HC Deb 24 November 1847 vol 95 cc151-207

The Report on the Address in answer to Her Majesty's most gracious Speech brought up and read. On the question that it be read a second time,


believed it was perfectly in accordance with the forms of the House, to make a few observations upon the Speech which had been delivered to them last night; and though, on ordinary occasions, he should not have indulged in any criticism on those necessary prologues of the Session, which, by long prescription, were allowed to give the smallest quantity of promise in the greatest quantity of words; yet he thought, when the House reflected on the unparalleled state of affairs with which Parliament had to deal in the present Session, that he need offer no apology to the House for passing a few observations, in no unfriendly spirit, upon various topics contained in that Address. He did not think, when they considered the paralyzed state of commerce in this country—when they knew that trade was depressed and confidence shaken—when they took into account the unparalleled state of society in Ireland—and also when they reflected that there were serious intimations of coming disturbance in the political horizon of Europe, that it would be regarded as presumptuous in a Member of that House to make a few observations to it upon matters so important. The first topic in the Address related to the commercial embarrassments. After the promise of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer to give a full explanation of what had passed between the Bank of England and the Government, he certainly did not wish to press forward any unnecessary debate upon that subject; still he must say that he could not think that the embarrassments in trade mentioned in Her Majesty's Speech were of a purely local nature. He thought that it was an imperial question, affecting as much the well-being of Ireland, and of every portion of the kingdom, as it did the great capital of the empire; and he would ask the House whether, had it not been that trade was more flourishing this time last year than it was at present, this country could have made a sacrifice of ten millions of money to relieve the distresses of Ireland? As he felt that it was by the investment of English capital in that country that they could at all regenerate the social condition of Ireland, he, for one, could not feel satisfied until the basis of trade in this country was put upon some surer foundation than it rested upon at present. He did not for an instant pretend, with his limited knowledge of the working of the Bank Charter Act of 1844, to enter into any discussion upon that subject, or to give an opinion which must be of no value in the presence of men who had made the study of such subjects the business of their lives. This only he would say, that he thought the Government had acted wisely in sending that matter before a Committee; but, looking at it now in an unbiassed manner, he thought the Act had probably undergone much unnecessary odium. He would not, for obvious reasons, enter into any defence of that Act or of its promoters; but he thought the House should bear in mind that not above three banks of issue had failed during the late monetary pressure. He next came to that portion of the Speech which related to European policy. The House would remember that Her Majesty expressed her concern at the breaking out of a civil war in Switzerland. He was not aware whether many hon. Members had addressed themselves to the consideration of that civil war in Switzerland; but he was sure they must be well aware that the example set by this country no later than last year, when we interfered, as he thought, in a most untoward manner, in the affairs of Portugal, would furnish a very fair precedent for the autocrat of Austria to interfere in the arrangement of the Swiss cantons. He did hope, however, that Her Majesty's Government, when they offered their mediation, in conjunction with our Allies, "for the purpose of restoring to the Swiss Confederation the blessings of peace," would take care that that mediation should be of a different character to that which was offered in the kingdom of Portugal; and that they would not, for the sake of ensuring the blessings of peace, compromise the liberties of conscience, or allow the right of the majority of the federal states to rule the other cantons to be called in question. He came now to the next paragraph, which assured the House that "Her Majesty looked with confidence to the maintenance of the general peace of Europe." He was aware that the noble Lord at the head of Foreign Affairs was a man of great nerve, probably the only man in the House who possessed a universal knowledge of the relations of the different States of Europe; but he must be blessed with a superabun- dant degree of nerve who could look with confidence to the maintenance of the general peace of Europe, when he took into consideration the state of Spain, France, Portugal, and Switzerland, and knew that any spark which might light a Conflagration in those countries might compromise the peace of the world. More particularly was there a necessity for the consideration of the state of Europe in relation to a subject to which he should feel it to be his duty in the course of this Session to call the attention of the House, viz., the very incomplete and disgraceful state of the national defences. He did not know whether it were of importance to draw the attention of the House to the treaty which had been concluded with the Republic of the Equator. He believed that that treaty had been concluded with a State which had no force; and he also believed, that of all the serious humbugs which had been perpetrated in this country, one of the greatest had been our attempt to put down the slave trade. By the very course we had taken on this occasion, we had done more to promote the horrors of the traffic than if we had never interfered; and he hoped that some hon. Gentleman, better acquainted with the details of the subject than he could possibly be, would take an early opportunity of bringing this question before the House, in order that it might be put on its true merits, that the country might no longer be called upon to pay money which, so far from putting down the slave trade, only tended to accumulate its horrors. He now came to the most difficult portion of the Speech, the consideration of which might have been thought to have been concluded last night. He approached the subject with fear and trembling, for he looked upon the debate of last night as fraught with serious consequences, inasmuch as he saw in it an antagonistic spirit displayed which could do no good to this country, and he feared would be productive of mischief in Ireland. In touching upon it, he should endeavour to imitate the calm, temperate appeal which had been made by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Ireland, in speaking of the affairs of that country. If so humble a Member as himself might be allowed to hold out the right hon. Secretary, as an example, he could assure the House that every indiscreet word spoken in the House was fraught with consequences which no man could overlook. He knew, that of that great body of ecclesiastics who were last night the objects of at- tack by certain hon. Members, the greater part were sound; but, of course, as among all large bodies of men, there were many wicked and some designing men. He could assure the House, however, that it was a mistake to suppose that the great body of ecclesiastics in Ireland were anything else than the friends of order and religion. It was with great pain that he had heard the reference made to the speech of a venerable archdeacon of the Roman Catholic Church—a speech which he, for one, would not for a moment defend. But he thought they should take into consideration that this gentleman was probably of an excitable temperament. He knew that gentleman, and he stated this in justice to him. He had known him for some time past to have been in very bad health, and that he had been ordered not to undergo any unnecessary excitement. He also knew that the Sunday previous to making the speech referred to, he preached one of the strongest sermons from the altar, denouncing agrarian crime and agrarian disturbance of the peace. He said this, not because he admired the offensive style of oratory, which he feared was too prevalent in Irish debates, but as a common act of justice to the individual himself. The Speech from the Throne also said that— Her Majesty trusts that this distress will be materially relieved by the exertions which have been made to carry into effect the law of the last Session of Parliament for the support of the destitute poor. The House had heard from the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Ireland that three-fourths of the country would be supported by the poor-law. He believed that in many districts this poor-law had been working well. But he must tell the Government, that by a most indiscreet and hastily-issued circular from the office of the Under Secretary, they had nearly imperilled, not only the working of the poor-law, but the peace of the south of Ireland. He did not know whether or not the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Ireland was aware that no later than a fortnight ago a circular appeared, contrary to the Act of Parliament, contrary to the express conditions laid down by this House, ordering all the money that was in the hands of the poor-law treasurer to be paid into the hands of the civil paymaster in Dublin. Upon this being issued, it was scarcely possible to describe the consternation into which it threw the south of Ire- land. Rates which were formerly well collected, at once ceased to be collected altogether; and, in consequence, this circular, which was issued without consultation or communication with the Poor Law Commissioners, but was the result of a blunder by some minor official, very nearly perilled the very carrying out of their poor-law. As far as his knowledge went of that poor-law, he should say that it was working well in sundry unions of Tipperary, though he grieved to say that the rates had become so extremely high that it was impossible for the property to bear it. In his union, in the year 1843, the rate was 4,000l.; but in the present year it had increased to 20,000l. It was clear, therefore, if the increase of the rates continued in the same proportion, that it would be totally impossible for the property to bear it. The Speech went on to say, that— Her Majesty had learned with satisfaction that landed proprietors had taken advantage of the means placed at their disposal for the improvement of land. Now, he did think that of all the things that occurred in the Speech, this was the most extraordinary. For what was the real fact? It was very true that landed proprietors had made application for portions of the million of money which was given as a bonus for the removal of the corn laws. It might be said, that they came fast and furious to the Board of Works; but he knew only of two instances in which a sixpence had been given. That morning he received a letter from a noble Lord in the south of Ireland, who had made an application for 20,000l., and who had devoted his whole time and capital to looking after and employing the people; and that noble Lord begged him to represent to the Government that unless an advance was made out of the loan, he could not answer for the peace of the county, or put a single man to work. Therefore, when Ministers came and told the House that they had placed this money at the disposal of the landlords, they were bound to say when this money was advanced, and whether there was yet some portion of it in the Treasury which could be advanced for the purpose of affording employment to the people of Ireland. He had thought it his duty to advert to this in strong language, as it was a point of such vital importance. If the cultivation of the land was to proceed, they must, by some means or other, carry out their part of the bargain, and lodge the million of money for the employment of the people. The Speech went on to say—and he came now to the most lamentable subject for consideration— —"that in some counties of Ireland atrocious crimes had been committed, and a spirit of insubordination had manifested itself, leading to an organised resistance to legal rights. He could assure the House that he should endeavour, in discussing the subject, for the moment to forget that he was a landlord in Ireland, and that he should approach the discussion of this question in a larger spirit; that he should not regard the mere temporary inconvenience and annoyance that had assailed himself, but would endeavour by his speeches and votes, as far as it lay in his power, to place matters in that country on a better footing than they were at present. He could assure the hon. Member for Kilkenny, who rather taunted him with having gone over to Ireland with good intentions, but that he had abused them, that he knew of no abuse except the great sacrifice of income which he had made. He assured the hon. Member, that if his arrears of rent went to promote conciliation, he would very willingly grant many years' indulgence. Seeing what had been the state of the potato crop—for the potato was at once the money and the food of the people in some parts of Ireland—he was only surprised that there was not a worse state of things prevailing amongst the tenantry. He hoped, however, that the Government would prove equal to the occasion, and come forward with measures not of a tinkering, but of a constructive kind, so that society in Ireland might be re-organised de novo. He was well assured that Ireland could not be saved in any other way. The country had been reduced to its present state by our past legislation, and we must be prepared to abide by the consequences. But if they carried out the spirit which was now at work in Ireland, as far as the Lord Lieutenant was concerned, Ireland was in safe hands. It was, he considered, ungenerous on the part of Irish Members to cast any reflections upon Lord Clarendon, because he had made suggestions respecting improvements in agriculture. Although lectures might not be of very great use in the south of Ireland, still there were counties in Ireland where he was well assured they might, by means of agricultural lectures, and still more by the employment of agriculturists, do great good. But there had been some little dispute as to what the nature of the outrages in Ireland was. Upon that point he felt that he should not be doing his duty to his constituents, or the public at large, if he concealed from the House that he was not of opinion that in those five counties the outrages were simply of an agrarian character. It might be very well to tell him that certain gentlemen were safe in their houses; but when he knew that the poor labourer was the man who, at this moment, was living under a "reign of terror;" and when he could tell them the names of individuals who, driven from their homes, sought refuge in bogs, and hid themselves in drains, but whose names never appeared in the provincial papers, the House would at once see that those outrages were not simply of an agrarian character. The fact was, that they were conducted by a few men who had determined, at all hazards, to get possession of the land. Though he believed that, in the main, the hearts and the feelings of the Irish tenantry were sound, still we all knew that it was in the power of a few men to strike terror and disunion throughout a whole country; and in carrying out their lawless interdicts, they spared the life neither of the rich nor of the poor man. But when he came to so grave a thing as the enaction of a Coercion Bill, he begged to say that, before recording his votes for abrogating the ordinary laws, he must see what were the schemes the Government intended to develop for the better ordering of society in Ireland. Though he was disposed to strengthen the hands of Government, and had the greatest confidence in the abilities and intentions of Lord Clarendon, at the same time, considering the position he had the honour to hold, he did not think that he should be doing his duty if, from mere personal feelings, he rushed to the conclusion that a Coercion Act was necessary. He thought that it was a great matter of doubt whether the law might not be found efficient if properly carried out as it now stood in the five counties. But at any rate, before enacting a measure of coercion, Her Majesty's Ministers were bound to come down and lay upon the table of the House some distinct plans for the future government of Ireland. Coercion alone would be but a temporary palliative. Moreover, he would not deceive hon. Members by saying that he believed a Bill for enacting what was called tenant-right would go to the root of the evil. The evil was deeper seated; and, as long as they had a class of labourers in that country badly fed, wretchedly clad, and worse paid, depend upon it they could have no safety for life or property. By some means or other, measures must be devised for alleviating the condition of the agricultural labourers, or their Bills for tenant-right would be of little avail. Not that he was blind to the necessity of tenant-right. He thought a measure of that sort was highly requisite, not only in justice to the people of Ireland, but to the people of England; and he should be happy to support any reasonable and well-digested measure by which the relations between landlord and tenant might be put on a sounder footing. On looking over the Speech from the Throne—this programme of the policy of Her Majesty's Ministers—he very much regretted to observe the omission of all reference to one measure which, in his opinion, would be of greater service to Ireland eventually, than all the measures that could be adopted—he meant an Act to facilitate the sale of encumbered estates in Ireland; for he felt confident, unless they could free the land from the shackles in which it was at present hound—unless they could throw the land of Ireland into the market, they would never have any real improvement. He would, therefore, respectfully press upon the attention of the Government the necessity of taking up this measure in a large spirit, and bringing in a Bill by which, per fas aut nefas, the land of Ireland should be thrown into the market. In the course of the speech of the hon. Member for Surrey (Mr. Drummond) last night, he referred to the question of the Irish Church Establishment. And although he (Mr. Osborne) might be told that this was not the time to moot that question, he must respectfully dissent from the opinion. He believed this was the time when you might put the whole state of society in Ireland on a different and better footing; and although he did not wish to see the abolition of the Established Church in Ireland, he thought it was possible, by putting it upon a congregational and not a territorial footing, that you might pave the way for a better state of things in Ireland. He did not know whether the noble Lord at the head of the Government had at all turned in his mind the necessity of applying to the Church question; but of this he was very sure, that until you legislated upon correct principles in that country, you would year after year be coming to Parliament for Coercion Bills; and you would be obliged to have recourse to what was called by the hon. Member for the county of Cork, the same vulgar expedient, and go on in the same vicious circle from year to year. He thanked the House for having kindly listened to the few remarks which he had felt it his duty to make. He hoped he had not overstepped the limits which he had determined to observe. And if he might give some advice to an hon. Member whose great and undoubted position was that of being the leader of a most powerful party in Ireland—he meant the hon. Member for Kilkenny—he would tell him that it was unworthy of him to listen to reports which were not properly authenticated; and if the hon. Member would only leave him to carry out his own intentions, he had no doubt that those intentions, when Ireland was more pacified, would be properly estimated, and that he should not be obliged to bear the disagreeable character of an absentee.


Sir, notwithstanding that my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has said, that it is contrary to the custom of this House to enter into a debate upon the report of the Address, I apprehend it is altogether consistent with the forms of Parliament, and that it would be much more inconsistent with the custom of this House, and much more inconsistent with the feelings of the country, when the whole mind of England is full of the commercial distress with which the country is now overpowered, and is looking with the deepest anxiety for some explanation from the Government of the course which they mean to take with regard to the restriction of the Bank Charter Act, that Her Majesty's Ministers, one and all, should be permitted to remain entirely silent on the subject; and that when in the first paragraph of the Address Her Majesty's name has been, as I think, unconstitutionally put forth, as a protection to Her Ministers, stating that Her Majesty authorised Her Ministers to recommend to the Directors of the Bank of England an infraction of the law, neither the noble Lord at the head of the Treasury nor the Chancellor of the Exchequer should vouchsafe to explain to the House and the country the circumstances which have induced them to give that advice to the Crown. But, more than all, I am sure the country will not be satisfied if we allow this answer to the Address to be presented to Her Majesty without having some explanation from the Government of the reasons which, for the first time in the history of this country, have induced them to propose a new usury law, of which the tendency is not to reduce the rate of usury, but to add to it; and when, for the first time the Ministers of Her Majesty have thought fit without the consent of Parliament to raise taxes upon the people in a way which I am quite sure is most odious to the feelings of the country. These are reasons, I think, sufficient to call upon Her Majesty's Ministers to give a full and complete statement of all the circumstances which induced them to fix particularly on the 25th October—neither sooner nor later—to apply this relief to the country. My right hon. Friend said last night that the debate had taken an Irish turn, and that at that late hour of the evening—seven minutes before twelve o'clock—he could not be expected to make the long statement to the House with which he had come prepared. I, for one, do not regret it. Sure I am none of the English Members regret that, though the subject of Irish distress stood after the fourth paragraph of the Speech, that the subject of Irish distress took precedence even of the not less distress with which England is now afflicted. Sure I am that impatient as this country is to hear some explanation from Her Majesty's Ministers of the course which they intend to take with respect to the restrictions upon the Bank of England, the country will endure with patience that the ear of the House should be first given to the terrible tale of Irish distress. Sir, I must say, that if this Address had been reported and consented to without a full explanation by the Government of all the circumstances which led to it, bitter would be the disappointment throughout the country. Sir, it will be in the recollection of the House that an early period of the last Session the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in bringing his financial budget before the House, pronounced a high eulogium on the advantages of the Bank Charter Act. It will be in the recollection of the House that he was loudly called upon by many of my friends, and by a petition from the merchants of the city of London, and by various petitions from the merchants and manufacturers of almost every city throughout England and Scotland, to relax this restriction; but my right hon. Friend said the worst was over; and though it had been my intention to have moved the repeal or the mitigation of that Act, the unexpected announcement of an early dissolution of the Parliament left no time for any such course. Sir, it will be recollected that at a later period, towards the end of the month of September, a deputation presented itself to the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer from Newcastle, at a period when already the value of the property of the houses that had failed in London, Liverpool, and Glasgow, approached nearly ten millions sterling—that they, foreseeing that increased difficulties were coming, applied to the right hon. Gentleman to remove this Bank restriction, which made it difficult to get the best bills discounted. What was the answer of the right hon. Gentleman? Why, that he could not be expected to guard against the consequences of over-trading and over-speculation, and there was nobody who did not know that there was no undue pressure in the money market as regarded houses in good credit. This was at the very time that Exchequer bills were at 25s. discount; when the power of the Bank of England to continue its payments began to be doubted; when amongst the houses in bad credit was the Exchequer Office itself, whose bills subsequently wont down to 40s. discount. But still the right hon. Gentleman was obdurate. On the 19th of October another deputation waited upon the noble Lord the First Lord of the Treasury and the right hon. Gentleman from Liverpool. What said the noble Lord to them? Why, as they left his room, that he gave them no hopes. Time went on. Suddenly, on Saturday, the 23rd of October, certain bankers and others from the city of London waited upon the noble Lord. The right hon. Member for Tamworth came to town on Friday evening in his way to Windsor Castle. I do not know whether he appeared in the light of an amicus curiœ, or whether he tendered his advice on the occasion, to the Chancellor of the Exchequer: but suddenly we found that the Government had begun to relent. It was reported, I know not with what truth, that a gentleman, Mr. Pease, once a Member of this House, came up from Northumberland in the latter part of the week, and paid a visit to the noble Lord (Earl Grey) at the head of the Colonial Department, and to the right hon. Gentleman who has the honour to represent Northumberland. [Sir G. GREY: It is incorrect.] How necessary it is, then, that we should have correct information. All these ru- mours have passed current for a long time, and it has been said, that Her Majesty's Ministers, who were obdurate to the cries of the city of London, of Liverpool, of Glasgow, and Manchester, at length listened to the cries, that came at an appropriate moment, from Northumberland and Durham, They were informed that the Durham District Bank was on the point of stopping, and that unless the restriction was taken off the Bank of England so as to enable it to afford relief on the Saturday week following, there would not be a collier in Northumberland or Durham who would receive his weekly wages; and it was a concession to the fears of the noble Lord and the right hon. Gentleman, who was supposed to have been significantly told "that he knew what the colliers of Northumberland and Durham were"—that that was conceded to the wants of Northumberland and Durham which had been refused to the United Kingdom. Well, then, is it not important, if this be not true, that we should learn what it was that induced the Government on the 23rd of October, by which time houses, to the amount in value of their liabilities of nearer fifteen millions than ten millions sterling, had fallen, at length to concede and take the restriction off the Bank, and thus relax the chains with which commerce was so injuriously fettered and bound down? I think that we are at least entitled to hear from Her Majesty's Government, first, what were the immediate causes that induced them at this particular period to give way, whilst they refused at those earlier periods, when, if they had been more conceding, they might, as the whole commercial interest of this country believe, have warded off a very large portion of this distress and disaster. We have a right to know why it was that Her Majesty's Ministers postponed so long this urgent measure of relief. By courtesy we did allow the Address to be voted last night. It was because we felt it was better to distinguish between the Irish and the English interest in this matter, and that, inasmuch as the Irish Amendment had been moved at the first moment at which an opportunity was given, although in its proper course that Amendment, should not have come until after the consideration of those paragraphs connected with the banking interests of the country had been disposed of, that we thought that we had better have the discussion on a different day. No compromise that I heard of was entered into. The right hon. Gentleman, at seven minutes before twelve, thought it not a convenient opportunity, and proposed Tuesday; but there was no agreement that I heard that this debate should be taken on Tuesday. The hon. Gentleman who moved this Address attributed all the distress, or the greater portion of it, to the enormous sums that had been expended in railways. This is a very convenient argument. I am not surprised to hear a free-trade Government and the political economists join in the cry "that it is all the railways that have brought on these difficulties." That there are difficulties, nobody disputes. So gloomy a speech never was made by any Sovereign to Her people as that which we are now considering; but when the right hon. Gentleman says that 161 millions have been spent in railways, and that it is impossible that any country should bear such a drain as that, he forgot to tell us that the expenditure had taken place in the course of twenty years. There was laid upon the table of this House at the latter part of the last Session a return showing the sum total that had been spent in railway works and railway stock. This, of course, was exclusive of the purchase of land; but it must be clear to every Gentleman, that any money so paid for land is merely a transfer from one to the other, and cannot be counted as in any degree a drain upon the capital of the country. The entire sum spent up to the 1st of January, 1847, in railway works and railway stock, amounted, in round numbers, to eighty-two millions sterling; but of this thirty-two millions had been expended prior to the commencement of the year 1841. Thus there remained but fifty millions, which was expended in the five years from 1841 to 1846. I do not know where the hon. Gentleman gets his authority for stating that the sum that has been expended now amounts to 161 millions. I believe that the sum called up in the present year amounts to thirty-three millions; but of that, six or seven millions is in arrear. The result of this is, that in the present year you have about twenty-six millions, with perhaps seven millions more in loans, making altogether thirty-three millions, to be added to fifty millions that had been expended between 1841 and the present time, both years inclusive. So that you had altogether say eighty-five millions sterling, at the outside, spent in the period between 1840 and the present time. That was a period of seven years, and the sum extended over that period would average no more than 12,140,000l. each year; and they were gravely told that this country, after thirty-two years of peace, was reduced to such a state of poverty and distress that she could not bear such an expenditure without being brought to the brink of ruin. The hon. Member who moved the Address spoke as a matter of astonishment of the sums which had been expended in railway speculations; but had he considered the sums which were spent annually by this country during the war? We were told, forsooth, that it was the great famine which had afflicted the country and caused the distress. It is true that a great deal of gold has gone out of the country for provisions; but the commercial distress has been caused by the joint operation of the Bank Charter Act with the system of free imports. It is not the high price of corn; the price of corn in the last seven years of the war averaged, I think, 94s. 6d., and yet we were enabled to raise and spend each and every year of those last seven years of the war 70,000,000l.sterling, and more, upon an average, in taxes alone, whilst in loans we raised and spent in those same seven years, I think, above 180,000,000l., that is, 26,000,000l. a-year more, and we spent that money too—not in the country, but to carry on the war in foreign lands. Were we poverty-stricken then? Were we a humbled and a ruined nation then? Was England then a spectacle of bankruptcy and shame? Was England crying out that she was ruined, and could do no more? In the last year of the war—in 1815—we spent 131,000,000l. sterling; we were able to raise a property-tax of 15,000,000l.; we sent 207,000 regulars and 80,000 militia into the field, whilst at home we had 340,000 local militia; we were able to pay 140,000 seamen and marines; and now are we to be told that we cannot employ 303,000 railway labourers on profitable works without bringing the country to the verge of ruin? It is well for the Government to raise this cry against the railways; it is well that these free-traders who promised so much and have performed so little, should have some scapegoat on which to visit all their sins. But how is it that we look around us and see in the United States of America, in Belgium, in France, in Prussia, in Bavaria, and in Russia, railway operations (so far as the Continent is concerned), in proportion to their resources, not inferior to these, and the same dearth prevailing, and yet these countries are not bankrupt? We have got within these few days the speech of King Leopold of Belgium, and he congratulates his country that, the famine being over, Belgium has got through her financial crisis far more successfully than neighbouring countries. We have the speech of the King of Holland to their High Mightinesses the States General; he, too, congratulates them upon the favourable state of their finances, and the prosperity that is showing itself again. Three months ago, when the harvest was yet scarcely completed, we had the speech of the Minister of Finance at Paris (M. Dumon), who congratulated the country upon the fine harvest, as we have thanked Providence for the fine harvest here; he was at that time asking the sanction of the French Chamber for a loan of 10,000,000l. sterling; he entered into the discussion of what would be needed from the Government for the French railways; he stated the sum altogether at 64,000,000l., and he stated the large sums that had already been spent; but did he speak of poverty and bankruptcy? Did he speak of a falling revenue, and of manufacturers and labourers out of employment? No; he congratulated the country that every year, from 1830 onwards to 1840, the revenue of France had been annually increasing by something like 400,000l.; but since the State had assisted private industry by these large advances upon railways, in the last seven years the revenue of France had been annually increasing by the amount of 23,000,000f., which is about 940,000l. a year; and he congratulated the Chamber that the momentary depression which had existed in the year 1846 on account of the famine was already passed away, and "the revenue of France was again marching upon the ascendant." I am reminded too of the state of the French funds. See what is the difference: the French Three per cents, which used to stand about 13 per cent below the English, are creeping up to the English funds, and now stand but 9 per cent below our Three per Cent Consols. Look at Prussia, and you see the same thing: an annually increasing revenue—her population in the last thirty years since the war increased by one-half—her debt reduced almost to nothing—the country every year able to pay off a large portion of her debt—and her exports, annually increasing in the last ten years, more than doubled, her external trade having increased in the proportion of nine to four. Look at the other States; look at Bavaria, and you find the same thing. Bavaria is remarkable for its encouragement of railways and similar measures; and I think her exports in the last ten years have increased in the proportion of six to four; she is annually able to pay off a large portion of her debt, her revenues enormously exceeding the amount of her annual expenditure. But if there is no distress in Russia, it may be said, that the famine did not extend to that empire? But what do we see in the case of the Emperor of Russia—him of whom we used to hear that he was so poor that it was impossible he should ever go to war? Why, we are looking with anxious impatience to the determination of his Imperial Majesty, glad to receive a contribution of some 5,000,000l.. to the funds of Western Europe; and yet we read the other day that His Majesty, instead of finding his coffers much denuded, has discovered since the spring that no less than 3,500,000l. of gold has flowed into his coffers. How is it, that the same causes have not had the same effects on continental Europe that we are told they have had on England? What is the difference between this country and foreign countries? Why, there are two great differences. Not one of these continental Powers has abandoned the old national principle of protection of their own industry; not one of these countries has consented to be so easily parted from its privileges and advantages—not one has consented to reduce the import duties upon the goods of foreigners without insisting on some equivalent in return. They are prosperous; their mills are not standing still, their artisans are not thrown out of employ, their industrious population are not cast for subsistence upon the poor-rate. They, on the contrary, are carrying on their manufactures to the exclusion of England; and at this very moment their manufacturers are purchasing the cotton of England—purchasing this year and last year in Liverpool more cotton than at any preceding period—and purchasing it at a loss to the British merchant, purchasing it at 1d. per pound below the price at which it is selling in any other country where it is cither consumed or produced; at 1½d. per pound below the price at which it can be purchased in Charleston or New Orleans, and imported to Liverpool. In the last six weeks, I know, the merchants of Liverpool have exported 22,000 bales of cotton at a loss of 88,000l.; whilst in the preceding periods of the year they had exported cotton at a further loss of 100,000l., to be a premium, a bonus, a bounty to the foreign manufacturer to come here and beat Englishmen in their own market. Is this because we have more cotton than we know what to do with in this country? Far from it. For eight years past the stock of cotton never was so low in Liverpool as at the present time. It is acknowledged on all hands. The Gentlemen on my right know it. It has been alleged that a short cotton crop is one of the causes of the great prevailing distress. Your manufacturers cannot carry on their trade because the price of cotton is so high, and cotton so scarce. They are as much starved for want of cotton as they have been starved for want of corn. Yet what, after all, is the spectacle which England now presents? Why, that of an exporting country of cotton, the raw material of her own staple manufacture. Is it, then, a want of cotton that produces all this distress? No; it is the want of credit to buy the stocks of cotton in your own ports which foreigners are taking from you. It is your restrictive monetary laws. It is your cruel Bank Charter Act—an Act passed, by anticipation, as we are now led to suppose, by the Elbing Letter, with a view to correct any too great spirit of commercial speculation; an Act that is to make things in England artificially cheap, at a time when your foreign imports are taking all the gold out of the country, and foreigners will not take your manufactures in return—an Act which, after the gold has been drained from you, is to bring back gold to England by making everything in England artificially cheap. Your cry is "Cotton must be sold cheap"—and what is the fact? It is now selling at 41. per bag below the prime cost in the American market; while sugar is selling at 6s. and 8s. the cwt. below what it may be purchased at even in Cuba or Brazil. Tea also must be sold cheap, and it is now selling to the foreigner by the chest and by the pound retail in this country at a less price than it cost the merchant by the chest in Canton. These are the works of your free-traders, who are obliged to bolster up their free-trade schemes by a Bank Charter Act, in order that by making the goods of the manufacturer artificially cheap, they may force back the gold which free imports contracted by any bounds have drained away. I am told that for the first time in the history of the cotton manufacture of this country—and I speak it in the presence of millowners and cotton spinners, that they may contradict me if they can—cloths, calicoes, and yarns have been sold at the price which the cotton, in its raw state, cost; and think you this is a profitable trade for England? It will bring back into the Bank of England the golden image set up by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Tamworth for his own worship; but in doing this it has made us a bankrupt nation. With regard to other countries I have already observed that instead of their casting away the revenues which they derived from taxes upon the produce of foreign countries, as we have done, they studiously maintain them. What do the returns of the revenues of the United States of America present to the view of the politician and the free trader? The returns of the most prosperous country in the world show you a revenue of 28,000,000 of dollars, 20,000,000 of which are levied upon the produce of British industry. Yes, 20,000,000 of dollars, being more than two-thirds of the revenue of the United States, are annually raised out of the produce of British industry. That it is which has drained our gold—that it is which in the course of last year and this has taken away our 8,000,000l. of gold, which will pay the expenses of their Mexican war. Her Majesty, whilst She brought before our notice the subject of Her friendly interference in the affairs of Switzerland, was wise and politic in preserving silence on the subject of Mexico. England has paid by her free imports and taxed exports for the Mexican war; and well may the Americans boast of their advantage over the noble Lord the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. I recollect reading a short time ago in the American papers that Lord Palmerston, with all his good-will, must cease to be insolent, "for," said they, "if we choose to take Mexico as well as California and Texas, ay, and Cuba, by and by, Lord Palmerston needs must keep silence, for England henceforth will be dependent altogether upon the United States for her food as well as her cotton." Sir, we have a country containing 100,000,000 of inhabitants, which might supply us with a large portion of our cotton; but we tax the cotton of our own possessions to pay for the government of India, and we allow the cotton of America to come into this country free. This gives a premium to American cultivation, and has successfully given her a monopoly of the cotton market, and right well does she use it. I am prepared to show to you that the merchants of Liverpool alone have lost, to the gain of the United States, in the importation of cotton this year, 2,000,000l. sterling at least. If the want of cotton has starved our manufactures, why does it not starve the manufactures of the United States? Yet, while we are told by the Mover of the Address, who knows it well, that the consumption of cotton in Lancashire having been 30,000 bags a week last year, has been reduced to 20,000 bags a week this year, what do the United States present? They present an increase of consumption of 40,000 bags upon 389,000 bags, that is, an increase in their cotton manufactures of 10 per cent, though they are suffering from the same cause, namely, a dearth of cotton, as the manufacturers of this country are subject to. Is it not obvious, then, that there must be some other cause for the present state of things in this country? Whilst we are contracting our currency—whilst We are passing our Bank Charter Act, an Act, by the by, which the hon. Member for Liverpool told us last year "had saturated the country with gold"—whilst we are passing this Bank Charter Act "to saturate the country with gold," what are other countries doing? They are meeting the emergency by measures of a very different description. We see France choosing this opportunity, not of contracting the number of her bank notes, but, on the contrary, of reducing their value from 201. to 8l. We see one of the most flourishing States of Germany, in order to meet her railway necessities, not contracting her currency, but sanctioning savings-bank notes on the one hand, and railway notes on the other. Then there is the Emperor of Russia, what is his course? Does he shut up his gold? No, he chooses this opportunity to send his gold away; and whilst he, too, is improving his country by the construction of State railways, he, to meet the calls for his railways, has just created a novel issue in the shape of railway notes, consisting of four series, two of which already put in circulation amount to 950,000l., and the other two shortly coming out will amount to 950,000l. more. So that, look where we will for the causes of our present distress and disasters, we see England distinguished by two most important measures, one measure being the restriction of the currency, and the other measure the un- restricted admission of free imports. Such is England at the present hour; that England which so lately as the year 1845 had risen to a pinnacle of fortune, and to an extent of wealth and prosperity which no other country had ever reached—that England which was then the envy and admiration of all nations. But now, what did that same England present to the eyes of astonished Europe and the world?—a spectacle of shame, of bankruptcy, and of distress; with the finger of scorn pointed at her by every commercial community from New York to Canton. Yet, when your merchants come to you, and your manufacturers pray of you that you will relax your monetary restrictions, and enable those who have cotton and sugar and tea and woollen and cotton manufactures to sell, to have money lent to them at a reasonable rate of interest, on the security of their stock, you, Her Majesty's Ministers, draw back and refuse to set the Bank of England at liberty till you find you are on the brink of the precipice itself, and that any further delay would precipitate you into the gulf of irremediable ruin. Then, indeed, you come forward; but instead of doing as great Ministers have done in former times—instead of imitating the example of Mr. Pitt, who, in the year 1793, when he found the commerce and trade of the country in a similar position, came forward, and advanced 5,000,000l. sterling, at 31. 16s. per cent interest, although the Government had borrowed, it is said, at 4l., you declare that you will make a profit of money lending, and raise the rate of interest to 8 per cent. Well, I remember Her Majesty's Ministers last year, when I proposed a measure by which the industry of Ireland would have been stimulated, saying, that the Queen's Government could not be made money-lenders. What are you now? Are you not moneylenders, money-changers, and usurers? Are you not interposing to make money dear? Are you not raising the rate of interest to a price at which you know the trade of the English merchant must perish? Never have I heard of any country or of any Government in the world before this that proposed to wring money out of the necessities of the people. We are told by the Divine law, that "if thou lend money to any that is poor, thou shalt not be to him as an usurer." But Her Majesty's Government have turned usurers; and fatal have been the effects throughout the country. The money-lender by profession was too ready to follow the example set him by the Government; and he who before would have been ashamed to ask 8 per cent for his money, did not scruple to take 10. Mortgages have been raised from 3½ to 5 per cent, while in Scotland loans on personal security, bond debts, have been generally raised to 6 and 6½ per cent. In short, the whole country was taxed by a usury law; it was taxed to the amount of 1½ per cent; a charge far heavier than if you were to impose an income-tax of 10 per cent. Any Gentleman has only to look at the property and income-tax returns, and he will see—assuming the whole land of the country to be mortgaged for only one-third of its value, and that I believe is far below what the land of the whole empire is mortgaged for—that an increased charge of interest of 1½ per cent is equal to a new tax on the land of England, Scotland, and Ireland, of at least 12,000,000l. sterling a year! But that is not all. I have hitherto been speaking of the landed property of the country; but there are the trading and the industrial classes of the country; these are taxed even to a higher degree by this usurious interest. By this additional rate of 1½ per cent interest, I will venture to say that a tax is levied upon those who are in debt and obliged to borrow money on interest to no less an amount than 25,000,000l. a year. Well, then, the Government having been accessories to the exacting of this high usurious rate of interest, are we to be told that it is not convenient that the time of the House should be taken up on the second night of the Session to consider what were the circumstances which led the First Lord of the Treasury and the Chancellor of the Exchequer to advise the Bank only to lend money at that high usurious rate? Good God! what are we to believe? One might suppose that the noble Lord the First Lord of the Treasury and the Chancellor of the Exchequer had taken Shylock into their confidence, and that they have only been considering how they could exact most extortion out of the necessities of this suffering country? It reminds one of the language of Sir Giles Overreach to Jack Marrall:—"I have thought on't, Marrall, and it must take—I must have all men sellers, and I the only purchaser." One would imagine that the original author of the Bank Charter Act and the monied interest were determined to have the whole trade, commerce, and property of the country at their disposal. Lord Bacon has said, "Usury bringeth the treasure of a realm into a few hands: for the usurer being at certainties and the other at uncertainties, at the end of the game most of the money will be in the box." The effect of all these measures is to transfer the landed property—all the mortgaged property, and the interests of all those whose monies are embarked in trade into the hands of the money-changer. It is, in fact, a total transference of the property and money of one portion of the community into the hands of another portion of that community. And are we, on such a proposition as this, to sit down in silence and hear no word of explanation from Her Majesty's Ministers as to the grounds upon which they so long upheld this injurious Bank Charter Act; and why, when they were at last reduced to the necessity of relaxing it, they, in doing so, incited the Bank of England to exact such an amount of usurious interest as never before Was known to have been received in the course of the last century and a quarter?

I will not enter anew upon the affairs of Ireland, further than to say, that Her Majesty's Ministers must make themselves responsible for the peace of Ireland. I shall postpone my remarks upon any measures they may produce till I see them before the House. I trust Her Majesty's Ministers will not present another spectacle of a Government turning out one set of men, and then governing the country upon the principles by a resistance to which they obtained office. I hope, at all events, whatever may be the measure, it will not be another Curfew Bill, shutting men up in their houses by night, as a remedy against mid-day murder. But whilst I am quite prepared, on due cause being shown, to support the Government, I shall wait till the measure is proposed, and reserve to myself the right of giving it my support in proportion as I may think it suited to the occasion.

I will not trouble the House by adverting to the foreign policy of Her Majesty's Ministers; they, I suppose, have maintained a prudent reserve in abstaining from any observation in the Speech in regard to their foreign policy—with regard to their Portuguese interference. On the subject of their policy in respect to Italy they are altogether silent; but Her Majesty has been graciously pleased to say that She has obtained a slave treaty from the Republic of the Equator. I must say Her Majesty's Ministers would have shown more tact had they been silent on that subject altogether, the hon. Gentleman who seconded the Address said there was another link of the chain knocked off the limbs of the negro. Why, Sir, I want to know how many thousands of new links Her Majesty's Ministers have added to those chains which before tortured the negroes by the admission of slave-grown sugar? I shall be curious to learn, on official anthority, what the estimated amount of the increase of the slave trade may be. We do see statements in a certain paper, which is supposed sometimes to receive information from head-quarters, that the slave trade has increased five-fold within the last twelve months, and that the capital embarked in it has greatly increased, there can be no doubt. It is notorious that slave-grown sugar has risen greatly in price; and it is notorious also, that the price of a slave in Cuba and in the Brazils has advanced from 300 to 500 dollars at least. But I shall be curious to learn to what extent the slave trade has increased. If we are sure that more links are added to the chains of the negro, and that more slaves are transported to the western hemisphere, sure also are we, by the labour we take out of them, that no low numbers will suffice to count up the thousands of lashes by which that increased labour is extracted from them. As Her Majesty, on proroguing the last Parliament, preparatory to its dissolution, was pleased to congratulate it upon its having given Her subjects cheap sugar, Her Majesty, in Her gracious Speech on opening the present Parliament, might have condescended to utter at least one word of pity for the thousands who have been reduced to beggary by that measure. When we see that Government has been obliged to send out instructions to watch the export of rice from the East Indies for fear the Mauritius should become another Ireland, and the 93,000 imported Coolies, who must be left without employment and without wages, should be left destitute of food also—when we know that Lord Grey has authorised the formation of a Government bank to issue notes, and to advance 91. per ton on 50,000 tons of sugar, in order that the Coolies in that colony may be kept alive—when we see the noble Lord, with all his high metallic currency notions at home, is compelled to issue ten-shilling Government assignats in the Mauritius—when we see all these things, I think we are entitled to require that we should hear, if not from Her Majesty herself, at least from Her Ministers, some explanation of the course which the Government has determined on adopting with respect to the Mauritius and the West Indies. Though Her Majesty congratulated the country upon its having cheap sugar, I think there are now few persons so blind as not to see, or so obtuse as not to understand, that that measure in its consequences has been one of the causes of the distress which now afflicts this country, producing first the failure in the West Indian, the Mauritius, and the East Indian houses connected with sugar planting in those countries, and thus by ruining the merchants, breaking up other mercantile houses connected with that trade, and finally, as a necessary consequence, by causing the bills of those countries, drawn against sugar in payment of Manchester goods and manufactures, to be returned dishonoured. What is the position of Manchester at the present moment? The rates levied for the support of the poor in that city are more than double what they were at any former period. This state of things has been caused by the return of dishonoured bills of corn and sugar merchants, given in payment for goods. It is true, that during the last ten or eleven months there has been an increase in the exportation of manufactures to the United States to the extent of some 7,000 packages; but the exportations to the Canadas, the West Indies, and the East Indies, show a terrible balance on the other side. For an increase of 7,000 packages to the United States on one side, there is a falling off of 30,000 on the other, to Calcutta and Bombay! And this is your balance of trade! This is the result of free trade!

When Her Majesty recommends the further consideration of the Navigation Laws, I think prudence might suggest to the noble Lord, with all his courage, the propriety of holding for a time his ruthless hand. Surely, in the present circumstances of the country, there is little to encourage us in extending the free-trade system. Let us, who were told by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth in 1845, in proposing the renewal of the income-tax, that such would be the elasticity given to trade and commerce and all branches of industry by his new commercial policy, that he hoped to be able, at the expiry of three years, to dispense with the property and income-tax altogether—let us, who are now told in Her Majesty's Speech that She "regrets to inform us of the injury which the revenue has sustained," pause a little before we resolve to proceed further in the ruinous course which has conducted us to our present disastrous position. Remember that, if we are to believe the evidence given before the Navigation Committee, the question to which Her Majesty's Speech refers concerns a capital amounting to no less than 38,000,000l. invested in shipping alone, and 14,000,000l.more invested in those trades which are necessarily connected with shipbuilding. Let us bear in mind that it is a trade of which the freights aloneamount to28,000,000l. a year and the annual wages and expenses to 26,000,000l Without going now into the general question, I say, that when a mighty interest like this is concerned, I cannot permit the report on the Address to the Throne to pass without entering my protest against Ministers proceeding, with regard to it, in the same rash course which has been pursued respecting other important interests.

Her Majesty has been pleased to tell us that She has given directions to have the estimates which are to be laid before us framed with a careful regard to economy. I rejoice at that information. I feared that we might have had to listen to some proposition for the imposition of new taxes; but I hope that I may now congratulate the country on Her Majesty being able to dispense with the imposition of any fresh tax upon her subjects. As the property and income-tax expires in the course of the next spring, may I not also venture to hope that Ministers even contemplate the possibility of being able to dispense with that burden? For myself, I confess that I cannot see daylight at present. I know not what course we can, with safety, pursue, unless it be that of retracing our steps. The hon. Member for Lancashire said last night that he could see only one ray of sunshine to illumine the gloom and darkness which surrounded us, and that was to be found in the circumstance of Her Majesty having been whisked along a railway at the rate of forty-five miles an hour through Lancashire. According to the hon. Member, Her Majesty passed like a bright star through the darkness; but if he can furnish us with no greater hope than is afforded by that circumstance, I fear that we have only the prospect of a melancholy future before us. How changed are the auspices under which we commence this Session from those which presided over the opening of that of 1846! Then Her Majesty permitted Her Royal Consort to honour us with his presence—to honour Her faithful Commons by sitting actually amongst us, as it were, to hail the triumph, to grace the pageant of victorious free trade. Swelling were the promises then made, and high the expectations raised. The hon. Gentleman the Member for the West Riding of Yorkshire and for Stockport, whose absence to-night surprises me, would I had hoped have been here, facing the darkness of the present hour, and prepared to explain how it is that all his promises of prosperity and big loaves have been broken. In 1841 we read a celebrated address to the non-electors and working men of Stockport—one of those which, very probably, went no inconsiderable way to make up the weight of the 416 tons of tracts which were circulated by the free-traders during the Anti-Corn Law agitation; and we heard in that address, that it was only necessary for them to abolish the impious and unchristian corn laws, and corn within two months from the passing of the Bill, and ever after, should be brought in in such plenty that flour would be sold at Stockport for six farthings a pound, and that this cheapness too should be accompanied by increased employment and advanced wages. Every spindle and every loom in Stockport was to be set in motion, every shopkeeper was to be prosperous, every house was to be tenanted, the numbers of the population of Stockport were to increase, new mills, new houses, new churches, and new chapels were to spring up around them! All Christian men were called to put down that impious monopoly, which took from the poor man's shilling the fourpence with which he would otherwise purchase his tea, his coffee, or his clothing, and all for the benefit of the rich landowner; that impious and unchristian law which was stigmatised as taking one-third of the food of the wives and families of the poor, to increase the overgrown wealth of the Duke of Buckingham and Sir James Graham! However, I rejoice (turning to the right hon. Baronet), I rejoice to see my right hon. Friend in his place. There he is as large as life. And much do I rejoice to see his countenance beaming with all that healthful contentment which the contemplation of these untold bags of gold which I sincerely hope he possesses—are so much more calculated to assure to him, than the view of the issue of those miserable, those ruinous, those free-trade mea- sures, in the passing of which he had so large a share, and of which he now sees the full and fatal consequences. And I rejoice the more to see my right hon. Friend there, because, if I recollect right, contemporaneously with that address to which I have referred, there appeared another memorable address, enunciated by my right hon. Friend. And, sincerely do I rejoice to see that my right hon. Friend is not the victim of that solemn imprecation, which in the presence of the electors of Dorchester he put up to Almighty God— May I be cold before that dreadful day, Press'd with a load of monumental clay! meaning, of course, that day when, apostrophising Great Britain, he exclaimed— That day, when thou, imperial Troy, must bend, And see thy warriors fall, thy glories end. But, Sir, I repeat, how changed are the auspices of the present from that of years not long gone by! Prosperity, growing wealth, full employment, greeted us in 1845. All men were happy, all men were thriving. Now we see nothing but ruined firms and starving people. Starved, too, be it remembered, in the midst of plenty; starved, too, immediately after we have been engaged in thanking Almighty God for the plenteous harvest vouchsafed to us. How different was the position of the country under the protective system, when we were content to pursue our prosperous and wealth-making industry in the old trade-winds of national and colonial protection! But there came a day when unfortunately the trade and commerce of this country, wantoning in their very wealth and prosperity, grew to be discontented with the channels in which they had won them, and listened to the seductive language of the right hon. Baronet and the hon. Member for Stockport, and soon that traffic, which had been before so thriving, faded before the meretricious breath of free trade. How changed are now our circumstances! What were we once—what are we now?— How like a younker, or a prodigal, The scarfed bark puts from her native bay, Hugg'd and embraced by the strumpet wind. How like the prodigal doth she return: With over-weather'd ribs, and ragged sails, Lean, rent, and beggar'd by the strumpet wind.


Before I allude to the speech of the noble Lord, I wish to make a few remarks in answer to the observations made in a very temperate tone by the hon. Member for Middlesex. That hon. Gentleman alluded to one measure which was passed during the last Ses- sion for facilitating the advance of money for the improvement of land in Ireland, and he asked how it was that that measure had not been acted upon? Now, Sir, all the persons charged with the carrying of it on have given their best attention to the subject, and I am happy to say that a million and a half of money has been applied for under the Act in question, and that a grant of half a million has been actually sanctioned by the Treasury. The Act, therefore, is now in full operation; of course there were many preliminary inquiries to be made, and many forms with regard to the advances of money upon security which required to be attended to, and no doubt many people were disappointed that advances had not been made at an earlier period; but the amount which I mentioned having been sanctioned, it is therefore to be presumed that the sum will be the means of giving increased employment, and of conferring many advantages upon the people of Ireland. The hon. Gentleman then put some questions with regard to the sale of encumbered estates. The measure for that purpose which was brought forward last year, but not passed into a law in consequence of the advanced period of the Session, and the strong opposition which it experienced, has again received the attention of Government, and I may state that a Bill for a similar purpose will speedily be introduced either into this or the other House of Parliament. Indeed, I attach the greatest importance to a measure of this kind; for one of the greatest evils of Ireland consists in the nominal possession of estates by persons who have no means of improving them, or doing justice to the claims of the tenantry. There are, doubtless, many cases of persons having large estates without means, but who would be enabled, by selling portions of them to make the remainder far more valuable. With reference to emigration, which was also referred to by the hon. Member, I have generally held that, though emigration may be a useful subsidiary measure in some respects, yet I do not think that there exists that over-population in Ireland of which some persons have complained; and I believe that if agriculture, which is the staple industry of the island, were to be prosecuted with science and skill, that there do exist means in Ireland of supporting; the population in a manner as comfortable as that of England is supported. There is another measure which will be introduced in the course of the Ses- sion—for the amendment of the grand jury laws. And all of these are, I think, measures which will tend to the improvement and pacification of the country. There is yet another measure to be alluded to—one on a subject of such vast importance, and yet so difficult for legislation to handle, that though we have devoted the greatest attention to it, and have gone over its details with the utmost care, I can at present only say that we shall introduce it in that shape which will, in our judgment, he most consistent with the improvement of the land on the one side, and with the undoubted rights of the landlord upon the other. I refer to that great and difficult question—the relation of landowners and tenants. If we look back to what has happened in Ireland, we shall find that much of the difficulties experienced in dealing with that country, both as to the obstacles to improvement, and the prevalence of crime, we shall find, I say, that these relations of tenant and landlord have been for upwards of ninety years a source of bitterness and alienation, and of many of those violent outrages which have at different times been visited with the severest penalties of legislation; but those relations have never been placed in that position in which landlord and tenant could act with that confidence and kindness towards each other which in their situation are so peculiarly requisite. This question arose ninety years ago, and was one of the difficulties in the way of legislation before many of those agitated questions, such as the Catholic disabilities and tithes, which have now been settled, gave any trouble; and it is therefore with apprehension, as well as with hope, that I approach its consideration. I repeat that Government are devoting their earnest attention to it; and I have to deplore, on this as on other subjects, not having the advice of my lamented Friend the late Earl of Besborough, who intended to introduce a measure upon the subject; although, from what he considered to be the difficulties which lay in the way of legislating in the matter, he always stated that he would not wish the Bill which he proposed to enact to be introduced into Parliament unless he were present to explain and defend its provisions. Unfortunately the illness and death of my noble Friend have prevented us from having the advantage of his personal assistance, and from being put fully in possession of his views. Now I hope I have said enough to show that we are not liable to the charge, which the right hon. Gentleman did not formally bring against us, but which he hinted at, when he said that measures of coercion only appeared to be in our minds. I feel now as strongly as ever I felt, that such would be a totally mistaken policy. I do think that it is our primary duty to prevent, if possible, and to check in some degree, such atrocious crimes as are those we have lately heard of are necessary. I conceive them to be necessary, if for no other purpose than to give protection to capital, and promote the improvement of agriculture, which is essential to Ireland. Because if it be wished in Ireland that English capital should flow over there, further to improve the land and develop the resources of the country, it should also be considered, that when the possessors of property and capital here observe the crimes and atrocities committed in some parts of Ireland, and when they hear of language being used which is apt to instigate to those crimes—then, Sir, I say that it ought to be considered that the natural effect of such circumstances must be to cause capital to be withheld which would otherwise be sent to Ireland for the improvement of the soil and the employment of the people. Sir, I will say no more as to the measure hinted at, because in a few days my right hon. Friend (Sir George Grey) will explain to the House its nature, its character, and its provisions. Now, Sir, as to the noble Lord; and, first, I must own that that phrase of a statesman whom the noble Lord admires above all others—I mean Mr. Canning—" that there was a good deal of good indignation thrown away," seems to me to be applicable to much of the noble Lord's own speech. I thought that when the right hon. Gentleman who sits next to him asked the reason why we did hot enter into an explanation touching our policy in regard to the Bank, and when my right hon. Friend near me (Sir Charles Wood) replied that he thought it better to postpone the matter until Tuesday—why, Sir, I must own that I thought that a very fair arrangement, and one, too, with which the right hon. Gentleman seemed to be satisfied. I thought, indeed, that we should have heard of no objection to it; but I am sure that had the right hon. Gentleman or the noble Lord stated their wish to take any discussion relating to the Bank on the report, that my right hon. Friend would have been ready to take that course, having, as he has, no personal interest in the matter. His mind has been for the last six weeks directed to the subject, and he is naturally as much prepared upon it now as he will be next Tuesday. It was simply with a view to general convenience that the course was adopted which has so strongly excited the indignation of the noble Lord. But the noble Lord has taken this opportunity to go very much further than that practical measure of which he appears to complain, but of which I do not in reality know whether he complains or not. We deemed it necessary, in a great emergency, to say to the Governor and Directors of the Bank, that we recommended and advised them, if it should become necessary for the accommodation of the public, to advance their notes upon approved security, and that if thereby the Act of 1844 should be infringed, we would then come to Parliament and ask for an indemnity for those who had infringed the law, and for ourselves who had advised its infringement. Having done so, it next became our duty to advise Her Majesty to summon Parliament together as early as possible, in order that we might state what we had done, and abide by any consequences resulting from our conduct. Now, if our policy has tended to produce public injury—if it were inconsistent with our duties as Ministers of the Crown—if, for a slight and fanciful occasion, we have advised the suspension of the law—then the noble Lord can bring forward any resolution censuring and condemning our conduct which he pleases. I think, however, that we only performed the duty which we owed to the country and to Parliament. I think that we were right in the recommendation which we gave. We cannot but feel that we were right in advising Parliament to be summoned. And yet, because we proposed to postpone the discussion for public convenience from one Tuesday to the next Tuesday, the noble Lord says that we decline to give the requisite explanations. Sir, I can assure him that he shall have from my right hon. Friend and from myself the fullest explanation of all the causes of our conduct—of the circumstances under which that conduct was adopted—of the circumstances which we think will justify the measure which we took, and of the consequences which have flowed from it. These consequences, Sir, I think, have shown that we were not mistaken in the step which we took. They have shown that consistently with maintaining the convertibility of the bank note, and the credit of the Bank, we could restore public confidence, which at that moment was so seriously impaired. The noble Lord adverted to the circumstances which took place before and at the time of the adoption of our measure. He adverted particularly to a deputation from Liverpool; but I think that he has mistaken the sense of an answer which I gave to that deputation. Of course it was not for me, while the matter was under deliberation, to mention any measure which had not been decidedly adopted by the Government. It was not for me to state what we might do in certain contingencies. I told the deputation that at the then present moment I could see no public advantage in interfering with the conduct of the Bank; but I told them also, that the Government did not preclude themselves from taking any measure which they might think for the public interest when they deemed proper. Then it was that one of the Gentlemen of the deputation said, "Shall two of our body not wait upon you again to-morrow to receive a final answer?" I replied, "I can give you no hope that my answer to-morrow will be different from my answer to-day." Now the noble Lord interprets that reply to mean, that I could give them no hope of our adopting any measure upon the subject—not an interpretation which I think it is capable of bearing, The noble Lord then went into a great deal of declamation, into which I shall not follow him, as to our proposing a certain rate of interest to the Bank. Now, the rate of interest demanded by the Bank, and not only by it but by many private parties, was 8 or 9 per cent. We did think it necessary to fix a rate of interest, and my belief now is, that our naming the rate of interest which we did, constituted the safety of the measure which we authorised. The noble Lord has thought it proper upon this occasion to sing a kind of song of triumph on the calamitous situation of this as contrasted with the extreme prosperity of foreign countries. Amongst other things he has alluded to the French loan. Well, we had occasion to borrow during the course of last Session. The terms offered and accepted were 89l 10s., whilst the loan lately concluded by the French Government was at 75 francs 25 centimes. This does not then show our credit to be so very low. Well, the noble Lord went on—but I find it impossible to follow him throughout—to talk of the calamities which have lately occurred—calamities which he attributed to free trade and to the state of the money laws. So far, however, as I could understand him, he appeared to prove no closer connexion between the disasters and the system under which they occurred, than can be shown to exist between Tenterden steeple and the Goodwin Sands. There certainly have been free-trade measures, and there has as certainly been a great depression in trade; but any connexion between them the noble Lord utterly failed to establish. Have there been no periods of depression of commercial credit at other times? Have there not been such periods in 1793, in 1825, in 1839; and to go further back than any of these epochs, was there not a time of great commercial prostration in 1775? And yet at those periods many of the laws and duties which we have since abrogated existed in full force. They existed, but no laws of protection were found able to prevent those instances of depression and revulsion of trade which this country has unhappily so often seen. I agree partly in what the noble Lord says as to railroads. I have not attributed so much evil to the construction of railroads as has been ascribed to it by many. No doubt railway speculation is to be taken as one of the causes of present depression, as great American loans, great South American loans have had their share in producing former panics. But to lay the whole of our present sufferings to the door of railroads, is to give the evils caused by them an exaggerated importance. The fact is, that whether we have protection or free trade—that be the laws as to trade what they may, and as to the currency what they may—I believe that this country, by its industry and activity, having risen to a state of great prosperity, on which is built a system of artificial and fictitious credit—Sir, I believe that that system is sure, at one moment or another, to bring down a revulsion such as that which we have lately seen—and I fear, Sir, that such results are inseparable from the great enterprise for which our merchants are distinguished. The noble Lord referred to the prosperous condition of foreign countries, and spoke of the prosperity of Belgium and Prussia; but the reason for that is, that the exchanges of those countries is not so great as among us, and that a panic does not extend among them as it does in a country whose transactions extend over every part of the civilised globe—affected, as they necessarily must be, by the events which take place in different quarters of the globe, and which no one can foresee. It was said long ago by Lord Chatham, that "the credit of the country was a sensitive plant, which shrunk the moment it was touched;" but if that was true in the time of Lord Chatham, what is the case now, when our transactions are so much more extended, and our substantial wealth so much greater than at that time? If it be the case that credit is so sensitive, and if undertakings have been entered into, and engagements of trade and of other natures have been made, which are beyond the available capital of this country at the moment, there must be, in consequence of that undue extent of engagement and undertaking, a change and a collapse throughout the kingdom, during which the country must necessarily undergo suffering and distress. The noble Lord has told us a great deal about the exceeding cheapness of cotton at Liverpool; and he seemed to think that this, in some way or other, was the consequence of free trade. I really, Sir, do not know what he meant by his reference to this fact. Does the noble Lord mean to say it is a misfortune that Liverpool should be a great depot for cotton and cotton goods? Does he mean that it is a misfortune that cotton should be brought there in great quantities—that even the continental manufacturers and merchants seek for it there—that they buy it according to the prices of the market—and that at one time when speculation has raised the value of the article unduly, they cannot buy it but at a high price, and when there is a panic, they can purchase it at a low price? I should have thought, that bringing those merchants to Liverpool was rather an advantage than otherwise; and that to bring purchasers into the market when cotton was low, was a circumstance which the Liverpool merchants could not be disposed to grieve at. Sir, is it the noble Lord's complaint that cotton and woollen goods have been admitted to the injury of our manufacturers in consequence of free trade? I think, Sir, that can hardly be the case, because when long ago cottons were at 50s.,and even as high as 60s., and when woollens were at 70s., and when we were selling them all over the world, in the markets of the continents of Asia and America, and competing with these nations in their own markets, there was no real protection—the existing law was of no avail, and, as Mr. Huskisson said, it had long ceased to exist as a substantial protection. The noble Lord could not complain of free trade on this ground. Is it, then, the great admission of corn during the past year he complains of? Does the noble Lord mean to say there is any class of statesmen in the House, or in the country, who are neither political economists nor free-traders, but who are determined on protection when wheat is at 110s. a quarter? Would he impose a protective duty on the country at such a time? Would he wish us to have the Act of 1828, of which I have heard the noble Lord speak in terms of commendation, which, when the price rose to 72s.,imposed a duty of 1s. a quarter on wheat? [Lord G. BENTINCK: You never heard me speak in commendation of the Act of 1828.] I am mistaken in attributing to the noble Lord any expression in favour of that Act. Perhaps the noble Lord is in favour of a more protective and prohibitory law. But whether or no, it is for him to explain if he would have a duty of 20s. or 30s. a quarter, when the price of wheat is at 110s. It is evident the system could not have been maintained, and that in admitting corn in whatever quantity it could be brought during last year, we had the general assent of this and the other House of Parliament, and of every rational man in the country, who one and all said, "Whatever the quantity of corn may be that you can get in at a low duty, or at no duty at all—whatever may be the difficulty of paying away bullion, if you have to send out many millions to pay for it to foreign countries, yet the state of famine is such that you must buy it wherever it can be bought." It was not free trade did this. Just the same must have taken place if we had had strict protection. It was an emergency, and therefore an exception to every general rule. But it also appears, according to the noble Lord, that tea and sugar and cotton are all at very low prices, and that those who have imported those articles are selling them at a loss. This is not the effect of free trade. Free trade does not tell gentlemen to import goods at a loss; but it leaves them to adopt their own speculations. These, it is true, may fail. They have, it seems, mistaken the prices at which these articles may be sold at a profit; but the free-traders are of opinion that, leaving manufacturers and merchants to their own views of loss and profit, to import tea, sugar, and cotton, is far better than laying down by Act of Parliament the prices at which each of these articles may be sold. But it is by no means a sine quâ nonthat merchants should suffer loss by these speculations, nor do we oblige them to go on importing if they find they cannot meet with a reasonable profit in their undertaking. And now, Sir, I come to the actual state of the country. The noble Lord thinks that protection and the laws relating to the currency have brought us into a state which he calls no less than one of shame, of bankruptcy, and disgrace. Sir, I should be very sorry if those terms were applicable to this country. I do not consider they are so by any means; I consider that owing to the very great extent of speculations, which, if they had not taken the course of railways would have taken some other course of equally great expenditure, and owing to the calamity which obliged us to import food from abroad to no less an extent than the value of 30,000,000l. and to other circumstances to which I need not more particularly refer, we have had a very great revulsion of trade, and that great distress has fallen on the commercial and manufacturing districts; but I do not for an instant believe that we are in that state of shame, of bankruptcy; and of disgrace which the noble Lord attributed to us. I do not believe that we shall not rise again to a state of prosperity, and by the energy and intelligence of the British merchant and manufacturer, with the advantages we possess for trade and commerce, that we shall not again enter into competition with every nation in the world. But, Sir, looking back to the nine months that terminated with October 10th, and looking back to the whole of this year, not excepting even the last two months of calamity, I do not find any reason to consider this country in that state of ruin which the noble Lord—not, however, without apparent hesitation—seemed to assert we were in. I find, on looking to the returns, that, in the nine months ending October 10th, 1845, the amount of articles of British and Irish manufactures exported from the kingdom was 41,732,000; that for the same period in 1846 it was 40,800,000l.; and for the same period in 1847, 39,975,000l. This does, to be sure, exhibit a difference as compared with the two preceding years; but it is no such falling off as should inspire any one with despondency, or that, coming after those prosperous years, it is such a falling off as should dispirit any one looking to the future for the permanent prosperity of the country. Sir, this is a severe, but it is at the same time a temporary calamity. Have we not, even as it is, exported great quantities of manufactures to meet those great imports of food and corn from America. I find that the exports from Liverpool of British manufactured goods to the United States for the three quarters ending October, 1846, were to the amount of 4,529,586l., and that for the three quarters ending October, 1847, they amounted to 6,791,000l., making a difference in favour of exports this year from Liverpool to the United States of 2,261,41l. This fact shows us, that according to the wholesome process of trade and exchanges, the food we imported to this country in greater quantity than usual had been the cause of a greater export of our manufactures. Sir, it is to that export of manufactures, to the return of the gold we have sent abroad to pay for corn, to a favourable state of the exchanges, and to several other circumstances on which I need not dwell at present, that I look for the restoration—not for the immediate, but for the gradual restoration to a better state of things—to a state of improved trade and increased employment, and from that I hope to our wonted prosperity. The noble Lord has spoken of the estimates, and said it would appear from Her Majesty's Speech that they were to be framed according to the rules of political economy. But that phrase was not used in the Queen's Speech. The words really used were, that "the estimates will be framed with a careful regard to the exigencies of the public service." And I assure the noble Lord and this House that be the state of the revenue what it may, that anything we think necessary for the maintenance of the establishments of the country, or anything we at any time think essential to her defence, we shall ask Parliament to approve of; that we shall not be deterred from doing so by any fear of meeting with the disapprobation of the House in asking for such supplies as we think necessary for these purposes; and that if we think them necessary, we shall not fear that disapprobation, because we believe it to be the character of this House to give such supplies as may be necessary for the State, and to take care that this realm of England be properly supplied with all means of defence, and that her greatness and empire be maintained on the same scale as it has been hitherto. Entertaining these views, Sir, I differ from my noble Friend as to the condition of the country. I agree with him only in his statement of the facts as they relate to the present state of our af- fairs; and I do not at all concur with him when he said there never was so gloomy a Speech from the Throne as that which was delivered at the commencement of this Session of Parliament. I know that there have been far more gloomy Speeches from the Throne; but I have always read, that in periods of greater difficulties, in times when I took no part in public life, those difficulties were surmounted. I believe that this period of difficulty will be surmounted, I will not say by the wisdom or by the measures of the Government, but by the energy and by the noble character of the nation; and, as far as going along with it in its struggles, in assisting its efforts, and in not despairing of its fortunes, can bear me out, I will say the Government will prove itself not unworthy of the nation.


said, his experience told him that in every fresh difficulty and crisis of this sort the country did not recover its elasticity and return to the same advantageous and prosperous condition it was in before, as the noble Lord seemed to imagine. But how was it that, after a period of thirty-two years of uninterrupted peace, they found themselves in a condition which, without any despondency, was, in his opinion, infinitely more discouraging than any other he recollected? Looking to the advantages we possessed, if we used them rightly, and to the enterprise of our merchants, he was not one to take a desponding view of the future; but he would tell the Government that if they relied too much on the energy of the people, and that energy was not assisted and supported by the Government, the country would continue to retrograde, as it had done for several years past. With respect to the navigation laws, he had looked with much attention to the precise words in Her Majesty's Speech on the subject, and he did not object to them. He did not object to inquiry into those laws, with a view to consider whether any or what relaxation or modification might be made in them applicable to the existing state of things, and the maintenance of the maritime interests of this country and its dependencies. He would not be tempted, at such a time as that, to go into any discussion; but he would implore the House not to consider the present state of things as one to be lightly passed over. He was glad to find, with respect to our monetary system, that the Government intended to appoint a Committee of Inquiry, and that the inquiry was to be general; for nothing but a searching and faithful inquiry into the complicated difficulties by which the country was surrounded, would, in his opinion, afford the slightest chance of relief from its embarrassment. If such an inquiry was made, and the Government was sincere and not imposed on by those notions which the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) must have imbibed from persons less informed than himself, and by those fanciful theories with which the free-traders had for many years deluded the country, he believed that the state of things would recover, and prosperity would be restored. He had not yet seen the hon. Member for Stockport in the House; but he should like to ask him whether the predictions he had made as to the benefits the manufacturers were likely to derive from free trade had been fulfilled. The manufacturers might suffer the last, but they would suffer not the least; and he would tell them, that if they were so selfish as to call for the withdrawal of protection first from agriculture, then from the West India Colonies, in the cultivation of sugar, and afterwards from the shipping interest, the mischief that would fall upon those several interests would afterwards fall upon themselves. As a test of our commercial policy, he looked to the condition of the labouring classes; and in his opinion no class had a deeper interest in opposing the principles of free trade than the labouring population of the country.


was surprised that any hon. Member with the information of his hon. Friend could stand up in that House and question the allegation of the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell), that from every great commercial crisis the country had gradually recovered, and regained its former state of prosperity. His hon. Friend was chairman of a society in which the shipping interest was much concerned, and he would find, that whilst in 1825 the number of British ships was 19,000, and the tonnage 2,000,000, the tonnage was now 3,000,000, and the number of ships had increased in proportion. Again, let his hon. Friend look around him in every town, and especially in this metropolis, and see how great an accession of houses, and addition to every kind of property, there had been, and then how could he say that things had not recovered? His hon. Friend had referred to the navigation laws. If his hon. Friend would read the evidence taken before the Committee in the last Session, he would see that those laws were more detrimental to the shipping interest than anything else. Wherever protection had been removed, a beneficial effect had been produced. So long as the silk trade was confined to Spitalfields, and competition was excluded, they heard every two or three years of distress amongst the weavers, and of subscriptions for their relief; but when a change took place in the trade, and competition was admitted, they heard no longer of that distress. It would be the same with the shipping interest. None had been more frequently spoken of as a losing interest for two or three years together, and then it took a spurt. He must, therefore, express his regret that his hon. Friend should venture upon such opinions as he had expressed. The noble Lord (Lord J. Russell), in answer to a remark of the noble Lord opposite, had brought forward a statement of the exportation of cotton. Why, did the noble Lord opposite know that in 1825, from excessive speculation, when the Bank could do what it pleased, cotton was raised from 10d. a pound to Is. 3d. and 1s. 6d.; and what was the quantity of cotton imported? In 1824 it was 149,000,000lb.; in 1825, 222,000,000lb.; and in 1826, 177,000,000lb.; and what took place? His hon. Friend behind him, who was lately president of the Chamber of Commerce at Manchester, would recollect the fact that the merchants, instead of exporting cotton at a loss of 2½d. per pound, were obliged to export it at a loss of Is. per pound. That was a necessary effect of over-speculation. Whether the Bank was under restriction or not, after a period of gradual progress towards prosperity, the degree to which credit rose was of itself one of the causes of the evils that followed. Would his hon. Friend opposite venture to say that half a dozen or a dozen of the largest houses that had recently failed were wealthy? Why, many of them had been in a state of insolvency for years. It was only the state of the country that exposed their condition, and prevented greater evils. Nothing could be more unfortunate than the existence of such large concerns, possessing great credit, and thereby interfering with the prudent and attentive man of business. With the credit they possessed they had sustained themselves for years; but, when he saw one house failing for 1,000,000l., another for 1,500,000l., and a third for 500,000l., he would venture to say, that if they would look to the manner in which those debts had accrued, not one in ten of those houses ought to have been in existence ten years ago. It was for the benefit of commerce that they should be removed. He was sorry for the victims, and that the failures should take place all at once; for he would rather that those houses had gradually decreased and declined without coming together to that result which had spread alarm in the country, and which was most dangerous to the credit of small dealers and men who went on in a moderate manner. One of the best means of restoring things to a prosperous state was to prevent extravagance in the public service; to bring the expenditure within a proper limit. He was always for paying well those who did serve the public; but not those whom they did not want. He would, for instance, save 1,500,000l. by doing away with the absurd blockade of the coast of Africa; and he hoped, before any attempt was made to renew the income-tax, a proper explanation would be given why the people of England were put to such an expense. He had moved for a return which would show the House the enormous amount this country had paid, and which had only ended in an aggravation of the horrors of the slave trade; and he could not think that the time was far distant when the country would put an end to that expense. He believed it was most mischievous, and that for every slave that would, but for their interference, have been destroyed on the coast of Africa, they were at that moment the murderers of some 50,000 or 60,000. So far from the cause of humanity having in any way been served by their proceedings and so-called precautions on the coast of Africa, the slaves were now crowded in smaller vessels than ever before were used, and the revolting horrors continually perpetrated for the purpose of avoiding detection exceeded anything that had ever been known even in the worst days of the slave trade. That trade had become a mere matter of smuggling—man-smuggling; and, while he agreed heartily with those who said that it ought to be put down, no matter at what cost, he protested against the absurd course they were at this moment taking to attain that philanthropic end. Let those measures be at once adopted which would make free labour cheaper than slave labour, and their purpose would be accomplished. He entirely agreed with the noble Lord at the head of the Government in thinking that this was one of those ordinary and occasional calamities which, be their legislation what it might, would be perpetually checking the progress of a country situated as was England. The point was to ascertain in this instance what was the real as well as the proximate cause of the disaster. He hated all restrictions on banks; he was for free trade in that as in every other branch of business. He had stated at the time when the Act of 1844 was under discussion, that it was bad in principle, because it pretended to provide a standard, and did, in effect, make the bank of issue a separate establishment; and he had then prophesied, what had since proved true, that it would utterly fail in obviating such a season of distress as this at certain intervals. It seemed to him the most inexcusable inconsistency to grant to every man in the kingdom power to pursue any particular trade or trades without restraint, and then, at the same moment, to limit ruinously those exchanges by which only any negotiations could be carried on. He was not of opinion, nevertheless, that the recent measure of the Government was a wise one. It had practically had little effect beyond removing an unfounded degree of distrust and alarm; it had not added one shilling to the capital of the country; and no man in reality found himself one whit the richer in consequence. He therefore regretted that, great as the emergency was, the Government had had recourse to such an invasion, not to say infringement of the law; the precedent was bad, and if often followed, would leave them without any security at all for the stability of systems which had been deliberately approved of by the nation. Though not approving of this part of the policy of Her Majesty's Ministers, he would not oppose the Address. It was with the greatest satisfaction he had listened to the explanation of the noble Lord that he was opposed to asking from Parliament any extraordinary powers for the enforcement of the law upon the population of various districts in Ireland. He had, throughout, resisted every attempt to overawe a people, and to maintain that profitless system of coercion in which statesmen once found their only resource. He cordially concurred in all the observations made on this subject the pre-ceding evening by the hon. Member for Northamptonshire (Mr. Stafford). Certainly that House was called upon to grant to the Government every assistance in putting down the crimes which disgraced some parts of Ireland; and it would be their duty, also, in passing measures of that nature, to take into consideration the means which were wanting to ensure the future and permanent prosperity of that country. In the Speech addressed to Parliament last Session by Her Majesty, She directed attention to the "permanent condition of Ireland;" in the Speech of this Session not one word was said upon that topic; and this omission would lead to the belief that nothing was intended to be done for the permanent establishment of order and the effectual creation of wealth in the sister kingdom. The hon. Gentleman who first addressed the House, had alluded to the state of the Church in Ireland. Thirty years ago he had spoken of the abolition of the Establishment in Ireland as the only remedy for the discontent of the majority of the people; and if so late as 1824 that step had been taken—if the privileges conceded to Scotland and England had been extended to Ireland—and if the Roman Catholics, as the majority, had been relieved from the predominance of the religion of the minority—there would now have been no cry for the repeal of the Union. The Protestant Members of Parliament were the most strenuous in their opposition to such a course; they said, "We who have property in Ireland know best, let us alone; we are the proper judges of what is wanted." They had been left alone, and what was the result? Why, that that property had been swept away, or rendered unproductive, which, had the people been contented, happy, and prosperous, would have increased tenfold in value. This then was the time to get rid of the all-absorbing evil of Ireland. Let the Church Establishment be at once got rid of, and let the people be placed on the same footing and equality as the people of England. It would be with great reluctance that he should be induced to give his consent to a Coercion Bill; and the only reason why he should forego his aversion to such a course was the confidence he placed in the Earl of Clarendon. The conduct of that nobleman in Ireland had been admirable, and he was assuredly as fit to be entrusted with extraordinary powers as any Viceroy he had seen in his time. It was a matter of regret that the noble Lord, in the course of his speech, had not given the House some account of the result of our interference with Portugal, and of our proceedings in Spain. Perhaps the noble Lord at the head of the Foreign Office was sorry that he had not left his neighbours to fight out their own quarrels; and if he would look to the history of the last nine or ten years, he would find that in every case in which we had intermeddled with the internal concerns of neighbouring countries to the neglect of our own, whatever might be the momentary éclat attending our generosity, permanent and essential injury had been done both to the people interested and to ourselves. And then it was well to remember that we could not afford such interference. The fleet which we were now maintaining in the Tagus for the support of the rotten Government of Portugal, cost us at least 1,000,000l. a year; and the expenses of our navy, which was principally in requisition by other parties, were at this moment most unreasonably high. In conclusion, he begged to say, that with these reservations he would agree to the Address, and to the report; and he trusted in a short time to see, by the co-operation of the Government with the industrious people of this country, our trade again flourishing and our prosperity as well founded, and as undoubted as it had been three years ago.


wished the hon. Member for Montrose had, before he sat down, enlightened the House by mentioning some of those foreign countries which were anxious to follow our free-trade policy, and to adopt the principle of reciprocity in commercial treaties. Did the hon. Gentleman allude to the Republic of Equador, and, if not, to what other State? He was rather curious upon this head, and perhaps the hon. Gentleman would satisfy his curiosity. He remembered when the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth introduced this subject, with all the power of his eloquence and all the weight of his authority, he expressly mentioned at least two States which would participate in this policy with England—Naples and Prussia. Naples, he said, had already entered into a reciprocity treaty, and Prussia was shaking. For his (Mr. Bankes') part, he thought that treaties of this nature with Naples could not be productive of much advantage, seeing that that country had been the scene of continued revolutions; and, as for Prussia, the "shaking" of Prussia was like the shaking of the needle which steadily pointed to the pole—the "shaking" of Prussia was invariably towards the pole of her own interests, and her policy was quite opposite and adverse to that of late pursued by England. He repeated what he had already stated, that he should be glad if the hon. Gentleman would give him the name of any country likely to join in our reciprocity policy; and if not, judging from the past and surveying the present, and admitting that the experiment of free trade had not had a full trial, the advocates of that measure must at least permit him to say—what indeed none could deny—that all the flattering predictions with which its enactment was ushered in had been utterly and completely falsified. You told us, said the hon. Gentleman, that at least some parts of this question were no matters of experiment, and that beneficial effects, at least to a great extent, must inevitably follow the alteration; you told us that speculations in corn must and would be put an end to; you told us that uniformity of prices would be established; you told us that, in proportion as we imported corn from abroad we should export our manufactures; and how has your prophecy in these respects been fulfilled? Now, firstly, with regard to your predictions respecting speculations in corn. When you commenced this unfortunate career of calamity, every person engaged in that particular branch of commerce. Were those the persons of whom the hon. Member for Montrose spoke as having deserved the hard fate which had befallen them? Were those the houses which had been recently ruined, and which the hon. Gentleman said should never have stood? The hon. Member's animadversions did not apply to the corn speculators. To whom, then, did they apply? Why, to men who had for years pursued a perfectly legitimate course of trade—many of them prosperously—and who owed their destruction to the measures which the hon. Member for Montrose advocated. But what was the fact? Just this—that one of the main grounds upon which the alteration of the law was advocated was, that it would prevent the very species of calamity which the result proved it had actually brought about. In his opinion the sliding-scale would have produced contrary results. He wanted to know when the fluctuation in the price of corn was greater—nay, when it had been so great? The price of wheat in August was 4:5s. per quarter; in the May following, 120s. per quarter. Had their manufactures gone forward? [Mr. HUME: Yes, they have.] The hon. Member said they had; but at what prices? He apprehended that it was a most material question whether or no a certain quantity of manufactured goods, or double that quantity, was given for the same amount of gold. Surely this could never for one moment be lost sight of by manufacturers. Well, upon this ground, too, the predictions had been at fault—the manufactured goods had not gone out in exchange for corn; there had been a drain of the precious metals, and, upon the whole, the manufacturing interests were far from being in a flourishing condition. But there was another point, also, in which those prophecies had signally failed. He alluded to the Bank Charter Act, which unhappily had been so prominently forced into the discussion. If he remembered aright, with respect to the panic of 1825, to which the hon. Member for Montrose had adverted, it had been stated, when the Bank Charter Act was introduced, that no such panic as that would again occur; for the Act itself was brought in for the purpose of preventing it: and yet that was one part of the question. Was it not the question, within three years of its passing, and after witnessing one of the most severe and ruinous panics that had ever occurred in this country? And the result would have been much more disastrous if the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the disciple of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth, had not, with the noble Lord at the head of the Government, suspended its operation. "Oh, but," said the hon. Member for Montrose, "I think the suspension of that Act was a very blameable measure. I do not think that this suspension was of any use, unless it was the restoring of a little confidence and credit." Why, he (Mr. Bankes) submitted that a country like this existed and traded on credit. It had been said by an eminent statesman in this House, that credit was the sunshine, if not the sun, to this country. Well, then, in what position had they been? Their credit was gone, their gold had been exported; and when sunshine had been partially restored by violating this Bank Act, the hon. Gentleman spoke of it as the "restoring of a little confidence and credit. "He thought the Government had much to answer for that they did not make this relaxation at an earlier period; and he must say that the noble Lord at the head of the Government had, notwithstanding the challenge which had been so plainly given to him, altogether avoided telling the House why the Government did not take the step they took at an earlier period, and what was the reason for taking it at that particular time. For not taking this course sooner, the Government was, in his (Mr. Bankes's) opinion, responsible for much of the disaster which had befallen commercial houses. For want of credit they were obliged to surrender. That credit could in many instances have been afforded by an earlier interference. The Government, it was admitted, possessed the power—they had exercised the power; why not, he repeated, exercise it at an earlier period? Why hold back until a certain number of great houses had fallen? Was it for the Government to select the firms which they would suffer to fall, and those which by their aid might be permitted to stand? The hon. Member for Montrose said there were some ten or twelve great houses which deserved to perish; which ought never to have stood; and which ought to have fallen sooner. But would the Government avow this was the reason of their hanging back—that they wished certain firms to fall before they would apply any remedy? If that was their reason, let them openly avow it; but if not—if, as it was admitted, stable houses of good repute and long standing had yielded to the pressure—why then the mercantile community were justified in holding the Government responsible for the destruction of those firms. He felt quite sure that the right hon. Baronet the Secretary of State for the Home Department would be the last man to do anything which was not perfectly consistent with propriety; but there was a statement in the public newspapers to the effect that he, as the representative of one of the northern counties, was the immediate cause of the relaxation which had taken place, and that the Government—having resisted all other applications—having stood out against the citizens of London, of Newcastle, and of Liverpool—had yielded at last to the urgent solicitations of those connected with the collieries. At all events, there must have been some peculiar urgency which forced the Government to do at last that which they so obstinately and daringly refused to do at first. Now, he did think that House was entitled to some explanation upon this head; and that either the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell), or some other Member of the Government, was bound to inform the House what that urgency was. The hon. Member for Montrose blamed the Government for violating the laws by this relaxation. But the hon. Member, as a supporter of the present Government, ought to know that it was no new thing for that Government to violate the law; and if he continued to support them, he would get used to those violations. Within the last two years, during which they had been in power, they had twice violated the law. In this case it was true he approved of the violation, and wished they had gone further than a mere temporary violation, because there could be no doubt but much calamity had been averted; but he fully agreed with the hon. Member that it was no light matter to violate the law, and especially for a Government to violate the law, even when that violation was for the public advantage. He could not help observing upon the singular manner in which this violation had been alluded to in the Royal Speech. He must say that the phraseology in which this allusion was couched was not only unusual in Royal Speeches, but he believed almost unprecedented. Her Majesty was put forward as the original propounder of this breach of the law. The words were— Her Majesty has seen with great concern the distress which has for some time prevailed among the commercial classes. The embarrassments of trade were at one period aggravated by so general a feeling of distrust and of alarm, that Her Majesty, for the purpose of restoring confidence, authorised Her Ministers to recommend to the Directors of the Bank of England a course of proceeding suited to such an emergency. He would have thought the usual mode of expression to have been something after this manner—"That the Government felt it to be their duty to submit to Her Majesty the propriety of departing in this instance from a Parliamentary enactment." It was singular that, according to the communications which had appeared in the newspapers, between the Government and the Bank of England, the only parties who seemed to take any part on behalf of the Government were the noble Lord the Member for the city of London, and the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer. What had been done seemed, from what had been published, to have been the acts of those Gentlemen, and not at all the Government as a body. The great inconvenience of the relaxation was the high rate of interest which it directed, and that was another reason why the name of the Sovereign should not be put forward. Her Majesty was represented, not merely as directing a violation of the law, but that a usurious rate of interest might be extracted from Her subjects. Surely it would have been more becoming in the Government to have refrained from putting forward the Sovereign in so unpopular and odious a light. He could not ascertain, from the statements which had been made, what was the definite determination of the Government respecting the Bank Charter Act; but the Chancellor of the Exchequer told them that whilst Parliament sat they might go on as they were, because if any difficulty arose the Parliament could interfere; but the right hon. Gentleman had not condescended to tell them whether, towards the end of the Session, the Ministers would require from the Legislature certain conditional permission for relaxing the law, or whether they would, without that permission, again violate it. He begged, however, to tell the Government, that although the House, from the peculiar and extraordinary circumstances in which the country was placed, and the urgency of the moment, might sanction this violation of the law which had taken place, it might not, on future occasions, be so willing to extend that indulgence if Government omitted to take proper precautions. He hoped, before they separated to-night, they would have this question answered by a Member of the Government—why had not the Government sootier made the relaxation, and what it was that induced them to make it at the particular time they had done? He called for an answer, and thought that when the House was called upon to sanction a violation of the law, it was at least entitled to an explanation respecting that violation, and of all the circumstances connected with it.


The hon. Gentleman who has just sat down, reminded the Government that it had been their fate, during the two years they had held the government, to be obliged, on two separate occasions, to exceed the law. It would ill become me to speak lightly of an infringement of the law of the land by the Government; but, on the other hand, I am not prepared to say, if it should be the fate of the Government to be a third year in office, and if circumstances should again arise which should, in their opinion, render it necessary for them to take upon themselves the responsibility of exceeding the law, that they would fear to do so, and then throw themselves upon the judgment of the Parliament of England. That is the only answer I shall make to the observation of the hon. Gentleman, which I apprehend was meant for a taunt. The last two years were marked by extraordinary circumstances. The first occasion to which the hon. Gentleman alluded, when I had the honour to hold the office of Chief Secretary for Ireland, was marked by peculiar calamity affecting that part of the empire. The present occasion, which we have met now to consider, has been marked by great and widely-spread misfortune, affecting the commercial classes of this country; and I should he ashamed of the Government, if, upon either of those two occasions, they had shrunk from taking upon themselves the duty and the responsibility which are attached to the offices they hold, and which are necessary for the public service; or if they had hesitated in putting in exercise any power they might possess to stay the progress of the evil. I do not conceive it is necessary for me to anticipate now that discussion which will far more regularly and properly come on when my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer will state to the House all the circumstances and reasons which led to the course which the Government adopted with regard to that communication with the Bank of England. But when the hon. Member for Dorchester says—"Answer me at least one question; tell me why was this step by the Government taken at this particular time; neither sooner or later?"—I think he must see—the House at least, on a moment's reflection, will see, that it would be utterly impossible for my right hon. Friend, or any Member of the Government, to answer that question without going into the whole circumstances of the case. And, as my right hon. Friend has promised the House to make his statement on a day no more distant than Tuesday, I hope the hon. Member for Dorchester will restrain his impatience, and not ask the Government to do that which they cannot possibly do without at once opening a wide field of discussion. I should not have trespassed upon the House, had it not been for some of the observations of the hon. Member who has just sat down, and other remarks of a similar character. I had hoped that the speech of my noble Friend at the head of the Government had disposed of all that part of the discussion which attempted to connect the recent commercial distress with what some hon. Gentlemen are pleased to term the utter failure of free-trade policy. But all that the hon. Gentleman opposite has advanced under that head, amounts only to this—that you have recently adopted free-trade principles; and it does so happen that in the course of the present year there has been a time of great commercial em- barrassment and distress. But I must say that some of the observations made by the hon. Gentleman regarding the supposed failure of free-trade policy, did appear to me to be very strongly in favour of that policy. Think of the effect of introducing such a great quantity of grain—10,000,000 quarters! Why, the answer to that is, we very much wanted all this grain. One would think that the most scandalous and wasteful expenditure of our money had taken place in the purchase of this grain; but the hon. Gentleman might as well argue that a man had brought himself to ruin who had spent his money in the baker's shop to purchase bread for his children. It is a remarkable circumstance, and one which I view in a very different light to the hon. Gentleman, that in a time of most appalling calamity in Ireland, when, by a visitation of Providence, the supply of the usual food was cut off, the riches, the energy, the credit of this country should have attracted towards its shores this unusual import of food. In the whole commercial history of this country, I say, I know of nothing which strikes me more forcibly with an impression of the power of uncontrolled trade than this enormous supply of human food. The hon. Gentleman has challenged us to show an instance in which foreign nations have followed our example in free trade; but he has not, I think, observed the conduct of foreign nations with care and accuracy, or he would not have so spoken. My own conviction is, that the example of this country has produced most remarkable results upon the conduct of foreign nations. If I were now entering fully into the subject, I could show that many countries have made the most important modifications in their tariffs, to the advantage of this country, by the reduction of duties; but I will not now go into any memoirs upon that point, further than to mention one instance—that of the United States of America. It was only in December last, that the Legislature of the United States revised their whole tariff, and made the most important reductions in it; and everybody acquainted with the circumstances of that country, knows that the party which pressed for these reductions, and carried them, were mainly assisted with being able to say, "England has altered her corn laws, and has shown a disposition to favour the commerce of the United States. "I really feel that I ought not to allow myself to be dragged into a wide field of discussion on the present occasion. At the same time, having heard such confident assertions made by the hon. Gentleman and others on the opposite side of the House, with respect to the utter failure of the measures of free trade, as exemplified in the history of the last three or four years—believing as I do that there is no foundation in fact for making such assertions; and feeling certain that whenever those hon. Gentlemen shall, instead of vague assertions, venture to place their propositions in a tangible shape before the House, and bring forward something like proofs in their support, they will altogether fail in so doing. I felt it my duty to enter my protest against the assertions which have been brought forward in this discussion; and having done so, I hope the House will now proceed to receive the report on the Address.


assured the House he would not detain them many minutes. He had been led to hope by the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade, that he would take pity on the ignorance of the House, and help to enlighten them on the subject of free trade. A few months ago he had moved an Address to the Crown for returns showing the changes which had occurred in the tariffs of foreign countries since the recent change in our customs duties; but to this moment those returns had never been produced, and he had consequently been driven to this conclusion—either that Her Majesty's Ministers intended to refuse to grant those returns, or that they were not aware what changes had taken place in the tariffs of foreign countries. As he had been informed, however, that an Address to the Crown did not terminate with a bygone Parliament, he was still inclined to hope, especially after the speech of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Labouchere), that ere long Parliament would be informed what changes had occurred in foreign tariffs in consequence of the relaxation in ours. The right hon. Gentleman had also announced, that although Government had twice violated the law within two years, they were prepared to violate it again if necessary. He did not for a moment reflect upon the violation of the Bank Charter Act which had taken place lately under the authority of Government. On the contrary, he thought it most unfortunate that Government should have allowed so many large and important firms to fail before they did so. He asked the House to con- sider how many firms had failed under the recent pressure. He had seen a list of no fewer than 117 large and important houses which had stopped payment, and that list was not complete. He begged the attention of the House to the names of some of these firms:—Alexander, Lesley, and Co.; Douglas and Co.; Sanderson and Co.; Reid, Irving, and Co.; Gower Nephews and Co.; Perkins, Mullens, and Co.; Barclay Brothers and Co.; Trueman, Cook, and Co.; Robinson and Co.; the Abingdon Bank, the Liverpool Banking Company, the Newcastle Bank, and the Royal Bank of Liverpool. He hoped the House would not he led away from the consideration of the grave circumstances of the country, by the loose assertions which were made respecting the insolvency of many of these houses had not certain changes taken place in the legislation of the country. Would it be asserted that the West Indian houses would have failed had not their property been undermined by the changes which had been made in the customs duties of our country? Or would it be boldly asserted that these houses had experience, previous to the present time of the pressure which had occurred under the restrictions of the Bank Charter Act? He would not, however, enter into this subject at present. He had merely adverted to it in justice to the many victims who had perished—to the numerous houses which had fallen. He must say that he was surprised that the tone of the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade was so cheerful; for if there was any department of the Government the representative of which ought to be in mourning, it was that department of which the right hon. Gentleman was at the head. What were the accounts from Manchester? By the last accounts it appeared that there were 20,000 men out of employment. And what was the state of trade in the other districts? Why, every day brought accounts of more distrust, more mills closed, more operatives being thrown out of employment. For the Government to deny the connexion between this state of things and free trade, was, he thought, to attribute inefficacy to their own measure. He remembered last May hearing the hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets say, that it was an odd and alarming circumstance that during the period when the imports of corn were enormous, there was at the same time a large increase in the import of articles of inferior necessity; and he feared it would have a serious effect on the balance of trade. It had a serious effect. The noble Lord the Member for Lynn did not for a moment attribute the whole pressure to the mere action of free trade upon ordinary circumstances; but when they had it shown by documents before the House that there was increased importation in other articles besides corn, how the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade should say that the free-trade measures had nothing to do with the present difficulties, surpassed his poor understanding. He must say too, that the noble Lord at the head of the Government, in his poor understanding, had rather evaded answering the powerful address of the noble Lord the Member for Lynn, who opened the debate. He recollected an expression which the noble Lord had used towards him last Session, when he had counted out the House upon the debate on the affairs of Portugal, that his rescue of the hon. Member for Montrose from the result of a division on that occasion was something like the proceedings of a goddess of ancient days who involved her hero in a cloud and carried him off into obscurity. He thought that the noble Lord had on the present occasion involved himself in obscurity. He would have them believe that it had reached even his understanding. The noble Lord had professed himself unable to understand the proposition of the noble Lord the Member for Lynn, who attributed the export of bullion to the necessary importation of corn, aggravated by the increased importation of other articles; the noble Lord said he was surprised that his noble Friend (Lord G. Bentinck) should complain of the low price of cotton at Liverpool, which had been produced by free importation. Really this was asking the House to believe that the noble Lord was less able than they all knew him to be. The proposition of his noble Friend was this. The exportation of gold destroyed credit by the restriction which was placed on it by the Bank Charter Act. This destruction of credit artificially reduced the price of cotton, which was purchased by those States whose credit was unimpaired, while it was useless to our own manufacturers who were unable to buy it. To say, then, that the noble Lord could see no connexion between the recent legislation of 1844 and 1846 and the present distress, was asking the House to give him credit for a want of understanding which he for one could not assent to. There was one observation of the hon. Member for Montrose which had fallen heavily on his oar; the hon. Member had said that many of the houses which had recently failed were houses which ought to have fallen, and he was sorry that more of them had not come down. Was that the way they were to deal with those upon whose speculations the whole free-trade measures were founded? Was that the way they were to deal with that credit which alone could bring those exports which produced the balance of trade, and save us from continual exports of bullion? He had seen in the public papers expressions about "sweeping away false credit, and destroying houses which ought not to stand," and about "bringing credit as frequently as possible to the test of capital." What must be the end of such a system? What but the reduction of the means to meet the effects of the free-trade legislation which had been adopted by the House? He not only regretted to have heard such expressions as those he had referred to applied by some public journals to commercial men who were pressed upon by the exigencies of the times; but he had seen language used tending to harden the hearts of our fellow-countrymen against the progressive distress of the working classes. He found the following remarks in the Spectator of last week:— The worst dark spot in the prospect for the winter lies in the discharge of railway labourers. These men are not numerous enough, perhaps, to impart anything of an insurrectionary character to the disturbances which they are sure to create in want and idleness; but they are strong, brutal men—they have been pampered, they will feel the pinch of destitution, and will be doubly exasperated by the appetite for enjoyment, and the gnawing of hunger in their robust and angry stomachs. Crime will abound this winter—erimes of violence and hateful excesses; and extraordinary precautions must be taken to check the lawless, if we would not have the horrors of stormed cities in our towns and rural districts. Was this the doctrine of those who professed political economy? If it was at the suggestion of the Home Secretary that Government had agreed to relax the provisions of the Bank Charter Act, the right hon. Baronet had added another to the many services for which the country was indebted to him.


could not allow the debate to close without saying a few words. To his mind, every cause which had been assigned by the Government as a reason for bringing them together, was a subject of condemnation against the Government. If he took the Bank question, or the condition of the commercial world—the mercantile or the manufacturing interest; if he looked at the colonies, or at home, or abroad—whether he referred to what was contained in the Speech, or to what was omitted from the Speech—he declared, upon his honour, that each and all of those subjects formed matter of condemnation of the Government. Ay, the assertion might be thought a broad one; but if they looked at the Speech they would find that almost every topic introduced into it was a subject to Her Majesty of grief, lamentation, and regret. There were only two subjects which were declared to be satisfactory in the Speech. The one was, that the Government had not violated the law; but he declared that if they were not morally and virtually guilty of its violation, by authorising it to be done, then he did not know what violation of the law was. The other subject was, that the landlords of the empire had availed themselves of the facilities offered by Government for improving their estates. With these exceptions, everything else was matter of lamentation and regret. But though the Speech from the Throne had dwelt upon the distress, it had not, in his mind, referred to the causes. Those causes, in his estimation, were, that rather than regard the interests of their own country, they had regarded the interests of foreigners; that rather than respect the home trade, they had respected the trade of other countries; that rather than take those measures which would conduce to the wealth and riches of this country, they had taken those measures which would conduce to the wealth and riches of foreign Powers. Ireland was the only department in the Speech in which Her Majesty's Ministers appeared to recommend what would prove a specific remedy. And the last topic introduced into the Speech was one that would tend to throw out of employment our whole maritime population, and undermine that upon which our strength and independence as a nation rested—he meant our navigation laws. He would therefore state, in conclusion, as he had at the commencement, that Ministers had not assigned a single reason for Parliament being called together at this inconvenient season, which was not, in fact, a verdict of condemnation against their policy.

Report read a second time and agreed to, and ordered to be presented to Her Majesty by the Mover and Seconder, and such Members of the House as are of Her Majesty's Privy Council.

House adjourned at a quarter to Ten o'clock.