HC Deb 23 April 1849 vol 104 cc622-706

Order for Third Reading, read; Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the third time."


rose and said, he should be deficient in his duty if he did not advert to some of the material topics involved in this question upon moving, as he intended to do, that the Bill be read a third time this day six months. The subject had been so fully discussed upon former occasions, that he hoped the House would excuse him from entering into any consideration of those minute details which had been the subject of previous discussion. They had now arrived at a point which required them, as statesmen and as legislators, to deliberate and decide upon the great measure before them upon the highest grounds of policy and national expediency. He did not think it necessary or proper at this stage to recur to any of the statistical elements of this question. He had done with columns of figures, with statements of the comparative prices of shipbuilding in this and other countries, and with the evidence contained in the ten folio blue books that had been presented. Nor would he again insist upon the argument that our great mercantile marine was the foundation of our naval power, or that the only effectual means of securing our mercantile marine was to hold fast by the fundamental principle of the navigation laws, which, as he had already so often asserted, consisted in securing to our own shipping the exclusive carriage of our trade where we could do so; and to extend to it the utmost degree of preference in our power in all other cases. He should not insist, on this occasion, upon the fact which he believed to be established, if not confessed, that in this country, the most wealthy, civilised, and most heavily burdened in the world with taxation, both local and public, ships could not be built as cheaply as in other countries not so burdened with local and general taxation. It would be a waste of time to the House to pursue the obvious line of general and irresistible reasoning which led to that conclusion. It was patent to every one, who would open his eyes to the relative condition of this and other countries. No inquiry concerning the prices of this or that particular ingredient in shipbuilding could materially affect it. High prices were the necessary accompaniments of wealth, civilisation, and burdensome taxation. All the fruits of manual labour were more costly in the richer than in the poorer countries. If an opposite result was obtained in the production of our staple manufactures, it was owing to the employment of machinery urged by a vast accumulated capital. Ships could not be produced by such means; and no ingenuity of argument could convince any man of common sense that a house, or a railroad, or a ship, could be constructed in this country at as small a cost as in the Baltic, until the habits of the people, the prices of commodities is general, and the contributions of the labourer to the exigencies of the State, were reduced more nearly to the same level in England and the north of Europe. Before adverting to the principal topics to which he should call attention, he begged to explain why those with whom he acted did not take any part relative to this Bill in Committee, when it was supposed some of its provisions might possibly have been improved. It had been a subject of reproach against them, that they had taken no part in discussing the details; and it had been insinuated that this was done designedly in order that the Bill should continue to exhibit its prominent defects, and thereby ensure a greater disposition to reject it afterwards either in that House or elsewhere. There was no foundation for that supposition; and he would say distinctly, that the only reason for not opposing it then was, that it was framed in such a manner as to be utterly impossible, consistently with the opinions held by himself and his friends, to make any change in it which would reconcile them to the principle. They considered that no change which they could propose would have made it answer the description which was mendaciously stated upon its titlepage—"A Bill to amend the Laws in force for the Encouragement of British Shipping and Navigation." The title ought rather to have been, "A Bill to abolish all the Laws now in force for the Encouragement of British Shipping and Navigation, and to make further provision for the Discouragement thereof." It had been asserted both in and out of that House, that in the resistance offered to the repeal of the navigation laws, the protectionists were fighting for a shadow, and struggling to retain a code of laws of which nothing material remained since the introduction of the reciprocity system. To this he should oppose, as the best answer, the declaration of the President of the Board of Trade when he introduced the Bill. He then stated, "The changes I am about to recommend, are of a far more important and extensive description than any previously proposed to Parliament;" and he added, "I do not disguise from myself that these alterations are of a very grave and serious character; that they go to the very foundation of what has been considered the principle of the navigation laws of this country." Such, indeed, was the nature and importance of the measure to which he (Mr. Herries) and his friends stood opposed. On former occasions, the House had discussed, at no inconsiderable length, the motives which had induced Her Majesty's Government to introduce this measure, and the insufficiency of many of them had been shown. Time, the great agent of truth, had served them wonderfully well upon this important question; for, between the time when they succeeded in persuading Her Majesty's Ministers to postpone for a year this dangerous Bill and the present, circumstances had arisen which had rendered the foundation utterly valueless upon which it was rested, and sufficient to induce the House to pause before they passed it. The interval had been eminently useful by bringing into clear light a very important element of consideration in forming a decision upon such a measure—the real state of the public opinion on this question. It had shown the real feeling of the people of England—it had put an end to the delusion that there was a "pressure from without" in its favour, which it was impossible for the Minister to resist. There were abundant proofs that the great stream of public opinion was now in the contrary direction. Time had also brought to light many important circumstances relative to the Bill, as it affected the interests of Canada and the West Indies, and our relations with America. With respect to all of those, valuable information had been brought within the knowledge of the House, correcting the undue assumptions of the right hon. Gentleman, and utterly destroying the grounds upon which his proposition were built. To begin with Canada, the condition and the wants of which were placed in the foremost rank as motives for the adoption of the Bill. He had shown on a former occasion how fallacious had been the assertions that the majorities of the board of trade of Quebec, or the board of trade of Montreal, or of the general population of the provinces, had been in favour of the repeal of the navigation laws. He had produced the clearest evidence of the contrary. But it was then objected to him that he had forgotten the Legislative Assembly. He (Mr. Herries) remembered very well that the only recommendation from Canada which sustained the right hon. Gentleman, came from a body which had, by the very same majority which had passed a vote against the navigation laws, recently enacted a measure whereby that colony had been convulsed to its foundation. It was not upon the wisdom of such a body that he (Mr. Herries) should be disposed to rely very greatly as a ground for repealing our navigation laws. And when the recommendations and petition forwarded by the Earl of Elgin came to be examined carefully, they were found to begin and end in this conditional remonstrance—"You have deprived us of protection; and having thereby exposed us to a bare competition with America in the export of our produce to the British market, we call upon you, on that account, to remove from us the restriction of your navigation laws." But the great body of the people did not concur in that petition; their cry was, "Restore to us protection, and maintain the navigation laws." But, as I have already more than once contended, the whole case of Canada, important as that colony may be, is insignificant when compared with the immense consequences to which this measure may lead. The next topic insisted on had been the interests and clamour of the West Indian colonies. What had become of the representations from thence? The famous address from the Assembly of Jamaica had been shown to be surreptitious. The after time had brought nothing from the islands except one representation from Trinidad, respecting the intercourse between that island and the main land, of too trifling a character to have any weight in a great question like this. The next foundation upon which the Bill rested was the threats or representations of the Continental Powers. Since that argument was first used, the House had been put in possession of correspondence and communications with the greater part of those Powers; and he asked the House, upon the replies which had been received, and which had been fully adverted to by him on a former day, whether they furnished inducements to this country for repealing a code of laws intimately connected with the prosperity and the safety of the greatest interests of this empire? Since the last discussion on this subject, one more communication from a foreign Power had been received, and that was a very unsatisfactory answer from Portugal. He should like to know what the right hon. Gentleman would make of the answer. The sum of it was simply this:—the Portuguese Government, after much boasting of its liberality and friendly regulations in its commerce with this country, frankly declared that it was not disposed to abandon its own protective laws, and, at the same time, stoutly objected to any retaliatory measures on the part of Great Britain; and it was well advised in doing so. It was aware of the power which it possessed by its ancient treaties, giving it the right to be treated as the most favoured nations. From Spain we had, of course, received no communication. For this very important omission the reason was obvious: we were still in the position of having no means of communicating with the Government of Spain—Spain, which had treaties of commerce and navigation with us almost as old as any other country; for the favoured-nation clause which she possessed dated from the Treaty of Utrecht. But there was one State from which we had received somewhat ample communications, and very remarkable intelligence. He meant the United States of America. Most flattering views had been given of the benefit to be derived from the conciliatory disposition of the United States, in relation to any measure of this description; and a very singular diplomatic note was actually laid upon the table indicative of that feeling. Since, then, however, a great change had come over the disposition of the American Government; and if we might judge by the announcements of the President, and by reports of speeches made by some of the most influential and eminent statesmen of that country—particularly by one well known in England, whose reputation was European as well as American—there existed in reality no such liberal intentions on the part of the American Government. He (Mr. Herries) wished for satisfactory information upon this subject. At present, he was inclined to doubt whether the celebrated Bancroft letter, and the no less celebrated Bancroft conversations with the right hon. Gentleman, had been fully warranted; as it seemed beyond all doubt that they would not be confirmed by the Government of the United States. General Taylor, in his inaugural address, declared that he was prepared to introduce measures for the protection and encouragement of the agriculture, commerce, and navigation of the United States—and a very wise determination it was. And Mr. Webster was understood to have declared, in a public speech, that the assurances made by Mr. Bancroft respecting the navigation laws were not such as were authorised by the Government of the United States. Under such circumstances, he apprehended Her Majesty's Ministers were not at the present moment in the same condition with regard to the United States as they believed themselves to be when they made the statements he referred to; at all events, nothing had passed relative to the United States which ought for a moment to weigh with the Parliament of this kingdom to impair its determination to maintain the principle of the navigation laws. But we came now to the more general and more conclusive ground on which the right hon. Gentleman professed to have introduced this the most important and extensive change over proposed to Parliament—the interests of our own commerce. Now, upon this—the very touchstone of the whole question—he must turn to the best evidence that could be brought to bear upon it; and such evidence was fortunately within our reach. Commerce should speak for itself. Its sentiments and opinions on this measure, of so much direct interest to itself, had been pronounced by its legitimate representatives—the most distinguished commercial men and associations of all the great commercial towns in the kingdom. The noble Lord the First Minister could, perhaps, give the House some accurate information upon this point, for he represented the most wealthy and the greatest commercial community in the world. That great commercial community had expressed its opinion upon the question, and what was it? He would ask the noble Lord to state the opinions of his constituents. 20,700 had signed a petition against the Bill, which was presented to the House by the first magistrate of the city; but what was far more important than the number of signatures was, that they embraced the names of some of the greatest merchants in the world. Among the first in the list—for he would not go through it to make a selection—he found such names as these: Francis Baring; Charles Baring and Young; Fred. Huth and Co.; Ransom, Norton, and Co.; Palmer, Mackellop, and Co.; Henry David- son; Masterman, Peters, and Co.; Spooner, Attwood, and Co.; Fletcher, Alexander, Bssanquet, and Co.; followed by a host of others not less conspicuous for wealth and intelligence in the commercial world. So much for the judgment of the leading merchants of this great metropolis—the constituents of the noble Lord. He would next turn to the second mercantile city of England—in some branches of commerce second to none—he meant the city of Liverpool. From that great commercial community there had emanated petitions, which he had had the honour of presenting, signed by no less than 47,000 persons, against the Bill; and he was enabled to state, upon the best authority, that among these there appeared the signatures of not less than 1,000 mercantile firms of great note and respectability. This was, perhaps, without precedent in the history of petitions. But he might be reminded that there had been a petition in a contrary sense from the same town. Yes! and what was the comparative weight and importance of it? It was supported by—not 47,000, but by 1,400 names, among which were not found 100 trading firms. It was also a remarkable fact, that in the petitions against the Bill, were to be found the names of some of those persons who had hitherto been conspicuous as extreme free-traders. They had been rescued from that error by the noble Lord and his friends and their measures. They were now cured of free trade. The other large maritime communities of the empire had not remained behind while London and Liverpool were thus tendering their opinions and prayers to the Legislature. Similar petitions had proceeded from Bristol, Newcastle, Hull, Sunderland, Cork, Waterford, Belfast. [Here some hon. Members whispered "Glasgow."] Oh, yes! he had not forgotten Glasgow; but there was an incident connected with it which he must advert to more particularly, and he adverted to it with the greater satisfaction, as it exhibited, on the part at least of one of the representatives of that city, whom he now saw in his place (Mr. Macgregor), a very remarkable spirit of independence, such as did not always, though it, no doubt, always should, actuate every Member of the House. It appeared, by an account reported in the provincial papers of a meeting between the constituency of Glasgow and their representatives, that it was urged by one of them, that as the fate of the Ministry might be affected by the success or failure of this Bill, that consideration would form an important element in his decision as to the course which he should pursue. The other hon. Member, to whom he was now alluding, thereupon at once magnanimously protested against that doctrine; and declared, that happen what might to the Ministry, his opinion should be given freely, and according to his conscientious judgment. He (Mr. Herries), therefore, counted firmly upon the independent vote of the hon. Gentleman; and he could not but hope that his Colleague, animated by his example, would follow in his wake, and assist in the rejection of a measure to which his constituents were so much opposed. But he had now said enough—perhaps too much—when he considered how the subject had been treated on former occasions, and the state of public opinion upon this mighty question. He would come to the question—what are, then, the motives, since they exist not in the wants and wishes of the mercantile world, for the vast change in our commercial and political legislation proposed to he made by this Bill? What were the motives that were to justify them in adopting a policy that was calculated to lead even to the possibility of such results as had been shown in the course of these debates to be consequent upon it. He knew of none except the allegation that it was necessary to repeal the navigation laws in order to carry out the general principles of free trade? He could see no other that pretended to be a valid argument in justification of this obstinate perseverance with the measure now before them. He did not state, that of necessity this great and grave change in the law, as they declared it to he, would produce all the evils that many persons anticipated as its necessary result; but his argument was, that if it produced even a chance of such dangers, they had not as yet shown any sufficient grounds for adopting it. But he entirely denied the proposition that the subject had any necessary connexion with free trade. They might continue their experiment with respect to free trade, and yet with perfect consistency abstain from any interference with the main structure and fundamental principles of the navigation laws. He had shown that the navigation laws had always been considered as an exception to the general laws affecting trade. But independently of this consideration, he would say, that if ever there were a time peculiarly unfitted for engaging in so hazardous an experiment, it was the present, when they were in the midst of a course of experiments upon several great national and class interests, the results of which were yet undecided. One of these affected the largest of our public interests, that of the landed property and agriculture of the kingdom. Could it be asserted, that the success or failure of that trial was yet decided? Whatever might be alleged of the effect of exceptional and disturbing causes upon that experiment, it must at all events he admitted on all hands that the result was yet in the balance. They had also made a vast experiment on the interest and welfare of our sugar-growing colonies. Would any man contend that the issue of that trial was at this moment satisfactorily established? Was any man bold enough to pretend that it was now ascertained that those colonies could exist and flourish under a system of free competition, with the labour of foreign slave-using possessions? In Canada, too, we had a great political experiment now going on—the experiment of responsible government; but could any man say that we ought to be satisfied with the result, and that we had acted wisely and successfully even in that case? They might talk of convulsions on the Continent, and of the probability that, when more settled times came, the trade with Continental nations would be materially increased, if England were now to abandon the restrictions imposed by the navigation laws; but what ground had they for supposing that such would be the result? From France they had not received the slightest assurance that she would adopt a similar policy; and from Germany they had received nothing but civil commonplace acknowledgments of the reception of the British overtures, together with an intimation that they could say no more until Germany had achieved for herself, out of the now prevailing chaos of her affairs, some settled constitution and form of government. Was it necessary to ask whether this was a state of things, at home and abroad, in the midst of which it could be wise, or prudent, or safe, to enter upon the great political and mercantile empirical change in which Her Majesty's Ministers now proposed to engage us? He could imagine nothing more precipitate than this downward and destructive policy of Her Majesty's Government. Not satisfied with having disturbed the landed interest, the Government appeared to be influenced by a fatal and irresistible desire to attack every other great and vital interest of the country. But did they not already apprehend that the consequences of their recent free-trade measures were bringing ruin upon this country? Were there no indications even now of the disastrous effects of those measures upon the labouring classes of the community? They, surely, could not be unmindful of what was going on as to be so insensible to the growing difficulty and distress pervading every branch of industry, and the growing conviction that these experimental changes were the causes of them. What motive, then, had they for throwing into the cauldron of agitation which their policy had originated throughout the country another element of discord? The Government itself was now becoming the author of agitation. They were contriving obstructions even to their own administration; they were rendering the country more difficult to be governed by perpetual changes, through which the interests of classes and individuals were unnecessarily disturbed, and the public mind kept in a state of continual excitement and vexation. This was a subject on which he was very unwilling to touch; but he must remind Her Majesty's Government that there was such a thing as a Liverpool and Manchester agitation for a retrenchment of the public expenditure; and that there were such things as wild and reckless attacks upon the public credit of the country. He would, therefore, advise Her Majesty's Government to abstain from measures which might tend to add to that agitation, and to sour the minds of men, and irritate and dismay them. In the present instance Her Majesty's Government were plunging deeper into this impolitic and fatal course, without any adequate motive or inducement. The measure was not even of their own choice or contrivance. They were following the lead of a single Member of this House, who had entered upon this new career of innovation and free trade as a volunteer—whose labours in a Committee of this House, and whose writings out of it, seemed to constitute their whole knowledge of the matter—and under whose auspices they were now content to march to the abrogation of the navigation laws. But he (Mr. Herries) hoped that there was yet wisdom and virtue enough in that House, even in this the last stage of this measure, to resist its further progress. If, after the results which they had witnessed of their applications to foreign States on this subject, and the ex- pression of the commercial and general opinion of this country—if, after having experienced the results of their legislative proceedings with regard to the colonies—if, in spite of all those warnings—which should at least, induce them to be cautious at this particular time—they were determined to persevere with this measure, and it should unfortunately pass into a law, he felt satisfied that the Government, and those who aided them in this destructive course, would become the subjects of universal indignation at home, and the laughing stock of all the enemies and rivals of Great Britain abroad. He begged, in conclusion, to move that the Bill be read a third time that day six months.


seconded the Amendment.

Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day six months."

Question proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."


said, he was anxious to add a few words to what had fallen from his right hon. Friend the Member for Stamford in opposition to this measure. He looked upon this as an objectionable measure, not only because it would, in his opinion, affect very injuriously the shipping interest of this country, but also most injuriously the condition of all those who depended upon the building, equipment, and navigation of ships. But the greatest objection which he entertained to this fatal measure was the extreme danger which it must bring upon the naval supremacy of this country. He did not believe that any arguments of his right hon. Friend, or any other Gentleman opposed to this measure, would at all influence the noble Lord or the Government. They had, unfortunately, committed themselves to such an extent upon this question, that he did not believe it was possible for them to be dissuaded from their course by any evidence or arguments that might be urged against the measure. But he in common with others would nevertheless feel it his duty to point out the objections to which it appeared to be liable. His right hon. Friend had wisely abstained from going into any statistical details on this question, and although he (Mr. Robinson) had brought with him several documents bearing in his opinion to a most important degree upon it, yet he should follow the example set by his right hon. Friend. He agreed with his right hon. Friend that all the answers which had been received from foreign Governments, in reply to the invitation of Her Majesty's Ministers, had been of a nature rather discouraging than otherwise. In point of fact, on carefully looking over all the letters which had been received by the Government in reply to their overtures to foreign States, the answers went no further than this—"If you repeal your navigation laws, then we shall deliberate on what course we may pursue in return." There was no express promise whatsoever on the part of any foreign State, that if we gave them the advantages which they would derive from the passing of this measure, they would give anything like reciprocity in return, even supposing they had the power to do so. But one of the strongest objections which he entertained to this measure was, that there was no foreign State whatever that could give us any advantages commensurate with those which it was proposed to surrender by this Bill. As his right hon. Friend had already remarked, if it had not been for the opposition which this measure had encountered in Committee, they would have had a Bill passed through that House and sent up to the other House of Parliament for opening the coasting trade of this country to all the other nations of the world, and to the United States particularly, upon an assumption arising out of Mr. Bancroft's celebrated letter—which stated that we might depend upon his assurance that whatever concessions we made with respect to navigation would certainly be reciprocated by America. But what was the fact? The Americans never had any intention of giving up their coasting trade; and consequently we should have surrendered to them the advantages of our coasting trade without receiving from them the slightest boon in return. He only mentioned that as a proof, amongst many others, of the fatal course which the Government were determined on pursuing, utterly regardless of the consequences. He might be permitted to ask, in common with his right hon. Friend, what inducement could the Government have under such circumstances for endeavouring to force a measure of this kind through Parliament? His right hon. Friend had himself furnished an answer to his own question. The only tangible reason which the Government could have for proposing such a measure as this was, that they felt it necessary to carry out their principles of free trade. Now, he was not going to enter into a free-trade argument, but independently of what had been said with respect to the inapplicability of what was called the free-trade principle, to such a measure as this, he maintained with his right hon. Friend, that such experience as we had had already of the recent free-trade measures, so far from being such as to encourage and induce us to extend them to the shipping interest, and the navigation of this country, was, in his judgment, entirely the reverse. He remembered perfectly well that when complaints were made of the present distress of the agricultural interest in this country, the existence of which was not denied, they were told by hon. Gentlemen opposite that the principle of free trade had not yet been tried, and that there were disturbing causes which interfered with its proper development; and consequently that it was unfair to attribute agricultural distress to the working out of what were called free-trade principles. Well, he admitted to a certain extent the justice of that assertion; he admitted that, by reason of the failure of the potato crop in Ireland, and the partial failure of the wheat crop, the principle of free trade had not yet been fairly tested. But he thought that that argument made rather in favour of the view which he took of this measure. He thought that, under such circumstances, he and those who held the same principles on this question, were justified in calling upon the Government to pause before they carried out free trade further than they had already done. Want of employment and low wages he considered to be two of the greatest evils with which the Government had to contend; and he was not disposed to add to those evils by giving his support to this measure, which must end in transferring a great portion of the shipbuilding of this country to other countries, and reducing the wages of the artisans employed in our dockyards. There were many hundreds of thousands of people employed in connexion with the building, equipment, and repair of vessels in this country; and although he, for one, was not disposed to say that, even if this measure should pass into a law, shipbuilding would altogether cease in this country, yet he would venture to say that which no man could deny, namely, that the necessary consequence of the passing of this measure must be materially to lessen the number of ships built in this country, and of course to abridge the employment connected with that interest. Well, then, looking at the other branch of the question—our naval supremacy—he conceived it to be the duty of the Legislature to maintain that supremacy inviolate, as upon it depended the independence of this country. Now, nobody, with the exception of Captain Stirling, was disposed to deny that a large mercantile marine was an essential means of manning the Royal Navy, in the event of any emergency arising in this country. He was astonished that an officer of such high standing, talent, and intelligence in his profession as Captain Stirling, should have hazarded his professional reputation by giving such evidence as that which he had tendered to the Committee of that House, which had sat upon this question. But what was the value of Captain Stirling's evidence when compared with the evidence of a contrary description given by Admiral Sir Byam Martin, Rear Admiral Sir Thomas Cochrane, Captain Toup Nicolas, the hon. and gallant Member for the city of Gloucester, one of the Lords of the Admiralty, and Mr. Browne, the registrar, who all declared, in the most explicit terms, that they not only considered a large mercantile marine essential to manning the Navy, but that the sailors in the merchant service were the most effective men when employed in the Royal Navy. Then, under such circumstances, he thought it was the duty of the Government, before they attempted to pass a measure so fraught as he considered this to be with danger, as a matter of common prudence, to endeavour to ascertain by every means in their power how the Royal Navy was to be manned in future in the event of our mercantile marine being materially lessened by the abrogation of the navigation laws. It was perfectly true that Captain Stirling, in his evidence before the House of Lords, had sketched out a plan of his own for manning the Royal Navy, independently of impressment and of the apprenticeship system. The plan was substantially no more nor less than this—a voluntary enlistment into the Navy, and an abridgment of the term of service to three years. There was no man in that House, or in this country, more averse to impressment than he had always been, and he had seen much of the effects of impressment during his life, and had suffered not a little as a merchant and shipowner from that system; but his most decided opinion was that, unless the House of Commons was prepared not to lessen the expenditure of the naval establishment, but vastly to augment it, by holding out such pecuniary advantages to seamen as would considerably increase their wages, there was not the slightest chance whatever of their being able to dispense with impressment in the event of a naval war. Then, with respect to the other part of Captain Stirling's plan, the abridgment of the term of service, he (Mr. Robinson) would ask, not any naval man, but any non-professional man in that House, what would be the effect of such a system? Why, that part of the plan he must designate—although he by no means wished to speak disrespectfully of Captain Stirling—as perfectly absurd. If a naval war should happen, what security could we have for the services of men who might quit the Navy as soon as they had served three years? The great objection which he had to this measure was this, that it would throw open the whole of the direct trade between the colonies and the mother country, and the indirect trade between the different colonies of the empire, and that was an advantage which he thought they should not surrender on any condition, because no advantage that could be promised on the part of any other State could compensate for the loss which Great Britain must sustain if she parted with her colonial trade. He would not part with that trade any more than he would part with the coasting trade of Great Britain. What was the language of some of our most eminent statesmen on the question? Mr. Huskisson, when he brought forward his measure of reciprocity, declared emphatically (and Lord Wallace repeated the same declaration in 1822), that the intercolonial trade and the coasting and fishery interests were closely connected with the naval supremacy of this country, and ought by no means and under no circumstances to be interfered with. Mr. Canning, when the American Government attempted to participate in our colonial trade, declared in his celebrated correspondence with them, that that trade could not be surrendered for any advantages that America could possibly propose as an equivalent. There were parties connected with the manufacturing interests that were fain to persuade the House that it was necessary to act upon these free-trade principles as they were called, for fear that foreign States should retaliate. Now, he should like to ask the hon. Member for Manchester, who had undoubtedly given great attention to this subject, and who was a competent judge—he should like to ask him what foreign State there was which, in his judgment, could, if so disposed, without injury to itself, venture to enter upon a system of retaliation against this country? In his (Mr. Robinson's) opinion there was not one. All commercial nations in the world, he maintained, were more indebted to this country for the advantages which they enjoyed from an access to our markets, than we were to them for the advantage of selling our goods in theirs. Now, although a protectionist, he was not an advocate for retaliation: he considered that retaliation ought to be avoided by every possible means short of the surrender of our own interests. But he would take the case of the United States of America, one of our greatest naval and commercial rivals. He had no jealousy of the United States, that great offspring of this great country, and if he expressed any opinion adverse to America, it was because of the position and circumstances in which she might be enabled to inflict danger upon this country'. In reply to an application which he had made to a Member of the American House of Representatives, he had ascertained that more than one-half of the whole of the exports of the United States went to Great Britain and her colonies. He mentioned that for the purpose of showing that the United States had as great interest in reciprocity as we had, and that we had nothing to fear from the United States in the way of retaliation; nor had we anything to fear in the shape of retaliation from France, Prussia, Russia, or any other of the great foreign States; indeed, as regarded the United States particularly, as he had before said, they had more to fear from us than we from them. As, then, we had nothing to fear from these foreign countries, he was anxious that we should continue to do what we had done for the last twenty years, but done unsuccessfully. He was anxious that we should intimate to all the commercial States of the world that the principles upon which this country meant to act in future were those of a liberal commercial policy; and that all we asked of them was that, whilst we were disposed to do away with the monopoly and restrictions of this country which heretofore had interfered with their commerce, they should at least afford some evidence of a disposition on their part to follow our ex- ample, and to give us corresponding advantages. Now, had that been the case with those foreign States hitherto? We began to use this language when Mr. Huskisson was in office; twenty-seven long years had elapsed, and he (Mr. Robinson) would venture to say, without fear of contradiction, that although slight alterations had been made in our favour by some foreign States with respect to commerce, yet they had been merely such as conduced to their own interests, and that they had not in the slightest degree anticipated the changes which had taken place in our commercial policy. In fact, many of those States, instead of making corresponding concessions, had imposed additional duties upon the importation of our articles of manufacture. He would take the case of France. He remembered that when he first took his seat in that House, in 1826, a discussion was taking place with respect to the state of our commercial relations with that country, and vast efforts were made by successive Governments to gain over the French to a system of more liberal commercial policy. Overtures were made to them; but from that time down to the abdication of Louis Philippe, we had not been able to prevail upon the French Government, notwithstanding that we had lowered the duties upon several important articles of commerce the produce of that country, to make any concession whatever. It was stated that that was entirely owing to the influence which certain monopolists in that country maintained over the statesmen of the monarchy, and who deterred them from making any concessions. Well, but we had a French Republic now, and a National Assembly returned by universal suffrage. He supposed that they must consider the National Assembly to be a body speaking the sentiments of the universal people by whom they had been elected. And what had they done? Had they made any advance in the way of free trade? The new Republican Government of France had advertised for the importation of 38,000 tons of coals into France, and one of the conditions was that they should be imported exclusively in French vessels. So much for navigation laws in France. Then he remembered another measure—that of the duties upon salt, which had been introduced in the National Assembly; the importation of salt in French vessels was made subject to a duty of 1f. 75c., whilst that imported in British vessels was subject to a duty of 2f. 75c. His right hon. Friend stated truly that the strongest argument urged in favour of the measure was, that it would promote the commerce of the country by removing those impediments which inflicted serious injury. Where was the evidence of any desire upon the part of the commercial interests of this country for a repeal of the navigation laws? He had looked with great attention over the evidence given before the House of Lords by no less than seventeen of the principal merchants of the united kingdom. Every one of them declared that he had never had any difficulty in procuring freight for his goods at a moderate rate. He fully admitted that at times, owing to particular circumstances, freights had been remarkably high, such as in 1847, when a vast quantity of tonnage was employed in the transfer of corn. But he could state of his own knowledge, and he had been a merchant for forty years, that generally speaking the shipowners had more reason to complain that they had not been able to obtain remunerative freights, than the other class had of a monopoly of shipping. Why, the rates of freightage at all the ports in the world were unremunerative, therefore it was a delusion to say that this measure was necessary for the purpose of lowering the rates of freights. There were ships enough in this country, and there was a disposition to build ships enough in this country, to meet all the wants of trade and commerce; and he thought it most important for the interests of this country that we should employ our own shipping, and employ the persons connected with that interest, even if they had to pay a little dearer for it. It was wiser to do so than to throw a vast quantity of employment and skilled labour into the hands of the foreigner. With regard to America, the evidence of Captain Briggs had been adduced. His right hon. Friend said they would become the laughing-stock of the world. They were already so. In their great anxiety to procure evidence upon this subject, it was thought requisite to consult an American shipmaster as to the expediency of repealing our ancient navigation laws, under which this country grew and flourished until she reached the proud pre-eminence she now enjoys. Why, this fact was enough to make us the laughing-stock of the world. He saw the right hon. Member for Manchester smile; but he would tell him that the nations of the eastern and western hemispheres were looking with intense anxiety to their proceedings; with the hope of deriving some important good, and of taking advantage of any error they might commit. The Manchester gentlemen, and those engaged in the cotton trade, think that all other interests may be jeopardised if you can only assist them in some way or another to set their spinning jennies to work. But he would tell the two hon. Gentlemen who were setting together (the Members for Manchester) that it was in vain for them to strive against the stream. Every year—experience demonstrated it—those great commercial States that were growing up were attaining a better position to enable them to rival us: by importing our machinery, by copying our improvements, they were augmenting the difficulty of the manufacturing interest to increase its foreign trade. Was it wise then to sacrifice our own colonial and intercolonial trade, of which we were the masters, which was under our control, in the vain hope of making this country, what she could never be, the great workshop of the world? England could not become the workshop of the world, and make other countries depend upon her. In America, in France, in Belgium, in Germany, even in Italy, they would find that they were every year becoming more and more capable of dispensing with English manufactures, while they were at the same time determined to maintain the principle of protection. If he thought that free trade would conduce to the greater happiness of the weaker portion of the community—that portion whom they excluded from direct representation, or even in the participation of the elective franchise—if he thought that free trade would conduce to the happiness and comfort of the labouring classes, he would throw over the wealthy agricultural interests, and support it. But believing that it would not so conduce, and that it would rather impose upon them additional burdens which they were ill able to bear, he would vote against the measure. He believed that the further extension of the principles of free trade would have the effect of increasing pauperism, and adding to the degree of distress which now pressed upon the country. He trusted the majority in favour of the Ministry would be one so small in number as to induce the Government to pause in their career.


, in entering upon the discussion, would premise that he did not complain so much of what had been done for foreign ships as what had been left undone for our own. He did not apprehend any distressing consequences to our shipowners from the passing of this Bill, but, at the same time, he could have wished that every restriction imposed on British shipping had been removed. He alluded more particularly to those restrictions on British shipowners which prevented the manning of their ships when and where it was most convenient for them to do so. He looked upon the omission of that privilege as the main fault of the Bill. There were other burthens on British shipping which he should also wish to see removed, such as the stamps on marine assurance, charter-parties, and hills of lading; but this relief involving a serious question of finance, it could only be introduced in a Bill altering the taxes of the country. He hoped, however, the abolition of those stamps would soon he considered by Her Majesty's Government. He should also wish to see abolished that law which interferes with the victualling of British ships, and also to see our lighthouses put on the same footing as those of France and America—a measure which he believed would reduce the expense of those establishments one-half—and all which should be paid out of the customs revenue, and not by the ships engaged cither in the foreign, colonial, or coasting trade. If those restrictions were taken away, he feared no competition whatever. He could not discover that at any one period the navigation laws had been of any profitable use to the British shipowner or builder. From the first planting of Virginia and of the island of Barbadoes, down to the present day, he could not see the benefit, though he was convinced of the pernicious effect, of those restrictions. More than this, throughout the whole period of the late war, we were constantly breaking the navigation laws, and we were adding to the mercantile power of the country by taking foreign ships and registering them as British vessels. Such was our conduct on the capture of the Havannah, when one of the great grounds of praise to our admiral was his having captured so many ships from Spain, which ships, on being condemned as prizes, were constituted British-registered vessels, and were considered to have added proportional strength to our commercial marine. Now, he could not see the least difference between foreign-built ships receiving British registers, whether captured in war or purchased in peace. It was usual to date the naviga- tion laws from the reign of Charles II., but the fact was that they ought to be traced back to the planting of Virginia. The Virginians having sent 20,000 lbs. of tobacco to England, the famers of the customs imposed so heavy a duty on it by the authority of James 1., who arrogated the prerogative to tax all imported articles without consent of Parliament, that on the following year the Virginians sent their tobacco direct to Middleburgh, in Holland, whore it was sold to great advantage; and it is a remarkable fact, that ever since that time, Middleburgh has been a great depôt for smuggled tobacco. In consequence of this evasion, an Order in Council was soon passed by James I., declaring that neither tobacco, nor any other article the growth of the plantations in America, should be exported except in an English-built ship, and under a bond to land the same in England, there to pay the duty, whether used at home, or re-exported to foreign nations. Such was, in reality, the true origin of the navigation laws, which Oliver Cromwell afterwards instituted to annoy the Dutch, rather than on the pretended ground of benefiting English ships. The New Englanders, invariably and successfully, down to the period of their independence, evaded those laws; and it would also be found, that nearly all the discontent between the American colonists and ourselves had arisen out of the restrictions on their navigation. He did not sec what British shipowners had to fear. They competed successfully with the shipping of every other country except Spain, Porto Rico, and Cuba, which gave an advantage of 33½ per cent to produce carried in Spanish ships. But even that high duty of 33½ per cent was not equal to the advantages that we possessed in that country by sending our goods into Spain through Gibraltar. It was alleged that foreign shipbuilders had many advantages in competing with the shipbuilders of this country. But he found, on looking into the cases of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, that their shipbuilders paid high duties for their copper, cordage, iron, canvas, chain cables, metal bolts, spikes, and anchors. They got their principal rigging here, and came over slenderly equipped, in order that they might get a complete outfit when they arrived in England. Our shipbuilders paid no duty on those articles. He next came to the Hanse Towns, where the ships of every country were freely admitted on perfectly free and equal terms from all countries. He found a general increase of British shipping entering the port of Hamburg, taking the average of several years, amounting to one-third of the whole tonnage, including the ships of the Hanse Towns. Then as to Prussia—the ships of that country were much in the same position as those of Sweden, to which he had already alluded, and which enjoyed a large share of the direct trade between their own ports and those of the united kingdom; but we did not find them entering largely into the carrying trade between those foreign ports in which our navigation laws were of no avail. We did not find them carrying sugar from the Havannah to Trieste, though British ships have long continued to do so with fair profit; we did not find them competing with us in carrying goods from those other countries in which our navigation laws could have no influence, that is to say, from New Orleans, Cuba, and South America, to Trieste, Naples, or Venice. He would now turn to Holland. For a long-period that State had no navigation laws, and British ships arrived constantly in her ports from all countries, paying no higher duties on their cargoes than Dutch vessels. And if Holland, with so many natural disadvantages—if that country, originally a mere swamp, a bed of seasand—had prospered and succeeded under a system of perfectly free trade, and attained that magnificent naval power which at length swept the fleets of Spain—of her former tyrants—from the ocean, he could not understand why other nations, possessing infinitely greater natural advantages—greater capital, and equal energy and enterprise—could not succeed as well. It was said that Holland did not now allow us the same advantages in her colonies which we now proposed to allow in regard to ours. He was aware that in Java, on goods introduced in British ships, double the amount of duties was charged as on goods imported in Dutch ships. But they must look to the origin of these double duties. In 1824 and 1826, we imposed quadruple duties on ships from Rotterdam and Amsterdam entering British India—that was, we imposed double duties on the ships, and double duties on the merchandise; and the Dutch, in return, imposed double duties on ships and merchandise only entering their colonics in our ships. It was true that we had lately adopted a more liberal tariff in regard to British India—he could not say what Hol- land would do in consequence, but, looking at past experience, he thought there was no reason to doubt that they would treat us as liberally in Java and Batavia as we did them in British India. He next came to Belgium, which in her tariff was until recently equally liberal with Holland. It was true that, in imitation of France, Belgium was about to adopt a more illiberal system. There was a preference charge made by Belgium analogous to our long-voyage duty on sugar, tobacco, and such like articles, the produce of Africa, Asia, or America, imported direct from the country of their growth; and they now proposed to charge an additional duty when such goods were imported from the entrepôts or warehouses of Europe—the difference being only that we excluded the latter importation altogether from home consumption. Belgium and France admitted it, on burdening it with a differential tax. But even this was far more liberal than our system, for we did not allow the importation at all from Holland or Belgium of the produce of other countries. Belgium had now adopted the plan pursued by France; that was, not of prohibiting, but of imposing a higher duty on goods coming from a foreign entrepôt, instead of direct from the country in which they were produced. But, with regard to France, her commercial system has been nearly always exceedingly illiberal. During one short period it was not so. What could be more liberal than the arrangements entered into in 1793 by the French Minister of that day and Mr. Pitt, and which unfortunately were interrupted by the war which broke out shortly afterwards? It was now, unfortunately for France, and especially for the agriculture and finances of that great country and people, fatally true that her commercial code was unsound, restrictive, and oppressive. It had, however, one element of relief—a sort of safety valve—in its temptations of bringing into France an enormous supply through the agency of an organised army of contrabandists. With regard to our relations with Portugal, these were regulated for a long time by a most mischievous treaty; but since we had been relieved from that treaty, we stood on the same terms with respect to Portugal as with other countries, excepting, that the Portugese tariff was still one of high duties. In the case of Spain, there was no treaty except that of 1670, which, notwithstanding what was said to the contrary, he believed to be still de jure in force, though not in opera- tion. Genoa had made many relaxations in her commercial system; and nothing could be more liberal than the maritime and commercial policy of Rome and Tuscany. With the Two Sicilies we had treaties of reciprocity, and they had made the offer to admit our ships from all parts of the world on the same terms as they were allowed to come direct from British ports. In the Austrian ports of the Adriatic our ships were also admitted, with their cargoes, from all parts of the world exactly on the same terms as if they were Austrian ships; and the result had been a most advantageous British trade and navigation with Trieste. No restrictions were imposed on our navigation in Turkey; and in Russia our ships were admitted as free as Russian vessels both on the long and the short voyage. Thus it would be seen that nearly all the countries of Europe now treated us much better than we treated them; and with regard to their power of successfully competing with us in navigation, they could only do so when their people displayed more ingenuity, put forth more love of adventure, exercised more energy, practised more industry and more economy in the construction and working of their vessels, than the people of this country. They could not construct ships equally durable and efficient at less cost than we could, for materials were cheaper here than they were abroad, excepting in the article of fir-wood in Norway and Sweden; and even in that respect we had much better wood nearly duty free for the purpose of building strong and durable ships than they had. We had taken off the duty, or reduced it to the minimum, on all timber imported from our colonies; we had abolished the duty on most of the foreign hard woods used in shipbuilding; and he hoped that an abolition of duty would be extended to all oak timber before long. He wished for the removal of the stamp duty, and all other burdens and restrictions which affected the British shipowner; but he must again repeat, that with the natural advantages which we enjoyed—with our power of commanding ample supplies of cheap and superior building and rigging materials, unless foreigners brought higher moral and physical qualifications to boar against us, we had no ground for fearing their competition. Even at the risk of tiring the House, he must refer shortly to the United States, which had been already alluded to during this debate; and whatsoever might be said as to the dreaded competition of the ships of America, he wished to take a much higher ground. He wished this country to stand in the most intimate, natural and affectionate bonds of material, political, and social alliance with the United States. When he looked at that country, and remembered that it was inhabited by a people of the same origin as ourselves—speaking the same language—who had, until a late period, a common history with us—who professed the same religion—in whose schools the same lessons were taught—and by whose firesides the same precepts were instilled, and the same social virtues implanted in their children by their mothers—when he remembered all these natural and traditional ties, it appeared to him that a close maritime and commercial alliance between the two countries was a matter worth making a great sacrifice for. But we would, he hoped, establish that alliance; and experience would prove that we sacrificed nothing—that we should mutually gain. In 1750 there were not 1,500,000 people speaking the English language living in the whole of North America; in 1759 not a British subject possessed an acre of land west of the Alleghany Mountains, or south of Georgia. When he looked back to that period, one great portion of the country was under French, and another under Spanish rule, and when there was no other craft navigating the American lakes and rivers but the bark canoe of the Indian; and then came down to a survey of the present time, when those speaking the English language govern North America from the easternmost shores of the Atlantic to the coast of the Pacific—from Hudson's Bay to South America, a part of Mexico excepted: in all which there were now 25,000,000 of people descended chiefly from British and Irish ancestors speaking and governing in the English language, and almost by English laws; and when he considered the magnitude of their products, their trade, navigation, and power, he could not but consider the connexion between England and America as one which it was the duty of both nations—of all honest men and Christians—to do the utmost in their power to cultivate and to perpetuate. But then, it was said, if you take the first stop—if you abolish your navigation laws, the Americans will be able to carry cheaper than you; they will cut out your shipping, and bring in for your consumption all the tea you require from China, your sugar from the East and West Indies, and the produce of all parts of the world which you may demand either for the food of the people, or as the raw material for your manufactures. He entertained no such apprehensions. When, in the first place, he knew that labour was dearer in the United States than in England; that every article except timber—and that also in many places—which they required for shipbuilding paid a high duty—when he recollected that their ships were as expensively manned, their crews as well fed and as well paid as those of British ships, he did not apprehend that there was any danger of American vessels absorbing the commerce of either Great Britain or of the world. There would, no doubt, be a fair, just, and even desirable competition in our navigation and trade with America, and he hoped with all the nations of the world, by which all would derive benefit and aid in maintaining peace between one another; of which trade and navigation none would, or could, acquire a monopoly. He had said thus much to show that there was no reason to fear foreign competition; he would not, after detaining the House so long, dwell on the necessity of allowing British shipowners to man their ships in the way they could do so best fur their own advantage, and of removing those other burdens and restrictions which now bore on our shipping, but conclude by expressing his hope that, as Her Majesty's Government had relaxed the restrictions on navigation, they were bound in fairness to do away with the burdens which unduly pressed on British shipping and the British shipowner. He would therefore support this Bill in all its stages, though he wished it were a more complete measure.


said, there was a considerable difficulty in reducing a question involving such complicated interests into a narrow and intelligible compass. To do this, he thought it might be regarded in three points of view, as an historical, an economical, and a national question. In looking at it in the first point of view, there would be found four great periods under which the navigation laws exhibited themselves in this country: the first was a period of restriction, the second of relaxation, the third of protection, and the fourth of reciprocity. The period of restriction commenced in the time of Richard II. In that reign the importation of merchandise into this country was prohibited except in King's ships; and Anderson, who stated the fact, stated also as a reason for its introduction, that the Legislature understood the great benefit of having one's own ships and mariners employed, instead of foreign ones. That condition of things lasted until the reign of Elizabeth; and he begged the House to remark what took place then. The severity of the restrictions under the old law, induced Queen Elizabeth to relax them, by declaring that goods might be imported or exported in alien ships, provided they paid alien duties. The payment of these duties was, to a great extent, a protection to British ship-ping; but still it was a relaxation of the complete restriction that had previously existed. This relaxation, however, was greater than was necessary; and, according to Anderson, it was observed with concern, that the merchants of England were beaten by the Hollanders, who endeavoured to monopolise the carrying trade of the world, bringing the produce of the British-American plantations over to England, while English ships were rotting in our harbours. It was not likely that this state of things would long be tolerated, and hence arose the origin of the navigation laws. The energy, the activity, and the sagacity of Cromwell perceived that the law of Elizabeth was detrimental to English ships and English seamen, and he it was who therefore introduced the colonial system, which was immediately afterwards followed up by the navigation system—and these two systems were consolidated into one by the famous Navigation Act of Charles II. The origin of that law was not merely a jealousy of foreign Powers; it was a plan to prevent the decrease of British shipping. Then commenced the period of protection. And what was the consequence? Did the Hollanders beat the English any more? Did English trade and commerce fail? Did the absence of competition produce those disasters that were supposed to result from an imaginary monopoly? Facts were the most forcible eloquence. The tonnage of England at the Restoration amounted to 90,000 tons; it was doubled at the Revolution; again it was doubled at the accession of the House of Hanover; and again it was doubled at the general peace—until at the fourth period it amounted to no less than 2,600,000 tons. These facts were clear proofs that the navigation laws of Charles II. were not prejudicial to the increase of English shipping: but, on the Contrary, that they encouraged a maritime people in maritime pursuits. In addition to this they raised a vast commercial marine, they trained up a race of skilful shipwrights, they effectually manned the Royal Navy, they gave us a triumphant and victorious fleet, to which this country owed much of its wealth and greatness. The fourth period, which commenced at the time of the general peace, may he considered as the period of the reciprocity system, and it consisted at first in establishing the principle of equal charges, and equal duties. And this was the cause of it. The United States retaliated on this country, and it was soon discovered that while both countries were hostile, both were suffering; so that each perceived that both would be gainers by mutual relaxations and mutual concessions. But then he begged the House to mark the wide distinction which existed between relaxation of an injurious operation of a law, and an absolute renunciation of the law altogether. This distinction appeared to be forgotten by Her Majesty's Ministers. Having once conceded these relaxations to America, they could hardly be adopted without being extended to other countries. Accordingly the same principle was extended to other nations who were willing to trade with us on equal terms. Though these relaxations were a matter of necessity, yet he was bound to say they had not proved detrimental, but advantageous to the British shipping interest. He arrived at that conclusion, not only from listening to the able statement of the right hon. Member for the University of Oxford, but from two comparisons which he had instituted with a view to test the advantages of the new system. It must be remembered that you could not judge of a system from local or peculiar circumstances only. You must test it also by general results. He had, therefore, taken three periods with the view of ascertaining a fair result. He had taken three periods of ten years each—from 1815 to 1825—from 1825 to 1835—and from 1835 to 1845. He had taken the comparative tonnage and the number of men employed by the foreign and by the British marine during those periods. He believed he was accurate as to results. He found during the ten years of the first period that the tonnage of British and foreign vessels increased in an equal ratio. After Mr. Huskisson's alterations were adopted, some increase in. British shipping followed, with some decrease in foreign shipping. This was to some extent a con- firmation of the prudence and policy of Mr. Huskisson's alterations. In the third period, from 1835 to 1845, he found that both foreign and British vessels had both of them increased, but not quite in an equal ratio. The foreign shipping had rather the advantage. Still, on the whole, he thought that the fair inference was in favour of reciprocity. In order that he might further ascertain the value of this test, he adopted another test. He took the year preceding the year 1815 and the year after 1845. He compared the tonnage of the British and foreign shipping, and the result was that he found both had increased enormously; but the advantage of increase was on the side of British shipping. This result impelled him to the conclusion that the reciprocity system, forced on us by necessity, and not by choice, had not, on the whole, been disadvantageous to this country. The facts were then, he found, in 1814, that the British tonnage was 1,294,500, the foreign 599,287. In 1846, the tonnage had increased—British, 4,294,730; foreign, 1,802,820. On comparing the increase of 1846 over 1814—the result of the new-policy appeared to be that British tonnage had increased 239 8–10, and foreign, 210 2–10 per cent. The conclusion, then, at which he arrived from a consideration of those tables was, that the reciprocity system, on the whole, was advantageous, and it need not create any unnecessary alarm to the shipping interest. But then, he drew this further inference, which he begged to press most earnestly on the House, that if the system of fair reciprocity had worked thus advantageously, why do away with that system, and why seek to abolish the navigation laws altogether? If they found from past experience that certain results have followed a certain plan, would it not be wiser to follow the course which had produced those results, rather than resolve to alter it entirely? This was the safer and more prudent course; and these were the inferences he was induced to draw from the historical view of the question. But when he was asked whether he did not see anything in the existing laws which required alteration, he answered, alteration was one thing—repeal another. If alteration were wanted, let it be shown; but the onus of proof rested on those who sought the change. Now, those who wished for repeal, altogether proceeded entirely on the commercial and economical consideration of those advantages which it was so easy to promise, but so difficult to accomplish. This would lead him to the economical view of the question; and here he felt the pinch of the case with regard to the hon. Gentlemen who wished for repeal. He had endeavoured to frame to his own mind a clear conception of the different advantages which were alleged as likely to be derived from the repeal of those laws. For that purpose he had read every word of the evidence taken before the Committee of this House, and also before the Committee of the House of Lords. These advantages he saw, or thought he saw, might be thus summed up—increased facility to trade, by reducing the expenses and removing restrictions on all commercial operations; and thus, while it benefited the merchant and manufacturer, because it would enable them to carry on their business with greater facility, it would also benefit the people at largo, because it would tend to lower freights, and the lowering of freights would lower prices. This, he conceived, was a fair statement of the economical and commercial part of the question. He was not going to dispute that to a certain extent we should gain; but then, viewing the question in an economical, apart from a mercantile, light, the doubt naturally presented itself whether the gain which was expected as likely to accrue would be equivalent to the loss which it was apprehended would occur. It was difficult, he owned, to deal with the subject with certainty and precision; it was difficult to know what instances to select; but it would be fair to take those which were most relied upon in the evidence of the Committee before this House. Now, he found there that three of the greatest points relied on as showing the gain likely to arise to the consumer from repeal, in consequence of the supposed reduction of freights, were the three articles of sugar, cotton, and wool. With regard to sugar, it would be found, from the evidence, that the complaint of the high freight of sugar resolved itself into this form—that when imported into this country in British ships, the freight was 4l. per ton; but when imported in vessels from Hamburgh or Bremen, it would be 3l. per ton, the difference being-just 1l. per ton. Grant, then, the difference to be 1l. per ton, and he would just see what the consumer lost by the present freight, and what he would gain if the laws were repealed. Why, it was a little more than three-tenths of a farthing per lb., and that was the utmost he would really get by it. With regard to cotton, the freight of which was ½d. per lb. from New Orleans, the gain to the consumer, if the freight were reduced 25 per cent, would be 1½d. in the price of a 20s. dress, ¾d. in the price of a 10s. dress, and ⅜d. in a 5s. dress. Another of the great complaints was the high freight of wool. One gentleman in his evidence stated that the freight of wool from Australia was 1½d., and if repeal occurred, it would be 1d. The difference to the consumer would be only ½d., and this would amount to just 2d. in a gentleman's coat, since a yard of fine woollen cloth took 2 lbs. of wool, and a gentleman's coat took 2 yards of cloth. Now, he did not mean to say that the consumer's actual gain was all the gain that would arise directly or indirectly from the change. But when they assorted that the consumer would gain by lowering freights, and made that one of the arguments for change, it was right to see what the amount of that gain really was, without reference to the gain of the importer or manufacturer. He might go through many other articles, and show that the result was much the same; and hence he thought that by this argument he had proved that the direct advantage to the consumer was almost nothing. Seeing, then, that that was a fair view of the gain to the consumer, let them now look to the other side of the case, and ascertain, if they could, the loss to the shipowner. He would not go into an analysis of the evidence, with a view of showing whether the carrying trade could be conducted cheaper here than abroad. It would be impossible, from the evidence, to arrive at any definite conclusion on that point. He thought, however, that in some cases vessels might be built, manned, and provisioned abroad much cheaper than here. But if the point were doubtful, it was enough for his argument, because he contended that unless the gain to the consumer was great, we were not justified in sacrificing for a trifle the interest of the shipowner. What, then, he asked, was the amount of capital invested in ships? About 40,000,000l. There were 16,000,000l. more of capital embarked in trades connected with shipping; 11,000,000l. were employed annually in repairing and building ships; there were 80,000 workmen employed, whoso wages amounted to 5,000,000l. annually; and he found from Mr. Porter that the number of men and boys em- ployed in the shipping was 240,000. I From the same source he also found that the tonnage was upwards of 4,000,000, and that the amount obtained for freight, which they were going to transfer to other nations—["No, no!"]—amounted to between 25,000,000l. and 30,000,000l. sterling annually. Hon. Gentlemen opposite said they were not going to transfer the freight to the foreigner. If the amount of freight remained here, then he admitted the shipowner would not sustain injury; but his argument proceeded on the assumption that the point was doubtful, and that this being so, the amount of gain was not equivalent to the anticipated risk. He would again say that the onus of proof rested on those who sought the change. There was also another consideration which ought not to be lost sight of. Supposing the point to be only doubtful, and supposing that in the progress of time it should ultimately turn out that the mercantile navy was diminished, and the shipping interest depreciated, would they ever be able to restore the repealed laws and replace the shipping which might thus be destroyed? Remember it required the accumulation of centuries to make the Navy what it now was; when, therefore, they reduced that interest to any great extent, would it not be too expensive to be easily renewed? would it not happen, as many thought, that once lost it was lost for ever? The hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent had constantly urged the House to do away with monopoly, and establish competition. But he should be glad to know where that monopoly was? There was no restriction against employing British capital in British shipping; and if there was relatively a greater profit in this than any other trade, capital would necessarily flow into that channel. But, in fact, profits had not been made by the shipping interest. To do any good by reduction of freight, you must reduce to the extent of 25 per cent. If this were done, the shipowner could not be expected to carry on his trade; and that would be the result of increased competition. There was really, it was shown, no monopoly, and this was proved by the hon. Member himself when he moved for returns with reference to certain enumerated articles. If you look at those enumerated articles, you will find that half were carried by British and the other half by foreign vessels. After that statement, it was hardly possible to contend that the shipping trade was a monopoly. He had one remark to offer, as to the effect of competition. Competition was an excellent thing under most circumstances, but it was not applicable to all trades; for if a trade was necessarily connected with the national defences, you could not allow so great a competition in it as to drive away capital from it, when you could not do without it. But since the advantages of all competition proceed on the principle that capital must always be sent in that direction in which it could make the greatest profit, he would then ask whether they could apply that principle to a trade which had become a national necessity, especially when the effect of that application might be to turn away the shipbuilder from our own ports and docks to those of a foreign and a rival Power. Though the principle was applicable to barter and exchange, it was totally inapplicable to national interests. He had now dealt with the economical question as fairly as he could, and he turned in the last place to consider the question in a rational point of view. That was the most important consideration, and he would ask the House how had the Government thought fit to deal with it? In the course of last year they brought in a measure on most imperfect data. They had a Committee upstairs, who examined a great variety of witnesses on one side, and few, very few, on the other. They never reported to the House their own views of the case; and the evidence which they took upon the most important feature of it—its national effects—depended on the testimony of Sir James Stirling alone. The Committee of that House ought to have worked out a number of facts which were left untouched. They never reported on the subject at all; and yet the Government brought in their first Bill, with their incomplete and partial information, and that too while a Committee in the other House were actually sitting. When he read the evidence given before that Committee, he found at once that the palpable deficiency in the testimony given before the Committee of the House of Commons was admirably supplied by the Committee of the House of Lords. The report of the Lords was full of evidence of the most interesting character. Their Lordships examined the Vice-Admiral of England, Sir Thomas Cochrane, and other eminent naval officers; and, he presumed as the result of that evidence, that they one and all of them concurred in the opinion that the repeal of the navigation laws would endanger our mer- cantile marine; and that they considered the efficiency of our mercantile marine was the foundation of our naval and national strength. With regard to the supply of skilful shipwrights and able seamen, if he looked to the evidence of Sir Byam Martin, he declared that the royal duck-yards could not he supplied on a sudden emergency, except by going to the yards and docks of private individuals. That gallant officer told their Lordships that when the war broke out, and chiefly in the last war, there were upwards of 500 vessels built in private yards. But peace as well as war, may have its emergencies, which it would be dangerous to overlook. Thus it appears that some years ago, when the pamphlet of the Prince do Joinville appeared, and the Navy was thought to be in an inefficient state, the Government raised at a moment's notice 1,500 men from private yards to make it efficient. That object was accomplished, the State was benefited, and these men returned to their work and former occupations without any burden whatever to the country, except the cost of their temporary employment. So much, then, for the supply of skilful shipwrights: it could only be obtained from private yards, if it was wished to keep up the Navy at all times, and under all emergencies, in a fit state. Now, with regard to the manning of the Navy, the Vice-Admiral of England, Sir Byam Martin, told their Lordships that the victory of the 1st June, 1794, could never have been gained had it not been for the merchant service, which had filled the fleet with able seamen. The same gallant officer has also stated, that at the time the war broke out, we had not so many as 20,000 men, and they were scattered all over the globe; but that in a very few months that number was doubled. It was the merchant service which enabled us rapidly to man some sixty sail of the line, and double the number of frigates and smaller vessels. It was by promptly bringing together 35,000 or 40,000 seamen of the mercantile marine, in addition to those who were previously in the service, that Admiral Gardner could protect the West Indies; that we were equally secure in America and the East; that Lord Hood had twenty-two sail of the line in the Mediterannean, to occupy Toulon, and capture Corsica, while Lord Howe swept the Channel with 27 sail of the line, and kept it clear. He had now gone through the great heads of this measure; and in respect to minor points, he knew it might be said, "Well, then, will you keep up the laws as they arc, notwithstanding we point out to you certain glaring defects in them? Now, he, for one, would make this simple answer to that proposition. On this, as upon all occasions when a difficulty was proved, he would apply a remedy; and if proofs of their defects were established, then he conceived that the wisest policy of any Government was to draw their measures from the results of past experience, and to see whether their own law as it then stood did not in fact furnish them with principles by means of which improvements in the law might not be effected. These principles were, if he understood them right, the principle of protection, combined at the same time with the principle of relaxation. By the principle of protection, the law required that all our merchant ships must be manned by a crew composed of three-fourths of British seamen. But when occasion required it, those laws admitted of the principle of relaxation; for when it was necessary, the Queen could dispense with the number of British seamen, and this had been done in cases of emergency. On the principle of protection, the intercourse between the colonial possessions and this country was almost exclusively in favour of our own shipping; but on the principle of relaxation, the Queen in Council could make the ports of the colonies free ports, and, in addition to this, the Sovereign in Council could establish a perfect system of reciprocity between her possessions and foreign States, if like duties were exacted by both. Here, then, they had two classes of principles which might be carried out, if occasion required it; and these were the principles which he approved of, and which he thought the Government should now pursue if they wished to apply appropriate remedies. In short, if he were asked what he would do, his answer would be, exactly the reverse of what the Government were doing. Instead of repealing laws, with a power of retaliation when it was deemed necessary, he would retain those laws with a power of relaxation. The power of retaliation could only be exercised in promoting hostility and exciting discontent. But it was the duty of legislators to throw around the Crown all the grace and benignity possible, in order that every thing in our foreign relations should wear a friendly and not a hostile aspect. But then it was said—"What will you do with the favoured-nation clause which certain States enjoy?" His answer was, he would not interfere with it. For what were they now about to do? They were about to repeal the laws altogether; and to enable foreign countries to send their ships with perfect freedom to this country. Well, then, suppose they entered into a treaty with the United States, with this condition that we would give them perfect freedom to send their ships not only to this country but also to our colonies, if they would give us perfect freedom in return, and then any favoured country would be bound to abide by the same principle. He said they could not complain; but they might adopt it. These were the reasons which induced him to question the propriety and policy of the change that was proposed. In a commercial point of view, it might possibly increase the national wealth: in a political point of view, it would, probably, impair the national strength. Therefore, he would prefer to err, if it were an error, with that great man who had been justly designated by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth as the Newton of political economy. Yes, he would prefer to err with Adam Smith, who rightly deemed that defence was more important than opulence. Rather than be deluded by the deceitful lights which the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade had so dexterously held out, whereby they should be drawn into the shoals and shallows of political economy—instead of accepting the precipitate measures which the noble Lord, as the head of a party, urged on by supporters more eager than himself, had been induced to propose—he would rather adopt the deliberate sentiments of the noble Lord as an author, when he recognised the exceptions as well as the principles of Adam Smith—observing emphatically that, "without going the length of the Venetian proverb, Pria Vene-ziani poi Christiani, I would say, 'Let us first be Englishmen and then economists.'" That sentiment was worthy of the noble Lord, and of a Minister of the British Crown. Believing that though they might acquire some pecuniary advantage, yet that as Englishmen they would suffer in their national interests, he (Mr. Walpole) could not accede to an alteration of the law which the right hon. Member for Stamford had reminded the House had been described by the great authority already referred to as "among the wisest of our commercial regulations." It had given them safety and independence at home; it had afforded se- curity to their colonies abroad; it had protected their trade in every part of the world, and it would protect it, if the laws were not repealed, against all risks and chances of war; and while it had done this effectually and completely, it bad also preserved to them that supremacy on the ocean by which, more than once, they had been able to bid defiance to the world whenever her honour and interests were assailed. In conclusion, therefore, he would only add in language more striking and far more beautiful than any he could command—if his hon. Friend the Member for Buckinghamshire would pardon him for borrowing it:— I cannot incur the responsibility, by my vote, of hazarding an empire gained by so much valour, and guarded by so much vigilance—an empire which is broader than both the Americas, and richer than the farthest Ind; which was cradled in its infancy by the genius of a Blake, and consecrated in its culminating glory by the blood of a Nelson—the empire of the seas.


Sir, I have hitherto abstained from trespassing on the indulgence of the House by the expression of my opinion on this most important subject; but when it is remembered that I once had the honour of presiding over the Board of Admiralty—that the Act in its amended form with reference to merchant seamen, and the Act as to the registration of seamen, have been accepted by the House upon my Motion, and were introduced and prepared by me; when it is remembered that I have never ceased to take the most lively interest in naval affairs, being convinced that to the commerce of this country and to the navy of this country we owe that supremacy which is the arch of our power, and which still stands unshaken amidst the convulsions of the world—when all this, I say, is remembered, I hope I may be excused if I feel anxious to give my opinion on this measure before it is submitted in its final form to the final judgment of the House. Sir, I rise with mingled feelings to follow the hon. and learned Gentleman who has spoken last. I rise with heartfelt pleasure, after having listened to a speech so worthy of the name and reputation of the hon. and learned Gentleman—to a speech in its tone and temper so acceptable to the House. But I must at the same time express my regret that it becomes my duty to follow the hon. and learned Gentleman, and I do so because I feel deeply the disadvantage under which I labour, in presenting myself to the House after the delivery of a speech distinguished by so much ability as that which has characterised the address which we have just heard. Sir, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Stamford, in moving that this Bill be read a third time this day six months, expressed a hope that commerce would speak aloud and declare its opinion, and he relied in a manner, somewhat strange, upon certain petitions from the outports, signed no doubt by persons of respectability, but by an utterly insignificant portion, so far as numbers go, of the inhabitants of the places in question. But being desirous, Sir, that this measure which we are do-bating should succeed, I cannot but regard it as an auspicious omen that the Bill is brought forward by the First Minister of the Crown on his responsibility, that Minister being the representative of the city of London, the emporium of the commerce of the world. We then hear of the petition signed by 20,000 of the citizens of London, and of the name of Baring in connexion with it. Now, Sir, I see on the Treasury bench opposite the head of the family of Baring—that family which for generations has produced the first merchants of England. I see that right hon. Gentleman—my right hon. Friend, if he will permit me to call him so—entrusted by Her Majesty with the high office of presiding over the Royal Navy of this country. I know the character of that right hon. Gentleman; I know that he is a man of great official experience; I know that he is a man of fortitude and firmness of resolution; and I cannot for one moment bring myself to believe that he would be a party to the passing of a measure which in his conscience he felt reason to believe was injurious to the character and welfare of that commercial navy to which he and his family have been so much indebted—much less do I think it possible that he could be an assenting party to a measure which, in his judgment, risked the power and greatness of the Royal Navy, more especially confided by Her Majesty to his care. But my hon. Friend mentioned Liverpool. Why, the two Members for Liverpool have voted for the Bill. The two Members for the city of Glasgow voted for it. The hon. Gentleman, I think, also referred to Newcastle. The two Members for Newcastle voted for the Bill. The hon. and learned Gentleman also referred to the commerce of this country, and asked where we were to look for trade and commerce, if not in the West Riding of Yorkshire? One of the representatives for the West Riding has already voted on this question; the other is in his place, and has just returned from his constituents. That hon. Gentleman knows something of the sentiments of the people of the West Riding, and we shall see whether he is prepared to record his vote against the third reading of this Bill It is needless to refer to petitions; the opinion of the trade and commerce of the country is to be collected through the voices of the representatives of the people, and if we consider the opinions of the people's representatives of these great emporiums of commerce, we shall find them to be the same as those expressed on the part of Liverpool. I will now return, however, to the speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman. Considering the immense extent of the subject, I think that the division into which he has broken the discussion is a very convenient one, and I readily adopt and will endeavour to follow it. The hon. and learned Gentleman subdivided the subject into three great heads—historical, economical, and national; and I will endeavour to address myself to these points in the order which he has selected. And, first, with respect to the historical view of the subject, I think it highly expedient that we should look back to the history of these navigation laws. I will not shrink, in the least, from taking that view. I do not say, however, that it is necessary for my present purpose to trace the origin of these laws in the reign of Richard II, or to follow out their relaxations in the reign of Elizabeth. It will be sufficient to refer to the third great period to which the hon. and learned Gentleman alluded—namely, the period when these laws were consolidated, in the reign of Charles II. Now, I always understood that the real origin of these laws was to be traced to that old mercantile system which I thought had been long ago exploded and rejected—a system which consisted of a commercial struggle between nations as to which should attract to itself the largest portion of the precious metals, and which regarded the means of arriving at that end to be this—that a gain by each nation could only be obtained by an equivalent loss on the part of all the others. That, I conceive, to have been the mercantile system which has long been exploded, but which I must say I see symptoms on the part of some to endeavour to revive and restore to practice even in this our day. But my hon. and learned Friend will pardon me if I say that in his historical facts he has not been altogether accurate. He said that the effect of the passing of the Act of Charles II. was to assist the mercantile interest—that commerce had been languishing, and that the effect of that Act had been to revivify and restore it to prosperity. Now, speaking from memory I think I am correct in saying that immediately after the passing of that Act, Roger Cook, in treating of the subject in 1670, stated that the immediate effect of passing the navigation laws had been to drive British ships out of the trade both with Russia and Greenland—that by lessening the resort of strangers to our ports, the effect had been most injurious to our commerce. Another writer, Joshua Child, admitted that the economical effect of the law had been to destroy the Baltic trade—greatly to diminish our shipping, and to increase proportionally the foreign shipping employed in that trade. At a later period, in 1791, Sir Matthew Decker, whose opinions should be received with the greater caution because he is opposed to the navigation laws—this writer says that the object of the navigation laws was to increase the number of our seamen, and to add to our shipping, but that they had produced an opposite effect—that they had diminished the number of seamen, and diminished the tonnage of our shipping; and he goes on to say that this was done at the same time that enhanced freights entailed a needless and heavy burden upon the community. Then comes an authority upon whom great reliance is placed in these matters—I mean the authority of Adam Smith. Speaking also from memory, and not giving his exact words, I think Adam Smith says that the navigation laws are inimical to commerce, and to that prosperity which commerce generates. He says, it is the interest of a nation always to buy as cheaply as possible, and sell as dearly as possible. By an odd coincidence this is the very passage in which he lays down the canon of trade, which the protectionists so much despise, of buying in the cheapest and selling in the dearest market. And, for that purpose, he goes on to say, it is desirable to have the greatest number of sellers in the market, because, having the greatest number of sellers, you can secure the greatest number of buyers. He goes on to admit that the effect of the navigation laws is to diminish the number of sellers and the number of buyers, and that under this system we sell cheaper and buy dearer than we should under a perfect system of free trade. Speaking from memory, I believe those are the sentiments of Adam Smith. To that high authority—to the opinion of that "Newton of political economy," I think the hon. and learned Gentleman will not refuse to defer. We then come to a period when, not from choice, but from necessity—when, after a war with France of unexampled duration—we were driven to relax our system of navigation laws, and enter into reciprocity treaties with the United States. Europe had been paralysed by that war; her commerce had been blasted and withered, and had not had tune to recover itself, when, towards the year 1824 or 1825, the pressure on the commercial intercourse between this country and the Baltic became so great, from growing competition and threatened exclusion from foreign ports, that it became a question whether we should exclude ourselves from these important European marts, and, yielding to necessity and not to choice, we introduced relaxation into our system, notwithstanding the resistance offered by the shipping interest. Now, my hon. and learned Friend has stated that he is very much attached to the principle of reciprocity. I admit that at the time that principle was introduced by Mr. Huskisson, it was, considering what had been the rigorous character of the navigation laws, both wise and politic; but still, in the abstract, I do not see how we can attach much value to the principle of reciprocity. I cannot help thinking that it makes the interest of others the measure of our interest—I had almost said it makes the folly of others the limit of our wisdom. But I have another objection, and that is to a clause in the Bill, the third reading of which, however, I shall heartily support. With respect to reciprocity and to retaliation, which is reciprocity in another shape—as a general rule I would rather leave the navigation laws as they are than adopt that principle. The retaliatory clause, I believe, is to be called into operation only in cases of extreme necessity and exception; if it were otherwise, it would, in my opinion, constitute a great and fatal objection to the Bill. For what is retaliation? It is this—because some foreign nation does that which is more in-jurious to herself than it is to you, in the spirit of blind, vindictive passion you proceed to do that which is more injurious to yourself than it is to your rival. To reciprocity and to retaliation, as a rule, I am opposed; but I am prepared to give my assent to this Bill, because on the whole, I am satisfied that, without having recourse either to retaliation or reciprocity, considering the character of the people of this country, considering their capital, and then undaunted courage upon that which may he considered almost as their natural element, considering their great superiority as sailors, and the advantages they possess in the race they have already run—I am satisfied that any measure which shall thus throw open and augment the commerce of the world will have the effect of increasing the commerce of this country. The lion's share of that addition, will, I think, fall to her lot. I believe that her shipping will be increased, the number of her seamen augmented, and that this can take place, and will take place, consistently with the maintenance of the principle for which my hon. and learned Friend has contended, and to which I am prepared to give my assent—I mean the superiority of our commercial marine. Sir, I support this measure without apprehension, believing that it will have the effect of increasing our commerce and the number of our seamen, and thereby of adding to our maritime strength. I would just observe that, in my opinion, every reason which existed in the time of Mr. Huskisson for the relaxation of this system, exists in a stronger degree at the present moment. I cannot regard with the indifference which my right hon. Friend the Member for Stamford would seem to regard them, the communications recently received from foreign Powers. The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade, on a former evening read a passage from a letter delivered in 1847 by the Prussian Minister to Her Majesty's Government. Without troubling the House by reading that letter again, I will content myself by stating that it contained a distinct intimation from Prussia, that unless we proceeded with further relaxations, the exact type of our measure of exclusion should be hers. Our treatment of Austria, too, at the present time, is such as we have been told will not be suffered to continue. Our treaty with Russia expires in 1851, and we have a distinct intimation from that Power, that unless we revise our navigation laws, that treaty under which we enjoy peculiar advantages in favour of our shipping, cannot longer be kept on foot. Look, again, at the United States. The United States say to us, as to all the world, that with the exception of the coasting trade, which, I think, ought no longer to be in issue between us—the United States says, that whatever other nations shall grant to her, she will grant to them. [Mr. HERRIES: The United States referred to the differential duties only.] Yes; but what I have stated is the spirit of the intention animating the United States; nay more, it is embodied in an act of Congress patent to all the world. Look, again, at the Zollverein. Last year it was stated before the Committee, and not then under circumstances so favourable as the present, that there was a well-founded apprehension entertained, that if we adhered so rigorously to the principle of our navigation laws, it would become part of the policy of the Zollverein to extend its influence to Hamburg and Bremen and other places, not at present joining, and to establish exclusive rights of navigation; and it was also stated that unless this country took care in time, she might expect that British commerce in Germany would be placed on the footing of the least favoured nation. But in a speech of Mr. Huskisson's in 1826, he gives expression to an opinion on this subject, so exactly in accordance with the view I entertain myself, that I do not think I can do better than read it to the House. It is said that Mr. Huskisson cannot be cited as an authority in favour of this Bill; and that he was so satisfied with reciprocity that he did not lay stress upon the necessity of the freedom of commercial intercourse. The passage I am about to read will, I think, remove that erroneous impression. Mr. Huskisson says— In this altered state of the world it became our duty seriously to inquire whether a system of commercial hostility, of which the ultimate tendency is mutual prohibition—whether a system of high discriminating duties upon foreign ships, with the moral certainty of seeing those duties fully retaliated upon our own shipping in the ports of foreign countries—was a contest in which England was likely to gain, and out of which, if persevered in, she was likely to come with dignity or advantage? I will lay aside, for the moment, every consideration of a higher nature, moral or political, which would naturally lead us to look with some repugnance to engaging in such a contest. I will equally lay aside all consideration for the interest of our manufactures, and for the general well-being of our population, who as consumers would obviously have to pay for this system of custom-house warfare, and reciprocal restrictions; and I will view the question solely in reference to the shipping interest. It is in such a view that I am disposed to regard this question. Mr. Huskisson then says— In this comparatively narrow, but, I admit, not unimportant, view of the question, I have no difficulty in stating my conviction—a conviction at which I have arrived after much anxious consideration—that, in the long run, this war of discriminating duties, if persevered in on both sides, must operate most to the injury of the country which, at the time of entering upon it, possesses the greatest commercial marine. How can it be otherwise? What are these discriminating duties but a tax upon commerce and navigation; will not the heaviest share of the tax fall, therfore, upon those who have the greatest amount of shipping and trade? Now that appears to me to be the pith of the whole argument—these navigation laws can only be regarded as a tax on the commerce and navigation of the country. But the real question is this: will the repeal of the navigation laws injure that commercial marine which is the mainstay of the Royal Navy? If I could bring myself to entertain such a belief, I should not vote for this Bill; but, entertaining no fear on that point, I have made up my mind to give my support to the Bill in its present shape. The hon. Gentleman the Member for the county of Oxford, in debating this matter on a former occasion, laid down two general principles, to which I fully assent. He said that our commerce was the foundation of our marine, and he went on to show that ships do not create commerce, but follow it. Nothing is more true; and the question will then present itself, in what shape can we, with the greatest certainty, increase our commerce, and thereby our marine. I may be asked what will be the effects of the repeal of these laws. I believe the first effect will be to lower freights; next that it will tend to the increase of our exports and imports; that will stimulate trade and consumption, and stimulated trade and increased consumption will inevitably lead to an increase in the number of our seamen and of our ships. It may be said, that this is true of the seamen and the shipping of the world at large, but that it does not follow that Great Britain will maintain the enjoyment of the largest share. My hon. and learned Friend has referred to a document moved for by the hon. Member for Stoke-upon-Trent. When in 1847, at the period of the famine, the Government suspended the navigation laws, what was the consequence—what was the effect of that suspension? Pro tanto it facilitated commercial transactions for obtaining the required importations; but what was the effect upon British ship- ping? Was that corn imported from the country which produced it? And who were the carriers? The paper moved for by the hon. Member for Stoke-upon-Trent, will show that during the period of that importation, so far from the ships of Great Britain not having their full share in the carriage, that the corn imported was in a larger ratio conveyed in British ships than in those of foreign countries. But will the House allow me to trace to them the progressive increase in our seamen—a consequence, as I think, of the relaxations introduced into the reciprocity treaties of Mr. Huskisson. The number of British seamen in the year 1824, was 175,000; but the number progressed until in the year 1847 it was 223,000; and we find that every relaxation under reciprocity treaties has been attended by a progressive increase in the number of British seamen. Official experience, however, of reciprocity treaties, shows them to be of so complicated a nature, that it is difficult to determine what our treaty arrangements with respect to reciprocity really are. The House will remember what was done under the administration of my right hon. Friend the Member for Tamworth. It is not now expedient to argue the distinction which at the time was made between the slave-labour sugar and free-labour sugar; but when we intended to admit free-labour sugar, as contrasted with slave produce, we found ourselves hampered by arrangements. We could not refuse admission to the slave-grown sugar of the United States and of Venezuela; and the question arose as to the admission of Cuban sugar under treaty with Spain—a question argued with consummate ability by my right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford, to whose opinion I inclined. Spain found herself highly opposed to our interpretation, and the question was felt to be so complicated, that had the subject been referred to an arbiter, the result would have been doubtful. I refer to this merely to show the difficulty of carrying this system of reciprocity into effect; and, therefore, I think it preferable, unless the danger of such a course can be shown to be imminent and substantial, to repeal these Reciprocity Acts. I think that nothing but the risk of danger to our marine can justify their continuance. The hon. and learned Gentleman has referred to the effect upon the consumer in the price of cotton and wool which this change would occasion, and he has laboured to show that it would be insignificant; but I must remind him that the direct increase of price to the consumer forms only a small part of the entire question. It is the indirect effect of these enactments, as hearing upon the whole community, that constitutes the principal objection to them. Without going into minute details, but just taking a glance at the different classes of the community, I would ask, in the first place, how these laws affect the merchant? To the merchant it is a matter of importance to have his freight as low as possible. In this period of peace, when he is thrown into competition with all the world, what is apparently only a small increase in the freight, is a profit upon the whole transaction. Under these laws, cochineal cannot be brought from the Canary Islands, because those islands are hold to belong to Africa. The wine merchant trading with Lisbon cannot import the wine of Madeira from Portugal, as Madeira is hold to belong to Africa. So with the trader with Bordeaux, the great emporium of gums. He is precluded from getting in France his dyes and gums from Senegal on the same ground; and traders with Antwerp, Amsterdam, and all the ports of Holland, for Oriental and Batavian goods, are prevented from carrying on their operations by these laws. Such impediments, I feel satisfied, only occasion losses to the trader. He may compensate himself by increasing the price to the consumer; but the indirect effect of these impediments is to injure commerce to an extent which it is almost impossible to calculate. But, turning from the merchant to the manufacturer, what do we find? The great object of our policy for the last four or five years has been to lower the price of the raw material. The hon. Member for Manchester is wisely anxious to facilitate the growth of cotton in India. Now, our subjects in India, those who fight by the side of our own soldiers, and help to win our battles, exhibit a heroism not unworthy of alliance with the British cause. But Hindoo sailors, although they are permitted to make up a complement in a vessel homeward bound, are not held to be British subjects; and on the outward voyage they are rejected as British seamen, and they are sent back to India at the expense of the shipowners, and the cost of the cargo is, therefore, enhanced. Take the case also of wool from Australia, or cotton from New Orleans. A demand here for those articles may be very great, but, by the impediments you interpose, you prevent their importation in the cheapest mode at the most desirable moment. Then your manufactured articles have not the opportunities of being exported with the greatest facilities. Foreign ships, making up a cargo for the British colonies, cannot take a single article of British manufacture. All this, I should say, places our manufacturers under a very considerable disadvantage. You may go a step further; for when the demand for cotton, for instance, is slack in France, they cannot draw American cotton from Havre. What is their position with regard to manufactured articles? Java sugar must not be brought from Holland in a raw state—refined, it may be imported. Copper from Cuba, in its original state, must not be brought from any country in Europe—smelted it may be imported even from Hamburg. With regard to woods too, Brazilian wood, must not be imported from any European port, but as furniture—when the wood is converted into furniture, to the manifest disadvantage of the manufacturer here—it may be imported. I am now considering this in a cursory manner, only because I cannot do more. I will now turn to the colonies, and here I must express my astonishment at the language held with respect to the colonial part of the case by a Gentleman of such high station—one who has held such responsible offices—as my right hon. Friend the Member for Stamford. Now, how does he dispose of that part of the case? First of all I must meet him upon a matter of fact. He says the colonies have not remonstrated generally. I think Antigua has remonstrated—I think Ceylon has remonstrated—I am quite sure Trinidad has remonstrated through Lord Harris once and again, and with reasons so cogent, that even my right hon. Friend could not overlook them. Jamaica, a year or two ago, remonstrated in the strongest manner. What has since occurred, as I am not in the secrets of the protectionists, I do not know; but Jamaica, in 1847, did remonstrate in the strongest manner against our navigation laws, and said that the only compensation that could be given to them for our admitting slave-labour sugar to our markets, upon anything like equality of terms, would be found in giving them every facility of low freights for sending their produce to this country. But, after all, this is only secondary to the case of Canada. Now I may be wrong, but looking at the circumstances of the present moment, to which my right hon. Friend more immediately referred, I have the strongest conviction that, unless you go hack upon your policy with respect to the corn laws, and impose a protecting duty on foreign corn, as distinguished from the corn of Canada—unless you take that step, and reverse your policy, if you maintain your navigation laws the loss of Canada to this country is inevitable. I speak on no slight authority. This is no new view of the subject. I am about to call your attention to an authority with regard to Canada pronounced many years ago—an authority which will obtain respect so long as public virtue and great talents are highly esteemed. That authority goes so far back as the year 1826, and the opinion is that of the late Mr. Alexander Baring, delivered in the debate—to which I have already adverted—on Mr. Huskisson's Motion with respect to foreign shipping. He used these memorable words in the year 1826—words given as a solemn warning to this country. He said— With reference to our colonial system, he would say of the North American colonies that their situation was such that it was not possible to preserve them but by giving them all the advantages of a free trade, and attaching them to us by acts of kindness and liberality. If, therefore, it was desirable to preserve them, the system on which the right hon. Gentleman had acted was necessary; as, since the American war, these colonies had felt their own power, and knew their own interest; and it was not possible to retain them by violence, or to subject their trade to unnecessary restraint. That was the warning given by the late Lord Ashburton, so far back as the year 182G; and if it was true then, as I believe it to have been, how much more irresistible is the truth of that warning now. Again, I repeat that I am convinced that, having placed their produce in the British market upon terms of equality with American produce, if you do not place the means of transporting their commodities to this country on terms equally advantageous, I believe that if there be the power of resistance they will avail themselves of it. I have the strongest possible opinion that if you attach any importance to our colonial relations with Canada, no time is to be lost in passing this measure. It is a painful view of the subject; but it is right that the House should carefully consider this matter. I observe that Mr. Bancroft, in his History of the American States, says, "from the earliest time the navigation laws contained within them the seeds of American independence." Mr. Huskisson confirmed that view in the strongest manner in the debate to which I have referred, and he illustrated it by another topic which ought not to be overlooked. We attempted, and succeeded for a long time, in placing Ireland under our navigation laws, keeping her in a disparaging and disadvantageous position as compared with England. I am now holding the language that was held by Mr. Huskisson in 1826, when he told the Legislature a truth, of which I am about to remind you—that the pressure of the navigation laws was so odious in Ireland, that it was the first act of Ireland rising in arms with her independent Volunteers of 1782, to insist upon the alteration of that which they considered a most degrading exception as against them, and it was conceded by England under those circumstances, in a manner not entirely consistent with dignity and honour. This warning was rightly administered, I think; and not improperly, I hope, brought by mc to your attention now. Remember, in the present circumstances we are not able to trifle with respect to Canada. It is a question of vital importance with reference to their interests and to ours. Now, I will pass from the question of the colonics, and I would just ask—is it so certain that these laws are favourable to the shipowner? The shipowner is prohibited from making repairs to his ships in foreign ports beyond the value of 20s. a ton, however urgent those repairs may be. Then come the questions as to the engagements respecting apprentices, the register of seamen, and all those minute regulations which, in consideration of the monopoly he enjoys, are rightly Imposed upon him, but which a repeal of those laws will necessarily exempt him from. How docs the sailor derive any benefit? I am disposed to believe that the reliance on impressment is very much to be traced to the existence of these laws. I am quite persuaded that the forced regulations with respect to apprentices does operate against the seaman, and produces the effect of unnatural competition, thereby lowering his wages. Then, again, there are various regulations all co-extensive and depending on the navigation laws—the tax for the merchant seamen fund, and various other regulations, which the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade has undertaken to revise. If those laws shall be repealed, I am satisfied that, together with the increased demand for his services, with a higher rate of wages which he will obtain, and the relaxation of various fetters under which he now labours, the condition of the British merchant seaman will improve. There remains only then the case of the British consumers—the great body of the people. Both directly and indirectly, they suffer from these laws—the freight being enhanced, the price is increased upon all articles imported from abroad. If they are consumers of any luxury, however small, whether foreign spirits, foreign tobacco, sugar, lea, fruits, or any of those little luxuries which our labouring classes enjoy, all are enhanced in price by laws of this kind. The demand for the products of our manufactories is impeded, and, pro tanto, the markets of our manufacturers are diminished. On the whole, looking at that class at this moment, I am satisfied that the navigation laws are not conducive to the advancement of that interest. My right hon. Friend the Member for Stamford has touched upon the case of the shipbuilder. Now the cheapest ships in the world are built in the colonies at this moment. There is no difficulty in building ships in the British colonies. But the duration of British-built ships is as twenty-two to seven of colonial-built ships, and although the price of colonial ships is much loss, yet, the duration considered, the preference is given to building at home rather than in the colonics. The most durable ships, on the other hand, are built perhaps at Bombay, where the rate of wages is uncommonly low. When I was at the Admiralty, notwithstanding the low rate of wages at Bombay, as a question of economy we found it cheaper, on the whole, to build in England; and after deliberating, and giving the subject the most minute investigation, Bombay was abandoned as regards shipbuilding. I believe it has since been resumed, but, having been resumed, has been abandoned again, because it is found on the whole cheaper and better to build in England. Well, how stands the case with regard to the British shipowner? Now I can't believe that even his interest, rightly under-stood, is favourable to the maintenance of the existing law. What country sails or builds so cheaply as Russia? Yet, what is the fact? Notwithstanding that she builds and sails infinitely more cheaply than either America or we, nevertheless the whole carrying trade of Russia is divided between America and England. Then what occurs over all the world in neutral ports? We meet our rivals at Trieste and at Hamburgh. Do we find that it is impossible to build or sail so cheaply as to enable us to compete with the foreign carrier? Why, even at Hamburgh itself the number of British ships, I think, in the year 1847, was double the number of Hamburgh and Danish ships. Test them in the most severe manner. In the year 1824, of British ships there were sixty-one per cent; by the last return, in 1842, the proportion of British ships to foreign, even from the ports of the United States, ran to eighty-three percent. Pursue the course taken by the hon. Member for Westbury, who showed you how, even compared with American ships themselves, in the ports of America, our relation to them has been progressively increasing, and our ships in other ports have been increasing more rapidly still. My hon. and learned Friend, in his economical view of this subject, contended that competition was not applicable to shipping. I could not correctly follow his reasoning in that respect. I know not why monopoly should not have the same withering effect on tile shipping interest as it has had on every other. I know not why competition should not have the same vivifying effect upon that as upon other branches of our commerce. The French have most stringent navigation laws; nothing, I believe, can be more stringent or more extensive than the protection given by the French—or was until a very late period—to French shipping as contradistinguished from foreign. Was the effect of that close monopoly favourable to the growth of the French commercial marine? Quite the reverse; for I find that in 1836 they had 15,999 ships, with a tonnage of 600,000, and in 1844 they had only 13,679, with a decrease in the tonnage. What are the statements of shipowners here? I entreat the House first to listen to two answers which were given, one by Mr. Richmond, and the other by Mr. G. F. Young. Hear their account of the protective law. Mr. Richmond says, "The great hulk of the money embarked in shipping has paid no profit for the last twenty-five years;" and to another question, Mr. Richmond said, "Until I was present at the examination of Mr. Le Fevre, I was not aware how very small the protection was." Then Mr. G. F. Young says, in question 6,093, "I feel a perfect conviction that the capital embarked in shipping during the whole period here expressed"—a period, he it remembered, of twenty-five years—"has produced a smaller return than an equal amount of capital embarked in any other pursuit whatever." Therefore, according to the declaration of Mr. Richmond and Mr. Young, for the last twenty-five years capital embarked in shipping has been less productive than any Other branch of industry in this country. My right hon. Friend the Member for Stamford disputes that which I insist upon, that if the change is ever to be made, this is the right moment to make it. It must not be forgotten by the shipowner what his improved position is in consequence of the commercial relaxations which have been carried into operation in the last five or six years. Corn is now imported into this country duty free. Cotton is imported into this country duty free—wool is imported into this country duty free—Canadian timber is duty free—the duty on the export of coals is repealed, and the duty on Baltic timber very much reduced. The sugars of the East Indies, Java, the Mauritius, Cuba, Brazils, however prohibited formerly, are now admitted to the British markets at duties greatly diminished. The trade of China is free, and rapidly extending. All articles of first necessity—meat, provisions, food of every description—every article connected with the sustenance of man, is imported now into this country duty free. These are immense advantages conferred on the shipping interest, and also it should not be forgotten, that coincident with this the price of every article connected with food for sailors on board, for the sustenance of the crew, is greatly diminished. On the whole, therefore, with reference to the peculiar circumstances of this moment, I say that the change, if it is ever to be made, cannot be made at a time more fitting or more safe than now. Is there, after all, despondency among the shipping interest? The whale fisheries, it appears, were actually exhausted in the Arctic seas; and a gentleman of high character and station is about to leave this country to settle himself in the very extremity of the Antarctic regions, after the removal of protection, and while we are debating whether we shall repeal our navigation laws. Mr. Enderby is about to proceed himself to push his honourable enterprise over the Antarctic and frozen seas in such a manner as almost to realise Mr. Burke's hyperbole. The Auckland Islands are but a resting place for his advancing and vigorous enterprise; he is about to strike the harpoon, and to pursue his gigantic game even in the regions of the Antipodes, and amidst the sea of the southern pole. Are these marks of declining commerce? Are these proofs of the decline and fears of the shipping interest? Sir, I should only express to you a portion of my opinion on this subject, if, after having endeavoured to follow my hon. and learned Friend through the historical and economical portion of his speech—I should not do justice to my honest and firm convictions—if I did not deal with the political part of the subject. Now, Sir, the Gentlemen who sit around me, and more particularly my right hon. Friend the Member for Stamford, make constant reference to the recent changes which have taken place in our commercial policy. They say that they consider it fatal—fatal to the agricultural interest—fatal to the commercial interest—and I heard one Gentleman say, this evening—I allude to the hon. chairman of Lloyd's (Mr. Robinson), that the working classes were the greatest sufferers. That being the opinion of a powerful party, and of the leader of that powerful party, I cannot comprehend why they lose a moment in bringing the question distinctly before the Legislature, with the view of testing the will of Parliament. Being convinced that it is erroneous—that it is right to retrace our steps—why this hesitation? Why this delay? Now, Sir, it so happens that on the first evening of this Session, elsewhere, a declaration was made by a noble Friend of mine—a declaration which stands on record, and about which there could be no mistake whatever. With all his characteristic intrepidity and frankness—with all his characteristic absence of disguise, my noble Friend (Lord Stanley) made a declaration which I will now read to the House, and I shall read it all the more readily seeing that the right hon. Member for Stamford has resumed his seat. [Mr. Herries had just re-entered the House.] The right hon. Gentleman has himself relied upon the quotation of vestigia nulla retrorsum, to which Lord Stanley has particularly adverted in his denunciation of the recent policy of Parliament—


I only applied the words to the present subject.


Well, Lord Stanley applied it generally, and what he said was this:— I hear it said that free trade has been adopted, and that we must proceed in that course—vestigia nulla retrorsum. From that doctrine I dissent. It appears to me that the principle of protection to British industry is a sound and rational one. I will not consent to take it as a fait accompli, that protection to British industry must be abandoned. Every day's experience convinces me more and more that this country will never prosper—that you will never be able to thwart the dangerous design of mischievous men, who think they have obtained a lever to upheave and uproot the old foundations of the constitution; that if you wish to see prosperity return to the interests of the country, agricultural as well as manufacturing—and when I speak of the agricultural interest, I mean not that of country gentlemen alone, but of the farmers and labourers of England—every day's experience convinces me that you must retrace the steps you have taken—you must make part of your revenue depend on a moderate import duty—you must return to the principle of protection. Such is my conviction; but my belief, moreover, is strong that to that conclusion, within no distant period, the full and deliberate opinion of the country will compel you to come. And then my noble Friend says again, with his accustomed boldness and manly intrepidity—leaving no doubt upon the point— My noble and learned Friend professes himself to be still the advocate of free trade; and with equal frankness I avow that, whilst I do not advocate any unnecessary restrictions on commerce, I am the uncompromising enemy of the miscalled, one-sided, bastard free trade, which has been introduced by the Government for the benefit of foreigners, and to the detriment of British subjects; and I declare myself to be the uncompromising advocate of the old just and equitable principle which gave necessary protection—not monopoly—to the labourers and producers of this country, and to our fellow-countrymen, wherever they were to be found throughout the world. That is an intelligible declaration, the explicit avowal of a future policy. I say, and with equal frankness and equal boldness, that this measure you are now discussing, is in my opinion the capital necessary to crown the work we have already accomplished. I say that without it what we have done is imperfect; that with it, what we have achieved will not easily be undone. Here, therefore, issue is joined. I say that protection or no protection is the point at issue; and I regard it as the battle-field on which the struggle must take place between reaction and progress. I am now dealing with the political part of the question, and all the economical and historical parts of it are, to my apprehension, in the present juncture, light as dust in the balance. I have calmly and deliberately reflected on the part I have borne in the changes which have recently taken place, and, so far from regretting that part, I may state my convic- tion that I believe—firmly believe—that the peace and tranquillity of this country, and the safety of our institutions in the year which has just past, are mainly to be ascribed to those measures to which I have alluded. And I think that the attempt to go back upon them—to return to prohibitory duties, or, under the guise of duties of import, to lay on duties really of protection—enhancing the price of corn and of articles of the first necessity consumed by the great body of the people, would be a dangerous experiment—one leading, as I think, inevitably to convulsion and the most fatal consequences. At all events my part is taken. I take my stand here. I am opposed to reaction. I am favourable to progress tempered by prudence and discretion. It is upon these grounds I give my cordial support to the third reading of the Bill; and I am most anxious that it should, without any unnecessary delay, become the law of the land.


said, that it would have been more consonant with his inclination to give a silent vote, and he felt his difficulty the greater after the able speech just delivered by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Ripon. But having acted on the Committee appointed two years ago to inquire into the operation of the navigation laws, and having taken no part, either in the discussion of last year, or that of the present, he could not refrain from shortly trespassing upon the indulgence of the House. He would therefore endeavour to explain the grounds upon which he had formed the opinion, that not only those who attached importance to the principle of the navigation laws, but those who desired to apply a practical remedy to any practical grievance, ought not to support the Bill in its present form. He was the more anxious to state his opinions, because he was one of the mercantile community. He avowed his opinion that, as a general principle, restriction must be an injury to trade. He had never shrank from saying that. If the whole country was to be regarded merely as a community of merchants, certainly it was desirable to allow the importers to get their wants supplied, and ship their goods from whence they pleased. If we were, as were the inhabitants of the Hanseatic towns, mere receivers and distributors, then we might say, let every other consideration be disregarded. But the real grievances of the merchants might fairly be taken from their own representations; and if they had actually sustained such grievances as had been represented, from the operation of the navigation laws, surely the commercial body would not have been seen, as they had been seen, either indifferent or adverse to the removal of those laws. He would not follow the right hon. Baronet through the ancient history of these laws, or into his references to the time of Richard II. The question now turned upon the law as it at present stood, after the concessions and modifications which had been made. The first grievance complained of, then, was that particular clause ill their navigation laws which prevented enumerated articles from being imported in other ships than those of this country. In 1838, a treaty was entered into with Austria, by which certain Turkish ports, for the purposes of the clause in question, were made Austrian ports; and they had the testimony of the Earl of Aberdeen that, in his opinion, that treaty was a slovenly piece of legislation. There being a doubt of the legality of that treaty, a Bill was brought into Parliament conferring powers upon the Government in Council to grant facilities, and which was passed without comment, and the end was, that facilities not granted to others were given to the Zollverein, and therefore that the only way for other States to obtain them was by threatening to join the confederation of the Zollverein. The whole transaction evinced a blundering carelessness. It was rather too much, when the Government exhibited difficulties which they had themselves made, and then said, that in order to remove those difficulties, it was necessary to sweep away the whole of the navigation laws. What reason was there for destroying the colonial navigation and the long-voyage trade, in order to remove those difficulties? The next grievance was, that by the navigation laws the produce of Asia, Africa, and America, could not be imported from European ports. He considered that to be much more a warehouse or dock question than a navigation-law question. He could understand that this prohibition existed when there was at the same time a prohibition of manufactured articles; but the question now was as to relative cheapness and security in other ports as compared with British ports. But it would be easy to remove this difficulty; and all the cases mentioned by the right hon. Baronet could be remedied without a sweeping re-peal of the navigation laws. The right hon. Baronet had alluded strongly to the case of the colonies. He (Mr. Baring) admitted that the legislation of this country had been neither fair nor equitable towards the colonies. But he believed the right hon. Baronet to be wrong, when he said that every colony had memorialised. At any rate he believed there had been no memorial from the Mauritius, and he was not aware there had been any from Ceylon, or an official one from Australia. From the East Indies there had been none. There certainly had been memorials from the West Indies; but, if he was not mistaken, opinions on the subject had changed in the West Indies as to the benefit they would derive from the repeal of the navigation laws. The West Indians saw that sugars would be admitted from all parts of the world, and that the Cubans would derive the greater advantage from repeal. Next came the question of our relations with foreign Powers. He confessed that the threats of those foreign States did not much alarm him. He knew they would consult their own interests, for they had always hitherto done so. And what guarantee did the present Bill contain—what security did it give to the shipowners—that if Russia or Prussia saw a temporary advantage to arise from exclusive dealing, those steps would not immediately he taken which were now apprehended should the law remain unaltered? The Bill made no conditions. His opinion was, that real grievances might be removed without striking at the root of the law. But what was the real principle of the Bill now before the House? If he understood it rightly, it was the removal of restriction from foreigners—the maintenance of restriction upon Englishmen. Let the House mark that the Government, which, after the greatest research and trouble in obtaining information, said that there was an inferiority on the part of our captains and sailors, now told the shipowners that they were to compete with those who had the power of employing better workmen. The only facility given by the Bill to shipowners was the privilege of building ships abroad; but upon this he remarked, that every one knew the difficulty of recovering a manufacture that had once been lost. With respect to the proposal shadowed out by the right hon. Member for the University of Oxford, he would only say that public opinion in the United States was greatly divided concerning the course the right hon. Gentleman anticipated, and that many American statesmen, Mr. Webster included, were against it. If we passed a law that every country should have the same facilities she granted to us, even then the result would not be equal or satisfactory. Take the case of Sweden. What had she to give us in return for a commerce with our colonies and the East Indies? And Sweden was a country where ships were manned and sailed cheap: it was a nation of sailors. Then came Holland and Java, with such a trade as she had. Besides the preference which would naturally he given to Dutch vessels, there was also a contract with a commercial company, through whom two-thirds of the traffic with the colony was conducted in Dutch vessels; so that unless they could induce Holland to destroy this monopoly, she would have but one-third of her carrying trade to offer to England in return for the advantages which the latter would throw open. He knew—but his ideas might be somewhat antiquated now, and harmonise very little with those on the opposite side of the House—he knew that the carrying and the commercial trade had been of great advantage to the interests of this country; and if the Government cut off the facilities peculiarly enjoyed by this country in the one trade or in the other, where, he asked, were the advantages to come from in compensation for the loss? He said, in proceeding to speak of the United States of America, he was sure that the Minister of that country, Mr. Bancroft, had no intention of practising deception, but that, in his representations, he acted, as he no doubt believed, in the spirit of his instructions. In reference to the United States, then, he expressed his belief that their navigation offered advantages which might be of account with the English commercial marine; yet there the most favoured-nation clause came in to create difficulties, and it might be that they would feel it necessary either to abandon the navigation laws, with respect to the States, or to abandon the prospective advantages which they offered. But, he said, whatever they might do in particular cases, they ought to keep to the main principles of the navigation laws in all instances, and should make such concessions to each country throughout the world as the nature of the relations existing with this country might advise. Who, then, he asked—and it was natural for him to put the question—who were those who demanded this great change? It was not the shipowners; not the shipbuilders; not the sailors; nor in- deed any of those whose interests connected them with British shipping, on whom, therefore, to use the words of the right hon. the President of the Board of Trade, this Bill was a heavy blow. Was it the people of England who asked for the change? Where then were the petitions? The petitions presented last year were ten to one against the repeal of these laws, and the signatures attached were twenty to one on the same side. And this year the number of petitions for the repeal of the navigation laws was small, and these few were miserably signed. The right hon. Baronet the Member for Ripon, however, stated that the great towns and the manufacturing interests were involved in the passing of the measure; yet the hon. Member for Manchester the other day presented a petition from Manchester with no more than 350 signatures. Did that look as if the people were anxious to accomplish this change? Did it not show that such petitions as had been presented had been the produce of agitations got up for the purpose? Well, but they were told that foreign Powers were favourably inclined to a repeal of these laws in respect to their own States. It appeared that Government had sent to these Powers to ask them what was the state of the law on this point with them, and what they intended to do in case England should introduce a change in respect to her own navigation. Nothing was more remarkable than this message to the nations of the world. It was as if the Government had said, "We have no agitation at home to help us—we must have something from you. Give us promises—or, if not promises, give us threats." Well, he said, he was surprised at the right hon. Baronet introducing to-night into this discussion a topic which he thought would have been carefully excluded—he referred to the subject of free trade. On that subject his opinion had always been, that they ought not to have one system of protection entirely, or one system of free trade. It was necessary for them in that House to look at each question that might come before them as a separate and independent question, and to each measure under discussion to apply the principles of protection or of free trade, according as the particular interests affected by the measure might require. The right hon. Baronet stated that, in his opinion, the House was now discussing the question of reaction; and he put the fate of this Bill as decisive between retreat and progress. As if there were an alternative offered them, and as if progress were not forced upon them, and as if the noble Lord and his followers were not rushing forwards into consequences, taking, as it were, a leap in the dark, with the certainty afterwards of finding no way of escape. He would tell the right hon. Baronet, that if he feared reaction, he (Mr. Baring) feared it as much as the right hon. Baronet did; for he knew that reaction must come from national distress. If reaction should be produced, it was out of doors, and not in that House; if that reaction should be great, it would not be the effect of party, nor the achievement of any political leader; but it would be because the previous change was fraught with suffering to the people, as dangerous to the interests of the country as now the proposed change was ominous of evil. He spoke the truth when he said he believed that the country did not want the repeal of those laws. He believed that England had seen how much was lost by sudden political revolutions, for she had been an attentive student of the occurrences that had taken place on the Continent, and she had seen how little was to he gained by sudden commercial revolutions at home. He would say, and he said it with every feeling of respect for the noble Lord opposite, and those who agreed with him, that this Bill ought not to become the law of the land; he trusted that, whatever might be the decision of the House to-night, it would not become the law of the land; and he believed the country shared in that hope. He believed the country, without wishing for reaction, wished to see the changes already made tested fairly before they proceeded to make changes from which retreat afterwards was impossible. If they had committed error in their commercial policy, still they might retrieve their error by immediate change; but if they committed themselves to a policy which would have the effect of reducing the commercial marine, and of reducing the Royal Navy—if they committed themselves by one measure to these and other consequences, they were consequences from which they could find no salvation in Parliament. He made no doubt that those who considered that Government must make the principle, instead of choosing the principle, which was adapted to the country, would vote for the measure of the Government; that those who were regardless whether there remained a Navy or not, or rather who thought that the destruction of the Navy would be the best guarantee of peace, would vote for the Bill. But, on the contrary, all those who felt it obligatory on them to oppose any attempt at the destruction of the Navy, would oppose the total repeal of those laws—all those who thought that the principle which ought to guide the policy of this country ought to be the principle which would maintain the strength of their national defences, those were they who would vote against this Bill forced on a reluctant people and a hesitating Parliament.


Sir, if I feel any difficulty in addressing the House upon the present occasion, it arises from the consciousness that the whole argument in favour of the Bill now before the House has been exhausted by the masterly speech of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Ripon. He went so completely through the argument, and touched on all the parts of it in so convincing a manner, and he has been so little answered by the hon. Gentleman who last spoke, that I feel great difficulty in addressing the House on this subject. Nevertheless, having a deep sense of the importance of this question, and feeling that, after a year of delay, after an inquiry by a Committee of the House of Commons, and by a Committee of the House of Lords, and after the measure has been twice recommended in the Speech from the Throne, it is high time that our deliberations on this subject should end in a settlement of this question, I am induced to address the House before it goes to a division on the subject. I was glad to hear the hon. Gentleman who spoke last admit in a somewhat different spirit from that evinced by the hon. and learned Member for Midhnrst, that all restrictions of themselves required defence; that there must be a strong case made out for them; and that consequently the burden of proof lies on those who attempt to support them. Every one, I think, must admit that it is no crime for a person to wish to bring wool from Australia to supply our manufacturers in a Bremen ship, and that there is no moral guilt in attempting to bring hides from Holland, and naturally no sin in attempting to introduce American cotton from Havre. The only crime, then, must consist in the violation of your prohibitory law, and that prohibitory law must require strong grounds for its defence. This question has been treated by the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst, in a speech of great ability, as one to be divided historically, economically, and nationally; but I do not think that on any of these grounds there is a sufficient defence for the present state of the law. I am aware that the law has been almost worshipped as the charta maritima of this country, and that much of its prosperity and commerce has been attributed to the law, and that it has been thought profanation to alter it. But in my judgment that opinion is founded in error, and at no time has this law been essentially advantageous to this country. Let us look to its origin. Did it arise from any views of commercial wisdom, or from any of those views of protection which are now said to be so conducive to our prosperity? It arose from a wish on the part of the Protector, Cromwell, inspired on the occasion by the enmity and indignation of St. John against the Dutch, to cripple and destroy the commercial marine of Holland; and so little did the law answer in any other view that the right hon. Member for Ripon quoted correctly Roger Coke, and various other writers who followed in the course of a century, showing that the navigation laws, in a commercial point of consideration, were most injurious to this country. Whether it was our interest to destroy the navigation of Holland at that time, we need not now much discuss; but we do know that forty years afterwards it was the chief object of our policy to maintain the power of Holland, and effect with that country the most close and intimate alliance. What was the next effect which we find produced historically by the navigation laws, and the restrictions connected with them? We find that the vexatious and intolerable nature of those restrictions provoked the loyal and attached friends of the British connexion in America to resistance. What next was the effect of regulations of a similar kind? You prohibited Ireland from trading with any of your colonies. You fettered her by the most restrictive regulations; you produced resistance in Ireland; and it was only by abandoning those regulations that you succeeded in pacifying Ireland. I say, therefore, that in an historical point of view the provisions of the navigation laws have been mischievous, and not conducive to our welfare. Then, Sir, in an economical view, I think there is almost a confession—a confession by the hon. Gentleman who spoke last—a confession by the chief of those authors who have defended the system—that, economically, the regulations must be injurious—that these restrictions must tend to diminish the wealth of the country—and that no other defence can be found for them but their tendency to promote our naval power. I need not, therefore, go into the various matters in which the present laws are injurious. These have been shown in evidence before the Committee. They have been shown, in various instances, to have delayed and obstructed the commerce of this country. But then it is said that, whatever may be the injury which our commerce has suffered, however unwise those restrictions may he in a commercial point of view, they have tended to keep up a commercial marine, from which the Navy of this country has derived its resources and its strength. Now, I think there are many reasons for doubting that assertion; and I call it an assertion because, after all the argument and all the evidence from men of high naval authority, or from persons of great economical authority—from Adam Smith—from those who have taken part in this debate, I see nothing like proof that our Navy has derived its strength from those regulations; I see nothing more than an assertion that here are regulations which tend to monopoly, and, therefore, they must be beneficial to the commercial marine of this country. Let us see what, on the other hand, are the reasons for doubting the truth of this assertion. In the first instance, there is the character of our people, eminently attached to naval pursuits, readily embracing the marine as a profession, distinguished among the nations of the world as a naval people. I own I was astonished to hear the hon. Gentleman who spoke last complain that if we pass this Bill, we oblige the shipowners of this country to employ inferior workmen. I ask him, why inferior workmen? I am told that a great portion of the commercial marine of the United States, of which many are so jealous, consists of those very British seamen whom you now call inferior workmen. What is it, then, that has made the masters and the seamen of our British commercial marine in any way inferior? What is it that has tended to cripple their energies, or to diminish their skill? What can it be but the constant invariable effect of protective laws, and of telling men, "Do not trust to your own energies, do not trust to your own powers, because, in default of industry—in default of skill, we will give you a law which will protect you against all competition?" And yet, in spite of these "inferior workmen," we know, that in 1848, 236,000 men belonged to the commercial marine of England; we know—we must know that that is not a number which could be produced among a nation that was not essentially a nation loving the marine as a profession, and eminent among the nations in that respect. But what is the next reason? We were told, I remember, about 1824 and 1826, that Mr. Huskisson had introduced measures which would totally ruin the commercial marine of this country—that the shipping must be utterly destroyed—that the state of distress was something which had scarcely ever been paralleled, and that it was owing to his measures. Now those measures did, to a very great degree, introduce competition with other nations; they gave reciprocity in some instances—they did away with restrictions without reciprocity in others—and what has been the consequence? I have hero the tonnage of the British empire as it stood in 1823, in 1840, and in 1849—I will trouble the House with only those numbers; our tonnage in 1823 was 2,506,760; in 1840 3,226,684; in 1849, 4,052,160. That is the mode in which the tonnage of this empire has increased under this system of modified competition. In the same period the number of men employed has risen from 165,000 to 236,000. "I say this is a reason for believing that we can stand competition, and that we may go further in that course. The hon. Member for Midhurst admitted that the plans of Mr. Huskisson were successful—that there had been a great increase in the amount of tonnage and number of men—but he said, "As you have been so successful, stand where you are; you have succeeded, you are going on well, and therefore be contented with the position which you have reached." Now that is not my mode of considering questions of this kind. I consider that if you have made an experiment in one direction, and it has been eminently successful, and at the same time has been a cautious experiment, that is a reason for going further in the same direction, a reason for greater progress, to be attended, as I trust, with still greater success than the measures that we have already taken. I have mentioned two grounds for confidence that our commercial marine will not be injured by the proposed repeal of the navigation laws. I go to another ground, to which I do not see that there can be an answer. It is, that not only is this amount of tonnage, and this number of men employed in the trade of the united kingdom, but a great portion of it is employed in a trade in which we have no protection whatever—in the carrying trade to Russia, to Trieste, and to parts of Austria, where we meet the other nations of the globe, and where those nations, be they Swedes or be they Americans, if they have such an advantage as is said, would drive us out of the trade, and disable us from such competition. I do not really see what answer there can be to this statement. How is it that some say that the Swedes and Norwegians navigate so cheaply and are paid such very low wages; and the same gentlemen, or others, say that the Americans receive such high wages, and their ships are manned so well, that they must beat us? Whatever the ease is, we are told that the British shipowner, the British master, is to be beaten. I believe, on the other hand, that, with the energies of this country left completely free, you have not to dread the competition of any nation upon the globe; I believe—and I by no means regret—that foreign shipping will increase, as it has increased in past years; but I believe that British shipping will increase in a manner commensurate, or more probably in a greater proportion, and that the only result will be a general increase in the commerce of this country and of the world. We are told that the manner in which we have proposed this Bill is a conclusive argument against our succeeding; but I was happy that the hon. Gentleman who spoke last, who no doubt, with his experience, had considered the measure in all its details, fully concurred in the opinion we entertain, that a Bill framed on strict grounds of reciprocity—a Bill declaring that you must follow other nations in every particular, would lead into inextricable difficulties, and that it would not have been wise to propose it. If that is the case, what other course could we take, with our opinions, than proposing a total repeal of these laws, leaving it to the Queen in Council to exercise a power, if it shall be thought fit, of imposing upon other nations restrictions which they impose upon us? In retaining that power, which we have by our present law, I quite agree with the right hon. Baronet the Member for Ripen, that in ordinary cases when you attempt to impose a restriction because a restriction is imposed upon you, you are injuring yourselves more than obtaining any benefit; but there are cases where the restrictions may he put on from national rivalry and national animosity—cases in which in former instances we have succeeded by putting similar restrictions on other nations; and therefore I think the Crown should not he deprived of that power. But in many cases, such as the instance which has been often referred to, of the colony of Trinidad, I believe you might very safely give to Trinidad the trade with Venezuela in ships not built in Venezuela, and which are prohibited from trading with Trinidad by the present navigation laws, even though you can have no equivalent advantage on the other side. We are told that we shall not obtain from foreign nations similar advantages. The information that I derive from the papers laid before Parliament is of a totally different kind. I conclude that, with respect to the greater part of the nations of Europe and of the world, we shall obtain fair and equal terms of navigation with those countries, provided we are ready to give those terms to them. Nobody can doubt it with regard to the United States of America; no one can doubt it with regard to Prussia, or Russia, or Austria. Indeed, I think the nations which will not be prepared to give those equal terms, reduce themselves to some three or four—to France, Spain, and Belgium, and perhaps one other; the list can hardly be extended beyond that. But let us take the opposite case—let us take the case that this Bill is rejected, and that you wait for some years before you take any measure; what will be the case then? Prussia has told us (I do not consider it a threat, I consider it a fair declaration), "If you continue these restrictions, if you think them wise, I will copy your wisdom, and give you the same terms that you give me." I cannot sec that there is anything offensive in that, or that we have any reason to complain of such a declaration. Russia has already proclaimed the same thing; she has proclaimed, with regard to other nations, that she will impose upon them the restrictions they impose upon her shipping; but she will not do so with regard to England, because she has a treaty with England; and how long does that treaty last? It expires in 1851; and from that time Russia will be at liberty to impose restrictions upon us. Is it wise to wait till you are subject to them, and then endeavour to negotiate in order to take off those restrictions on both sides? I remember that Mr. Huskisson held a very different, and, I think, a much wiser doctrine; I have here the words which he used, after speaking of what is called now the "threat from Prussia," and the conduct likely to be adopted by her: he said— The immediate lesson which I derive from it is this, that it is a part of political wisdom, when danger is foreseen, not supinely to wait for its approach, but, as far as possible, to take timely measures for its prevention. That is the course that we are now taking. We are told that there is no popular cry for this measure—that there is no demand for it on the part of public opinion; but I think we are bound, if we see such dangers before us, if we have the information which enables us to judge, not to wait till the people of this country come to us complaining and saying—"Our navigation is subject to restrictions, you knew that it would be so, you might have prevented it, it was your duty to settle these questions, but you have allowed this to come upon us, and you are to blame for the injury we are suffering." I ask the House, then, to agree to this Bill, and to endeavour to procure a settlement of this question. I am the more impressed with the necessity of arriving at the settlement we propose, from the considerations which have been adverted to by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Ripon. He has quoted the statement of a noble Lord, that with respect to protection we ought to retrace our steps. We know very well, not only that this is declaration from a person of high authority and in a commanding position, but that in many parts of the country, from certain classes, a cry has been raised for a renewal of protection, not upon any trifling article, not upon any imported goods, with respect to which the great mass of the people of this country can be indifferent, but they have asked at once for a renewed duty on the import of food. Now I beg hon. Members to consider what would be the probable consequences of any attempt of that nature. I am reminded of what the right hon. Baronet said at the conclusion of his speech, when he stated that we were necessarily agitators: and he called upon us not to promote agitation, or irritate the minds of men. Now the agitation and irritation produced by our proposal to repeal the navigation laws are not very considerable or very alarming—according to the opinion of any one. But if we were to declare that we were about again to impose a tax upon food; that we were not satisfied with the low price of corn, then I believe we should have an agitation and an irritation of a very different descaiption. I believe that you would then have the mass, the great mass of the people who are now quiet and contented—[Ironical cheers from the Protectionists]—I again repeat it, "who are now quiet and contented," and I rejoice that they are enabled—with regard to articles both of necessary food, and of those slight comforts which they enjoy—that they are enabled to purchase them at lower rates than perhaps they have been able to procure them in the memory of man in this country—of any one now living. I believe that if you were to proclaim that you were about to impose a tax upon the importation of corn, that these classes would agitate from the fear of the sufferings which they would have to endure, and of the scarcity which you by your legislation would attempt to expose them to. Who would feel the benefit of such a state of things? The farmers, you tell us, are asking for a duty upon corn. If that duty were small, an advantage would be gained to the revenue. But a protection to be effectual, in the opinion of the farmers, must not be the protection of a small duty, and no benefit would be derived from it. If any benefit is to be do-rived by them, we are told it must be by a high duty; but is it imagined that there could be imposed upon the nation a high duty upon corn? In the present state of this country, does any man imagine that—even although this House, by a majority of four to one, should pass such a law; and if it should pass the House of Lords without a dissentient voice being raised against it—does any one believe that such a law could be maintained and enforced in this country? Well, Sir, then I ask this House, do not, by the rejection, give a signal for fresh and renewed agitation on the subject of the corn laws. Like the right hon. Baronet the Member for Ripon, I rejoice in the tranquillity with which we passed through a year remarkable in its revolutions and convulsions in almost every country in Europe. I believe that there were three things that contributed mainly to your tranquillity, to the preservation of confidence, and to the loyalty of the people. I believe that the first of these causes was the attachment of the people to the form of their own ancient institutions; and in the next place, that it was very much owing to the removal of those grosser abuses in the representation of the people which the Reform Act proposed and carried under the administration of Earl Grey. I believe that if yon had had such flagrant abuses as Gatton and Old Sarum, that what might have been a call for reform would have swelled into a cry for revolution. I believe the third reason why the people were so tranquil during the agitation of the past year was, that the grievances which they felt from the high price of food, caused by your legislation, had been removed, and that by the Act of 1846 there had been removed all the impediments by which the people were prevented from procuring that food as cheaply as it could be introduced from every foreign nation. I believe that to these throe circumstances you are indebted mainly for the position in which you stand—a position which is gratifying to every native of this country; and a position which is conspicuous among all the nations of the world. I ask you to maintain that position by the means by which you acquired it. I ask you not to refuse a reform which is pointed out by reason, which is the result of inquiry, and which is in conformity with the principle that Parliament has already deliberately adopted. If, on the other hand, you announce that you are about to pursue the course of reaction, and if you induce men to think that you doubt of the soundness of those principles that you have adopted—if the opinion prevails that the shipping interest is not alone to be left as the solo protected interest in the country, and that you are about to restore that protection which Parliament has taken away—then, I say, you will be giving the signal for an agitation, of which indeed you may have been proved of having commenced the operation, but of which you will not see the end without the deepest regret and sorrow.


I have upon another occasion entered very fully, with the indulgence of the House, into the discussion of this great question, and I shall therefore now only take the liberty, before the division is called, of venturing to express the general feeling with which I shall give my vote on this occasion. Sir, the right hon. Baronet the Member for Ripon has told us that he considers the question before the House to be, whether we shall place the capital on the column which we have been so long raising. But, Sir, if the column that we have raised be one that, in the symmetry of its outline and the general beauty of its design, has some-0 what disappointed our expectations—if we find that when it is raised it has not realised the expectations of our creative fancy—we may, perhaps, hesitate before we incur the additional expense of raising a costly capital upon what may he a column of a very ill-fashioned design. And, Sir, the rhetorical illustration of the right hon. Gentleman places the case in its true light before the House. This great project was brought forward to realise a theory. You were called upon to deal with a most important interest—not from any popular appeal—not from any general feeling of any great national inconvenience—but because we were told that this repeal of the navigation code of England was to complete a great experiment. But allow me to remind you, that time, which has been appealed to this evening, has in a great measure tested that experiment; and that the argument which you urged, with some effect, twelve months ago, in favour of your proposition—namely, that it was necessary to complete an experiment which had not then failed, does not tell this Session with equal effect, when the right hon. Baronet the Member for Ripon, who denied, last year, that reaction could ever occur, has acknowledged to-night that progress and reaction are in antagonism—and when the noble Lord the First Minister occupies the greater part of his speech on the navigation laws in deprecating the protection demanded for the agricultural interest in consequence of the great distress and discontent of the country. You brought forward your plan upon a theory; but it was necessary, among a practical people, that there should be a case made out to support it. And what did you do? You made a case. But the whole process was factitious. With a foregone conclusion you nominated a Committee of Inquiry—a Committee which, I may be permitted to say, did not conduct its investigations in that manner which is generally adopted by a Committee of this House. No sooner had you obtained this Committee of Inquiry—no sooner had you gone about to collect evidence to justify the decision which you had already assumed, than it was found that the case was not sufficiently substantiated of the inconvenience which you alleged the commerce of the country was enduring from the navigation laws. It was necessary, therefore, to give another colour to the changes you were about to bring forward; and, ultimately, to justify you to practical men, as your theory recommended you to a particular party, you rested your case on three points—on commercial inconvenience, on colonial discontent, and on foreign menace. Well, now twelve months have elapsed, during which time this question has been deeply and carefully investigated, and we are, therefore, much more competent to form an opinion upon it than we were two years ago; and how stands your case? Your facts have blown up, and your theory has broken down. Your first allegation as to commercial injury and inconvenience was the high freight paid by the consumers of England in consequence of the restrictions imposed by the navigation laws. An hon. Member of the Government, and one who is supposed to be a great authority on these subjects—the hon. Member for Westbury—tells us in this debate that these restrictions have not really raised freights at all. The great commercial inconveniences you have alleged have been fairly met. It has been shown that they are exceptional cases. I did not expect to hear again what I heard tonight from the right hon. Baronet the Member for Ripon, of the celebrated cochineal case—the ground nuts he forgot. But a suggestion has been made, which, without interfering with any fundamental principle of the navigation code, would remove all these alleged inconveniences—not all those absurdities which the noble Lord stated that my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Midhurst spoke of—my hon. and learned Friend never used the phrase—but all those exceptional inconveniences. I was surprised to hear the right hon. Member for the University of Oxford the other night, reading an anonymous paragraph, maintain that it was quite evident the shipowners would never consent to any change. I regretted that that observation was made by the right hon. Gentleman, for I knew it must have an injurious effect in many quarters, as evidence of bigoted obstinacy on the part of the shipowners of the country. But is it true that the shipowners are actuated by such feelings? I happen to hold in my hand the last report of the Shipowners' Society, dated the 5th of March last, and what do I read there?— They express their readiness to discuss at the proper time fully and impartially all questions bearing on the practical amendment of the navigation laws. They consider themselves precluded from offering any suggestions at this particular time, but, guided by their avowed principles they will frankly state their opinions, weigh those of others, and concede with liberality when they cannot convince on all points not involving fundamental principles. Now, after such an expression—an expression so lately made by so important a society, I think I am justified in stating my surprise that the right hon. Member for the University should have lent his high authority and justly influential name to an opinion of such an incorrect and injurious character. We come next to the case of colonial discontent. I cannot understand, though I have listened with the utmost attention to the debate, that the instances adduced this year much enrich the factitious case of the Government. Surely it has not been shown that there is on the part of the colonies a feeling that the repeal of the navigation laws must operate advantageously in their favour? The noble Lord who has just spoken, it is true, referred to a memorial from Australia—a memorial which, I may observe, has never been presented to the House. That memorial is not a new document; I alluded to it last year; for it so happened that, in consequence of it, I received from the harbour-masters of the ports of that part of the world a statement, from which it appears that, between the 1st of January, 1846, and the 30th of June, 1847, 61 ships sailed from London for Sydney, 18 of which loaded cargoes home, and the remaining 43 proceeded to other places in search of freights. The same statement also shows that in the like period 27 ships sailed from London to Hobart Town, 14 of which loaded home, and 13 remained in ballast; that 25 vessels sailed from London within the same period for Port Philip, 13 of which loaded home, and 12 remained without cargoes; and that, from the 1st of November, 1846, to the 30th of June, 12 ships sailed from London to Port Adelaide, of which only 7 obtained cargoes. With such a statement as this before you, can yon pretend to maintain that the Australian colonies are suffering from want of shipping? or that any alteration in your navigation laws can give them freights at more reasonable terms? I need not dwell on the case of the West India colonies, for the Government themselves admit that that part of the factitious case has broken down. There might, perhaps, have been a colourable case last year in favour of these colonies; but the Government admits that the feeling is now very different. True that, in Trinidad, there is the old feeling in favour of repeal—by the by, there was a memorial from Guiana also, in favour of the repeal of the navigation laws; but it is generally understood that the moment the West Indian colonies found that the proposed change in the navigation laws would not alter their relative positions with respect to Cuba and the Spanish colonies, all desire for change ceased. The most important case which remains behind, is that of Canada—and the case of Canada has been treated in a manner to-night which will not, I think, be easily forgotten in the country. It is true that the Legislative Assembly has petitioned the Crown for the repeal of the navigation laws; but in the same document the same Assembly has required that justice shall be done to its industry—and in the same document the same Assembly has demanded the reinstitution of that 5s. duty on foreign corn which they once enjoyed. And if that document is, in the hands of the Government, an argument in favour of the repeal of the navigation laws, it is, by the severest rules of logic, equally an argument in favour of a 5s. duty. But we have been informed by a very high authority on this subject to-night, that if the 5s. duty is not given back to the Canadians, in all probability, Canada will cease to belong to the British Crown. Why, then there is a grave responsibility, according to this statement, resting on those who counselled you to disturb the arrangement you had made respecting the importation of Canadian corn. And it is impossible that any one can believe, and still less did I expect that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ripon would have believed, that any paltry change in the navigation laws can reconcile the people of Canada to your rule, if they feel that the taking away of that protection to their industry has, in fact, virtually dissolved every tie that bound them to you. It is well that the people of England should know to-morrow this solemn opinion of one of their greatest and gravest public men—it is well that they should know to-morrow that they must be prepared for a rebellion in Canada, and that they must be prepared to lose that proud possession of the Crown, mainly because the people of Canada have been deprived of that just protection which they had a right to expect. I cannot conceive that the people of England can form any opinion on this subject other than to say, "Woe to the statesmen and the policy who plucked this jewel from the crown of England!" I cannot believe that they can for a moment suppose that some shuffling change in the navigation code of England, can be any compensation to the people of Canada, who feel so acutely on this subject, and who, according to the right hon. Gentleman, are prepared to act so decidedly. Well, Sir, it would seem then that the colonial case is not stronger this year. It rests upon Canada alone, and upon a document which, if it proves anything, proves that the policy of the House of Commons ought to be to protect the industry of the people of Canada. And what, Sir, is the foreign ease? The Foreign Office has been extremely busy on this subject, circulating throughout the world the opinion of the House of Commons, as if to prepare the Continent for the House of Lords having little in future to do with the Government of the country. It appears, however, that, in this instance, the moment the House of Commons came to a vote, they repented of what they had done, for the majority dwindled to one half the number. The Secretary for the Foreign Department writes to our representatives at all the Courts, from Vienna to Venezuela, directing them to ascertain whether foreign Powers will consent to a change in their navigation codes. The same system was adopted which was pursued last year to obtain information at foreign ports as to the conduct and qualities of English seamen. And hero I must say, that the hon. Member for Huntingdon has been misrepresented by the noble Lord the First Minister, when the noble Lord argued as if my hon. Friend had agreed that British seamen merited the censure applied to them in the official papers to which I have alluded. My hon. Friend agreed to no such thing. He assumed the Government statement as a fact only to show that the premises they induced from it were erroneous. Now, let us see what is the consequence of this invitation to foreign Powers to alter their navigation codes. Considerable stress has been laid upon the case of Prussia. Why, the despatch of the Prussian Minister holds out no prospect whatever of coining to any arrangement. On the contrary, he refers to the altered state of affairs, and of being in a position in which Prussia feels it impossible, at present, for her to enter into any negotiations with us on the subject—at the first blush certainly an excellent argument for not precipating negotiations or passing these measures. I read the despatch, it means this—"Things are unsettled with us; but if the Whig Government remain in office—if we succeed in our foreign policy—if we secure the harbours of Schleswig-Holstein, of the North Sea, and the Elbe, and by the favour of England become an important maritime Power—then we shall be prepared to open negotiations with you, and we shall then stand upon our rights." At this late hour, I will not refer to other Continental Powers, but I must say one word upon the remarkable case of the United States. I ask the President of the Board of Trade, if his Government had been last year in the same position with the United States at it is at present, would he have brought forward these measures, or would he have made the expression of opinion on the part of foreign States a part of his case? Why, I was taunted the other night for indulging in imaginary flights; but when I recall the sometimes confidential, always interesting, occasionally thrilling, and often solemn manner, in which the right hon. Gentleman revealed the Cabinet secrets with respect to the negotiations with the United States, and his conversations with Mr. Bancroft, which were most irregularly brought forward, I must say, to influence the debate, and never appeared in any public document—when I recollect the great importance that was placed, and justly so, on the sentiments of the United States and remember that this year all is a tabula rasa—that all we have heard about the United States and Mr. Bancroft is to be totally omitted as an element of our consideration—I say it is one of the most remarkable circumstances that I can ever recollect in debate, and shows the importance of not deciding precipitately on great questions, and proves to great advantage what the public and the cause of truth may gain by postponing, if only for twelve months, this settlement. I am not surprised that Mr. Bancroft has now been so silent. I will not now read to the House that which I hope will soon be in the hands of every hon. Member—the report of the Committee of Ways and Means on American manufactures, presented to Congress on the last day of February in this year. When General Taylor stood upon the steps of the Government house in Washington, he must have had that document in his pocket, and its contents must have inspired that peculiar and protective passage in his inaugural speech with which we are familiar. One portion of that report is so very germane to the present discussion, that were it not that we have arrived at so advanced an hour, I should not have hesitated to have submitted it to the consideration of the House. It expresses the opinion, solemnly arrived at and deliberately recorded, of the Committee of Ways and Means in favour of the navigation laws of America as existing at the present moment, and recommends that no change or modification should be permitted under any circumstances whatsoever. It is only the late hour that precludes me from reading; that document; but touching, as I am obliged to do, very lightly on the most important points of the subject be-fore us, I think I may have given you reason to see how, when their theory had become unpopular, as it has by the confession of the noble Lord at the bead of the Government, their factitious case, which they prepared for a particular purpose, has entirely melted away under discussion and the influences of time and truth. All the pleas brought forward to vindicate this great change, are—taken separately—paltry and insignificant. Take them singly, and there is no one at either side of the House who would advocate this vast change on the single plea of any one of them. No one would recommend it on account of the inconveniences to commerce attendant on the present system—no one would recommend it on account of the increased amount of freight, for the freight is really not higher in England than anywhere else—no one would recommend it to palliate the inconveniences of the present regulations of the long voyage—no one would recommend it, in short, for purposes which simply and solely had reference to commercial intercourse. Would it be recommended because of the colonial discontent alone? Your case falls under you then. The only case you have is Canada, which comes to you for a duty of 5s. on American corn. Will you recommend it in consideration of Continental menace and foreign perils? Hardly that. On those grounds the question will scarcely bear discussion. You are deserted by America, and Prussia does not exist as a Government. But it is the aggregation of these flimsy pleas that is to be the foundation of this enormous revolution. This measure was got up in a hurry, and was attempted to be bolstered through the House last Session before the country was aware of the merits of the question. Dust was thrown in the eyes of the people and their representatives. They were confounded by the whisk and whirl of "the great question of the day." The great principle of free trade was said to be at stake. They were dinned to death by free trade, the injury and inconvenience accruing to commercial intercourse, the discontent of the colonists, the menaces of foreign Powers, and they felt it was bettor to come to what the noble Lord the First Minister of the Crown calls "a settlement of the question." There is nothing I admire more than this readiness to "settle" a question. What is it? What does it mean? Nothing more or less than this, the settlement of questions you have yourselves unsettled. The noble Lord goes about looking for a great question for the Session, and finds amongst his free-trade allies some crude jejune theory. He clasps it to his bosom, and incontinently adopts it for his own. A great interest is attacked—a great agitation is set on foot, and then he comes forward like a great statesman to appease it. He unsettles an interest, and then he settles the question by destroying the interest. Sir, that is the whole policy of the Whig party. To-night they have obtained an illustrious ally in the person of a right hon. Gentleman, who tells us we have to decide between reaction and progress. But progress where? Progress to Paradise, or progress to the devil? People don't want to hear any longer of these undefined, windy phrases of "progress;" they want to know where you are progressing to. What are you at? What do you mean to do? What are you about? When you have defined to them what you mean to accomplish, they will then weigh whether what they possess, or did possess, is worth more than you promise. The Manchester school is at least intelligible. It is composed of men who leave us in no mystery as to their intentions. They tell us frankly that they want to overthrow the Church—to destroy the landed tenure—to change the whole constitution of the land, and to do many other things besides which may he perilous, perhaps fatal, to this country, but which, at all events, when advocated by them, find us in this position, that we know what we are about. We feel that we have manly foes to grapple with, and I hope and believe we may defeat them. But these dilletante disciples of progress are very dangerous opponents—and I very much regret to learn that one so eminent and experienced as the right hon. Baronet the Member for Ripon should have intimated his intention of taking his stand where he is, for I must express my regret that where he is he is likely in consequence to remain. The right hon. Gentleman says he cannot acknowledge that public opinion is against the proposition of the Government. He says, "the Members for the outports are not against it." I will not stop here to notice the spirit in which the right hon. Gentleman spoke of the exercise of the right of petitioning this House. It seems to be not so much in favour in some quarters as it was once held. The right hon. Gentleman says the Members for the outports voted for the measure, and that the presumption, therefore, is, that the constituencies of these places are in favour of the alteration. He says, "Why, the two Members for Liverpool, and the Member for Glasgow, support the proposition of the Government." That maybe; but it is quite possible that men may have been elected without having made a frank exposition of their opinions. Men may have been sent to the House of Commons—and I know from experience that men have been so sent—pledged to support a particular policy, and when they got there they have abandoned it. I do not know what passed between the hon. Members for Liverpool and their constituencies at the last election; it is possible no communication took place between them on the subject of the navigation laws; but, if this were so, it showed great neglect on the part of the electors of Liverpool, and they deserve what they have got. With regard to the hon. Member for Glasgow, I have reason to believe the misconception is of a more unfortunate kind, for I am informed he had a frank communication with his constituency, and left them with the unfortunate misconstruction on their minds that he was coming up to London to oppose the Bill. I have no doubt the Member for Glasgow has good reasons for changing his opinions; but when I am told that Glasgow cannot be against the measure, because its Member has not opposed it, I think I am justified in referring to these facts. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ripon, in the third place, thought fit to change the whole tone of the debate, and referred to a speech delivered by a noble Lord in another place. He, as it were, changed the venue of the issue before us. It was not the navigation laws, but the corn laws of England that were brought on the carpet; and it was not so much the fate of the Government that exists, but the possible fate of a Government that might exist, that animated the fervid rhetoric and evoked the measured denunciation of the right hon. Gentleman. He was, however, somewhat inconsistent in his taunts. He said, "If you doubt the policy, why don't you boldly come forward and challenge its propriety? Why not," said the right hon. Gentleman, "boldly come forward and ask us to retrace our steps?" And having put this pertinent interrogatory, he proceeded to observe, that he looked upon the division of to-night as a regular stand-up fight on the question, whether this Government shall advance or retrograde, and that the whole protective system was again at stake on the division on which we are now about to enter. If that he indeed the case—if that be the real character of the debate to-night, that the true nature of the struggle we are about to engage in—the right hon. Gentleman most assuredly ought not to do us the injustice of alleging that we on this side of the House are anxious to evade the contest. Sir, I beg leave to give the right hon. Gentleman an earnest assurance that he shall have no reason to complain of any reluctance upon our part to afford him frequent and ample opportunities for vindicating the policy which he was instrumental in introducing, and for which he is now responsible before this House and his country. But, Sir, I must be permitted to adopt the rule laid down by the right hon. Gentleman near me, and "avail myself of the experience of the last three years." It is a magic term. It was the foundation of all your changes. Let them be accomplished, as they are now near their accomplishment, and then we can decide on your policy by the very test to which you have yourselves appealed. The hon. and learned Member for Midhurst has called the attention of the House to the great stake which depends on your vote to-night. He has reminded you of the vast amount of capital invested in this trade. He has reminded you of the great revenue expended for wages of labour. Let me remind you also of one statistical fact which is true and most interesting. Take all the male operatives of all the factories of Great Britain, adult and beneath the ago of eighteen years, add them all together, and the total computation will not amount to the number of the merchant seamen of England. The interest, therefore, is a great interest. Called on to effect this great change out of regard for the experience of the last throe years, let me remind you of some circumstances which have occurred since the commencement of that terra which has been so often referred to as the test of political and economic truth. Since that term commenced, the poor-rates of England have increased 17 per cent. Since that term commenced, it appears from the last returns of the property tax that have been presented to this House, that the capital of England has been diminished more than 100,000,000l. Since that term commenced, it appears that the average increase in the deposits in the savings banks has diminished exactly one-half. These, too, are facts—these, too, are details of surpassing interest in the discussion of this question. Sir, if this be not the handwriting on the wall, I know not where kings and senates are to seek the sources of warning and admonition. Yes, there is more at stake, I agree with the right hon. Baronet the Member for Ripon—there is more at stake in your vote tonight, even than the navigation code, precious though that prize may be. You can, by your vote to-night, beat down that great statistical conspiracy which has so long tampered with the resources and trifled with the fortunes of a great country—that great statistical conspiracy which commenced its labours by proving that the English peasant was a serf, and consistently concluded them by demonstrating that the British sailor was a sot. Will you, by your vote to-night, commend these patriotic labours to the sympathy of a grateful people? or will you, by the recollection of your past prosperity—by the memory of your still existing power—for the sake of the most magnificent colonial empire in the world now drifting amid the breakers—for the sake of the starving mechanics of Birmingham and Sheffield—by all the wrongs of a betrayed agriculture—by all the hopes of Ireland—will you not rather, by the vote we are now coming to, arrive at a decision which may to-morrow smooth the careworn countenance of British toil—give faith and energy to native labour—and at least afford hope to the tortured industry of a suffering people?


rose to address the House amidst loud cries of "Divide!" The hon. Gentleman having failed to ob- tain a hearing, resumed his seat. Previous to doing so he moved the adjournment of the debate.


expressed a hope that the hon. Gentleman would not persist in his Motion for an adjournment, as they were very anxious to come to a division on that night.


then withdrew his Motion for adjournment.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Debate be now adjourned."

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

Question put. The House divided:—Ayes 275; Noes 214: Majority 61.

List of the AYES.
Abdy, T. N. Collins, W.
Adair, H. E. Cowper, hon. W. F.
Adair, R. A. S. Craig, W. G.
Aglionby, H. A. Crawford, W. S.
Alcock, T. Crowder, R. B.
Anderson, A. Currie, R.
Anson, hon. Col. Dalrymple, Capt.
Anson, Visct. Damer, hon. Col.
Armstrong, Sir A. Davie, Sir H. R. F.
Armstrong, R. B. Dawson, hon. T. V.
Arundel and Surrey, Earl of Denison, W. J.
Denison, J. E.
Bagshaw, J. Devereux, J. T.
Baring, rt. hon. Sir F. T. D'Eyncourt, rt. hn. C. T.
Bass, M. T. Divett, E.
Bellow, R. M. Douglas, Sir C. E.
Berkeley, hon. Capt. Drummond, H.
Berkeley, hon. H. F. Duff, G. S.
Berkeley, C. L. G. Duncan, Visct.
Bernal, R. Duncan, G.
Birch, Sir T. B. Duncuft, J.
Blackall, S. W. Dundas, Adm.
Blake, M. J. Dundas, Sir D.
Blewitt, B. J. Ebrington, Visct.
Bouverie, hon. E. P. Ellice, rt. hon. E.
Boyle, hon. Col. Ellice, E.
Brand, T. Ellis, J.
Bright, J. Elliot, hon. J. E.
Brotherton, J. Estcourt, J. B. B.
Brown, H. Evans, Sir De L.
Brown, W. Evans, J.
Browne, R. D. Evans, W.
Bunbury, E. H. Ewart, W.
Burke, Sir T. J. Ferguson, Col.
Busfeild, W. FitzBatrick, rt. hn. J. W.
Butler, P. S. Fitzroy, hon. H.
Buxton, Sir E. N. Fitzwilliam, hon. G. W.
Campbell, hon. W. F. Foley, J. H. H.
Cardwell, E. Fordyce, A. D.
Carter, J. B. Forster, M.
Caulfield, J. M. Fortescue, C.
Cavendish, hon. C. C. Fortescue, hon. J. W.
Cavendish, hon. G. H. Fox, R. M.
Chaplin, W. J. Freestun, Col.
Charteris, hon. F. Gibson, rt. hon. T. M.
Childers, J. W. Gladstone, rt. hon. W. E.
Clements, hon. C. S. Glyn, G. C.
Clerk, rt. hon. Sir G. Goulburn, rt. hon. H.
Clifford, H. M. Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.
Cobden, R. Granger, T. C.
Cockburn, A. J. E. Grattan, H.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. Greene, J.
Greene, T. Mowatt, F.
Grenfell, C. W. Muntz, G. F.
Grey, rt. hon. Sir G. Norreys, Lord
Grey, R. W. Nugent, Lord
Grosvenor, Earl O'Brien, J.
Guest, Sir J. O'Brien, T.
Hallyburton, Lord G. F. O'Connell, J.
Hanmer, Sir J. O'Connor, F.
Hastie, A. Ogle, S. C. H.
Hastie, A. Ord, W.
Hawes, B. Owen, Sir J.
Hay, Lord J. Paget, Lord A.
Hayter, rt. hon. W. G. Paget, Lord C.
Headlam, T. E. Paget, Lord G.
Heald, J. Palmerston, Visct.
Heneage, G. H. W. Parker, J.
Heneage, E. Pearson, C.
Henry, A. Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.
Herbert, rt. hon. S. Peel, F.
Hervey, Lord A. Perfect, R.
Heywood, J. Peto, S. M.
Heyworth, L. Philips, Sir G. R.
Hindley, C. Pigott, F.
Hobhouse, rt. hon. Sir J. Pilkington, J.
Hobhouse, T. B. Pinney, W.
Hollond, R. Power, N.
Hope, H. T. Price, Sir R.
Howard, Lord E. Pusey, P.
Howard, hon. C. W. G. Rawdon, Col.
Howard, hon. J. K. Reynolds, J.
Howard, hon. E. G. G. Ricardo, J. L.
Hume, J. Ricardo, O.
Hutt, W. Rice, E. R.
Jackson, W. Rich, H.
Jermyn, Earl Robartes, T. J. A.
Jervis, Sir J. Romilly, Sir J.
Keppel, hon. G. T. Russell, Lord J.
Kershaw, J. Russell, hon. E. S.
Kildare, Marq. of Russell, F. C. H.
King, hon. P. J. L. Rutherfurd, A.
Labouchere, rt. hon. H. Salwey, Col.
Langsten, J. H. Sandars, G.
Lascelles, hon. W. S. Scholefield, W.
Lawless, hon. C. Scrope, G. P.
Lemon, Sir C. Scully, F.
Lewis, rt. hon. Sir T. F. Seymour, Lord
Lewis, G. C. Shafto, R. D.
Lincoln, Earl of Shell, rt. hon. R. L.
Littleton, hon. E. R. Shelburne, Earl of
Loch, J. Sheridan, R. B.
Locke, J. Slaney, R. A.
Lockhart, A. E. Smith, rt. hon. R. V.
Lushington, C. Smith, J. A.
M'Cullgh, W. T. Smith, M. T.
M'Gregor, J. Smith, J. B.
M'Taggart, Sir J. Somers, J. P.
Maitland, T. Somerville, rt. hn. Sir W.
Mangles, R. D. Stansfield, W. R. C.
Marshall, J. G. Stanton, W. H.
Marshall, W. Staunton, Sir G. T.
Martin, J. Strickland, Sir G.
Martin, S. Stuart, Lord D.
Matheson, A. Stuart, Lord J.
Matheson, J. Sutton, J. H. M.
Matheson, Col. Talfourd, Serj.
Maule, rt. hon. F. Tancred, H. W.
Melgund, Visct. Tenison, E. K.
Milner, W. M. E. Tennent, R. J.
Mitchell, T. A. Thicknesse, R. A.
Moffatt, G. Thompson, Col.
Molesworth, Sir W. Thompson, G.
Monsell, W. Thornely, T.
Morris, D. Tollemache, hon. F. J.
Towneley, J. Whitmore, T. C.
Townshend, Capt. Willcox, B. M.
Traill, G. Williams, J.
Trelawny, J. S. Wilson, J.
Vane, Lord H. Wilson, M.
Verney, Sir H. Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Villiers, hon. C. Wood, W. P.
Vivian, J. H. Wrightson, W. B.
Wall, C. B. Wyld, J.
Walmsley, Sir J. Wyvill, M.
Walter, J. Young, Sir J.
Ward, H. G.
Watkins, Col. L. TELLERS.
West, F. R. Tufnell, H.
Westhead, J. P. Hill, Lord M.
List of the AYES.
Adderley, C. B. Coles, H. B.
Alexander, N. Compton, H. C.
Anstey, T. C. Cotton, hon. W. H. S.
Arbuthnott, hon. H. Cubitt, W.
Archdall, Capt. M. Davies, D. A. S.
Arkwright, G. Deedes, W.
Bagge, W. Dick, Q.
Bagot, hon. W. Disraeli, B.
Bailey, J. Dod, J. W.
Bailey, J., jun. Dodd, G.
Baillie, H. J. Drax, J. S. W. S. E.
Baines, M. T. Duckworth, Sir J. T. B.
Baldock, E. H. Duncombe, hon. A.
Bankes, G. Duncombe, hon. O.
Baring, T. Dundas, G.
Baring, hon. F. Dunne, F. P.
Barrington, Visct. Du Pre, C. G.
Barron, Sir H. W. East, Sir J. B.
Bateson, T. Edwards, H.
Bentinck, Lord H. Egerton, Sir P.
Bernard, Visct. Egerton, W. T.
Blackstono, W. S. Emlyn, Visct.
Blair, S. Euston, Earl of
Blakemore, R. Farnham, E. B.
Blandford, Marq. of Farrer, J.
Boldero, H. G. Fellowes, E.
Bourke, R. S. Ffolliott, J.
Bowles, Adm. Filmer, Sir E.
Brackley, Visct. Floyer, J.
Bramston, T. W. Forester, hon. G. C. W.
Bremridge, R. Fox, S. W. L.
Brisco, M. Fuller, A. E.
Broadley, H. Galway, Visct.
Broadwood, H. Gaskell, J. M.
Bromley, R. Goddard, A. L.
Brooke, Lord Godson, R.
Brooke, Sir A. B. Gooch, E. S.
Bruen, Col. Gordon, Adm.
Buck, L. W. Gore, W. O.
Buller, Sir J. Y. Gore, W. R. O.
Bunbury, W. M. Goring, C.
Burghley, Lord Granby, Marq, of
Burrell, Sir C. M. Grogan, E.
Burroughes, H. N. Gwyn, H.
Carew, W. H. P. Hale, R. B.
Cayley, E. S. Halford, Sir H.
Chandos, Marq. of Hall, Col.
Chichester, Lord if, L. Halsey, T. P.
Cholmeley, Sir M. Hamilton, G. A.
Christopher, R. A. Hamilton, Lord C.
Clive, hon. R. H. Harris, hon. Capt.
Clive, H. B. Henley, J. W.
Cobbold, J. C. Herbert, H. A.
Codrington, Sir W. Herries, rt. hon. J. C.
Cole, hon. H. A. Hildyard, R. C.
Hildyard, T. B. T. Plowden, W. H. C.
Hodgson, W. N. Plumptre, J. P.
Hood, Sir A. Portal, M.
Hope, Sir J. Pryse, P.
Hornby, J. Reid, Col.
Hotham, Lord Renton, J. C.
Hudson, G. Repton, G. W. J.
Hughes, W. B. Richards, R.
Inglis, Sir R. H. Robinson, G. R.
Jocelyn, Visct. Rufford, F.
Johnstone, Sir J. Rumbold, C. E.
Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H. Rushout, Capt.
Jones, Capt. Sadleir, J.
Keating, R. Sandars, J.
Kerrison, Sir E. Scott, hon. F.
Knight, F. W. Seaham, Visct.
Knightley, Sir C. Seymer, H. K.
Knox, Col. Shirley, E. J.
Lacy, H. C. Sibthorp, Col.
Law, hon. C. E. Sidney, Ald.
Legh, G. C. Smyth, Sir H.
Lennox, Lord H. G. Smyth, J. G.
Leslie, C. P. Somerset, Capt.
Lewisham, Visct. Sotheron, T. H. S.
Lockhart, W. Stafford, A.
Long, W. Stanley, hon. E. H.
Lopes, Sir R. Stephenson, R.
Lowther, hon. Col. Stuart, H.
Lygon, hon. Gen. Stuart, J.
Meagher, T. Sturt, H. G.
Mandeville, Visct. Talbot, C. R. M.
March, Earl of Thompson, Ald.
Masterman, J. Thornhill, G.
Maunsell, T. P. Trollope, Sir J.
Maxwell, hon. J. P. Tyrell, Sir J. T.
Meux, Sir H. Urquhart, D.
Miles, P. W. S. Villiers, hon. F. W. C.
Miles, W. Vyvyan, Sir R. R.
Moody, C. A. Vyse, R. H. R. H.
Morgan, O. Waddington, D.
Mullins, J. R. Waddington, H. S.
Mundy, W. Walpole, S. H.
Mure, Col. Walsh, Sir J. B.
Neeld, J. Wawn, J. T.
Neeld, J. Welby, G. E.
Newdegate, C. N. Williams, T. P.
Newport, Visct. Willoughby, Sir H.
Newry and Morne, Visct. Wodehouse, E.
O'Brien, Sir L. Worcester, Marq. of
Ossulston, Lord Yorke, hon. E. T.
Packe, C. W.
Palmer, R. TELLERS.
Palmer, R. Beresford, Maj.
Pennant, hon. Col. Mackenzie, W. F.

Main Question put, and agreed to.

Bill read 3o.


then moved a clause, by-way of rider to the Bill, providing that where a British ship had arrived from a foreign port, and discharged her cargo in a British port, she should not be required to take a pilot in proceeding from one port in the kingdom to another.


objected to the clause as brought forward at an inconvenient time.


replied, and intimated his intention to divide.


hoped the hon. Member for South Shields would not persist in that intention. He fully agreed in the object of his clause. He knew that the present system of pilotage was extremely onerous to the shipowner, and if he would bring the question forward at a proper period he would cordially support him; but for the present he begged the hon. Member not to persist in his Motion.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the said Clause be now read a second time," put and negatived.

Bill passed.