great hundreds, into cubic dimensions, and comparing the quantities imported from the Colonies and from European countries, as laid on the Table by the right hon. Baronet, he found the following results:—The quantity of deals imported for home consumption into the United Kingdom in 1841 and 1842, from the Colonies, was 51,412 great hundreds, which, allowing 6½ loads to each, was equivalent to 334,178 loads. To this was to be added 632,184 loads of hewn timber, and 7,989 masts entered by tale. On comparing this return with that for the last year, he found that the total quantity, both of deals and of hewn timber, increased from 982,341 loads, payable according to the old duties in 1841 and 1842, to 1,290,341 in 1845, giving an increase of about 30 per cent, although the differential duty in favour of colonial timber had been reduced in that period from 45s. to 25s. a load. Now, he would look to the effect of this reduction on the foreign timber trade. The quantity of foreign deals imported in 1841 and 1842, including those entered by tale, was 321,400 loads, or thereabouts, which, added to the quantity of hewn timber imported, made in all 505,803 loads. That amount had increased in 1845 to 675,840 loads, showing the increase since the reduction of duty to be only about 20 per cent on the imports of foreign timber. So that taking the average imports of 1841 and 1842, and comparing them with the imports for the past year, they had this fact, that while the increase on the colonial timber trade, notwithstanding the reduction in duty was 30 per cent, the increase on European timber was no more than 20 per cent. But it was right, in the next place, to look to the prices which the shippers of timbers in the colonial and in European ports had been able to realize. In 1841 and 1842, the prices realized by the Colonies on the yellow or Weymouth pine timbers were, in 1841, 66s. a load, and in 1842, 56s. a load, leaving the average price about 51s. a load. In 1845 the price realized in the Colonies on yellow pine was 69s., showing a considerable improvement on the price since the reduction of the protecting duty. He would next take the price of that species of timber which approached most nearly in quality to the European pine, namely, the red pine hewn timber, and he found that, while the price realized in the Colonies in 1841 and 1842 was 83s. a load, the price realized in 1845 was as high as 81s. a load, or very nearly what it had been before the protecting duty had been lowered. In European hewn timber the price in 1841 and 1842 was 46s. a load, and in 1845 it was 53s. a load, showing a very considerable improvement. In 1841 and 1842 the prices realized on foreign deals were 57s. and 53s., making an average of about 55s., and in 1845 the price was raised to 66s. a load; but, at the same time, the price of colonial timber, of the same quality, which in 1841 and 1842 was about 70s. a load, was in 1845 68s. a load, or very nearly the same, although the differential duty had been in the interim diminished to the extent of 20s. sterling per load. He was, therefore, justified in saying that all the anticipations that had been put forward in 1842 by the shipping and colonial interests of the ruinous consequences of the proposed reductions had been falsified, as the colonial timber now realized the identical prices which it bore before the reduction, and, as far as yellow timber was concerned, had actually advanced 17 or 18 per cent in price. But this was only one part of the question. An important consideration was, whether, considering the immense increase in the consumption of the country, caused by the construction of railways and other improvements, the Government were now to stand still and give the entire benefit of the additional demand to the Colonies, and thus raise the price on the consumer to an enormous amount. The enormous increase in the consumption of timber in 1845, as compared with 1841 and 1842, afforded a fair indication of the additional percentage which was likely to take place in the price of colonial timber, were the European timber countries to be precluded from competing with the Colonies on more equitable terms, He thought the Government had done quite right: first, in abolishing the mode of fixing the differential duty so as leave the same amount payable on the smallest and on the largest sized deals; and in the next place, by giving additional facilities for preventing the price of timber being raised to an enormous amount on the consumer, as it would undoubtedly be raised unless these additional facilities were afforded. It was contended that an injury would be done to the British shipping interest by the change; but it should not be forgotten that they had improved the condition of the British shipowner in other respects. As long as they had a sliding-scale in the corn trade, it was necessary for the importer of foreign corn to make the shipments in the greatest possible hurry, in order that he might get it into the market while the duty was low. He was consequently obliged to make use of foreign bottoms in his importations to a very considerable extent. The Government, by opening the corn trade, would remove this evil, and afford the British shipowners the advantage of this trade. But there were other considerations besides those which related to the mere trade view of the question, which should make it imperative on the Government not to put a ban on the timber trade of the north of Europe. The American timber trade grew out of the two expeditions to Copenhagen; the timber trade with Europe having received its quietus in 1808. Before that period there was scarcely a Norwegian captain who did not wear a medal won by serving in the British navy; and almost all the best seamen that were to be found in the Norwegian navy had, in consequence of high wages and other inducements, previously served in the navy of this country. In 1807, however, the Government seized all the Norwegian ships in the British ports, and sent the poor captains to the various depôts of prisoners in this country, and the blow then struck was followed by the total destruction of the Norwegian timber trade before the end of the war. He thought it behoved this country to consider whether a nation having so large a trade as Norway, and possessing as it did some of the finest ports in the world along its coast, should not be encouraged rather than impeded to carry on trade with us. When they had formerly put a ban on the timber trade with Norway, an immense trade sprung up between that country and France; and it was for the British Government to consider whether they would drive the trade of a country having so large a mercantile navy as Norway altogether into the hands of France—knowing, as they did, that in such a case they could not expect the support of the Norwegian seamen, which they once before enjoyed, should a great European war again break forth: and no matter how much they might depend on an extensive impressment system, such a consideration was not to be lost sight of. Considering the great aggressive power which Norway possessed in the northern parts of the world, there were, he thought, strong political reasons for restoring and cementing the connexion which existed between that country and England before the war of 1798, independent altogether of the important commercial reasons to which he had before alluded. Another fact not to be lost sight of was, the success attending the reduction already made by the Government in the timber duties, as a financial arrangement. The revenue derived from timber in 1841–2 was—colonial 453,157l.; foreign 1,117,422l.; making a total of 1,570,579l.: while, in 1845, it was—colonial 94,262l.; foreign 945,345l.; total 1,039,607l.—thus showing that the duty on foreign timber, though reduced 45 per cent, had yielded 85 per cent of its former amount of revenue; while in colonial timber the duty, which had been reduced from 10s. to 1s. a load, or 10 per cent, produced 20 per cent of its former amount. The measure of the Government was, therefore, as successful in a financial as in a commercial and political point of view.


agreed with the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down as to the propriety of cultivating friendly intercourse with Norway; but he thought there was a still stronger reason for encouraging friendly relations with Canada. The hon. Gentleman said this was a shipowners' question. He protested against its being considered a question of shipowners or of any other class. It was the vice of the new measure that the great masses of the people which it affected were considered as classes having separate interests. It was not in his view either a colonial or a shipowners' question, but an Imperial question. As the hon. Gentleman had alluded to the prices of timber, he too would quote figures respecting our colonial and foreign timber trade. In 1841 the price of Canadian timber was 4l. 10s. per load; in 1846, 4l. 10s. The price of European timber was in 1841, 5l., in 1846, 5l. Who, therefore, benefited by the reduction of duty made in 1842? It was quite clear it was not the British consumer. The hon. Gentleman pointed out the way in which the market was ready to absorb this increased importation, and alluded to the increase of railway enterprise since 1842. This might satisfactorily account for the price which timber had maintained; but would this demand be perpetual? The freight of American timber, and the cost of importation, was just double that of European, on an average. In 1841 the selling price of Baltic timber in this country was 5l. per load, so that after duty, freight, and other charges, it was computed that the foreign grower pocketed 1l. 2s. 6d. In the same year, in the Canada trade, matters stood thus:—

Freight £2 0 0
Charges 0 5 0
Duty 0 10 0
The selling price was 4 10 0
The Canadian grower was enabled, from the differential duty, to pocket 1l. 15s., the difference being as between 1l. 2s. 6d. and 1l. 15s. in favour of the colonial grower. The Tariff of 1842 reduced the differential duty to 1l. 5s. The importation of timber from the Baltic at present was:—
Freight £1 2 6
Duty 1 5 0
Charges 0 2 6
It sold at 5l., thus putting 2l. 10s. into the pocket of the European grower. As regarded Canadian timber, the following was the cost of importation at present:—
Freight £2 2 0
Charges 0 7 0
Duty 0 1 0
Leaving for the original cost 2l., as it sold here at 4l. 10s. The relative difference between the European grower and the Canadian grower in 1841, was as 1l. 2s. 6d. to 1l. 15s.; the difference then was in favour of Canadian; but now it was in favour of the Baltic grower. It was clear that whatever benefit others might have received, two classes had certainly not been benefited—the British consumer, who still paid the same price, and the Canadian producer, who came into the British market at a disadvantage of 10s. as compared with 1841. The causes to which the late high prices of timber were ascribed were admitted to be of a temporary nature. It could not be expected that the making of railways could be always carried on as they had been; there must be a limit to those works, and, consequently, to the demand for timber which they occasioned; but be it recollected, the Government measure was permanent, and made no allowance for a decrease in demand. Then the employment of seamen, which was greater from the length of voyage in the Canadian than in the Baltic trade, was a consideration which ought not to be overlooked in their calculations. If this measure were carried into effect, the price of Baltic timber in the English market would be 3l. The Canadian timber was 10 per cent less in market value than the foreign timber, while the charges were higher, and if the Canadian grower were compelled to sell at the same sum of 3l., he would sustain a loss of 8s., which would drive him out of the market altogether. If these calculations were correct—and he knew they were—the effect of this measure would simply be, not merely to discourage but to annihilate in the market of this country the sale of Canadian timber. Three years ago, they had altered the Corn Laws in favour of Canada. But now, simultaneously with this destructive measure to their timber trade, they had equalised the duties on corn, so that our Canadian Colonies were to be placed precisely on the same footing as the United States. It seemed to him that the whole of these measures were based upon an erroneous principle—upon a principle which brought upon a footing of equality the subjects of all foreign Crowns with the subjects of the Crown of Great Britain; and if there were no other circumstances to make a difference between the two, this principle might very safely be adopted. If they would insure constant peace; if they would equalise the taxation of this country with the taxation of foreign countries; if England were but a second-rate power in the family of nations; if they were not responsible for the welfare of distant Colonies, largely and densely populated; if with the nationality of England there were not connected the advance of a high state of civilization—these measures of free trade might be applicable to our condition, and might be carried into effect with perfect safety. But, when they found the contrary of all this to be the case, and with respect to the measure more immediately under their consideration, that it affected the interest, first of the Canadian the country, he must give them his opposition. The greatness of this country depended upon the superiority of its navy, and its naval supremacy depended upon the colonial trade, which afforded the best and almost the only nursery for our seamen. But, by these measures which were now introduced, they were likely to injure both the shipping interest and the prosperity of the Colonies. The hon. Member for Kendal had attempted to show that the reduction of duty had increased the demand; but every one knew that the increased demand for timber arose from a course altogether unconnected with the reduction of duties. It arose from the extraordinary progress made in the construction of railways. He must apologize for detaining the House with these dry statements; but he did not think it well, in these times, when every vote was set down to a party purpose, that he should give his vote without explanation. He disclaimed being actuated by any other view in all the votes he gave, than an endeavour honestly to discharge his duty, and to do the best he could for all classes of Her Majesty's subjects.


could not agree with what had been stated by the hon. Member for Kendal, that the measures adopted with regard to timber during the last two or three years had involved no loss to the revenue; because they would find that the average amount of revenue derived from timber in the years 1840 to 1842 had amounted to between 1,300,000l. and 1,400,000l.; while he believed the average amount of revenue derived from the same source, during the subsequent three years of 1843, 1844, 1845, did not exceed 800,000l. or 900,000l.; thus showing a loss of 500,000l. a-year. Besides, it ought to be observed, that during the last three years, there had been an extraordinary demand for timber caused by the construction of railways. On a question of this sort he should generally be disposed to leave it in the hands of Government; but he must say that the arguments which the hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Treasury had put forth required something very like official assurance to propound to the House. He had told them that the reduction in the amount of duty had caused an increase in the demand for oak timber, such as was used for the purposes of the navy; and he had gone into some statements to prove this, which appeared to him to require as much official assurance to set forth to the House as when the right hon. Baronet attempted to make them believe that the price of meat had risen in consequence of the introduction of foreign cattle; because the hon. Gentleman had forgotten that within these few years there had been an extraordinary expenditure for the naval estimates, that the navy estimates had lately been raised to six or seven millions sterling; and every one who examined the subject knew that this large sum was not expended in the increase of seamen, but in the increase of materials for shipbuilding. Now, it was well known that timber for naval purposes was so scarce that if Government went into the market and purchased to the extent of 100,000l. or so, up went the price directly. But he did not believe the hon. Gentleman would rise and tell the House that timber not used for shipbuilding purposes had so increased in price; if it had, he (Mr. Henley) was certainly not acquainted with it. He, therefore, thought it was not candid or fair in any Member of the Government to assign as the reasons for any statement, that which they themselves knew did not bear upon the point. But now he wished to make some observations upon the statements contained in the petitions presented to this House from the private bodies of shipowners, because he felt that this was a question deeply involving the mercantile marine of the country. He could not conceal from himself that on this occasion differences of opinion prevailed among the shipowners. He believed that a few years ago they were more unanimous than they were at present; he had, therefore, taken some pains to look into the reasons which those gentlemen who dissented from the general body of shipowners put forth; and he must say that it was a very singular position for them to take, because the shipowners were themselves a highly protected body, and must of necessity continue to be so. The right hon. Baronet, indeed, in the commencement of the Session, declared that he for one could no longer maintain the principle of protection; and, as often happened with a man when he was saying that which others had said before, and to which he had formerly been opposed, he went further even than those who consistently maintained the same principles. Thus, on the question of protection, all the best writers in favour of free trade admitted that it might do partial evil to the interests concerned, but that it would be for the general good; but the right hon. Gentleman went further than this, and challenged the House to show that any individual interest had suffered from the extension of free trade. Now, he (Mr. Henley) would in his turn challenge the right hon. Baronet to show that he really believed in the truth of his own assertion, by carrying out the principle to its full extent. At present foreign vessels were restricted from bringing to this country any produce except that which belonged to their own country; that is, a Swedish vessel could not bring here Russian produce, and vice versâ. Now, why should that be allowed? Why should not the Lincolnshire agriculturist, seeing that all protection was to be taken from him, be allowed to employ a Dutch vessel to carry his produce to the London market? The freight would be cheaper than an English vessel, and, therefore, there would be so much gain to the agriculturist. Then why should not the West Indian produce be brought over to this country in the cheapest possible way? To be sure the right hon. Baronet proposed to continue protection to the West Indian interest. But the noble Lord opposite had given notice of his intention to oppose that course; and, of course, after the introduction of slave-grown Indian corn and slave-grown rice, no one could argue in favour of the exclusion of slave-grown sugar. That would be all cant, which the noble Lord would knock down as he would a ninepin. Why, then, should not sugar be brought to this country in foreign ships, the freights of which were one-third cheaper? So, also, with regard to sailors. The wages of foreign sailors were less than those of England; and if his proposition were adopted, the right hon. Baronet would then have an opportunity of descanting upon the great improvement in the mercantile marine, upon the increased amount of tonnage, and the consequent national prosperity. He thought the right hon. Baronet was the more apt to take this view of the case, because he had invariably observed, that, in every interest which the Government had touched, they had never, on any one occasion, gone into the condition of the operatives concerned in the measure. They had dwelt upon the increased quantities of consumption, and the increased amount of imports, all which might be perfectly true; but they had never touched upon the condition of the workmen. He apologized for detaining the House; but from personal reasons he felt a strong interest in this question; and he had not seen any arguments put forth by the shipowners which in his humble judgment did not cut their own throats, because as sure as effect followed cause, so sure would the results of this measure be detrimental to them; and instead of gaining by it they would be exposed to much sharper competition than they suffered at the present moment.


concurred in opinion with the hon. Gentleman, that if the agricultural interest was entirely freed from protection, it was only right that the shipowners should be placed in a similar situation, that they should have the power of buying in the cheapest market, and selling in the dearest; and he would support any proposition the hon. Member might bring forward for effecting that object. He (Mr. Hume) complained of the proposal now before the House, though on very different grounds from the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down. He complained that the duty was not entirely removed. He knew of no raw material which it was more important for the general interests of the community to render accessible at a cheap rate than timber; and, next to provisions, no article which, with reference to the erection of cheap and suitable dwellings, was more necessary to the comfort of the poor. He considered that the course of legislation hitherto pursued with regard to this article had been most objectionable; and he thought that the shipowners who concurred in opinion with the hon. Member who last spoke were acting against their own interests. The shipowners objected to reciprocity; and why? They said the materials with which they built their ships were much more expensive than the materials used in the construction of foreign ships. That was in consequence of the duty imposed upon foreign timber, which was now the only article used in the construction of ships subject to duty. In this country the construction of ships was more expensive by 5l. a ton than on the Continent; and a foreigner could build three ships with the same money with which an Englishman could build only two. The reduction of the timber duties would lessen the price of a ship's hull built in this country by one-half, or even perhaps two-thirds. Would this give no advantage to the shipowners? But, then, he might be told that, with respect to wages and the maintenance of seamen, the British shipowner could not compete with the foreigner. The expense of British seamen was certainly higher than that of foreign sailors; but this arose from the fact that English seamen obtained food of a much better class, and consequently of higher price, than foreign sailors. He was satisfied, however, that if the measure now before the House were adopted, the British shipowner would within five years be able to build ships at much less expense than at present, and the rate of freights would consequently be reduced. An English-built ship was always insured at a much lower premium than a foreign vessel. One of the effects of the present timber duties had been to drive shipbuilding from British ports to our Colonies, where vessels could be constructed much less expensively than at home. Yet no one would contend that the colonial ships were at all equal to British-built vessels; they were sold at a cheap rate, but they were worn out in ten years, while a British-built ship would last twenty years or more. The effect, then, of the reduction of the timber duties, would be to restore the shipbuilding trade to this country. The disadvantages under which the English shipowners laboured might be classed under four heads: first, the cost of the hull and rigging, which if this measure were adopted could be completed as cheaply here, he believed, as in any part of the world; secondly, the rate of wages, which would now be equalized; thirdly, the price of provisions, in which there would now be a considerable reduction; and, fourthly, the duties on insurance. He thought that the amount of duty on marine policies was very objectionable, though he admitted that it had been reduced; but when men were put to run a race together, they ought to be equally loaded. The shipping interest had not the advantage of equal loading, though the course of their present legislation as far as it went was in the right direction. He recollected that in 1813 he declared at the India-house that he hoped to see the amount paid for tonnage to India, which was then 50l. per ton, reduced to ten guineas, and his observation was only laughed at; but he had lived to see the day when it was reduced to 7l. 10s., or 7l., which was considered remunerative. In consequence of the system of duties which had hitherto been maintained, British ships were inefficiently timbered, and the result was that more fishermen and seamen were drowned belonging to Britain than to any other country. Another lamentable result of the policy hitherto pursued on this subject was, that a large portion of the capital of our shipowners was invested in Danish and Norwegian vessels, because ships could be built in Denmark and Norway so much cheaper than here. But the system now proposed by the right hon. Baronet, if carried out, would put an end to that evil, and British capital would be employed in British ports. He had been intrusted with a petition, which stated that it would be important to the health and comfort of the labouring classes, if they were enabled to obtain cheap dwelling-houses; but that the existing high duties imposed on articles of consumption deprived them of that benefit. It was of the utmost importance that the working classes should have the means of obtaining cheap dwelling-houses. Hon. Gentlemen opposite had said a great deal about their desire to improve the condition of the working classes, and lengthy reports upon their sanatory condition had been laid upon the Table of that House, which showed the miserably unhealthy hovels which they were obliged to occupy—the fruitful cause of disease and death amongst the poor of this country. All that, however—the horrid air which they were compelled to breathe, and the pestilence which followed on it—were the consequences of the high duty upon timber and on bricks; and he fearlessly asserted that every man who opposed the reduction of the duty upon those articles was contributing to maintain misery and disease amongst the working classes. Men who had been toiling their twelve or fourteen hours a day, ought to be enabled to occupy a place where they could at least breathe the wholesome air; but instead of that the taxes of the country confined them to miserable, unhealthy hovels, where the fresh air never penetrated; and when, in the course of time, they arrived at an age when they should be able to carry out their experience in surrounding themselves with small domestic comforts, they were fit only to be the inmates of a workhouse or an hospital. He wished most strongly to press that point of the dwellings of the poor of this country upon who felt disposed to oppose the reduction of the duty upon timber. What, too, was the effect of these duties on the agriculturists themselves? Every man knew that the expense attendant on the erection of buildings was an important item with the farmer. Who had tried American or home timber for this purpose, without finding that the whole of his labour and expense in the erection of buildings was thrown away, and that he was obliged at last to have recourse to Baltic timber, if he wished to have durable constructions? Consequently, the measure which the agriculturists were now opposing would, if passed, enable them to construct their buildings with a more durable material. What, he asked, would be the effect of the proposed measure on all classes, and among others, on the manufacturers? He would say, take the duty off entirely, and put them on a footing to compete with all the world. Give protection to nobody. What was protection but the giving to some individuals the right of taxing their neighbours? Every protectionist put his hand into his neighbour's pocket indirectly; doing that which, if an unfortunate man did in the streets, he would be taken to Bow-street, and transported to Botany Bay. No measure connected with commercial reform was of more importance than the entire repeal of the duties on timber; and he could only account for the right hon. Baronet not taking the duties all off at the present moment, by supposing that the right hon. Baronet, in making so great a change as he had done, taking all his measures together, wished to see what the effect of those might be. He was confident that before another year elapsed the right hon. Baronet would see the importance of the total repeal of the timber duties, not merely to one class, but to all classes. He (Mr. Hume) should give his vote in favour of the reduction proposed by the Government, on the ground that timber was a raw material, and required by almost every class; and because he believed that the proposed reduction would be particularly beneficial to the working classes. At the same time, he expressed his regret that it had not been proposed to repeal the duties entirely and immediately.


In rising, Sir, to support the Amendment which has this night been brought forward with so much honesty of purpose, with so much ability, and with so much perspicuity by my noble Friend the Member for East Gloucestershire (the Marquess of Worcester), I am sure I am but uttering the sentiments of hon. Members, when I say that none could have listened to the observations which fell from that noble Member, and not have felt convinced he has given promise, of eminence in future discussions of this House. I can assure the House that I should not have risen at a quarter past eleven the other night for the purpose of adjournment, had I not been of opinion that the subject of debate was of the most paramount importance. The question before the House appears to me to divide itself into three different heads. First, comes the question of revenue, and the relief of taxation to the people of this country. Secondly, the subject appears to resolve itself into a question how far we should maintain the system of protection to our Colonies, so long afforded them. And, thirdly, Sir, in discussing this question, we are bound to consider whether we shall, or shall not, continue to maintain a national maritime preponderance by the encouragement on that part of our trade, which gives employment to our native seamen. Many returns and statements of figures have been laid before the House by the Ministers of the Crown, and on other occasions by the Board of Trade; and I will commence my observations by endeavouring to show that no dependence can be placed on a superficial view of the figures emanating from the latter. A lamented and illustrious statesman, a relative of mine, made this observation—that the last thing to which he inclined to pay any attention—the last thing he felt inclined to consult—the last thing he felt inclined to believe, was a statement of figures made to this House. And this may truly be said, I think, of the figures produced by the Board of Trade. Now, to show how difficult it is to judge of the real condition of the commercial marine of this country by the statistics of the Board of Trade, it is only necessary to refer to the Tables of Revenue and Population, published by Mr. Porter in 1841, where it is stated that the number of registered steam vessels is 791, and the tonnage carried by them 95,795 tons. By another portion of a document emanating from the Board of Trade, it seems this country did not then possess 791 vessels of this class; but not less than 17,000, with a tonnage, not of 95,000 tons, but of 3,264,459 tons. Now, it appears to me the mode adopted of arriving at these larger numbers is by registering the voyage of every wretched miserable sloop that leaves the ports of the country; so that if each of these vessels made two voyages a month to Ostend, for instance, which would be twenty-four voyages for the year, each would enter into the account as twenty-four vessels. Therefore, this would be the effect—that an East India ship of 500 tons, making one voyage in the year out and home, and employing thirty seamen, would figure in these returns as 500 tons; while a wretched, paltry sloop, such as I have mentioned, carrying only 50 tons, and manned by two men and a boy, making her only voyage to Ostend or Antwerp, would represent 1,200 tons. Well, then, these figures—emanating from authority, mind—being so fallacious, how can we look at the returns of the Board of Trade and judge of the amount of our mercantile marine, or the extent of our foreign commerce? How are we to draw, or how can any man draw, correct conclusions from such documents? This small sloop of which I speak, its crew earning in wages 72l., would represent more tonnage than the East India vessel paying wages to the amount of 720l. By the same rate, an Ostend steamer of 100 tons, and manned with five men and a boy, making two trips per week, would cause a splendid display of 10,400 tons. And again, a sloop of fifty tons, would show more than a Chinaman of 1,200 tons, manned by a crew of seventy-two men, and earning 1,728l. per annum. I could add other illustrations to those already given, and might speak of the returns of trade in guano, in which it is stated there are 679 ships employed, the tonnage of which is 219,764 tons, the crews 11,434 men, and the amount of wages 205,812l. These vessels brought home cargoes valued at 1,668,000l. Now compare the Return of this trade with the Return of registered steam vessels, and then judge of the accuracy of these returns for comparison. Could any comparison he made with the guano trade, which is said to employ upwards of 11,000 seamen, and the return of registered steam vessels and their tonnage. I hope, Sir, I have shown to this House sufficient to convince it that we cannot rely upon the statements made upon the position of our foreign trade; and its Members must not be carried away by the statistical information issued by the Board of Trade. But having touched upon this subject, I will address a few observations to the House upon the matter of price. The hon. Member for Kendal (Mr. Warburton) has stated that the reduction of duty kept the Americans from obtaining an excessive price for the timber of that country. That is a point on which I will meet the Ministry. In the year 1842, when a reduction of taxation was proposed, it became me, in the exercise of my duty as the representative of a constituency connected with the shipping interest, to wait on the President of the Board of Trade, the Earl of Ripon, and state to him that the reduction of the duty on timber would have one of two effects, either that the natives on the shores of the Baltic would pocket the duty taken off their products, or that the Canadian trade would be injured to some extent. I think I can show to a demonstration that one of those results has happened. I will show by evidence which cannot be doubted, that the average price of timber from Quebec has been reduced, whilst the large amount of the duties taken off has gone into the pockets of the foreigner. I hold in my hand a list of the average prices of timber, which was furnished by Mr. Ranklin, of Liverpool, and sent to that gentleman by Messrs. Ranklin, of Elsinore. The firm which has furnished this information is of the highest character, and engaged in extensive trade; and therefore the statement given by these gentlemen may be relied on as correct by the House. Now, I find that the price of red pine in Canada in the years 1839 and 1840, was 9d. per foot. In 1841 it was 9½d. per foot. This makes an average of 9¼d. per foot. I omit the year 1842 from my statement, because the Ministry do not approve of looking at that period. I do not state the average of that year—the year 1842—because it seems that Ministers almost regard the commencement of the world as dating after that year. Ministers would almost seem to regard that period, as the era of the Revolution in France had been regarded by those engaged in it, and desire to date all future time from its commencement. The year 1842 is so highly regarded, that it would be nothing wonderful if we no longer dated so many years after the birth of Christ, but after the advent of the right hon. Baronet, Sir Robert Peel, to office. I shall, Sir, under these circumstances, leave out this year 1842. I shall apply myself to the three years before 1842, and the three years following that memorable era; and I find the average price of timber for the three years before 1842, was 9½d. per foot; and I further find, that the average price for three years following 1842, had fallen to 7¾d. per foot. This is sufficient to show that the reduction in the price of red pine coming from Quebec was 13½ per cent. I will also give the House the price of yellow pine, which I think the hon. Member for Kendal admitted had fallen in price after the duty had been lowered. I find the average of yellow pine before the duty was reduced was 4¾d. per foot, and which fell to 4¼d., making a reduction by the effect of differential duty of 10 per cent. A reduction, then, had taken place in Canada of 13½ per cent in the price of red pine, and of 10 per cent in yellow pine. Yet, if we refer to the statement of the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government, we should learn that by the reduction of duty prices would not fall but rise. I think, Sir, I have shown that those persons who represented the shipping interest in the year 1842 have not been so far out in their calculations as the right hon. Baronet would have the country believe. I have other returns than those I have given, but I think the House will be satisfied with those of Messrs. Ranklin on Canadian timber, which I have quoted, and may be relied upon. I will now refer to the price of Baltic timber; and I am extremely glad to say I shall quote an authority of great weight with this House. It is always pleasing to quote from the speeches of a Cabinet Minister, but I can now quote from the published writings of a Cabinet Minister, who, rather than contravene his opinions, thought proper to resign his seat. I quote from the pamphlet of Mr. Gladstone, published in 1845. The object of Mr. Gladstone in this pamphlet, was to show the great advantage the consumers would obtain by the reduction of the duties. He said, that up to the year 1845—the period at which the right hon. Gentleman wrote—the measure of the Government had not had fair play, and that the experience of another year would afford a better test of the advantages the consumer would derive from their operation. He referred to those predictions he made at the time those measures were passed, in respect of which we have been so much laughed at. The right hon. Gentleman says— When, however, it is remembered how peculiar was the course of the timber trade, and the mode of preparing deals for the British market under the former law, that we have only two years of the new system before us, and that timber does not come here until after the timber is cut, I think it is evident that another twelvemonth at least must elapse before we can fully appreciate the benefits of the alteration which has been made. As, however, it was confidently predicted by many persons that the consumer would not obtain the benefit of the great reduction of the duties on foreign timber, I have referred to trustworthy sources of information, and have obtained the following results. Mr. Gladstone then says, that it appears that the price of Dantzic or Memel timber in the London market, duty paid, was, in January, 1842, 5l. 12s. 6d. per load, and that, in January, 1845, when the duty was lower by 30s., the price varied from 4l. 7s. 6d. to 4l. 10s., and, consequently, the mean price was 4l. 8s. 9d.; the reduction to the consumer in 1845 being 1l. 3s. 9d., leaving the remaining 6s. 3d. to go into the pocket of the foreign producer. Now, Sir, I have taken the same month of January, in 1846, and I find that, at that period, the price of Dantzie or Memel timber per load, duty paid, in the London market, varied from 4l. 10s. to 5l.; mean price being 4l. 15s. The result is that the reduction to the consumer in January, 1846, out of the 30s. of reduced duty, is no more than 16s. 6d., the other 13s. 6d. going into the pocket of the foreign grower. And, Sir, I want to know, whether my hon. Friends around me call upon the Government to reduce the excise duty, of which the profits are divided between the consumers and the growers of the articles on which the duties are levied, they are not wiser than Her Majesty's Government, who seem to have adopted this principle, viz., that we should abandon all reduction of excise duties, and limit ourselves to reduction of customs duties, that is, of duties upon articles which came into competition with the industry and labour of our own people? But the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) is not contented with the prices in the London markets only, but goes further, and refers to those of the Liverpool market. He says that the price of Dantzic fir, common and middling, sold in Liverpool, was—

per foot.
In Jan. 1841 26½d. to 27d. mean 26¾d.
In Jan. 1842 24½d. to 25½d. mean 25d.
In Jan. 1845 19½d. to 21d. mean 20¼d.
showing a reduction in 1845, as compared with 1841, of 6½d. per foot, or 27s. 1d. per load; and a reduction in 1845, as compared with 1842, of 4¾d. per foot, or 19s. 10d. per load. But the result of this is, that the foreign producer, who, in 1845, as compared with 1841, put 2s. 11d. out of the reduced duty of 30s. in his own pocket, did, in 1845, as compared with 1842, put into his own pocket, no less than 10s. 2d. of the same 30s. But I have taken the liberty of carrying forward the calculations of the right hon. Gentleman, and I find that, in the month of January, 1846, the price of Dantzic fir, common or middling, sold in Liverpool, had risen to 23d. and 24d., the mean price being 23½d.; so that, if you compare the respective years 1841 and 1842 with 1846, the period by which, as the right hon. Gentleman has told you, you were to be enabled more fully to appreciate the results of this measure, you will find that the reduction to the consumer in 1846, as compared with 1841, has fallen to 3¼d. per foot, or 13s.d. per load, and that the reduction in 1846, as compared with 1842, has fallen to 5s.d. per load: the gain to the foreigner being 16s.d. in 1846 as compared with 1841, and, in 1846 as compared with 1842, no less than 24s.d. Now, Sir, I am aware that it may be said that the trade with the Canadas has, notwithstanding, greatly increased. It is perfectly true, that the trade has increased; but I apprehend that that increase has not arisen from any reduction of these duties, but that it is to be attributed to the great increase in railway speculation, and the consequent demand for timber for railway sleepers and buildings. ["Hear!"] Do those Gentlemen who cry "hear" think, let me ask them, that any one of those railways which have been constructed, would not have been constructed if these duties had not been altered? I am myself a holder of railway shares; and I must confess that I never remember it to have been a matter of question whether a railway should be constructed or not, or whether wooden sleepers instead of stone should be adopted, in consequence of Her Majesty's Government having altered the timber duties, and that wood could be got 5s. 2d. a load cheaper. I do not at the moment see my hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland (Mr. Hudson) in his place, or I would venture to appeal to him whether one foot the less of timber would have been bought for railway purposes, if the duties had remained the same as they originally were. I know well what his answer would be; and, if so, it must be clear to this House—so far at least as increased consumption is concerned in respect of timber—that the reduction of the duties has been an unmitigated loss to the consumer; and that, but for this increased railway speculation, the Canadas would have suffered, much both as regards the price of their timber, and the increase of their exports. But the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury, on a former occasion, appealed to the trade of Liverpool, and drew a comparison of the tonnage employed in 1845, as compared with his favourite year of 1842. I think my right hon. Friend said that 222,000 tons entered inwards in 1845, and 180,000 in 1842. But, that the House may see how unfair my right hon. Friend is in making quotations, I will read a statement from a circular of Messrs. Dempsey, Frost, and Co., dated Feb. 22, 1846. I think that my hon. Friends around me may have good reason to complain that the information which I moved for some six or seven weeks since has been kept back so long. I refer to a Return, for which I have moved, of the timber-laden ships entered inwards for the last seven years. And I may take this opportunity of saying that it was only this morning we got a Return, which had been for some time moved for, of the guano-laden vessels which have entered inwards, whilst, if the right hon. Gentleman moves for a Return, it is presented the next day. But the right hon. Gentleman spoke, on a former occasion, of the great increase of the trade of late. But why was that? Why, the revolution, I may almost term it, which he himself produced in the commerce of the country in 1842, threw the trade into complete confusion. I find that the tonnage employed in the British American trade in 1842, was 165 ships and 91,179 tonnage; but, if I look to the year before, I find that, instead of 165 ships and 91,179 tonnage, the ships were 318, and the tonnage 174,948. The right hon. Gentleman never condescends to look back to the time when the Whigs were in office. But, looking back all the way to the year 1831, I find no two single years in which the amount of tonnage employed in the British American trade was so low as that which the right hon. Gentleman takes as his criterion. I will take the average of three years since the alteration of the timber duties, and compare the results of the North American trade with the same during earlier triennial periods, and then contrast it with the results of the Baltic trade. I find that the average increase on the last period of three years, as compared with the three years previous to 1842, is 36 per cent of tonnage in the North American trade; but comparing the three years of 1839, 1840, and 1841, with 1831, 1832, and 1833, I find the increase was 66 per cent; so that it appears that the Canada trade was progressing before the alteration in the reduction of the duty; and that it has not progressed since, notwithstanding the demand caused by the increase of railway speculation. In contrasting the Canada with the Baltic trade, I find that the average importation of the three years 1831, 1832, and 1833, by timber-laden ships, was 21,164 tons. In the triennial period immediately before the reduction of the differential duties, the average tonnage laden with Baltic timber fell from that amount to an average of 14,442, so that whilst under the old duties the Baltic importation fell one-third, the importation from Canada, under the differential duties, increased by 66 per cent. I think, then, Sir, I have shown good cause why our Canadian Colonies have reason to be alarmed at this alteration, and, Sir, I much fear they are alarmed already. The Canadian mail arrived but two days since; and what is the intelligence she has brought? Why, Sir, that the greatest dissatisfaction prevails in the Canadas, and that they are already discussing the question whether it is not better that they should be annexed to the United States of America. The hon. and learned Member for Liskeard shakes his head; but this, I assure him, is the information which has come to this country. They say— We admit your cotton manufactures, we admit your woollen manufactures, at 7½ per cent duty, whilst we place 15 per cent upon those of the United States; and if you are about to withdraw from us protection—you, who only two years ago, gave to us the boon of the Canada Corn Bill—if you are going to deprive us, as you deprive the farmers of England, of protection, and to extend the principle you now apply to timber, to corn as well, we had better by half join the United States. But I will read a passage from the leading article of the Montreal Gazette of the 25th of February last; and, perhaps, I ought more properly to have observed, it was in Canada West that the feeling to which I have referred principally prevails. The article to which I allude says:— When Lord John Russell, now some fifteen years ago, came down with a proposition for demolishing the pocket boroughs, an hon. Legislator"—[I well remember the occurrence, for I sat by the side of my old friend Mr. John Smith; for he it was at the time]—"an hon. Legislator said, that the temerity of the proposal 'fairly took his breath away.' The boldness of the financial scheme of Sir Robert Peel, striking at once at provisions, corn, and timber, at every branch of trade in this Colony, on the protection of which the producers had relied, has had something of a similar effect here. The majority yet remain in breathless astonishment, mingled with no little consternation and alarm, and not the less so that we are so remote from the scene of action, that in all probability the deed will be consummated before our remonstrances can be heard. We have at present, however, little time or space at our disposal to speculate on the consequences of the apparently inevitable carrying of the Primier's measure; and we only wish to convey to our English readers what appears to be the impression of the best informed persons in this quarter. Will the free traders now—will the hon. Gentlemen opposite now—taunt us with unnecessary delay? Thank God, we have delayed this measure till the "remonstrances" of our Canadian Colonies have been heard; and, but for the assistance of the patriotic band around me, the measure would have been carried there without it. The Colonies have now, however, been heard; and I trust that this House will pause before it passes hurriedly through it a measure which has created such consternation and alarm in our Canadian possessions. Surely, Sir, this is not the time—when America is arming her seaboard, and when Mr. Quincy Adams impiously and blasphemously calls to his aid the Word of God as a justification for lighting up the firebrand, and unleashing the hell-dogs of war; surely this is not a very happy moment for Her Majesty's Government to shake, by their Tariff and Customs Act, the fidelity and attachment of our Canadian fellow subjects. There is a little cloud in the west, which may grow blacker still, and, perhaps, break upon us, if such measures as these are adopted in regard to our Canadian Colonies. Sir, I am as anxious as any man that peace should be maintained with honour. I think this country can well afford to repose upon her laurels, and not to enter again upon the contests of war. I must say that I do not think that the way to obtain peace is by a dishonourable sacrifice of our colonial, or of our domestic, industry. I am as willing as any man can be, that, if any doubt arises as to our rights, they should be referred to any umpire—I care not whom—and, rather than we should wrongfully take anything where a doubt may exist as to our right to take it, willingly will I concede it to the American States. But if it comes to this, that the Bible is to be quoted as the foundation for America's title to the Oregon territory, I trust that we shall not go sneaking to America with an offer of free trade in corn, of the birthright of British farmers, and of the carrying trade of British shipping. If, Sir, all hon. means shall have been used in vain, I shall meekly and humbly appeal, in confidence, to the All-powerful God of battle, and not address America in the language of purchase, but the thundering broadsides of line-of-battle ships. Firm in the justice of our cause, when the last resources of peace are gone, then, with the assistance of an All-just Providence, fearing no human enemy, we will send those British seamen, whom, by such measures as this of to-night you are going to destroy—we will send those British sailors to visit the seaboard of America, and to speak to her in terms that cannot be misunderstood. The Member for East Gloucestershire has accurately stated the number of seamen employed in the Baltic trade, and the small proportion of them that are English compared with the number of those who are Russians, Norwegians, and Prussians. In 1844, as compared with 1841, it appears that the number of seamen in the foreign trade, engaged in the carrying of Baltic timber, had increased to upwards of 11,000, whilst yours had only increased to between 1,100 or 1,200. It is a question whether, under our laws, we can keep pace with the efforts of foreign seamen; and if I show what I contend I have shown, it proves that your present regulations are not such as will conduce to the continued maintenance of your pre-eminence on the seas. But the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury seemed altogether to limit his view to the trade with Great Britain, and says to us, "See what you have done, on a comparison between yourselves and the whole world." But that I may show how little there was in his observations, I will turn the table upon him, and show how the trade of Denmark stands. I will first refer to Prussia. Here is a proof of the advantages of free trade. You altered your navigation laws in the year 1825 or in 1826, I do not now remember which, and what has been the consequence? I will read you a statement respecting the shipping trade with Prussia for eleven years. I find in 1828 the carrying trade of Prussia was sustained by 468 vessels belonging to Great Britain, and by 224 belonging to Prussia; in 1829, by 465 British and 254 Prussian; in 1830, by 332 British and 213 Prussian; in 1831, by 285 British and 213 Prussian; in 1832, by 238 British and 331 Prussian; in 1833, by 199 British and 373 Prussian; in 1834, by 131 British and 376 Prussian; in 1835, by 82 British and 387 Prussian; and in 1836, by 149 British and 439 Prussian. Now, how is it I find that in eleven years after 1826, namely, in 1837, that instead of the trade being carried on by 468 British ships and 224 Prussian ships, it was carried on by 201 British ships and 411 Prussian? How is it, I ask that in the eleven years following 1826, the 468 British had fallen to 201, while the Prussian vessels had risen in number to 411? The return I have just read, shows that the ships of Great Britain fell off one-half, while those of Prussia had augmented to nearly double. With such a fact self-evident, I should like to know how you are to keep the balance of your power, as far as Prussia is concerned. Now, in respect to Denmark, I shall briefly glance at the state of our shipping trade, as compared with that country: well, I find, by reference to Mr. Macgregor, that in the year 1838, there passed—
British ships. Danish Ships.
The large Belt 7 2,068
Sleswick, Holstein Canal 11 1,318
Copenhagan 108 4,068
Aalborg nil 22 Coal ships & a few cargoes of salt & iron.
126 7,476
This shows, in the carrying trade with Denmark, the proportion of British vessels engaged was, in 1838, 177 to 1,476. In 1844, I find that the number of Danish ships entering the ports of Great Britain was 1,667, the tonnage 123,674, and the crews 8,120; while the number of British ships from Denmark to Great Britain was only 59, the tonnage 7,423, and the crews 444. I will next take the revenue returns of the right hon. Gentleman himself (Sir Robert Peel), and what do I find the result to be? The returns are certainly jumbled together in such a way that it is difficult to collect direct proof, in order to ascertain the question we have to decide. The question I understand to be this: How has our foreign trade prospered under those alterations? Our colonial trade is a protected trade, and under that system has flourished; but in those returns to which I have alluded, the colonial trade is brought to the help of the foreign, and hence we find a difficulty in arriving at a correct result. As it is, I find, by the return of the registrar of shipping, an authority than which there can be none better, because there can be no deception it, that in the year 1820 the tonnage amounted to 2,648,593 tons; that in 1844 it had risen to 3,637,231 tons; thus showing an increase of 988,636 tons, or, in other words, an increase of 37 per cent. But in the mean time your population had increased at the rate of 39 per cent, so while the population of Great Britain increased 39 per cent, the number of registered ships increased only 37 per cent. I want, therefore, to know, Sir, whether there is any just reason to boast of the prosperity of our shipping interest, when it is proved, beyond all matter of doubt, that it has not kept pace with the population? Let us now see how it fared with foreign. Did it increase 37 per cent? I find that in 1820 the tonnage of foreign vessels entered in British ports amounted to 561,047 tons, and that in 1832 it had increased to 1,353,745 tons. Thus, while our registered tonnage increased 37 per cent, the foreign increased 141 per cent. This may be a question to try our strength with the United States. I find in the period from 1820 to 1844 the registered tonnage of the United States increased from 1,280,150 to 2,280,095 tons, showing an increase of 77 per cent. During the same period, let us look at what has been the progress of our importation in the articles which form the principal cargoes of the foreign trade of this country. I find that, in the commodity of cotton, from 1820 to 1844, the increase of importation has been 344 per cent, and in timber 77 per cent. Thus, you will perceive that with the increase of the two bulkiest articles the increase of registered tonnage has been but 37 per cent. The right hon. Gentleman (Sir R. Peel) has taken the year 1842, and I will take the same period. I find it has been stated, in the first place, how much foreign trade has increased since 1842. I find the foreign trade, as compared with 1842, has increased from 2,734,983 to 2,947,157, showing an increase in tonnage of 212,274 tons. I have already shown you that in the Baltic trade alone the number of foreign seamen within the last year increased 11,000, no doubt many of them performing more than one voyage, some perhaps two or three. How is it in the case of British seamen? They have increased in number in the same period from 214,609 to 216,350, being an increase of 1,741; therefore not in the foreign trade alone but in the entire number of seamen employed, the increase has been but 1,741. I find on looking at the trade of America that on going back to the year 1769, when the United States were still British Colonies and dependencies of the British Crown, and when the population was but two millions, that the number of ships engaged in that trade was 1,078, and the number of British seamen 28,900. At the present day, after a lapse of seventy-seven years, the number of seamen engaged in trade with the United States does not exceed 20,000, while the population of the States has increased from 2,000,000 to 20,000,000. This shows the nature of your Colonies, and yet, without even consulting them, or without waiting to hear the opinion of the Canadas upon a subject so vitally important to their staple trade, you are trying to force a measure which they confess has filled them with alarm and consternation. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Kendal (Mr. Warburton), has made some reference to the expedition to Copenhagen, and has stated what he terms "a fact," but which I think is only a political metaphor—namely, that it was a matter of notoriety that at the end of the war scarcely a Norwegian captain was without a medal or decoration attesting his bravery in the service of this country. This is the first time that I have ever heard of such rewards. A right hon. and learned, and I may say a gallant Friend of mine partook in the glories of that day, when he found a Nelson and a Wellington vying with each other to shed the greatest lustre upon the annals of those glorious victories, and contending to maintain inviolate the independence of their native land. Yes, Sir, my hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General (Sir F. Thesiger), I believe partook in the glory of those splendid naval achievements, the battle of Copenhagen; he has been ever ready to serve his country in the hour of danger, for when England was struggling with the united armies of America, and almost the entire of Europe, he served beneath her colours, and, when peace was restored, turned his great abilities with no less success to other more pacific pursuits. Yet, Sir, although my hon. and learned Friend was engaged in the battle of Copenhagen, I have never seen any decoration of merit appended from his button-hole. If medals were distributed, as the hon. Member for Kendal assures us they were, my right hon. Friend has not been dealt fairly by, for he can boast of no such distinguished trophy. [Several hon. MEMBERS: Divide, divide! Question!] Hon. Gentlemen do not like to hear this discussion. I am aware hon. Gentlemen would wish to bring this portion of the debate to as rapid a conclusion as possible; but I think it is a question upon which we who seek to maintain the maritime strength of England, and who wish to retain the affection and allegiance of our Canadian Colonies, are entitled to have a fair and attentive hearing. I do not wish the House to form any erroneous opinions upon this subject. Let us remember that as the Danes were once ready to enlist under the tri-coloured banner of France against us, it is not probable they will readily forgive or forget the injury we inflicted on them as a retaliation. I think, recollecting as we do the sentiments that prevail among a portion of the French people, we ought not to be in too great a hurry to pass any measure that may tend to revive irritated feelings, or weaken our defensive power. Sir, what we have seen before we may see again. Hon. Gentlemen have derided the flag of protection and those who are prepared to support it. I for one am not ashamed to hoist the flag of protection. [Calls of "Divide!"] Let those who cry so loudly "divide, divide," get up and answer me and refute my statements if they can. I have defied them before, and I defy them now to meet me on any of my statements, or to contradict any of my allegations. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Lambeth knows I am not afraid to submit my figures to investigation, and I defy him to answer the statements I have made. I am not ashamed, and I never shall be, to hoist the flag of protection. Do the gentlemen of England remember the past seasons of deficient harvests? Do they remember the twenty years' war? Do they remember that struggle, without a parallel in the history of the world, when every country of Europe was desolated by military invasion and all the concomitant horrors of warfare—when Prussia and Russia were laid waste—when the noble and patriotic Russians were obliged, rather than permit their capital of Moscow to fall into the hands of the French, to reduce it to ashes? Do the "gentlemen of England who sit at home at ease," remember that their property, nay more, that their lives, and the lives of all they hold dear, are dependent upon the courage of those British seamen—the defenders of Old England's wooden walls? If hon. Gentlemen who so impatiently call for a division, wish it, they may enlist under the Norwegian banner, with its white ground and crimson cross, or under the flag of America, resplendent with its thirteen stars; but I am assured my hon. Friends who surround me will enlist with me under the old weather-beaten union jack of England— The flag that braved a thousand years The battle and the breeze.


said, it was not his intention to trespass long upon the patience of the House; neither would he, in the few observations he had to make, travel far from the question, but, on the contrary, strictly confine himself to the proposition before the House. If he might be permitted, he would be glad to state, that the question now under consideration was, whether upon any article not a primary necessary of life, but conducive, in a great measure, to the health and comfort of all classes of the community, they ought to reduce a duty amounting to 35 per cent—not to take it away, but to retain a protective duty upon an article of an inferior description, which they could obtain from their own Colonies. The noble Lord who had last addressed the House, objected to the reduction of duty upon three grounds, viz., loss to the revenue, injury to our colonial dependencies, and the necessity that existed for maintaining our supremacy at sea. The hon. Member for Oxfordshire (Mr. Henley) had also objected to the change, on the ground that a certain amount of revenue would be unnecessarily thrown away by reducing the duty from 25s. to 15s. But if that statement were correct, what would become of the allegation that we should be inundated with foreign timber under the proposed alteration? The fact was, that an additional importation of about 200,000 loads of timber, would make up for the loss to the revenue which the diminution of the duty would occasion. He believed that, under the measure then before the House, a larger quantity of timber than heretofore would be introduced into this country; because the Canadian timber and the Baltic timber were of totally different qualities, and were used for totally different purposes. Nothing but the great difference in the prices could have induced the people of this country to have used Canadian yellow pine for purposes to which the Baltic timber was peculiarly applicable. Complaints had invariably been made, that reductions of timber duties would be destructive to the shipping interest of this country, and ruinous to the Canadian trade. Those predictions had been made in the year 1821, when it had been proposed to reduce the protecting duty on Canadian timber from 65s. to 45s.; and again in the year 1842, when it had been proposed to reduce the protecting duty from 45s. to 25s., similar predictions had been uttered. Upon that occasion, hon. Members who resisted the withdrawal of a portion of the protective duty, stated that the measure would be productive of the worst possible consequences—that the Canadian trade would be ruined, and the interests of a valuable dependency seriously affected. Now, the duty of 45s. remained untouched until the year 1842, when it was reduced to 25s., and then they were told they were going beyond the line of prudence, because 30s. ought to be the lowest amount of protection retained, for otherwise a reduction to 25s. would annihilate the Canada trade. Had those predictions been verified; and what had been the result of reducing the duty on Baltic timber? Owing to the change which has taken place in the mode of charging the duty on timber, in 1842, it was impossible to make any very accurate comparison of the quantities imported; but some approximation to it would be attained by comparing the revenue received in 1841 with that of the year 1845. In the year 1841, before the reduction of the duty, the duty on Canadian timber was 10s. per load; and it produced a revenue of 450,000l. It was quite clear that if they had made a reduction from 10s. to 1s., if the quantity of timber had remained the same, the amount of revenue would have been 45,000l. In 1843, the actual duty received on Canadian timber amounted to 68,760l.; in 1844, to 71,069l.; and in 1845, to 94,862l.; showing that, during those three years, instead of the quantity of timber falling off, the revenue derived from Canadian timber had increased 120 per cent. There had been a reduction made from 35s. to 25s. per load on the Baltic timber, and the duty received in the year 1841 amounted to upwards of one million. In 1843, it fell to 575,000l.; while in 1844, it rose to 82,000l.; and in 1845, to 947,000l.; showing an increase, but not to the same extent as had taken place in respect to timber from Canada. Under those circumstances, he considered that, from the practical experience of past years, there was not any fair reason for expecting the disastrous consequences which some hon. Gentlemen seemed to apprehend. When the subject was under the consideration of a Committee of the House of Lords in 1821, what had been the proposition of that hon. House? Why, they considered It was impossible any longer to maintain the extravagant rate of protection, and recommended a reduction equivalent to the difference of freight between Baltic and Canadian timber. The noble Lord (Lord G. Bentinck) had said, "I object to your policy, because the consumer will have not any benefit." If he could show, from returns relating to Canadian and Baltic timber, that, notwithstanding the greatly increased supply, the demand was so great that prices had been kept up, he would ask what would have been the effect upon railway speculations, and other pursuits of a mercantile character to which timber was generally applied, if the duty had not been previously reduced. Baltic timber never had been used in the construction of railways until the last year, because the high protective duty excluded it; but it had been used within the last twelve months, because timber of a cheaper description could not be procured for "sleepers." The noble Lord had also said the effect of the measure would be to lower the price to the producer, and that he had invoices to show that the price in Canada had fallen 2d. a foot, while no reduction had been made to the consumer in this country. When the hon. Member said that freights had fallen from 30s. to 27s., he should not suppose that the difference went into the pockets of the producer of timber in Norway and Denmark. On the contrary, the purchaser in this country reaped the advantage of that reduction. The noble Lord had stated, that in consequence of the Tariff of 1842, the shipping of this country had not increased in the same proportion as that of Norway and Denmark. But the paltry increase that had taken place in the small coasting vessels of those countries was not worthy of being taken into calculation; nor could it be expected that in a trade amounting to 3,600,000 tonnage (independently of our foreign trade and the trade with Ireland), the addition, though considerable, would be as great in proportion as that of a country whose vessels were 1,000 or 2,000 at the most. The noble Lord complained that certain returns for which he had moved were not laid on the Table; but this did not arise from any disposition on the part of the Government to keep back information, but because at this period of the year it was impossible to make up returns showing the several countries from which ships came, and the amount of their tonnage respectively. Two returns had been made. One showed that the number of ships had, during the last twenty years, increased from 25,000 to upwards of 31,000. But as ships were merely the machines in which trade was carried, it would be no information to show the increase in the number of ships, without showing how they were employed. The other return, therefore, showed the extent to which these ships have been employed, by stating the number of vessels and tonnage entered inwards and outwards for a series of years. The noble Lord said, that our population had increased from 1820 to 1840 in a much greater ratio than the shipping, and that was a proof that our commerce had been falling off. But during that period such great improvements had been made in our naval architecture, that one ship now did three times the work of any of the tubs of former years. Whatever might have been the increase in the number of ships, it was quite certain that the trade of this country had rapidly progressed. The noble Lord said, the proportion of vessels coming into this country from Denmark and Norway was larger than that of ships of any other country. And why? Mr. Chapman, a very large shipowner of Liverpool, explained the reason. He was asked, "Can you account for the great preponderance of foreign ships engaged in the Baltic trade?" He answered, that there were many other trades much more profitable. The shipping interest, therefore, abandoned a great portion of that trade, that their vessels might be more profitably employed in other voyages. The exports from Denmark and Norway were bulky articles of little intrinsic value, and our shipowners did not think that they could be sufficiently remunerated in continuing in the trade. But it had been stated, that the shipowners of this country could not compete with the foreign shipowner, because he manages his ship at so much less expense. Now, what had been done by the Government already had tended greatly to diminish the expense and inconvenience to which the British shipowner was subjected. Mr. George Frederick Young, one of those who signed the petition of the shipowners, was asked what was the effect of the diminution produced by the Tariff of 1842 in the duty on the raw materials of shipbuilding; and he stated that the reduction of the duty on timber took 1l. per ton off the expenses of shipbuilding in London—in the port of London the expense is 16l. to 18l. per ton—and that at Sunderland, where a ship formerly cost 12l. per ton, it can be now built for 10l. per ton. That showed a reduction of one-sixth, or of 17 per cent on the cost. Mr. Chapman having been asked how far the British shipowner could compete with the foreigner, said— If the restrictions on the British shipowners were removed—if, for instance, we had formerly our timber and provisions on the same terms that we now have them, the foreigner would never have made the advances in shipping which he has done. If we were only but on an equality with foreigners with respect to the raw materials, I think we could cope with the ships of any nation, though we pay double the taxation. And he went on to state— I think we can work our ships 30 per cent cheaper since the Tariff. We can now better afford to go to Quebec for a consignment of timber at 30s. a load, than we could at 38s. or 39s. before the Tariff. But other measures had been introduced, which would afford the greatest possible relief to the shipowners. The duty on hemp and other articles used in shipbuilding had been repealed during the last year. The hon. Member stated, that every shipowner in this country had been in a flourishing state up to the year 1840; but, that for the next three years they were in a state of great depression. It would certainly be a matter of great surprise if during those years, when every interest in this country was in the greatest state of distress, that the shipping interest should altogether escape. But foreign competition was alleged as the reason. That was not the cause. It arose from the shipowners having in 1838 and 1839 overdone the trade, so that the increase of tonnage amounted to 300,000 or 400,000. He wished to call the attention of the House to a comparison between our own shipping and that of the greatest commercial navy in the world next to our own—he alluded to the United States. In the year 1845, the tonnage of British ships, independent of those engaged in the foreign trade and the trade with Ireland amounted to 3,669,000. The tonnage belonging to the United States, entered into this country in the last year, was only 448,000. When he looked to what was the state of trade in the ports of the United States, he found that in 1828 the British tonnage entered there amounted to 98,000 tons; and in that year the American tonnage amounted to 868,000, being almost nine times the amount of the British tonnage. Now, what was the proportion of the tonnage in 1844? In that year the American tonnage was 1,977,000, whereas the British tonnage entering the American ports had increased from 98,000 tons to 776,000 tons, being an increase of nearly ninefold. There was, therefore, no reason whatever for apprehending that either the number of our ships or the efficiency of our commercial marine had been at all injured by the measures that had been adopted either in 1842 or in 1824. These details might appear to many Gentlemen to be uninteresting; but he hoped he might be excused for stating such arguments as would assist the House in forming a judgment on the question before it. It had been stated, that in 1824 the Parliament had erred, and that now the Government were taking another step in a wrong direction, and going to do that which would be highly mischievous to our trade. His object was to show that the measures taken in 1824, and by his right hon. Friend in 1842, were, so far from being prejudicial, of the greatest advantage to the trade and commerce of the country. The returns before the House showed that trade had regularly progressed and flourished in consequence of those measures. One of those returns gave the amount of the foreign trade of the port of London in 1836—the first year in which the return was made, but a year of great excitement and speculation, and, therefore, one which might fairly be adduced as a specimen—the British tonnage entering the port of London in that year was 772,000 tons, and the foreign tonnage amounted to 255,000 tons, being in the proportion of one to three. In 1844 the British tonnage had increased to 1,800,000 tons, and the foreign 383,000 tons. The same thing would appear if they went to the port of Liverpool. The year 1845, which the noble Lord complained, had been the only year quoted by his right hon. Friend (Sir Robert Peel), exhibited an increase not above the year 1842 only, but above any of the most prosperous years ever known in the port of Liverpool. The number of vessels which entered the port of Liverpool from Canada, laden with Canadian timber in 1839 was 339, their tonnage being 170,000. This was the largest amount of ships entered during the existence of the high duties on foreign timber. He would take the two years since the reduction of the duty. In 1844, the number of ships entering the port of Liverpool from Canada with timber was 369, and the tonnage was 189,000 tons; in 1845, the number of ships was 453, and the amount of tonnage 239,000, being one third more than in the year 1839. He thought these facts completely made out this proposition, that since the reduction of the duty in 1842, the importation of Canadian timber into this country had increased in proportion to the increased quantity of timber brought from the Baltic; and it further proved the soundness of the policy of reducing the duty on the importation of this important article, and that that reduction had not been brought about in a rash manner, or in any way that could injure the interests of our Canadian Colonies, but that we had still preserved a discriminating duty in favour of Canadian timber of upwards of 20 per cent. The timber trade of the Colonies, therefore, would receive no injury, and a great benefit would be obtained by the consumer. The amount of British tonnage had increased as well as the number of ships year by year since the changes in 1842, by which, on the evidence of the shipowners themselves, it was shown that they were able to navigate their ships 30 per cent cheaper than before. With the statement of these facts, he should leave the decision of the question in the hands of the House.


Sir, I think I may ask the indulgence of the House while I make a few remarks on this question; inasmuch as I believe I am almost the only Member that has not taken part in this free-trade debate. I felt myself so incompetent to deal with these commercial and financial questions, that I thought I might leave them in better hands; but from what I have heard of the debate, and from what I have read in the reports, I think I understood them quite as well as some others. From the circumstances in which I am placed in relation to Canada, and the great interest I have always taken in colonial questions, I am induced to trouble the House with a few remarks upon the bearings of this question on colonial policy—the rest of it, I think, has been triumphantly disposed of. Before, however, I enter upon the discussion of the manner in which the noble Lord has treated this question as regards colonial policy, I will say just five words upon the mode in which he has dealt with it as bearing upon foreign policy. When the noble Lord unfurled the union-jack of the protection party, he might have recollected the altered position in which he now stands, as the leader of a great, and, as he says, a patriotic party, and have assumed some of the gravity and prudence which ought to belong to the leader of a great party. I much more admire the tone, as regards our foreign policy, which has been adopted by the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government, and the noble Lord with whom I usually act; and, however the noble Lord (Lord G. Bentinck) may disprove of the course they have taken, I think it would have been far wiser, instead of attacking the American Senate and the Royal Family of France, to have followed the example of the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government, who, on this subject, generally maintains a dignified silence, but who, when compelled to say anything, always uses the language of dignified courtesy; and who, in order to prevent war, has laid the foundations of peace by an extension of our commercial relations with those countries. I say it is far wiser so to act, than to get up bandying bombast with the braggarts of the American Congress; and almost justifying the vagaries of Mr. Adams, by adopting a tone of congenial bluster. I did venture, by a cheer and a shake of the head, to express my dissent, when the noble Lord said that the policy of the Government is causing, in the Canadas, the discussion of the propriety of throwing off their allegiance to this country, and annexing themselves to the United States. They! Whom does the word "they" mean? What are the organs of public opinion from which these facts are derived? When the noble Lord says that nothing is talked of but this annexation—[Lord G. BENTINCK: In Canada West]—I am coming to that. I suppose it was my cheer which induced the noble Lord to produce his authority, and he read an extract from a Montreal paper, which in the most violent language talked of throwing off the allegiance of Canada to this country. It happens that by the same post I have received a copy of the Montreal Post, which is a decided opponent of the Government; and how is the indignation of all Canada vented in that journal? Why, it is stated that the subject is so important that they must take a week to think it over. The noble Lord does not know so much of Canada and the Canadian press as I do. I believe in the last twenty years there has been no occasion on which the Government has bestowed on office on a member of any party, but the organs of the opposite party cried out that this was the proper time to throw off allegiance to this country; but this sort of bluster always ended in nothing, as I believe it will now: and those who have used this violent language, when a call is made upon their patriotism, will rally round the Government in the defence of their country. I think the right hon. Baronet and the Government, since he has been in office, have taken the best security against defection by binding Canada to this country by ties of common interest and affection; by sending out such men as Sir Charles Bagot and Lord Metcalfe to govern; and by carrying out this course of policy all dissensions have been allayed, and civil war has been changed into mere squabbles of party; and more has been done than could have been effected by all the monopolies of a restrictive system. The noble Lord says that great indignation is felt at these measures in Canada West: why, that is the stupidest thing I ever heard, for Canada West has an uncommonly small interest in the question—it is a question of geography. [Lord G. BENTINCK: Corn.] I am coming to corn presently. Where does the timber come from? Why it comes entirely from Canada East. With the exception of the right bank of the Ottawa River, the province of Canada West has no interest in the timber trade. In a despatch from Lord Sydenham, dated at Kingston, in Canada West, he says, "as for the timber trade, there is not a soul west of this town who has any interest in it." Where are the indications of the interest of Canada in this monopoly? When the former changes were in progress, I admit petitions against them were sent over; but was there any address from the Parliament of Canada West, praying that this interest might be kept up? But the Parliament of Canada East passed a resolution stating that they were ready to give up the monopoly of timber, if Great Britain would give them free trade in corn. Why did they take this tone? Was it out of spite to any other portion of the community? No: it was because every man of sense in the country was of opinion that nothing ever did them worse service than protection. In the first place, the shipping trade of Canada was a scandal to that trade. Old and worn-out vessels were sent out imperfectly manned, and with a most disorderly set of seamen; and there were more shipwrecks in that portion of the trade than in all the rest of it. What was the effect produced in Canada? Did the merchants make large fortunes? There never were so many bankruptcies in New Brunswick and Lower Canada as in the timber trade; and that is the consequence of the trade having always been in a state of uncertainty. Do you suppose that the merchants of Canada will complain of the removal of this protection? I will venture to say there is not, at the present moment, a single trade in that country which they can engage in, in which there is a smaller number of opulent merchants than in the timber trade. Well, when did this protection do good to the people or to the landowners? Why, the landowners of Lower Canada have passed resolutions against the monopoly. Did it do good to the timber trade itself? You have sought, by this monopoly, to give that trade such an advantage in this market, that like all other protected trades, those who were engaged in it have retired upon the protection, and not upon their own industry. They have, consequently, lowered the character of Canada timber to such a degree, that at the present moment Canadian timber does not maintain that station in the European market which it ought to have had, if the timber merchant had used common caution and prudence and good sense, and sent only good timber to the English market. But the fact is this, that your protection has given them such a monopoly in the home market, that they have sent here all their abominable bad timber, which many people find the effects of when they lie in bed; and they have sent all their good timber into the United States. Now, has the protection been a good thing for the population of Canada? Why, it is in evidence before all the Commissions, that one-half of the workmen there are Americans, who are induced to go over by high wages; that they are a set of lawless, dissolute persons, getting enormous wages during the season, when their services were in request, and spending those wages in drinking and debauchery during other periods. But what has been the effect of this protection upon the industry of Canada, the great industry of Canada—that is, the agricultural interest—that interest which, if protection must be given, the Legislature ought to encourage? What has been the effect upon that interest of the timber monopoly? It gave an unnatural stimulus to employment in that trade. The consequence was it drew off all the best hands from agriculture, and the real and great staple industry of the country languished, because of this absurd monopoly, by which we endeavoured to cocker up the timber trade. I ask the House whether this has not been the case? and if so, was it wise of the Imperial Legislature to endeavour to foster this trade by artificial means? I do not approve of such artificial means in any instance; but I say, never did the Legislature act so unwisely as by attempting to establish an industry of this kind, which, from its nature, depended on an article whose production proved year by year more scanty, an industry in its nature precarious, and one which has prevented proper attention being paid to the national staple interests of the country. Now I know there is a notion among some Gentlemen who advocate this protection—it is one of those ignorant notions which prevail in this country very extensively with reference to that Colony—though it is a very natural one, and one that I found to exist elsewhere—a notion that this was a sort of natural protection to the Canadian agriculturist, because his first operation in that country is to fell trees; and it is assumed that by giving him this artificial price for his timber, you the better enable him to get over the first expense of settling. Nothing could be more erroneous than this. If this protection ever did lead a Canadian to settle and clear land, it must have led him to make choice of the very worst soil for agricultural operations, because it is a matter of notoriety that wherever soft wood grows, that is the worst soil. But the truth is that you do not give even this benefit to the cultivator of the soil. All your protection does, is to give an increased price for the timber; and what is the effect? The timber-man comes in, selects one or two trees that are fit for his purpose, carries them away and leaves the rest standing, to encumber the agriculturist as much as before. That is the real truth of the case. Then, I say that this is a trade which ought not on any account to have been considered by this country as one of such an advantageous and permanent nature, that we should make any sacrifice in order to foster it. But I must also say, that feeling this, I also feel perfectly sure that from the time that the right hon. Baronet has chosen to make this experiment, there never would have been a period adopted in which the change might be made with greater safety; because, from natural causes, there is an immense impetus given to this trade at the present moment. It wants not your protection; it needs no aid from monopoly at the present moment. The demand for timber on the continent of Europe, for the railways now in progress, is such as to enable the Canadian to sell his timber without any monopoly at all. What is more—and I wish Gentlemen to attend to this fact—there is a great and permanent change taking place in the market for Canada timber; the demand for it in the United States is such that, while Canada timber lasts, it will find a much better market in the United States than at home. In the last two or three years, all the soft wood in the northern parts of the United States has been exhausted; the people in the Northern States of the Union must now go to Canada for their deals and other soft wood; and the consequence is, that nature herself has produced, without the aid of any artificial monopoly, a market in which Canada must have the monopoly—a great, and natural, and permanent market. And I say it is the greatest of all absurdities to prevent the people of England from getting cheap timber from the Baltic, in order to bring over here that timber for which the people of Canada might find a better market in the United States. And now, Sir, allow me, before I sit down—thanking the House for the patience with which they have listened to my observations on this question as it affects the Canadians—to say a few words with reference to its bearings on our own country. Sir, I look upon this question of timber as one of the greatest importance to the people of England. Every man's dwelling in this country is affected by the vote we are about to give. If you really have any care about the great mass of the people, poor and rich, you will cheerfully agree to-night to that which will give them cheaper and better materials for their dwellings. Sir, the noble Lord has been pleased to challenge me on the subject of Canadian corn. Well, the noble Lord had a right to give me the challenge; but what right had be to receive a single cheer from the patriotic Gentlemen about him? I must say, this plea which they now set up for protection to Canada corn is the strangest thing of the kind I ever heard. I see my hon. Friend the Member for Somersetshire (Mr. W. Miles) blushes at the mention of it. I recollect that, when the right hon. Baronet (Sir Robert Peel) proposed the Canada Corn Bill, in 1843, he recommended it as a boon to the agriculture of the Colony; and how did the country Gentlemen come forward then? Did they support the principles they had so long professed? Did they adhere to their old motto, "Ships, Colonies, and Commerce," and say, "Oh, by all means, protect your Colonies—tax the people of England—perish our interests, so long as the interest of the Colonies is maintained?" They said no such thing. On the other hand, they said, "Corn will be so much a quarter cheaper—bread will be 2½d. the loaf cheaper—you are about to let in a torrent of abundance in the shape of Canadian corn—God knows how cheap they can afford it—they will perhaps grow it for nothing, and bring it across the ocean for nothing." All these terrible things they brought forward to terrify us from admitting Canada corn. Well, the Bill passed, notwithstanding their fears; and now they come forward and tell us that in little more than two years another "protected interest" has grown up again. Well, really, these "protected interests" must be of amazingly quick growth; they seem to have something of the quality of mushrooms about them, and to thrive and spread most instantaneously from the hotbed of protection. But I say it is rather too much for the hon. Gentleman to come forward in this imploring manner, and to beseech us to keep up a protection which was established but two years or two years and a half ago. I contend that this is a most impudent claim, and one which I am sure the people of Canada themselves will entirely disavow.

The House divided on the Question, that the House agree with the Committee on the said Resolution:—Ayes 232; Noes 109: Majority 123.

List of the AYES.
Acheson, Visct. Dalrymple, Capt.
Acland, T. D. Dawson, hon. T. V.
A'Court, Capt. Denison, E. B.
Aglionby, H. A. Dennistoun, J.
Ainsworth, P. D'Eyncourt, rt. hn. C. T.
Aldam, W. Dickinson, F. H.
Antrobus, E. Dodd, G.
Archbold, R. Douglas, Sir C. E.
Baillie, Col. Douro, Marq. of
Baillie, H. J. Duke, Sir J.
Baine, W. Duncan, G.
Baird, W. Duncannon, Visct.
Baldwin, B. Duncombe, T.
Bannerman, A. Dundas, Adm.
Barclay, D. Easthope, Sir J.
Barkly, H. Ebrington, Visct.
Baring, rt. hon. F. T. Egerton, Sir P.
Baring, rt. hon. W. B. Ellice, rt. hon. E.
Barnard, E. G. Ellice, E.
Becket, W. Ellis, W.
Berkeley, hon. C. Elphinstone, H.
Berkeley, hon. Capt. Escott, B.
Bernal, R. Etwall, R.
Blake, M. J. Evans, Sir De L.
Blewitt, R. J. Ewart, W.
Bodkin, W. H. Feilden, W.
Botfield, B. Fitzroy, hon. H.
Bouverie, hon. E. P. Fitzroy, Lord C.
Bowes, J. Fitzwilliam, hon. G. W.
Bowles, Adm. Flower, Sir J.
Bowring, Dr. Forster, M.
Bridgeman, H. Fox, C. R.
Bright, J. Gibson, T. M.
Brotherton, J. Gill, T.
Browne, hon. W. Gore, M.
Brownrigg, J. S. Goulburn, rt. hon. H.
Bruce, Lord E. Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.
Buller, C. Granger, T. C.
Busfeild, W. Greene, T.
Cardwell, E. Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.
Carew, W. H. P. Grosvenor, Lord R.
Carnegie, hon. Capt. Hall, Sir B.
Cavendish, hon. G. H. Hamilton, W. J.
Chapman, B. Hamilton, Lord C.
Chichestor, Lord J. L. Hanmer, Sir J.
Clay, Sir W. Hatton, Capt. V.
Clerk, rt. hon. Sir G. Hawes, B.
Cobden, R. Hayes, Sir E.
Cochrane, A. Heathcoat, J.
Cockburn, rt. hon. Sir G. Hill, Lord M.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. Hindley, C.
Collett, J. Hobhouse, rt. hon. Sir J.
Copeland, Ald. Hogg, J. W.
Corry, rt. hon. H. Hollond, R.
Courtenay, Lord Hope, G. W.
Cowper, hon. W. F. Hornby, J.
Craig, W. G. Howard, hon. C. W. G.
Crawford, W. S. Howard, hon. E. G. G.
Cripps, W. Howard, Sir R.
Currie, R. Hughes, W. B.
Dalmeny, Lord Hume, J.
Humphery, Ald. Rumbold, C. E.
Hutt, W. Russell, Lord J.
James, W. Russell, Lord E.
James, Sir W. C. Russell, J. D. W.
Jermyn, Earl Ryder, Hon. G. D.
Jocelyn, Visct. Sandon, Visct.
Johnstone, H. Scott, R.
Kelly, Sir F. Scrope, G. P.
Kelly, J. Seymour, Lord
Labouchere, rt. hon. H. Seymour, Sir H. B.
Langston, J. H. Sheridan, R. B.
Lascelles, hon. W. S. Smith, B.
Layard, Capt. Smith, J. A.
Legh, G. C. Smith, rt. hon. R. V.
Lockhart, A. E. Smythe, hon. G.
Macaulay, rt. hn. T. B. Somers, J. P.
M'Carthy, A. Somerset, Lord G.
M'Geachy, F. A. Somerville, Sir W. M.
M'Neill, D. Stansfield, W. R. C.
M'Taggart, Sir J. Stuart, Lord J.
Mahon, Visct. Stuart, H.
Mainwaring, T. Strutt, E.
Marjoribanks, S. Tancred, H. W.
Marshall, W. Thesiger, Sir F.
Martin, J. Thornely, T.
Masterman, J. Tomline, G.
Maule, rt. hon. F. Towneley, J.
Meynell, Capt. Trelawny, J. S.
Milnes, R. M. Trench, Sir F. W.
Mitcalfe, H. Tufnell, H.
Moffatt, G. Turner, E.
Molesworth, Sir W. Vernon, G. H.
Morpeth, Visct. Villiers, hon. C.
Morris, D. Vivian, J. H.
Morison, Gen. Vivian, hon. Capt.
Muntz, G. F. Wakley, T.
Napier, Sir C. Walker, R.
Neville, R. Wall, C. B.
O'Brien, J. Warburton, H.
O'Connell, M. J. Ward, H. G.
O'Connell, J. Wawn, J. T.
Ord, W. Wellesley, Lord C.
Osborne, R. White, S.
Palmerston, Visct. Wilde, Sir T.
Parker, J. Williams, W.
Patten, J. W. Wilshere, W.
Pechell, Capt. Wood, C.
Peel, rt. hon. Sir R. Wood, Col. T.
Peel, J. Worsley, Lord
Plumridge, Capt. Wortley, hon. J. S.
Powell, C. Wrightson, W. B.
Price, Sir R. Wyse, T.
Protheroe, E. Yorke, H. R.
Pulsford, R.
Rawdon, Col. TELLERS.
Reid, Sir J. R. Young, R.
Reid, Col. Baring, H.
List of the NOES.
Allix, J. P. Broadley, H.
Arkwright, G. Broadwood, H.
Astell, W. Brooke, Lord
Bagge, W. Bruce, C. L. C.
Bagot, hon. W. Bruges, W. H. L.
Bailey, J. Buck, L. W.
Baillie, W. Buller, Sir J. Y.
Bankes, G. Campbell, Sir H.
Bennet, P. Cayley, E. S.
Bentinck, Lord G. Chandos, Marq. of
Bentinck, Lord H. Cholmondeley, hon. H.
Borthwick, P. Churchill, Lord A. S.
Bramston, T. W. Clifton, J. T.
Brisco, M. Compton, H. C.
Disraeli, B. March, Earl of
Douglas, Sir H. Maunsell, T. P.
Douglas, J. D. S. Maxwell, hon. J. P.
Duncombe, hon. A. Miles, P. W. S.
Duncombe, hon. O. Miles, W.
Du Pre, C. G. Neeld, J.
Farnham, E. B. O'Brien, A. S.
Fellowes, E. Packe, C. W.
Filmer, Sir E, Palmer, R.
Finch, G. Palmer, G.
Fitzmaurice, hon. W. Pigot, Sir R.
Floyer, J. Rashleigh, W.
Forbes, W. Rendlesham, Lord
Fox, S. L. Repton, G. W. J.
Fuller, A. E. Richards, R.
Gaskell, J. M. Scott, hon. F.
Gooch, E. S. Seymer, H. K.
Grogan, E. Shaw, rt. hon. F.
Halford, Sir H. Shirley, E. J.
Hall, Col. Shirley, E. P.
Halsey, T. P. Sibthorp, Col.
Harris, hon. Capt. Smyth, Sir H.
Heathcote, G. J. Sotheron, T. H. S.
Heathcote, Sir W. Spooner, R.
Henley, J. W. Stanley, E.
Hildyard, T. B. T. Stuart, J.
Hinde, J. H. Taylor, J. A.
Hope, Sir J. Thompson, Ald.
Hope, A. Tollemache, J.
Hudson, G. Trollope, Sir J.
Hurst, R. H. Turnor, C.
Inglis, Sir R. H. Tyrrell, Sir J. T.
Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H. Vyse, R. H. R. H.
Knight, F. W. Waddington, H. S.
Knightley, Sir C. Walpole, S. H.
Law, hon. C. E. Walsh, Sir J. B.
Lawson, A. Williams, T. P.
Lennox, Lord G. H. G. Worcester, Marq. of
Mackenzie, T. Yorke, hon. E. T.
Mackenzie, W. F. TELLERS.
Maclean, D. Beresford, Major
Manners, Lord J. Newdegate, C. N.

Resolution agreed to.

Bills ordered to be brought in.