HC Deb 21 February 1850 vol 108 cc1179-272

Order read for resuming Adjourned Debate.


said, that Her Majesty's Ministers who had spoken on the question, appeared to admit the existence of distress in the agricultural districts, and were also deeply sensitive to the charge of treating the existing distress with levity and indifference. There were now two questions to be decided—one as to the continuance of the distress, the other as to the best manner of remedying it. With respect to the question of the continuance of distress, he had observed that while the Speech from the Throne contained expressions of the greatest gratification at the cheapness of provisions, the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and all the Members of Her Majesty's Government, present or past, had united to declare that the existing distress was only to be removed by a rise in the price of agricultural produce; and the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had stated it to be his confident opinion that prices would rise. The Tamworth manifesto spoke of temporary depression, and the Netherby speech of agriculture being "under a cloud." Now, what was the meaning of these expressions? What was the "depression"—what was the "cloud?" He wanted the line to be given where cheapness, instead of a blessing, became a curse to the community. The noble Lord and the right hon. Baronet the Home Secretary had charged hon. Members with deceiving the farmers, by holding out hopes of a return to protection when they knew that was impossible. He denied that this was correct. The protectionists only said protection was a means to an end. The great object they had in view was to raise the prices of the produce in which the agriculturists dealt, to a remunerating point. It was, therefore, unfair on the part of Government to cast obloquy on them by as- serting they intended to deceive the farmers, when Government, as a means of remedying existing distress, foretold a rise in prices. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department complained of the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire for not alluding to the law of settlement in his Motion; but the hon. Member had made his resolutions large enough to embrace that question. As to the poor-law statistics produced by the right hon. Gentleman in reply to his (Mr. Stafford's) hon. Friend, he would tell the House that in his locality any statistics connected with the poor-laws which did not include the question of highway rates would be delusive. And when the right hon. Baronet the Home Secretary, occupying the position he did, brought forward the small amount of pauperism in the agricultural districts as an argument why no consideration should be given to the claims of the landed interests, he, in his high position, offered a very poor inducement to those connected with the land, who employed their labourers under all circumstances, and who had thus continued to diminish the number of paupers in their respective parishes. Was it meant to be inferred that because the landholders did employ their labourers, that was a desertion of their claims? The right hon. Baronet said that the agricultural labourers, whose wages had been reduced to 6s. a week, had had their wages unfairly reduced, unless rents had been diminished in proportion. But what on earth had the right hon. Gentleman to do with pronouncing that wages were too high or too low? The agriculturists had been exposed to competition with the whole world; they were told that everybody should buy in the cheapest market and sell in the dearest; and then, when they acted on the principle laid down by the Legislature, and were struggling to get labour as cheap as they could, the right hon. Gentleman got up and declared that those wages had been unfairly diminished. He thought the words which fell from his hon. Friend the Member for West Surrey must have made the right hon. Gentleman feel how dangerous was the present system. But the right hon. Baronet and those who sat near him were bad political economists. He (Mr. Stafford) had never seen, on the part of the noble Lord, or of the right hon. Baronet, any affection for political economy; but they ought at least to know the first rudiments of the science; and when they defined their first principle that wages were too low, and not apply that principle elsewhere, so long it would become them (the protectionists) to proclaim the difficulty of a system to which its supporters found it so difficult to adhere on general principles. As an instance of an improved state of things, the right hon. Baronet said that the criminal returns were higher in former years than they were last; and he quoted in confirmation of his argument a charge of the hon. and learned Recorder of London, who had stated the number of criminals in 1849 to be less than they had been in 1848. But he did not think that the learned Recorder drew the inference which the right hon. Baronet sought to establish, and for this reason, that the year 1848 was the year of Chartist disturbances, when an immense amount of atrocities was committed by those who followed the Chartists, under the pretext of political excitement. Therefore the conclusion at which the right hon. Baronet arrived was fallacious. But here were returns, which had just that moment been put into his hands, from Scotland. They were official returns for the years 1849 and 1845. Here was an account of the amount of property stolen, and recovered by the police, in Dumfries, for 1845, showing 232l, 13s. Amount of stolen property, and recovered, in the year 1849, 835l. Then there was a return of the number of vagrants; in 1845 the number was 2,262; in 1849 it was 5,684. Let the House consider how likely, in a discussion like this, a one-sided glance at statistics was to tell for the moment. Another hon. Gentleman stated that the criminal returns in 1836 were lowest, and in 1847 they were the highest. Now, in 1836 there was a stringent corn law—in 1847 they had a free trade in corn; and therefore if there was a far lower amount of crime with a stringent corn law, than under a system of free trade, there was an increase of crime, and the weapons might be turned against the hon. Gentleman. But the speech of the hon. Member for Manchester demanded a more detailed consideration than he had ventured to give it. He adopted a tone on Tuesday night which he must say, if he intended it to be the charmed voice to allure hon. Members to his lobby, was rather singular in its character. The hon. Gentleman made no disguise whatever: whatever professions of sympathy might fall from others towards the landed interest, he made it no secret that he most cordially hated them, he believed not individually, but as a class. The object he aimed at, or the conclusion thus led to, was intelligible enough—the utter abolition of home agriculture. He hated the constitution which they endeavoured to maintain, almost as heartily as the cause they advocated, and in the cordial cheers which greeted his announcement that he was not "a farmer's friend," might have perceived how the House believed his assertion. But the hon. Member for Manchester forgot in the usually excited character of his speeches to tell them whose friend he was! Did he mean to say he was not the friend of any class asking for the removal of grievances? Did he mean to say he was not the friend of any class asking for the diminution of taxes which they considered pressed deeply upon them? If the hon. Gentleman fell into a passion with every such class, how angry he must have been with the manufacturers who came forward and asked for and obtained the entire repeal of the duty on cotton wool! How angry with every one who wished the repeal of the duty on paper! He would say the circumstances were different. And so they were different. Because in every consideration of the landed interest the hon. Gentleman forgot the statements of his hon. Friend the Member for Buckinghamshire, that a great number of that class were a poor hardworking class, with ruin hanging over them; and he had stated this over and over again in the House; but the hon. Gentleman took no heed of that cardinal point, and, therefore, he charged him with something more than coquetting—with wilfully eluding. If the right hon. Baronet conceded the distress of the agricultural classes—if the hon. Member for Manchester, doubting, still refused to go into Committee, he thought the speech of the hon. Member for Haddingtonshire—who made them all regret that one who spoke so well spoke so seldom—put the question on the ground which had not been contravened. He stated that they did not place this claim on any distress at all, but upon the question of justice. Now, it was not the first time that the views of M'Culloch, Ricardo, and others, had been proclaimed in that House, that a duty of from 5s. to 8s. would only be an equivalent for the taxation levied on real property; and he might still quote a more recent high authority, who, as he was in his place, would contradict him if he quoted him wrongly. He referred to the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth, and these were the words which the right hon. Gentleman was reported to have used— Further, it may be said, that the land is entitled to protection on account of some peculiar burdens which it bears. But that is a question of justice rather than of policy. I have always felt and maintained that the land is subject to peculiar burdens; but you have the power of weakening the force of that argument by the removal of the burden, or making compensation. * * The last is a question of justice, which may be determined by giving some counterbalancing advantage."—Hansard, Vol. lxxxiii., p. 70. And he must give the right hon. Baronet the Home Secretary this credit, that there was nothing contradictory or antagonistic to those views which he had read to the House; on the contrary, the right hon. Gentleman left a suspicious opening to himself as to any other charges which might be placed on the Consolidated Fund. But in reference to the Motion of his hon. Friend the Member for Buckinghamshire, the right hon. Gentleman said this was not the time to bring forward such a Motion—that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had not declared what were to be his financial arrangements for the year. Wait, said he, till something positive is known. But he (Mr. Stafford) had heard that sort of language before; and he knew also that there were always two answers ready from Ministers—for if hon. Members brought a subject on before the financial statement, they were first told they could not know what the circumstances were, and that they should wait for the budget. Then came the subsequent official announcement, and the unlucky Member was told if he complained that the whole thing was settled for the year, it was then too late, and he begged to postpone the matter till next year. He was astonished that the right hon. Gentleman should have had recourse to so poor an artifice to baffle the claim of the agricultural body. His hon. Friend the Member for Buckinghamshire one year brought forward a measure which he was told was so large that the Government had not the mind to take it in. Then, his hon. Friend brought in a smaller scheme, and he was then told it was only 3d. in the pound, and he complained that the right hon. Gentleman should condescend to such an artifice. And now the right hon. Gentleman said he was glad that the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire had given up all notion as to a protective policy, and he said that he was glad that question was settled down. His (Mr. Stafford's) answer to that argument was this:—He said there had been meetings, not convened—not stirred up—by landlords, but by tenant-farmers, at which they were asked to do their best to return to a protective system. And what did they do? Why, the very moment they came to that House they raised this question, and brought it to an issue, and they had a large majority against them. He was not prepared to underrate the importance of that majority. In the face of that majority he said that the rights of the minority ought never to be exercised to obstruct the public business of the country. That was not the course which he should be disposed to sanction. But let the House recollect what took place when the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth resigned office. The resignation of that right hon. Gentleman was within a night or two of the House of Lords having passed the Corn Bill. Then the cry was, "See the advance of a new era!" Previously a Coercion Bill had been thrown out in the House of Lords, and the Corn Bill passed the House of Lords! Thus, none of Her Majesty's subjects were to be coerced on the one hand, and protection was denied on the other. Had they not had three Coercion Bills since? Had they not had recently another restrictive measure? Half the predictions which had been made had been falsified; how then could they believe the other? The opposing principles of protection and free imports never could be settled, for they were intermingled with the repeal or modification of every tax. So long as they had to deal with so large an expenditure the question never could be settled, and even the noble Lord and those who supported him thought so too. But how far were the Government prepared to carry-out their free-trade scheme? How far were they prepared to repeal the duties on timber, on butter, on cheese, and manufactured articles? If they stopped short of this, how could the question at issue be settled? The farmer said the question was not a settled question; that as regarded him he had not free trade with his own land, he could not promote the growth of beet freely, he could not grow tobacco, he could not make his malt. "You have tied my hands," said the farmer, "with regard to the foreigner, and you load me with imposts on my own produce, and until you remove these burdens I can- not understand how you are to say that this question is settled." The hon. Member for Manchester doubted the character of the agriculturists. He told them there were two tests in store for them—the one was the game laws, and the other was a Tenants' Compensation Bill. With regard to the Tenants' Compensation Bill, it did pass through that House with scarcely a single word being said, and the only word of objection to it came from the hon. Member for Cocker-mouth. But the hon. Gentleman the Member for Manchester was going to test the agriculturists by his Bill on the game laws. Now he would apply a test upon him. With regard to the past, how had that hon. Member pursued his course as to the game laws in five years? In 1845, he found that the hon. Gentleman had given notice of a Committee on the subject of the game laws; and they (the protectionists), in obedience to the suggestion of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth, yielded the point of the Committee without opposition, and the Committee was appointed on the 10th of March, 1845. The Committee sat till 30th July, on which day the report presented recommended the reappointment of the said Committee. But the hon. Member for Manchester either found his zeal cooled, or the difficulty of the case he had introduced—and he never moved the reappointment of that Committee—never during the years 1846 or 1847 attempting to bring in a Bill, so that in February, 1848, he (Mr. Stafford) ventured to inquire what were the hon. Member's intentions, and if the hon. Member had forgotten the matter, after bringing up witnesses from the woodlands of Northamptonshire; and the hon. Member's answer was, that he had been engaged in the consideration of the growth of cotton in India. He (Mr. Stafford), therefore, hoped that after so long a consideration, the hon. Member for Manchester had settled that question. But on the 23rd March, 1848, a Bill was introduced, and the House adjourned. The Bill disappeared, and the flash of the pan vanished. The hon. Gentleman said he would bring it in again, but the hon. Member for South Derbyshire brought in a Bill in the mean time, which was a very good measure, and a practical amendment of the game laws. At a meeting of the Manchester operatives, it was declared that a declaratory Bill should be brought in in reference to what was called a Ten Hours Bill, and he thought that as the hon. Gentleman tested them (the Opposition) on the game laws, they might test him on the Ten Hours Bill. But now he came to that part of the subject on which the Home Secretary said the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire had touched but slightly; and right well did the Home Secretary merit his own censures, for anything more meagre or niggardly than the right hon. Gentleman's allusion to Ireland he had never heard. It was, therefore, his (Mr. Stafford's) painful duty to enlighten the House and the right hon. Gentleman on the state of Ireland—at all events in respect to those localities with which he was intimately connected—in order that Irish Members who proposed to vote against any reconstruction of the poor-law, and the amount of local taxation on real property in Ireland, might be able to get up and state why they thought the present state of things should continue. His hon. Friend proposed suggesting to the Committee, but not pledging any one to a single item, to something of an arrangement which he would propose. Now, he would take the

Establishment charges £289,000
Funerals, law, &c. 35,000
Collectors' poundage rate 41,000
Emigration 70,000
Administration of justice expenses 55,000
Making together £490,000

The emigration grant to be dependent on an equal portion of money being raised by the union. This sum of 490,000l. he proposed to grant to Ireland. He hoped, however, that his right hon. Friend the Secretary for Ireland would lay before the House a statement of the real position of the south and west of Ireland. He would, with the permission of the House, read a letter from a tenant-farmer of Clare, upon whose word he could place implicit reliance:— Some members of the Government talk of the improvement visible in the circumstances of the people of the south and west of Ireland. The daily evidence of one's senses is sufficient to attest the utter absurdity of such statements. The great diminution in the number of outdoor paupers which has taken place recently is not a correct mode of arguing for the ameliorated state of the country, seeing that multitudes have been struck off the relief lists in consequence of the withdrawal of the sealed order of the Poor Law Commissioners, which authorised relief to be given to the ablebodied. This is the real cause which has lessened the number of paupers, and not, as alleged, the change for the better which has taken place in their worldly state.…. We had Mr. Lynch, the assistant poor-law commissioner, at our meeting at Ennis on Wednesday last.…. In our case he had no great necessity to preach economy, inasmuch as our funds in the hands of the treasurer amounted to 167l., while Mr. Russell insists on receiving ready cash for each week's delivery of meal (about 140l. a week), and while the sheriff stood in the room with an execution against the goods of the workhouse in his hand. On Wednesday I was appointed by the board to perform the duty of 'ruling up' the book of one of the relieving officers—that is, of rejecting the application of some paupers, and giving relief to others. About 120 applied. Of this number I gave outdoor relief to two, and workhouse accommodation to two more; but with little or no space in the house, and with an insufficient sum of money to buy meal, I could do no more.…. It is painful to hear people attempting to lead the House of Commons into the belief that our population here are rising in the world, while it is abundantly apparent that the condition of all classes is getting worse. The number of small farmers breaking down and quitting the country is as great as ever, and the levelling of cabins continues to go on as was usual for the last two or three years. From my opportunities, I cannot but derive a pretty extensive and accurate knowledge of the circumstances of the small landholders and cottiers, and the conviction is strong in my mind that they are declining in worldly circumstances, notwithstanding what Lord John Russell said to the contrary. The appeals against the poor-law valuation of the unions of Ennystimon, Seariff, and Ennis, have had the effect of reducing it by 30 or 40 per cent. I have advised the lowering of the valuation of another neighbouring union, in order to avoid law costs.

[Lord J. RUSSELL: I beg the hon. Member's pardon, but I stated distinctly there were no favourable accounts from Clare.] He would go to Limerick, then, and show distress was not confined to Clare. He believed the noble Lord was not unacquainted with the state of Limerick, inasmuch as the board of guardians had passed resolutions which were forwarded to the noble Lord. The following was one of them:— That the board regrets much that a misstatement has been enunciated in Parliament—namely, that poverty has been on the decrease in Ireland. Everybody at all acquainted with the country is aware that the poor-law returns are by no means a proper criterion to judge of the state of the country, inasmuch as from a want of resources and the general depression of the times, thousands not on the outdoor relief lists are extremely destitute.

A member of the board declared that three were 15,000 living in Limerick in want of the common necessaries of life. He would ask the right hon. Baronet the Secretary for Ireland whether he was aware that bands of people, to the disturbance of the public peace and the violation of property, paraded the streets of Limerick in such a manner as rendered it necessary to call out the police and the military? And he would ask whether the cry of these misguided men was not "bread or blood?" and whether it was not the opinion of all classes in the city of Limerick that the total absence of commercial business in Limerick, and the dismissal of people from employment, was not the proximate cause of the disturbance? He regretted the hon. Members for Limerick were not in their places; but he expected that those hon. Gentlemen from the south of Ireland who intended to vote against the Motion of the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire would be prepared to state the reasons why they did so, lest it should be concluded that they were of opinion the present state of things should continue in Ireland, or that they preferred a system of eleemosynary doles, taken without gratitude, and consumed without benefit. Those who sat on his (Mr. Stafford's) side of the House refused to separate the question of Ireland from that of England. Many of them believed that Ireland, once severely injured by English monopoly, was now about to be injured by English free trade, and that, from having been a victim to a system which made every custom-house an impassable barrier, she was about to be made a greater victim by the annihilation of custom-houses altogether, by the unrestricted and free admission of articles of foreign produce. Although many Irish Members would vote for the Motion of his hon. Friend the Member for Buckinghamshire, they would be in a minority in consequence of the heterogeneous compound opposed to them; many landed proprietors on the Ministerial benches would be compelled to declare their joy at the success of a system which depreciated the value of their property, and perilled the influence of their class. The question was too momentous, and the cause too gigantic, to be decided by one majority. They on his side of the House would continue, as far as in them lay, to save those hon. Gentlemen opposite from their friends, if friends they could be called after the speeches at Manchester and elsewhere. They would still contend that cheapness was not the sole rule for the consultation of senates, and that, as with individuals so with nations, the lowest bargains might be the dearest purchases. They claimed to be the largest party in the House—a party only to be beaten by combination—and they believed they were increasing in the country. They were a party not pledged to this or that import duty, but deeply and irrevocably pledged to that cautious and comprehensive policy which had consolidated our matchless empire.

[Sir R. Peel and Sir J. Graham rose, and there were calls for each; Mr. Speaker, however, called upon Sir J. Graham.]


Sir, it is with very great diffidence that I proceed to address the House under these circumstances; and, if it is their pleasure, I shall readily give way to my right hon. Friend below me. ["No, no!"] I was not aware that he entertained an intention to offer his observations at this period of the evening, or I should not have risen to address you; but, having done so, I shall, in obedience to your call, venture to offer a few remarks en the question before us. The hon. Gentleman who has just sat down concluded his speech by observing that the question we are now called on to discuss is momentous; and I think he added that the cause he advocated was gigantic. Now, I think it is most desirable that we should fix, if it he possible, the precise subject we are to discuss, and therefore I shall not follow the hon. Member into the question of the game laws. I shall not even touch upon the Ten Hours Bill, much less shall I dwell on the question of landlord and tenant, and, even though the subject of Ireland be more germane to the matter, I shall still pass over the Irish portion of the discussion, to which the hon. Gentleman has invited us, thinking, with your permission, that I shall best discharge my duty by offering what I have to address to the House at this early hour strictly limiting my observations to the question before them. I agree With the hon. Gentleman who has just spoken, that the question we are really to discuss is a very large one; but if I thought it could be narrowed within the limits, clear and simple, which the hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire, who introduced the Motion, has assigned to it, I should have been perfectly willing to have rested my vote on the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Home Department, who, in a clear, conclusive, and comprehensive manner—["Oh, oh!" and cheers.] I hope (continued the right hon. Baronet, turning to the benches whence the cries of "Oh!" proceeded) that at least I may Obtain a hearing, and have leave to express my opinions. The hon. Member for Dorsetshire and the hon. Member for West Surrey have in the course of this debate alluded to the past conduct of myself and of my right hon. Friend the Member for Tarn-worth. They stated that we had been false to the interests to which we were pledged. There were, I say, painful allusions to that time; yet it cannot be forgotten that I at least am identified in feeling, in habit, in prejudice, in strong prepossessions, and in personal interest, with the landed gentry, and if, from a sense of public duty, I should have inflicted an injury in any degree on that interest, you have the consolation of knowing that in doing so I have sacrificed my own. Under these circumstances I trust I may obtain at least a patient if not a favourable hearing. I was about to remark, Sir, that I did not think this question could be debated on the narrow grounds on which it was placed in the speech of the hon. Gentleman who introduced this Motion. I thought so at the commencement. What I have heard during the various speeches which have been addressed to the House, has greatly confirmed me in this impression; and I am satisfied the question we are now debating is no less than this—whether we shall commence an entire review of the whole fiscal burdens of this country. I do not think there will be much dissent from that proposition—if you recollect that in the first instance, as it was put by the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire himself, it is but the commencement of a series of propositions he is about to lay before us. Now, the moment that we hear this statement, it is clear that the present Motion is but a fragment of that large measure which he pressed upon the consideration of the House last year in the gross—it is but part of the detail of a question which he last year placed before us in an enlarged shape. It is not a reconsideration only of the measures which you have passed in former Sessions. It is not a question whether 2,000,000l. of poor-rate shall be paid by the proprietor or not, but the question is, whether you will transfer the entire poor-rate to the Consolidated Fund. But if there was any doubt about it on Tuesday last, when the hon. Member introduced his Motion, there could have been none on Wednesday, when a Bill came before us respecting the county rates. It was then frankly avowed that there was an intention of transferring these payments for asylums and other local purposes to the general taxation of the nation. And if the hon. Gentleman deals in the same way with the other local rates, this involves a question of 12,000,000l. But it does not rest there. The hon. Gentleman told you with perfect frankness he discarded the land tax, but it was only for the purpose of argument he did so. Nay more, I heard allusions during the progress of this debate to the malt tax in so far as it was a burden connected with the land. I wish to put this case with perfect fairness. Therefore, then, we are about to discuss the question, whether some 18,000,000l or 20,000,000l. shall be transferred from the land to the Consolidated Fund. Now, this is certainly a question of immense magnitude. It involves the whole question of the fiscal arrangements and taxation of this country. I go further, and I say it involves the reversal of that policy which has been deliberately adopted by this House for the last five or six years. I say even more. It is not a question of reversal of policy only, but one of a change of Administration. A noble Duke in another place frankly avowed what was the intention of the great party to which he belonged—a party great from its numbers, its station, and its connexion with the soil of the united kindom. The noble Duke told you frankly what he meant. Their object is to turn out the present Government, to dissolve the Parliament, to return to protection, and to reimpose the corn laws. Now, you must take this in connexion with the frank avowal of the hon. Gentleman who is the leader of the party in this House. What did he tell you on Tuesday night? He said, "You must either reverse your policy for the last few years, or revise your taxation and redistribute your burdens." Nothing can he more true. The noble Duke said that he greatly preferred the first branch of the alternative. Does the hon. Gentleman who made the Motion before us differ from him? Quite the reverse. He puts the same alternative, and says, "I do not' bate one jot of what I always have declared. I adhere to every argument and every opinion on this question—and I tell you, I think it would be wiser and more politic, to revise your policy and return to protection—no longer to cease to impose duties of revenue on articles from abroad, including corn, and thus indirectly to raise revenue having the effect of protection." The hon. Gentleman says, that is the branch of the alternative he prefers. Well, Sir, I ask, then, if the House has been fairly treated, and has the question ever been distinctly put to the House, whether they think it expedient to reverse their past policy, and think it right to return to protection? I was really surprised at something which fell from the hon. Member for North Northamptonshire on this point. I thought I heard him say that the Amendment on the Address raised this question. Now, I am in the recollection of the House whether those who moved, and those who supported, the Amendment, did not distinctly state that no person who voted for it pledged themselves in the least to the reversal of our past policy, but that it was merely a question whether sympathy should be expressed by the House for agricultural distress. Well, if this he so, the hon. Gentleman who made this Motion, and my hon. Friend who spoke last, are not justified in taking the division on the Amendment of the Address as conclusive with respect to the question of policy; and I say, in fairness to the House, to the country, and to practical discussion in reference to the fixed policy of Parliament, not a moment should be lost by Gentlemen entertaining those opinions, who think the present policy fatal and dangerous in the last degree to the interests they represent, in bringing the question distinctly before the House. How are we now debating it? The hon. Gentleman brings forward a Motion respecting the future finances of the country, and affecting its fiscal property. We are invited to take this step by the hon. Gentleman, while he tells you it is not the step he would prefer as most expedient and useful, and still, while he informs you it is the course he should least prefer, he presses it on you in an imperfect state, and does not state what are his ulterior objects, or what is that extended policy which he would more readily adopt. I cannot, Sir, hesitate one moment as to the course I shall take on this view of the case. But I should argue it very imperfectly if I were to stop here. Let us suppose we adopt this Motion. It is certainly a very clever device, and in itself is not unfair. But what would you do if you consented to it? You would go into Committee, and then, when you did so, the forms of this House would preclude the hon. Gentleman from moving any resolution of an operative or effective character to transfer local burdens to the Consolidated Fund. Without the consent of the Crown no such Motion is possible. The hon. Gentleman can only move a resolution of opinion, and such a resolution of opinion might as well be moved in full House as in Committee. But, as a matter of party tactics, there is great skill in this Amendment; for every one differing from this resolution, thus slightly sketched and indicated, and anxious to move something else which he may think more desirable, is, as it were, enticed by the way in which it is put, to place himself tinder the hon. Gentleman, and to vote with him. I can see it has not been unsuccessful. I admire the speech and the talent of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Haddingtonshire; but I think he has been caught by this device. He has declared himself willing to go into Committee, and, when there, is disposed to make some Motion respecting the poor-law, quite distinct from the proposition of the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire. Now, Sir, the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, seeking to lessen or to mitigate, as he terms it, agricultural distress by dealing, in the first instance, with the poor-rates, was placed in a very great difficulty. He had to reconcile two objects, each of which it is hardly possible to combine with the other. It was, according to his view, absolutely necessary to maintain the local administration and control of the funds, and, at the same time, to make a large proposition for the purpose of adjusting the burden of the poor-rates. The latter was inconsistent with the former principle, and he, therefore, took a middle course. I think—he will excuse me for saying it—that he has not effected either object, and that he has more or less violated both principles. Limiting the discussion to the proposal before us, it seems to me that the relief which it would afford would be imperceptible to the landed interest as distinguished from other classes, while as relates to his proposal with regard to establishment charges, he violates the principle of local control, and falls into all the dangers of prodigal expenditure. I should be very unwilling to dwell upon arguments that have already been urged by other Gentlemen with much more effect; but it should be borne in mind, when we speak of transferring burdens, that this is but the commencement of a series of transfers; and if the principles violated are full of danger, and the relief insignificant, as I think it can be shown to be, is it worth while to encounter such risks? I cannot, in dealing with this subject, fail to call to mind what are the real facts which have already been put before you with reference to the poor-rate. I quite agree with the hon. Member for North Northamptonshire—and the point was also well put by the hon. Member for Haddingtonshire—that the question of the amount of the burden—the question of more or less of taxation, is quite insignificant, and is unworthy of consideration when the claim preferred is a claim of justice. The question is, is there justice, is there equity, in making this demand? I do not hesitate to avow that recent legislative changes have affected the landed interest with considerable difficulties and distress; but I would first of all observe, that although it was urged with great skill and emphasis by the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, that since protection is withdrawn it is no longer a matter for inquiry whether the relief be given to the owner or the occupier of the soil, I entertain an opinion with reference to the interest of the tenant-farmer on the matter very different from the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire. I think it makes an immense difference whether the relief be given to the landlord or the tenant; and the tenant-farmer will agree with me in opinion. Supposing, then, that the proposed relief should, in some degree, mitigate the distress of the agricultural interest, who will be the party relieved? Well, knowing what are the relative interests of landlord and tenant, I say confidently that, excepting to tenants under leases, the relief as regards tenants will be inoperative altogether; and that, as regards tenants under leases, from the moment their lease expires, whatever they may have saved in the rate will have to be repaid in the shape of additional rent. But to proceed with the case of justice and equity. If you are to redistribute the burden of taxation, you will open up an immense chapter of comparative interest and comparative burden; and I entertain very great doubt whether the opening up of that chapter will in the long run be conducive to the interests of the owner of the soil. What are the facts that have already been proved with reference to the narrower ground of the poor-rate? Will the House allow me to recapitulate what was demonstrated the other night by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department? If I mistake not, he showed that in 1849 the poor-rate under local administration, and the incidence of the burden being the same as at present upon real property alone, under all the disadvantageous circumstances of the times, the burden had fallen 15 per cent in England. The hon. Gentleman who spoke last said something regarding the casual poor, and a part of the present Motion also refers to the casual poor. Well, in Scotland, as appears from the report lately presented to this House, the burden of the poor-rate has somewhat increased in amount in 1849 as compared with 1847–48; but, under the good and strict local management of that country, the burden of the casual poor has diminished, and the number of recipients of relief has fallen 11 per cent. Now, when I mention Scotland, a case of equity presents itself. There exists there what the hon. Gentleman now desires to introduce into England. I say introduce, because the rating of stock in trade has never been carried into effect. I say that in Scotland a system of rating means and substance does exist, and in some populous and large districts too. [Sir J. TYRELL: Hear, hear!] The hon. Member for North Essex cheers that. What will those who are already rated upon means and substance Bay when they are called upon, in the shape of general taxation, to contribute to the diminution of the English poor-rate? That is a case of equity and justice. But these are of minor importance. The great question which presents itself is, will you consent to a reversal of your recent policy in respect to taxation; and will you again take a large portion of the burdens now resting upon property, and place it upon labour and industry? That is the real question, and it is a question of vital importance. Viewing it as a question of equity and justice, as a country gentleman, whose interests, perhaps, he on the other side, I cannot hesitate to pronounce an opinion that there is neither equity nor justice in such a principle. If the House will bear with me, I will not trouble them with many 'details while I mention one fact. I think it has been demonstrated practically that we have proceeded as far, not only as it is safe but as it is possible with profit to proceed, in indirect taxation affecting the community. This was demonstrated when the right hon. Gentleman, at present First Lord of the Admiralty, came forward in 1841 and imposed an additional per centage on the customs and excise, as well as on the assessed taxes. That addition was not largely remunerative; and since that time, with the full approbation of all parties in this House, the income tax has been revived, and a large reduction made in the amount of indirect taxation. Still, let us he just. Let me call the attention of the House to the fact which strikes me as remarkable. I will read to the House a list of articles which will be admitted, I think, to constitute not only the humble comforts, but also the means of subsistence of the labouring classes. In using this term, I do not draw any distinction between the manufacturing and commercial classes and the rural population, because I contend that the interest of all these classes is identical; and I have always—although I can hardly allow myself to refer to this point, which is more or less painful from past re-collections—but, as a country gentleman, I have always urged upon the class to which I belong, the great impolicy of pursuing their interests as a class apart from the interest of the entire community. I have always told them, and I tell them now, that, as a class with the community at our back, we are irresistible, and that there is no point, either of equity, justice, or policy, which we cannot force upon any Government; but that, on the other hand, if we as a class pursue our exclusive interests at the expense of the general interests of the community, we are altogether powerless, and our overthrow is certain. I will illustrate this. I have always contended, and the hon. Member for North Warwickshire will agree with me, that the most improvident bargain that could have been made, was that which the landlords made in 1819, when, in consideration of an exclusive corn law, which gave them the sole possession of the home market up to 80s. per quarter, they consented to the restoration of a depreciated standard of value—a standard which had been depreciated for a quarter of a century. That that was a most unwise and improvident bargain I thought then, and I think so now. They are about to pursue their class interests again by asking for the reimposition of the corn laws, in the vain hope of advancing the value of their property at the expense of, and in opposition to, the entire community. Let them be on their guard. The danger of the experiment is great—their success is impossible. I will return to the fact I was about to bring before your notice, that, after all our efforts to relieve the working classes from the weight of taxation, there still remains a tax upon the following articles:—I will begin with timber and bricks, of which their humble dwellings are composed; butter and cheese, which, after bread, constitute a large portion of the food of the humbler classes; and soap, which is indispensable to their cleanliness. I will next mention the small luxuries and condi- ments to their humble and indifferent fare. These are tea, coffee, sugar, molasses, currants, and raisins. There remain four articles of the character of narcotics and stimulants, by the help of which they seek to obtain a short oblivion of their sorrows and their cares. These are, tobacco, spirits, British and foreign, and malt, the staple of their beer. Are these articles unfairly selected? I think you will admit they are not. Well, what is the amount of the taxes levied on these articles, almost the necessaries of humble life? They amount to more than the interest of the entire national debt, namely, to upwards of 31,000,000l. Now, I ask, is there justice or equity in transferring existing burdens from realised property to the shoulders of the commercial, manufacturing, and rural labourers? But is the burden of the poor-rate, which affects the land, a progressive burden? Is it not the fact, that in 1813 the charge per head was 12s. 8d., and that it has now fallen to 6s. 6d.? But it may be said that the currency entered into this difference of amount; that it is nominal, riot real; that the 12s. 8d. was paid in a depreciated currency; and that the 6s. 6d. is paid in a currency fully appreciated. But is it not also a fact, that the value of real property brought to charge in a depreciated currency was, in 1813, 51,000,000l.; and that in 1844 it had risen to 85,000,000l.; and that in 1848 it had risen as high as 91,000,000l. in money of standard value? Nor is that all. There is the remarkable fact, that the proportion of taxation borne by land as contradistinguished from other realised property—such as canals, docks, manufactories, warehouses, railroads, &c, taking the entire of England, was in the year 1826 69 per cent, and other realised property 31. In 1841 the burden on land had diminished from 69 per cent to 52, and the burden on other property had risen to 48, and in 1849 the burden on land had fallen to 45 per cent, and the burden on other property had risen to 55. Such is the state of matters as regards the whole of England. It may be said that this proportion is not true as between parish and parish. I can confidently state that it is. Go into any parish and you will find that from the difficulty of its assessment the land is not rated up to its real value, while other property is rated up to its last shilling. What do hon. Gentlemen say to the case of railroads? This point was very ably put by the hon. Mem- ber for Manchester the other evening, when he stated that in 3,000 parishes traversed by railroads, out of an outlay of 800,000l. a year for the maintenance of the poor, the sum of 250,000l. was contributed by railroads. Nor does the fact stop there; the railroads are rated to every other local rate—to the highway rate, and even, I believe, to the church rate; and while they add nothing to the burdens of the land by introducing paupers, they tend to alleviate them by the employment of labour and the outlay of capital. I say, then, that on the principles of common prudence, it is not your interest to raise this question. I say, that your local burdens are becoming lighter; and if you would only leave the incidence where it is, you will find that it is the course of prudence to let well alone. I have said I do not deny that at the present moment the landed interest is labouring under difficulties. It has been asked what are the prices we expect to see realised for corn. Allow me to recall to your recollection some circumstances which I have seen in the course of my political life. I remember presiding over a Committee in 1833 which had for its object to inquire into agricultural distress. We had then the sliding-scale, which I believed was the mainstay of the prosperity of the agricultural interest. I presided, as I have said, over that Committee, and I drew up the report in conformity with the unanimous opinion of the Committee, which consisted of some of the ablest Members of the House; and the hon. Member for West Surrey will admit there was some ability in the Committee when I mention that one of its members was the late Alexander Baring. Well, in that report the agricultural interest was described as being in the most melancholy condition. It was stated that the capital of the yeoman and of the farmer was rapidly decreasing; and that the landlord was little better than the steward of the annuitant, and the mortgagee on his estate. And that was under the full operation of protection. Two years after, in 1835, the price of wheat was, for several weeks, at an average of 36s. per quarter, being a lower average than has yet occurred under the full operation of free trade. With the permission of the House I will read an extract from a letter from Lord Dacre to Lord Cloncurry, which I find in the memoirs of the latter noble Lord, describing the condition of the agricultural interest. It is dated Feb. 26, 1834:— Our poor country is in a lamentable condition. We are less clamorous on this side of the water, but our condition is most alarming. Our distress—the agricultural interest—is unbounded. All this is the result of a long course of bad government. I know that the Government is influenced by an honest desire to mitigate our evils, and to remove the causes; but the difficulties that surround them are the accumulation of a series of errors. I hope the House will excuse me for what I am now going to mention—it is not anything like personal vanity which prompts me to it, but I wish to depose as a witness as to what can be done by local management, by local administration, and by close attention to local burdens. My estates came under my control in 1822. The price of corn was then 44s. per quarter under a duty of 80s. My first attention was directed to endeavour to diminish the local burdens. The burdens to which I more particularly directed my attention were the poor-rate, and the highway rate, which belong to the ordinary class of local burdens, and the county rate, over which, as a magistrate, I thought I might exercise some control. From 1822 up to the present time—my property lying principally in two parishes, one containing a manufacturing town of about 2,000 inhabitants, not immediately under my control—by close attention to the poor-rate, aided by the alteration in the poor-law, we have succeeded in diminishing the poor-rate 35 per cent, the highway rate 36 per cent, and the county rate of Cumberland 40 per cent. Such has been the effect of local control and local administration. Well, what is the present position of the landed interest? Although I admit that distress exists, I trust it will not be of that permanent character which some hon. Gentlemen neat me profess to believe; and, by way of consolation, allow me to call your attention to the indications of great energy and outlay of capital still applied to the land. I was extremely delighted by seeing in the annual returns of trade—which are most satisfactory for other reasons—that the importation of guano, the best of artificial manures for stimulating the growth of green crops, had increased from 72,000 tons in 1848, to 83,000 in 1849. Surely, too, if the cultivation of the land had ceased to be profitable, we should hear of no more applications for enclosures. What is the fact, however? I find, from the report of the Enclosure Commissioners, that the number of applications of all kinds to that office since 1845 has been 498, and the number of acres comprised in the applications for enclosure and conversion is 273,000; that the number of applications in 1849 was 129, comprising 48,000 acres. Is this, then, a state of affairs in which despair is reasonable? I repeat, that I look upon this question as a question of equity and justice. I stand upon that ground, and I think it the right ground on which to argue the whole case. I agree with the hon. Member for Haddingtonshire, that it is unworthy of the landed interest to apply to the Legislature in formâ pauperis, and to make an appeal ad misericordiam, and that they must stand solely upon the ground of equity and justice. Well, let me ask, are there no exemptions enjoyed by the land? Yes, I maintain that they enjoy most important exemptions. And, since we are upon the question of the incidence of taxation, those exemptions must come under review. I admit, that the stamp duty charged upon the transfer of property is very onerous, and ought to be revised. But still the land is exempt from the payment of all duty on the descent of property; whereas, since 1797, personal property has paid 60,000,000l. The following exemptions are also enjoyed: horses employed in agriculture, insurance on stock and crop, servants employed in husbandry, bailiffs, tax-carts, dogs of shepherds, horses drawing tax-carts, tolls on lime and manure, window duty on farmhouses under 200l. a year; and, what should never be overlooked, if the land tax were levied in strict conformity with the original law of William III., it would yield 9,000,000l. annually. It may be said, that in 1846 I was a party to a measure for relieving the landed interest of some taxes of the same character as those referred to in the present Motion. I admit it. I admit that we made a very large transfer—we transferred 600,000l. a year affecting reality—not land only, but real estate, and placed it on the national exchequer. I admit that, in principle, it is the same as the transfer now proposed; but it is a question of degree. I say, that we went quite as far in that direction as was either safe or expedient; and, so far from wishing to push the transfer further, I think that the interests of the State forbid us to proceed a single step further in that direction. And, besides, I beg to remind the House that the taxes transferred on that occasion were not so much local objects as national objects. I will illustrate this. One of these charges was for the education oft children in work houses, by undertaking, on the part of the State, that master and mistresses should be chosen, selected not by local influence, but by central control, and in connexion with the Committee of Education, in order that the poorest and most distressed portion of the community should be ensured a better education. So also with respect to medical relief. It was not entirely transferred, but a moiety of the charge was retained as a local charge, to keep up a local control, ensuring general economy. But I know of nothing that so appeals to the heart of any right-feeling man as sickness in combination with poverty; and if any aid from the State can in any case be justified, what deserves more commiseration than the sufferings from ill-health of the poorest classes? I am sorry to have detained the House so long; but dissenting altogether from the plan for alleviating the burdens of the and, on which we are now invited to enter, I do say, consistently with the great principles for which I contend, and admitting that the landed interest is suffering to a considerable extent, there are reliefs which I think they are fairly entitled to ask for—I allude particularly to the duties upon bricks and timber. In the sanitary arrangements which are in progress, great importance is attached to a good construction of buildings; but the moment an outlay is made in that direction, it is at once checked by the duty on bricks. Then, with respect to timber, when the present timber duties were regulated, the navigation laws were in force, and we had not emancipated our colonies from the fetters of restricted trade. Measures have lately been carried, opening to the colonies the commerce of the world, and I think the shipowners have now a great claim to a reduction of the duty on timber. But, do I think the North American colonies entitled to a discriminating duty in their favour? I do not. I do not think that, in the altered circumstances in which they now stand, they have any claim to it. I am sure I only express the feeling of the House when I say that it is grievous to be debating this question in the absence of the right hon. Baronet the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whose illness I deplore, because he would be able to throw much new light on the subject. But I must say we ought not to forget that the income tax expires in 1851, and I am unwilling hastily to rush in and sweep away the surplus revenue now waiting that discussion. We will be better able to take a practical and enlarged view of our taxation next year, when the income tax expires; and, if it should be thought to be expedient to re-impose drat tax, I will certainly put in a strong claim on behalf of the landed interest for an alteration of the terms on which they are assessed to that tax. With regard to Schedule A of the income tax, I am by no means prepared to say that it is fair to tax the landlord on his gross rental without making allowance for the course of management and repairs; and the arbitrary assessment in Schedule B of the tenant's profits, which, on farms above 300l. a year, are estimated at one-half of the rent, is still more indefensible. Let us, however, first of all economise the expenditure of the country, and then turn our attention to the exemptions claimed by the landed interest. With respect to the Law of Settlement, I believe the question to be one of the most important that can be discussed in this House, for I coincide in the opinion expressed by Adam Smith, "that there is not a labouring man in the community who has not felt the Law of Settlement, at some period of his life, to be injurious to his interest." I am sure if we wish to redistribute and equalise the burden of the poor-law, we cannot do so effectively without revising the Law of Settlement. There are 14,000 parishes maintaining their own poor. There are 680 unions. By the introduction of a union settlement, a great change would be effected; the circles in which labour truly circulates would be enlarged in the proportion of unions to parishes. But to return to the condition of the country, I must ask whether, with the exception of the landed interest, the country is not in a better condition at present than it has been for some time past. The hon. Member for North Northamptonshire has invited us to-night to the discussion of the condition of the people of Ireland. I think a more opportune moment for the discussion will arise during the progress of the Bill for making a loan, if, indeed, it be a loan, and not a grant, of 300,000l. to that country. I made an exception in the case of Ireland, but, with the exception of Ireland, can you say what is the condition of the great body of the people of this country? I will speak of my own neighbourhood. I have resided, ever since Parliament last rose, upon my estate, and I am conversant with the condition of the population of Cumberland. In that county there has been no reduction of wages. I say nothing of my own estate; shame might deter a gentleman from reducing the wages of his labourers. But I speak of the farmer, of the occupiers of land, and the employer of agricultural labour, and I Bay that, generally speaking, there has been no reduction of wages. What, then, has been the condition of the ploughman and of other agricultural labourers? There has been no reduction in the wages of that class, while the price of all the articles which form the necessaries of life has been greatly reduced. I say positively that I never remember a period when so much happiness and contentment prevailed among the working classes of the country as at the present moment. Now, I ask you, will you disturb this happy state? Is it prudent to disturb it? Don't confine your views—you, the Legislature of one of the greatest countries in the world—to that which is passing immediately under your own eye. Look abroad and see what is stirring elsewhere. I was sorry the other night to hear a man of genius, like the hon. Member for West Surrey, carried away by his warm feelings into an expression of animosity against the manufacturing and commercial classes of the community. I grieve to hear such expressions of animosity against particular classes. I wish to see them all united, happy, and contented. And I must say that the policy I have adopted, with an earnest and sincere desire to do what I thought right and just to all classes, is, I believe in my heart and conscience, most conducive to the true welfare of the landed interest of this country. If the House will bear with me for a few moments longer, I will read a short statement which refers to a city which is next in point of size to this great metropolis—I mean the city of Glasgow. It occurs in the sanitary report to the town council of that city, and let me call the attention of the House to this report. It says— I cannot, help calling attention to the altered position in which Glasgow is now to that in which it was placed a twelvemonth ago. At that period we were suffering under the ravages and the fears of a dreadful distemper, with trade not yet recovered from the shock of the monetary crisis, and the working classes still only partially employed. At the present moment the city is free from any great epidemic—with trade and confidence restored—with money cheap and provisions low—with the merchant and manufacturer full of hope, and the working man full of employment; and when we add to these facts the inferences which may be gathered from the tables before us, viz., diminishing pauper funerals, and diminishing mortality, and increased marriages, coupled with the knowledge of monthly increasing customs' duties, in" creasing harbour dues, and diminishing pauperism, it requires but little prophetic power to predict that ere another year has closed the figure of our city mortality will then indicate a less deadly locality. Such are the present condition and prospects of Glasgow, a city second only in importance to the metropolis. Sir, I am, aware how dangerous it is to venture on prophecy in this House, but still I have a confident belief that it is impossible that the revenue of this country can be improved, resting on a solid foundation—that the commercial classes should prosper—that the manufacturing classes should be fully employed—that the prosperity should be general, saving only the landed interest—I repeat that I cannot believe that permanently or for a long time the owners and occupiers of the soil will be excluded from participation in the national welfare. I thank the House for the patience with which they have heard me. I have sufficiently indicated the reasons which are to my mind conclusive against advancing in the direction and taking the step pointed out by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire, and I cannot hesitate in giving a decided negative to his Motion.


said, that concurring cordially, as he did, with his right hon. Friend who had just addressed the. House in the general opinions he had expressed with regard to the effect of our commercial policy, and having uniformly voted with him since the dissolution of the late Government on every important question affecting the trade and internal economy of the country, and attaching, as ha did, the greatest weight to the authority of his opinion, he felt it incumbent upon him to state briefly to the House the grounds of the vote he intended to give, inasmuch as on the present occasion that vote would be different from the vote given by his right hon. Friend. He felt the more bound to state his reasons, because he thought that his right hon. Friend, in the course he intended to take, appeared to be mainly governed, not by that which was in the Motion now before the House, but by that which was not in the Motion. His right hon. Friend had taken the course which was usually effectively taken in that House, and had contrived, in the course of his able speech, to give an elaborate picture of all the successive propositions which Blight be expected to come in the rear of the proposal now before the House, the adoption of which would follow as a necessary consequence from the success of the Motion proposed by the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire. He said that his objections to the Motion were threefold—that its adoption would be followed by a change of Administration, by a transfer of 18,000,000l. to the Consolidated Fund; and, thirdly, by a reversal of the policy of free trade. New, he (Mr. Gladstone) must confess that he saw neither one nor the other of these results as necessarily following the adoption of the Motion before the House. With respect to the change of Administration, that, he submitted, was a topic which ought not to exercise a paramount influence in that House on occasions when they were discussing claims which were raised as claims of justice to a great portion of their fellow-subjects, But, if he had rightly construed what had fallen from the right hon. Baronet the Secretary of State for the Home Department the other night, he had not understood that this was the ground taken by Her Majesty's Ministers, because the right hon. Gentleman had told the House, that when the financial statement of the year was produced, it would be open to the Government to consider each of the proposals made by the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire on its merits, and that hon. Gentleman might vote against the hon. Member's propositions on the present occasion, and might afterwards, with perfect consistency, when the financial statement was before the House, discuss the policy of the hon. Member's several proposals. Well, with regard to the transfer of 18,000,000l. to the Consolidated Fund, his right hon. Friend the Member for Ripon said that the proposals of the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire referred to a small portion of the poor-rate, the highway rate, and the county rate. But, did his right hon. Friend intend to say that, in voting for this Motion, any Member of the House would commit himself to any and of the ulterior measures which it might be the intention of the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire to propose? What was this practice of alarming the House with threats and hints of ulterior measures—a practice which was used alternately by each side in that House? When a Parliamentary measure of reform was pro- posed, the fairness of the measure was admitted, but it was said, "look to the ulterior measures of the parties who bring it forward." In like manner, when dissenting persons advocated some measure affecting the Established Church, the parties who resisted it always menace you with the ulterior measures, which they said would be sure to follow, for the destruction of the Established Church. And what were the answers which he had heard made, and very forcibly and truly made, by the noble Lord at the head of the Government, and hon. Gentlemen opposite, to these assertions? They said that it was the duty of the House to consider the proposition on its own merits, and that they ought not to withhold what was just and reasonable because it might be followed—nay, even if it were declared that it would be followed—by proposals which they might consider unjust and unreasonable. With respect to the third objection of the right hon. Baronet, that the Motion now before the House would, if carried, tend to a reversal of free-trade policy—


If I unguardedly used such an expression, it was not my intention to do so. What I said referred to the relief of the labouring classes from the great burden of taxation, and transferring that burden in part to the general revenue of the country.


was happy that he had enabled his right hon. Friend to state that the expression he had used was an accidental phrase which did not altogether express what he felt, because if he (Mr. Gladstone) saw in the Motion now before the House the reversal of the policy of free trade, he should join with his right hon. Friend in offering the firmest resistance to such a course. He confessed that his view of this case was so weak, so mean, and so narrow, that he was almost ashamed to present it to the House after the gigantic picture which his right hon. Friend had drawn. But he did not consider he was giving up his discretion, nor that he was binding that discretion, by voting for the terms of the resolution announced by the hon. Gentleman. What he understood to be the purport of the Motion, and what he pledged himself to, was this:—The hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire urged that there was a considerable portion of the charges connected with the poor-law which might be transferred to the Consolidated Fund, without detracting from the advantages of local management, or impairing the stimulus which local management gave to economy. Concurring with him in that opinion, he (Mr. Gladstone) was willing to go into Committee with him, and to consider what establishment charges or what other charges there were upon the poor-rates (whether in England, Scotland, or Ireland) or what expenses of management there were which, without injury to the great principle of local control, might be advantageously transferred to the Consolidated Fund. And he was the more encouraged to take this course, because both his right hon. Friend the Member for Ripon, and the present Secretary of State for the Home Department, had told the House that in respect to this transfer, they were acting upon a principle which the House had already confirmed, and the further affirmation of which was only a question of degree, of policy, and of prudence. He supported the Motion, because he thought there was some connexion between the present Motion and the policy which the House had recently adopted; and that the adopting of the present Motion would have a tendency to weaken the agitation for the restoration of protection. If there were reason and justice in the proposal itself, as he thought there was, he was of opinion that acceding to it would have a tendency to draw off from the agitation for the restoration of protection all those persons who were moderate in their views and less apprehensive of ruin from the repeal of the corn laws. He thought, thus, that there was a connexion between the two proposals which was fatal to the revival of protection; because the House would observe that what they gave to the farmer or to the landed interest was, according to the statement of his right hon. Friend, so much deducted from the items of the claims of the County Bill which his noble Friend the Member for Colchester said, his Friends were about to lay before the House. This was not all that their argument demanded, but it was a part; and the concession of that part would at least have some tendency to diminish the fervour and force of the demand made upon the House. He should, then, vote for this Motion on the ground that his right hon. Friend the Member for Ripon had declared that he would resist it. He would vote for it on the ground of its justice. It was impossible to look at the nature of the tax for the support of the poor, without boing struck by the inequality of its incidence. It was true that no tax could be exactly equal in its operation, yet when they looked at the general expenditure of the country, they might fairly consider against one tax the compensating qualities of another. But the poor-rate was a tax levied for a special purpose, and what was it? It was the essential feature of police connected with the poor, and also an essential obligation enforced upon us by our religion. The maintenance of the poor had been recognised, not only by the dictates of political prudence but as the fulfilment of a religious duty; and if so, it was a duty which applied equally to all property. As a matter, therefore, of essential justice, there was nothing more clear than that it was desirable that property should be in some manner made liable to the support of the poor. But they were met with the objection that it was impracticable to levy the rate upon personal property. So it was. Let them continue their annual Bill until they had passed a permanent law recognising that as impracticable which was impracticable; and you put an end to all further discussion on the subject. But the objection of impracticability did not, at any rate, apply to the proposal now before the House. That was perfectly practicable, and if it were not free from imperfections, it was an approximation to justice. And here he must say that he thought the issue was not quite accurately put, as if this was a question between property and labour. Now, he did not so understand it as a question between property on the one hand and industry on the other, but as a question between certain descriptions of property. But it was said the poor-rate was a tax inherited by the landed interest, and that their property having come to them on this condition they had no claim to be relieved from the payment. Well, he would take it that the landed interest were asking to be relieved from this burden. What they were really asking at present was only to be relieved from a small portion of it. And how did the matter rest with respect to their inheritance? They did inherit poor-rates with their land, but they also inherited with it a protective system, which had given to this property an artificial value—a system which he admitted was as contrary to abstract justice as the inequality of the incidents of the poor-rate, and which, on the ground of this protective system being thus contrary to abstract justice, the House had effectually destroyed. If the land had borne the burden of the poor-rate in connexion with other advantages which compensated, and more than compensated, the landed interest for that burden, they had no right to plead the inheritance against removing the poor-rate, when the other compensating system had been taken away. The hon. Member for Manchester did not state this question fairly, when he said that for the last forty years the landed interest had been in the enjoyment of the artificial value given to their property by the corn law. It was true that the year immediately preceding 1815 was actually operative in enhancing the price of agricultural produce; but no doubt the hon. Gentleman was perfectly well aware that there was a very stringent law immediately before the year 1815—a very high duty of somewhere about 20s. or more a quarter applied to the importation of foreign corn until it had reached a price of sixty and some odd shillings. That restrictive system, which did give an artificial value to the produce of the soil, was a system of many centuries standing. For at least a century and a half it had been a system of a stringent nature, affecting the landed property of the country in the form both of prohibition and duty. The corn law being gone, you have no right to plead against this claim, if it be a just claim, the fact that it was inherited. He did not think that any one had denied that the relief of the poor was a purpose for which, as far as could be done, all property, and not one description of property only, should be liable. But his right hon. Friend the Member for Ripon raised another objection, and he (Mr. Gladstone) could but be surprised at the estimate he had taken of the immediate effects of the Motion now before the House upon the landlord and tenant respectively. Passing by the case of the yeomen and the small independent "statesmen"—who nevertheless had peculiar claims upon the sympathy of the House, and also the case of the holders of leases, who his right hon. Friend admitted would be benefitted during the currency of their lease—he came to the case of the tenants at will. And he did think that the opinion of his right hon. Friend would be shared by few of those who were conversant, not only with the legal, but also with the moral and social relations which actually exist between the English landlord and his tenant. He did not believe that in one case out of a hundred, the farmer who held from year to year would lose the benefit which this change would give in consequence of the landlord's raising his rent to a proportionate amount. He would grant that in the case of a change of the present occupier, the landlord would get the whole, or a great portion, of the benefit; but that he would exact it from the tenant farmer now in actual possession, under the circumstances of the case, he (Mr. Gladstone) did not believe. The tenant farmer and the yeoman would, then, be benefited by the Motion now before the House—the farmer during the term of his occupation of his lease, and the latter permanently. But suppose he did not deny that all the benefit of this transfer would eventually come to the landlord. The right hon. Gentleman did not give the House reason to suppose that he had any objection to some such measure in favour of the landlord, because he advised him, when the income tax was reimposed, to ask, not only on behalf of the tenant, but also on his own behalf—to ask that the agricultural interest might be placed upon a lower and fairer scale. But was the inequality of the income tax greater than the inequality of the poor-rate, which fell entirely on real and not on personal property? Or what argument could be urged against this measure which did not equally apply to the demand which his right hon. Friend had recommended the agricultural interest to urge next year? But there was this difference, that the measure now proposed was a proposition exclusive, immediate, and direct in its effects for the benefit of the land. It was a measure from which the tenant farmer would derive benefit for a number of years during a season of distress and of conflict with adversity. What fair or rational connexion was there, for example, between the Registration Act and the description of property which was made exclusively liable to the charge of carrying out this Act? While he recommended this measure on the ground of justice, he at the same time said that the House might do, and that they would do, all that was reasonably asked, without exhausting the available means of the country, whether arising from the surplus now in the hands of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, or from the retrenchments for which he believed there still remained abundance of room. He would also say that there were considerations of policy which ought to enter into the decision of the present question, and which might have some influence with those who did not admit the abstract justice of the Motion. His right hon. Friend had described the flourishing condition of the great mass of the population; but he also stated that the occupiers of land were in a state of considerable difficulty and distress, which had been brought upon them by recent legislation. Now, looking at the three classes of landowners, occupiers, and labourers, he (Mr. Gladstone) freely admitted that the distress of the landowner was not such as to render it worthy of that body, or such as to warrant them in coming to Parliament for relief. But while he rejoiced in the full evidence that a large portion of the community were in the enjoyment of at least an equal or more than an average share of comfort, yet the condition of the farming class and of the agricultural labourers in a large portion of England, to say nothing of Ireland, was such as to demand the careful attention and consideration of that House. And if he spoke of them as justice, compassion, and prudence prompted, he need not wait for the financial statement of the year in order to do so. He would say, then, that there was no claim upon the House which derived so much strength from the circumstances of the present moment as that which arose from the present condition of the class of farmers, and the class of labourers which were connected with it in so many districts. No one doubted that agricultural improvements Were proceeding, and it might be true that the importations of guano were increasing, yet it was impossible to avoid the conclusion that a severe struggle was going on, and that the farmers, as a class, were manfully exerting themselves to meet the crisis. There might be some whose hearts had already given way, who had prematurely learnt the lesson of despondency; but as to the others, they were engaged in a struggle in which they were prepared to spend every resource, and risk everything they possessed, and this might explain the increased importation of manures, the increase of inclosures, the progress of agricultural improvement, and the continued employment of agricultural labour, to which his right hon. Friend had adverted. But had this struggling class no claims upon the House? Was it not fair to show a disposition not only to use words of sympathy to this class, but also to stretch out the helping hand of encouragement and of aid? These men were the employers of labour, and of whose labour were they the employers? When employment was slack, could their labourera readily remove to an- other part of the country in order to seek it elsewhere? When his accustomed occupation failed, could the agricultural labourer turn his hand to any other? No, he was well nigh bound to the soil, as well by the habits of his life, as by the condition of the law. The occupiers of the soil were the employers of a description of labourers to whom it was idle and a mockery to talk to them of betaking themselves to other employments. Now, he was desirous that the House should show a disposition to give aid and encouragement to the tenantry and yeomanry of the country in their struggle on their own behalf, and on account of the vast national interests connected with maintaining our domestic agriculture; and he was still more desirous of this, because he apprehended that the first effect of this despondency would be, as had already in some instances been shown, a great diminution of the employment afforded by the farmer, and very severe distress among the peasantry of the country. If he looked at the case of that peasantry, how did his right hon. Friend's list of eleven articles tell upon them? It was all very well to talk of the taxes on bricks and timber; and he hoped they would see both speedily done away; but the removal of the taxes on bricks and timber had no immediate bearing on the relations of this class. Most of the other articles he named—tea, sugar, molasses, raisins, &c.—he was afraid the labouring men of the greater part of the south and west of England seldom indulged in, and their remission would afford them a relief altogether trifling. Certainly that relief could in no degree be compared with the advantage which they would derive from a more cheerful resolution on the part of the farmer to increase his endeavours to improve the cultivation of the soil. With respect, indeed, to the great articles, tobacco and malt, he was afraid that his right hon. Friend and himself were but on a par, inasmuch as he feared neither of them could authorise the reduction of a single penny of those duties. He did not think they ought to be deterred from giving a vote for a proposition that was just in itself, and which committed them to no details, but only hound them to work out in a bonâ fide manner a principle that was fair and honest. He did not think they should be deterred from doing so by any question about the law of means and substance that might perhaps linger in half-a-dozen parishes of Scotland, nor by any more important question as to the law of rating the railroads, which, he had no doubt, required very much to be amended, nor even by the inequality which, in the belief of his right hon. Friend, would be caused in the poor-rate, more particularly in relation to the tithe-owner. Those were things connected with the revision of the poor-law; but the House should not be drawn aside by these questions, which were independent in their character, and none of which were prejudged by the Motion, from considering that Motion on its merits. When he looked at the striking descriptions of his right hon. Friend, at the attempted overthrow of the Ministry, the transfer of 18,000,000l., and various other convulsions of the natural and moral world that were involved, according to his view, in the Motion, he must confess that he was not prepared to discuss the nature of a plan so vast, and in the very contemplation of which he was entirely overwhelmed. But when he looked to the Motion, he law that which was true, honest, and reasonable involved in it. And let it be recollected that he was taking no share in a scheme for the restoration of protection, for he thought nothing was more likely to damage the proposition before the House, than the association with it of a project of that nature; but he certainly saw no such formidable consequences in the plan of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire. His right hon. Friend the Member for Ripon said he thought they had gone quite far enough in the transfer of local taxation; but the right hon. Baronet opposite, the Secretary of State for the Home Department, did not hold that language. On the contrary, after stating the financial objections to the proposal, he distinctly stated that he would be open to consider, when the finances of the year were before the House, what other charges there were upon the land which could be transferred to the Consolidated Fund without diminishing or impairing it. So that when he (Mr. Gladstone) compared the Motion with the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary, he did not find in them any difference of a nature absolutely irreconcilable, but felt that the difference came to be in the spirit and temper with which they were acting. He thought it was of the highest importance that when the Gentlemen who acted with the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire had made a proposition, relying on grounds of which they could scarcely dispute the abstract justice, some disposition should be shown to encounter difficulties in detail, for the purpose of meeting them in a friendly spirit. He thought that, independently of justice or of policy, after they had carried into effect a great change in the system of our commercial laws, the effect of which, as respected particular classes, had been to produce considerable difficulty and distress, there should be a disposition to treat the demands of that class in a spirit of liberality and conciliation. It was easy to mix up the discussion of this question with odious and offensive topics. He believed that if the tone was taken of arguing that this was a landlord's measure, and that it was for the relief of landlords, the effect of the discussion might be to add to the disunion that already prevailed between class and class, and yet further to adjourn the day when general harmony should be restored among all the interests of the country. Bnt he trusted that would not be the case. He trusted something to that spirit of liberality and conciliation which induced men to concede something to those over whom they had obtained a great triumph. He addressed this simply to those who had no higher motive in the discussion; but he hoped there were many who would give their support to the claim now before the House, on the ground that it was based in justice. He trusted likewise that some who might not consider the claim as exactly one which could be mathematically demonstrated to be one of justice, but who regarded it as a claim connected with the gallant struggle of the farmers and yeomen and with the independent condition of a large portion of the peasantry of the country—he trusted that there were many such who would not hesitate to give their support to a proposition the reasonableness of which was, to his mind, clear and satisfactory both in its substance and spirit.


said, on the ground of justice he would join issue with the right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down. He had thought the right hon. Gentleman, from the attention which he must have paid to the incidence of taxation, must have arrived at the conclusion, that, however unequal a tax was in the first instance, it was impossible for it to remain unequal. He would now come to another point, which had been much relied upon by the right hon. Gentleman and by other hon. Gentlemen. It was said that if landed property inherited those charges, it inherited them along with a protective duty. Here again he must join issue with the right hon. Gentlemen. He must deny that that protection was an advantage to the landowner, and he must also deny that the removal of a protective duty was a real disadvantage to the landowner. The hon. Gentleman by whom the debate had been opened that evening had asked, what was the cause of the undue depression, and why are prices now so low? That was really the great question at issue in the House, and if hon. Gentlemen would only give him their attention, he would endeavour to give an explanation on the subject. It was evident, he thought, that it would be far from prudent for any person to act on the present prices. He would show that they were now affected by such accidental circumstances that it would be the height of folly either in a landlord or tenant, or in the Legislature, to act in consequence of those prices. The present was not the sole period of depression they remembered; and when he heard the right hon. Gentleman relying confidently upon the argument that when the landowners inherited their properties, subject to the poor-laws, they also inherited the benefits of protection, he could not but recall to his memory the fact that there had been deeper distress and greater ground for alarm on the part of the agricultural interest under protection, which it was said had been made the compensation for the poor-rate, than could be shown at the present moment. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ripon had referred to the year 1833, and to the report of the Committee in that year; and he (Mr. Wilson) would refer to the report of another Committee, which sat in the year 1836. He asked any one who sat on that Committee, or read the evidence given before it, whether there was anything in the present time that in the slightest degree bore a resemblance to the depth of depression and despair that was exhibited in the pages of that evidence? It was premature, to say the least of it, to lay the basis of this claim upon an allegation that the landowners having inherited certain charges upon property, for those charges they had received a compensation, when he showed that with that compensation they had suffered greater distress and depression than at the present moment. The right hon. Gentleman who just sat down had alluded to the distress that he said existed in the south and west of England, and particu- larly the distress of the labourers: having spent a portion of the year in the county of Wiltshire, he (Mr. Wilson) could only say, that having seen the labourers there, he had not heard from any part of the north of England—from Manchester or Leeds—such unequivocal admissions on the part of the agricultural labourers, of the improving condition of themselves and of their families in the present year as compared with this time two years. It should be remembered, that at the present moment they were existing under very exceptional circumstances; and the fact was, that the farmers of England were not suffering so much in consequence of the harvest of 1849, or the prices consequent upon that harvest, as they were suffering from the bad harvest of 1848. There was a cause of distress connected with that harvest which few Gentlemen were really aware of. Unfortunately in this country they had but very scanty means of knowing the real state of the case, or the state of the crops, from year to year; but, though scanty, they had the means sufficiently accurate to afford an indication sufficiently close for the purposes which induced him to lay the matter before the House. He begged to call attention to the returns in the Gazette, from the 256 towns from which the average price was calculated, to show the deficiency of the harvest of 1848. He would draw the attention of the House to certain returns which he had obtained. The first was a return of the quantities of wheat sold in the 256 towns from which the averages were compiled, from the 1st of October to the 30th of September in each of the following years—In 1845–1846 it was 5,929,788 quarters; in 1846–1847 it was 4,995,518 quarters; 1847–1848, 5,450,631 quarters; 1848–1849, 4,298,901 quarters—thus showing a very great deficiency in the amount of wheat sold in 1848. Now, the quantity of wheat sold at these 256 towns was supposed to represent one-fourth of the quantity consumed in the united kingdom. Comparing the average yield with that of 1848, he found in the latter year a deficiency of 4,638,000 quarters; and, taking the price at 45s. a quarter, the deficiency was represented by a sum of 10,000,000l. But the crop was not only deficient in quantity but in quality, and, taking both together, there was a loss equal to the sum of 15,000,000l. It was also found that in those parts of the country where the deficiency was greatest, the agricultural distress was found to be most aggravated. The average deficiency for the whole country was 20 per cent. It was, in Bedfordshire, 28 per cent; Cambridgeshire, 30 per cent; Suffolk, 25 per cent; Worcestershire, 33 per cent; Somersetshire, 25 per cent; Wiltshire, 22 per cent; Berkshire, 26 percent; Devonshire, 40 per cent; Sussex, 45 per cent. Now, a large amount of foreign corn had been imported, but no one could say that there had been a single quarter of wheat too much. He asked where were the stocks of grain that now affected the prices? Either all the grain grown in this country, and the immense quantity imported, had been consumed, or there must be an enormous quantity on hand. But, when the matter was looked into, nobody could say there had been, or was, too much wheat in the country. Out of the quantity imported there had gone into actual consumption, according to the returns of the Board of Trade, no less an amount than 5,634,000 quarters, leaving only 100,000 quarters that might be damaged out of the enormous foreign supply of last year. There was not a single quarter of wheat too much for the consumption of the country; and if it was said there was, where, he asked, was the stock? There was no unusual stock in hand at the present time; and did any hon. Gentleman consider there had been too much wheat for the consumption of the country in the past year? The hon. Gentleman the Member for Dorsetshire stated he had no objection to a large importation of wheat, but said they were replacing home-grown wheat with foreign wheat. Now he denied the proposition that home-grown wheat had been displaced by foreign. He had obtained a return of the countries from which wheat was last year imported, and the quantity from each, in order to see whether the importation had taken place under circumstances that were likely to be permanent. The House would be surprised to hear that last year the highest importation was from France, a country which, only two years ago, had to rake the world for corn for itself. Another country was the United States, from which we had received 700,000 quarters of wheat, though a great deal of it was on speculation, previous to the opening of the ports on the 1st of February, 1849, and we had received little from America during the last two months. He found that the sales of their home-grown wheat coincident with the supply of foreign wheat, since the last harvest, was larger than in the previous year. It amounted to 2,000,000 this year, against 1,700,000 last year, and 2,'000,000 the year before. He next would call the attention to the countries from which any large supply of foreign wheat was received in 1849. They had received:—

France 742,023
Prussia 618,734
United States 617,131
Russia 600,375
Hanse Towns, Rostock, and adjacent ports 498,983
Belgium 366,098
Holland 308,482

He would now, from authentic sources, ascertain the average prices in those countries during the last ten years, that they might come to something like a fair and dispassionate judgment with respect to the price at the present moment. With regard to the United States, he had not been able to get a return of the average prices for a number of years on which he could place reliance. All he could say with respect to the United States was, that the price in the United States was above the price in this country. The following was a return of the wheat and flour imported from the United States:—

1849 617,131
1848 296,101
1847 1,834,142
1846 808,178
1845 92,622

Wheat, flour, &c, shipped from the United States to Great Britain and Ireland, from September 1st to the last dates:—

1849–50. 1848–49.
Flour, bbls 227,349 639,994
Wheat, bush 406,296 854,005
Indian corn, bush. 893,264 5,071,713

The prices in this country at present were not likely to encourage a large importation, and never would do so except when the prices were at a high rate. He thought they need not alarm themselves about any great increase in the importation of corn from the United States; for the fact was, that the market of the United States was a better market than could be found in this country. That country was increasing in population so rapidly, that there would be always a great demand within itself for wheat. The next country to which he would call attention was France, from whence they had received no less than 742,000 quarters. From its proximity to this country there was no doubt, provided its cultivation and character were such as to induce them to expect a continuation of this importation, it was the country of which they should be more afraid than any other; but he would call the attention of the House to the exceptional character of that importation:—

1849 742,023
1848 320,010
1847 179,259
1846 73,774
1845 35,809

He held in his hand an extremely interesting document, for which he was indebted to M. Dumas, the Minister of Agriculture in France. It contained the average price of wheat for ten years; and it appeared from it that the average for that period was 51s. 2d. a quarter. The following was the document to which he referred:—

Per hectolitre. Per quarter
s. d.
1838 19f. 51c 46 9
1839 22f. 14 c. 53 0
1840 21f. 84c. 51 6
1841 18f. 54c. 43 6
1842 19f. 55c. 46 9
1843 20f. 46c. 49 5
1844 19f. 75c. 47 3
1845 19f. 75c. 47 3
1846 24f. 05c. 57 6
1847 29f. 01c 69 7
Average 51 2
1848 16f. 65 c. 39 9
1849 14f. 15 c. 33 9

He again asked, after laying before the House the contents of that document, was he not entitled to say they lived under exceptional circumstances? Any person acquainted with the French commerce must know that France did not usually sustain its own population, and that it was an importing, and not an exporting country. He would next call attention to the following return, showing the quantity of wheat and flour imported from Belgium:—

1849 366,098
1848 178,399
1847 27,469
1846 3,063
1845 383

It was notorious that Belgium was an importing country, and not an exporting country; and he could not give evidence more conclusive of the fact, than by referring to what the Belgian Chamber of Deputies is now doing. Having found the sliding scale in operation in that country inconvenient, the Government came forward and proposed the total and entire abrogation of their corn law; they proposed the abolition of the sliding scale, and the imposition of a small duty of one franc per hectolitre, for the purpose of registration. A law to that effect had been introduced by the Government, and it was quite certain it would be accepted by the Chamber. As the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford felt alarmed by the large importation from Belgium, he (Mr. Wilson) could not help calling the attention of the House to the state of agriculture in that country; but he would not say one word that was derogatory to the people of that country, than whom a more industrious people did not exist. In one of the most important and densely peopled districts in the country—the district of Malines—the average size of farms was three acres; and out of 13,000 held on lease 7,000 were holdings under two acres. It was idle to talk then of the difficulty of the English farmer with a large capital competing with those men. He now begged to call attention to the average prices of wheat in Belgium for the last ten years. The average price for the whole ten years was 52s. 2d.; the average price for the last three months was 38s. 3d. Again, he would say he was entitled to declare that they were existing under exceptional circumstunces. With regard to Holland, it was unnecessary to dwell upon that country, for it was not a wheat-growing country. The following was the amount of importation during the last year:—

1849 308,482
1848 163,978
1847 11,800
1846 473
1845 1,614

A great deal of that must be reimportations from other places; but hon. Gentlemen need not be very fearful of competition when the average price of wheat in Amsterdam during the last ten years was 45s. 4d. The following was a return of the wheat and flour imported from Hanseatic Towns, and Mecklenburg, Hamburg, Lubeck, and Rostock:—

1849 498,983
1848 532,550
1847 154,839
1846 126,573
1845 154,271

The average price of wheat at Hamburg was, from 1839 to 1848, 49s. 9d.; in 1849, 37s. He had received a return from the Minister of the Interior at Berlin, which afforded information that he believed to be almost new in this country. It contained the average prices of wheat for a series of ten years, from 1839 to 1848, in each of the Prussian provinces:—

Per scheffell in Per qr.
silver groschan. s. d.
Prussia Proper 69 10 36 0
Posen 67 8 35 7
Pomerania 71 6 36 11
Silesia 66 3 34 3
Saxony 69 1 36 0
Westphalia 80 1 38 9
Rhenish Provinces 86 2 44 5
Average of all 37s. 7d.

They had heard a great deal of late of the extremely low prices at which the Prussians could send their corn into this country, but for the last ten years the average price at Dantzic was 49s. 6d. He had taken the trouble, on the preceding day, to consult a corn merchant in very extensive business, who could give him exactly the charges for bringing wheat from Dantzic to this country. Those charges, including a freight of 4s., amounted to a charge of 11s. 3d. a quarter; but that was on the supposition that the cargo was sold on its arrival without the expense of warehousing or the intervention of a factor. The smallest sum they could add to that charge of 11s. 3d. for bringing the corn from the provinces to the port, was 5s. 9d., making a total charge of 17s. per quarter. If they added that to the average price of 37s. 7d., it would require a price of no less than 54s. 7d. to repay the grower for sending his corn to this country in preference to selling it on the spot. They would find in the revenue returns that the average amount of duty paid upon all the wheat imported under the operation of the corn laws, since 1842, amounting to many millions of quarters, was 11s. per quarter, which would have given to the importer a net average price of 41s. per quarter, a large proportion of which would not have been remunerating at that price. He would next call the attention of the House to the state of the corn trade in the Black Sea, and the Sea of Azoff—the corn shipped from the ports in this part of Europe being the produce of very extensive tracts of country. The present price of wheat at Odessa was 33s. per quarter; but the demand for the Mediterranean was so great as to render any large supply to this country highly improbable. Now he might probably be asked to assign some reason for this exceptional state of things He would first state that the extremely high prices of 1847 no doubt led to a very extensive cultivation in different parts of the Continent, which materially affected the prices of this country in subsequent years. A second cause might be found in the circumstance that they never had had a season of high prices which had not been succeeded by a period of low prices; these periods of low prices being again succeeded by seasons of corresponding high prices. He might also refer to the continental disturbances of 1848, which had disturbed the whole fabric of commerce. When in; Germany about two years since, he found that every farmer was unwilling to keep any stock of wheat by him, not knowing how soon disturbances might take place or even break out in that country—when their grain and other provisions would be seized by the authorities, or by those who acted against them. Referring to a third cause, and that a more important one, he might speak of the agitation which had taken place in this country during the last six months. If ever there was a circumstance in this world calculated to depress the market, or if ever a set of men acted against their own interest, it was to be found in the conduct of those men who, during the last six months had been holding language to the farmers which had induced them to exaggerate all the evils by which they were surrounded; and, in his opinion, the conduct those men had been pursuing had more to do with the present low prices than any other circumstance whatever. The hon. Member for Buckinghamshire had proposed to establish, for the benefit of the farmers, a sinking fund. Why, there had been large funds in the Bank of England for the last six months, and in the hands of capitalists; but no man would dare to venture a single shilling of that unemployed capital, even in legitimate dealings, in the article of wheat, simply because confidence had been destroyed in the corn trade. No capitalist would purchase grain while such language was being addressed to the farmers of England; the capitalist would not invest it in an article the price of which was so fluctuating and uncertain. There were, therefore, a great number of exceptional circumstances sufficient to account for the great disturbance in the price of wheat. But if he were asked, whether he believed the present low prices would be permanent, his reply would be, that he entertained no suclf belief. His chief anxiety was on account of a sudden reaction from these extremely low prices to correspondingly high prices. No Gentleman could wish to see the prices of 1847 return. It was only two years ago that Rouen and Paris were supplied with wheat from Norfolk, and that we were shipping wheat from this country to the Rhenish provinces. It was not, therefore, too much to say that he entertained feelings of anxiety with regard to a reaction, as no one could foretell what a single bad harvest might produce. He would venture to say, that if they were to examine all the ports of Europe from Odessa round to Dantzic, they would find the stock of wheat to be smaller at this moment than it had been for a number of years past. If confidence could only be restored to this country—if the people could be induced to believe that these low prices were not to be continued for ever—the millers and dealers in grain would then take their usual stock, and it would be soon found that that large imaginary supply which Gentlemen apprehended to exist would disappear, and the usual remunerating prices would again prevail. He entertained no fear from foreign competition. After taking a careful survey of the whole of Europe, he believed there was no agriculturist at this moment possessing such advantages as the English farmer possessed, or who was placed in so favourable a position as well in regard to the proximity of markets as to various other advantages under which he lived. He admitted the injustice of accusing the farmers of England of ignorance or want of energy; on the contrary, they had done great things by extending and improving the cultivation of the soil of this country When he saw what had been done in Scot-land, and that even Salisbury Plain had been brought into cultivation almost like a garden, he did not fear the English farmer being brought into competition with the Russian serf, with all the disadvantage: which the latter laboured under from an extensive land carriage to the sea coast and then the distant voyage to an English port.


thought that the fact of agricultural distress was almost too manifest to require any elaborate exertions to prove its existence. Landlords had reduced their establishments; farmers had in numbers of cases reduced the wages of their labourers and the amount of employ- ment; and he might venture to state, that in almost every town in the agricultural districts, they would find the shopkeepers complaining of the state of trade. There was also, in addition to these circumstances, the fact that crime within the last three years had increased to not less than 60 per cent. It was under this state of things that his constituents had convened a large county meeting to address Her Majesty on the subject of their distress, and to apprise Her of the storm which was gathering round, and that something must be done in order to prevent the peace, tranquillity, and happiness of the country from being disturbed. The speech of the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down had, in his opinion, as little to do with the subject before the House as any other question. If the hon. Gentleman had had the question of the corn laws to discuss, no doubt it would have been perfectly applicable. A course more unsatisfactory or more insulting to the agricultural interest of this country than that pursued by the Government on this occasion, could not have been taken by them. He had listened to all, connected with the Government, who had spoken on the present subject; he had heard them acknowledge the existence of the distress, but they proposed no measure of redress, and he believed that, concurring in the expression of an hon. Member, they believed that they had nothing to do with the producer, the consumer being the only party that they had to deal with or to care for. At the present moment protection was not the object which was sought; the agricultural interest came to the House for justice, and they might depend upon it that the farmers of England would never be content until they were released from those burdens which peculiarly affected their industry. When the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth brought forward his plan on the subject of the corn laws, he acknowledged that there were burdens which peculiarly attached to the soil. Upon this subject discontent prevailed from one part of the country to the other; and they might depend upon it that there was not a single argument which he had heard from the Government in the House that would remove that discontent. The right hon. Baronets the Members for Northumberland and Ripon, had referred to those parts of the country with which they were connected as being in a state of the greatest prosperity. He hoped that the statements which these right hon. Baronets had made were correct. The agricultural interest were told that they had no occasion for alarm, but if they looked to other interests | they might see the effects which had been produced by these free-trade measures. It was enough for them to turn their eyes either to the West Indian colonics or to the needlewomen of London. What was the case with the West Indian colonies? After this country had expended 20,000,000l. for one of the most benevolent of purposes, they were ruined by being placed in competition with slave-grown sugar. The same thing had now taken place with regard to the agricultural interest, which was placed in competition with the serfs of Russia and other countries. With respect to the United States, he confessed he did not feel much alarmed at the prospect of competition with that country; he considered that as nothing, compared with those other countries to which he had just referred, and he would not go to blue books for information upon the subject, as the hon. Member for Westbury had just done. In the case of the needlewomen of London the same effects of free-trade were also apparent. The Government and others came forward with their subscriptions to banish these poor creatures to some foreign country, where they were to pass the remainder of their days, or they were to be left to die in the district workhouses of the country. Many of those who were opposed to a system of banishment had been denounced as "idiots," because they would not subscribe 6l. to remove some of the surplus labourers out of the country. He did not believe that they had a single labourer too many in the country. That was his firm conviction. They had increased emigration from 25,000 to 250,000, and if the Government would only give the agriculturists the encouragement, they would find enough work to employ the whole labouring classes of the country. What a difference did the conduct of this Government present when compared with that of the President of the United States. It was there stated that they would give encouragement to their people; that they would tread in the steps in which England trod when she was great, and stood above all the other nations of the world. They believed and acted upon that best of all maxims of a wise Government, that of giving the means of subsistence and employment to its own people. The Government of the United States said they would not only give pro- tection to the cotton grower, but to the manufacturer of cotton; they said they would not be satisfied with growing cotton and sending it to England to be manufactured, for by so doing they would distress one branch of the industry of their country. But they had been told that the landlords ought to expend more capital in the improvement of their land, by buildings and other means. But would the Government give the landlord anything like security before they called upon him to lay out his capital? Would they give him some assurance that wheat should not, even by the end of 1850, be down to 4s. per bushel, for he would venture to predict that if it should please Providence to send us a bad harvest, or a productive one abroad, before Christmas 1850 wheat would be down to 4s. per bushel, for the farmers would be compelled to bring their produce to market and dispose of it at any price which it would realise. But Mr. Huxtable told them that they were to erect steam engines and economise labour. This was always the advice put forward whenever competition with the foreigner was spoken of, and the interests of the labourer were always to be sacrificed. While they were compelled to keep up the price of labour, it was impossible for them to compete with the foreigner. It had been said that there had been a reduction in the amount of the poor-rates in some parts of the country. From returns which he had obtained from different parties in the district with which he was connected, he found that the amount expended in relief had increased from 5,800l. to 6,200l. during the last year, although the contracts bad been reduced, and the price of the 4lb. loaf had fallen from 7d. to 6d.; and he believed that by the end of next year he would be in a very much worse position, in that respect, than they were at present. He trusted that the farmers of England, who would be affected by this measure, would unite from one part of the country to another; and if they were only firm and united in their purpose, he would venture to say that in a few years they would once more see agriculture revived, and trade and commerce and manufactures prosper together, as they had done before; but if they were driven, as they would be by the rejection of this measure, to reduce still further the price of labour and the amount of employment, when they knew that influence and money were given to other objects, while there were thousands of acres which required that money, and tens of thousands of labourers at present wanting employment, they might depend upon it that by pursuing that course they would disturb the peace, and he would not be very much surprised if even they were to injure the monarchy and the institutions of the country. It was to be recollected it was by the industry—and they knew it—of these persons that this country had attained the high position which she had held for so long a period over all the nations of the world; and he ventured to predict that if they put an extinguisher upon that industry, this country would fall.


said, it seemed almost presumption in him to differ from what had been advanced by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Ripon; but, representing as he did a large county, and being also thoroughly acquainted with tenant-farmers in several counties, he must do them justice as far as he could, though under such grievous disadvantages. The right hon. Gentleman said, if he (Mr. Berkeley) understood him correctly, that no great reduction, or in fact no reduction in wages, had taken place among the agricultural labourers of this country. [Sir J. GRAHAM: NO, no!] Well, then, of Cumberland. But the effects of free trade were not fully complete, and, taking the three counties of Glocestershire, Wiltshire, and Hampshire, with the agriculturists and tenant-farmers in which he was in constant communication, he must say that he knew the tenant-farmers were reluctant to discharge their labourers, whom perhaps they had employed for a number of years. They were pausing before they took that harsh step. It was not fair, then, to judge, under the present circumstances, of the full effects of free trade. What had the tenant-farmers done? In many instances in his own knowledge they had assembled their labourers, and said to them that times were so hard, and they were driven into such straits, that they must either discharge one-half of them, or keep on all at reduced wages; and, to the credit of the labourers be it said, they said in a body, "Keep us all; we are willing to work at reduced wages." The right hon. Gentleman also said that, in the long run, he thought free trade would turn out advantageous; but it was precisely what the tenant-farmers were anxious to find out—what was that long run? If the right hon. Gentleman had held out any hope—if they could guess at the end of their misfortunes, the farmers might, perhaps, be more contented; but they now felt themselves grievously depressed, and saw no end of it but absolute ruin. The right hon. Gentleman also alluded to the present struggle the agriculturists were making for their rights; and, if he (Mr. Berkeley) correctly understood him, he spoke of it as class agitation. But, if they were to be met by that kind of argument, was not the term more applicable to hon. Members now sitting on that (the Ministerial) side of the House? What had placed upon those seats the heads of free trade but agitation? and now, because the agriculturists came to lay their grievances before the House, they were to be told it was class agitation. But, whilst he was making these observations on agitation, he was glad to see the hon. Member for Manchester in his place. He differed from the sentiments that hon. Member had promulgated the other night. The hon. Member had also charged the agriculturists with agitation, and pointed to their grievances as imaginary; he told them what to do, and how they were to farm. If they had received that advice from a known agiculturist—a known owner of landed property—one whom they deemed capable of lecturing on agricultural subjects, they would have accepted it; but the hon. Member knew no more of his (Mr. Berkeley's) trade of farming, than he (Mr. Berkeley) knew of the manufacture of cotton. He dared say the hon. Member was not even aware of the term "broadcast" in husbandry, or of the use of the drill; broadcast in argument, and waste of words, the hon. Member often dealt in, and he well knew how to drill the people to clamour for a favourite measure. He would give to the hon. Member and the whole Manchester school all the dirt they were so fond of recommending to the agriculturists, and would answer for it that none of them could raise a field of corn, or knew enough of agriculture to grow even a field of cotton. Some hon. Gentlemen recommended the farmers to manure the land, and then go to sleep. He wished them to do anything but go to sleep. He would just put the House in possession of the state of the Cotswold-hills. The soil there was so shallow, being based on a rock, that after it was manured and brought to the highest state of cultivation, when the crop was taken off, and the plough went over the land again, it broke up so much of the rock that the farmers were obliged to employ the country people to collect the stones in baskets before the second crop was put in; so shallow was the surface-soil, the subsoil being a rock, they could in many places only manure for one crop, and even then, in dry seasons, manure however much, scarce an additional blade of corn could be added to production; yet they were told that on such land as that they could meet and compete with the foreigner at present prices; they knew that if those prices were maintained, the whole of the Cotswold-hills would be thrown into sheepwalks, and every single soul of the agricultural population must be thrown out of work. He was not fortunate enough to see the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wiltshire in his place; but he (Mr. Berkeley) happened to be on the spot where he heard the right hon. Gentleman had told his tenants that he would reduce their rents provided they did not reduce the wages of their labourers. That was a most dangerous position to assume, because it was thrusting a foreign power between the employed and the employer. But times got worse: prices fell; and though, as far as he could understand, the rents were reduced upon the understanding that the wages should not fall, the tenants felt themselves obliged to reduce their wages. The labourers assembled in a body, and marched with their complaints to the right hon. Gentleman. This induced among those labourers feelings of dissatisfaction towards those to whom they ought ever to have looked for encouragement and employment; and he trusted that henceforth no landed proprietor, whatever might be his opinions as to free trade, would ever follow so dangerous a precedent. He heard the hon. Gentleman the Member for Westbury say, that he had adopted Wiltshire as his county. He did not know whether the hon. Member had adopted Wiltshire, or Wiltshire had adopted him; but this he would state, that after his speech that night, he doubted much if the county would glory in the selection, let that selection have arisen with either the one or the other. The hon. Member said there was no distress amongst the agricultural population, and that the labourers were very well off. Now, he happened to know that many and many labourers with families in Wiltshire were at that moment working at 6s a week. What opinion the hon. Member might have as to the wages the labourer ought to receive he could not tell; but how a man with a family of seven or eight children, and 6s a week, could be said to be well to do in the world, he left it to the hon. Member to show. The right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary, if he (Mr. Berkeley) understood him correctly, said that pauperism was on the decrease. He doubted the statistics quoted by the right hon. Gentleman, and also all those they heard that evening. He did not mean to say that any one would be base enough to make figures; but, for a particular purpose, there were those who would "cook" figures. He was perfectly aware who was at the head of the statistical department under the Government—he knew the gentleman, Mr. Fonblanque, and in what way he had passed his former life—he knew that the statistics as to the West Indies did not show on their face the true state of things; and knowing that fact, he had a right to doubt the rest. But he would ask the hon. Member for Manchester one question—what was the real state of the cotton trade at that moment? Was he driving a thriving trade or not? Was there not an artificial price kept up in the great manufacturing districts by the Manchester school? He did not believe they had yet arrived at the real state of the cotton trade in Manchester. He was certain that, in this instance, and also on the Amendment to the Address, there could not be a more temperate Motion placed on the records of the House, than the one brought forward by his hon. Friend. The subject had been approached in the most temperate manner; but he must say, that from the speeches he had heard, and the sentiments that had been uttered, he did not see, under the present circumstances, one single shadow of hope for the agricultural interest. He would, however, remind the House and the country that the time would come when that interest would assume its just position—that the time would come when the agricultural interest would assert for itself that consideration which it ought always to receive. And now, he would ask of the Government what they had done for the country? They had given, as it were, to the noisy boys of the Manchester school some gingerbread to stop their mouths, but they stole the flour from the farmers to make it with. They were told that the measure before the House was not final; he granted that if the measure were carried, it would not be sufficient to meet the great and overwhelming depression, and that it might be a step only in the right course. He would ask the Government whether they thought they had stopped for any length of time the mouths of the Manchester school if they allowed them to become dominant. He would ask the Government, whether, if the time should come when the Manchester school deserted them, they would look to the agricultural classes for support; and whether they would have a right to expect it at their hands? In conclusion, he would repeat, that whatever might be the fate of the Motion that night, the time would come when the agriculturists would gain their own, and when they would once again see that great national interest in that position which it ought to have—the first in the great interests of this country.


Sir, whatever motives I might have for wishing to address the House upon a subject which has been brought forward with great ability, and with great moderation—whatever other motives I might have for wishing to address the House, the necessity under which I feel myself impelled to take a course different from that which will be taken by my right hon. Friend the Member for Oxford, is a sufficient reason for desiring to explain the grounds upon which that course is taken. For my right hon. Friend I have the greatest respect and admiration. I was associated with him in the preparation and conduct of those measures to the desire of maintaining which he partly attributes the conclusion at which he has arrived—from him I derived the most zealous, the most effective assistance—and it is no small consolation for me to hear from my right hon. Friend, although upon this particular Motion we arrive at different conclusions, that his confidence in the justice of those principles for which we in common contended, and which are the foundation of the commercial policy which of late years has been adopted, remains entirely unshaken. Sir, before I address myself to some remarks of my right hon. Friend, I wish to state, with respect to the agricultural interest, that I do not deny that it is suffering considerable distress, and that for that distress I feel, on every account, the warmest sympathy. [An Hon. MEMBER on the Opposition benches: Oh, dear!] Sir, I believe the House will be of opinion that I take the most becoming course in passing without notice the inarticulate sounds with which the hon. Gentleman has interrupted me, although those inarticulate sounds are, I admit, equally powerful with any arguments which the hon. Gentleman could adduce, and at least equally entitled to consideration. I shall not be disturbed, however, by him from entering upon the discussion of this subject with the temper which befits it. Sir, I know not why the hon. Gentleman should doubt my sympathy with the agricultural interest: my own interests are intimately connected with its welfare; and if any measures to which I have been party, however confident I may he of then-general policy, and of the benefits that have resulted to the country at large from them, have visited a particular and most important special and peculiar interest, as it ought to be, with distress, the greater is the sympathy which I feel for its suffering. I say this, also, Sir, that if it be true that the occupying tenants of this country are unwilling to reduce the amount of labour which they employ—if they are making exertions to prevent the distress under which they may be suffering, from visiting those on whose labour they depend—they have, on that account, an additional claim to our respectful consideration. I do not, indeed, agree (whilst I admit the distress which prevails) with the apprehensions and the despondency of others as to the future condition of the agricultural interest. I believe there are special and peculiar causes affecting that interest at present. I think it was impossible to listen to the speech which was made in this House tonight by the hon. Member for Westbury, without a strong presumption that at the present moment there are peculiar causes of depression and distress. Such causes have heretofore been in operation during the existence of protection: on frequent occasions in the Speech from the Throne, the distress of the agricultural interest has been fully acknowledged and lamented. Now, when protection is lost, some of the causes which affected the agricultural interests during its existence are in operation. As those interests recovered then, so I trust they will again recover. Those who are interested in their prosperity should beware that they do not retard the period of recovery by the propagation of undue alarm. This course has been taken on former occasions, and now is taken. I see professors of agriculture informing the agriculturists of Scotland that Indian corn can be introduced into this country from America at 12s. the quarter. They are telling the growers of oats that it is impossible for them to contend in the markets of their own country with the produce of the United States. They are alarming them with the assurance that Indian corn can be profitably imported at the price of 12s. the quarter, although, at the very time, the notorious fact is, that in the ports of Liverpool, Limerick, Cork, and Dublin, the price of Indian corn is fluc- tuating between 27s. and 31s. the quarter.

I was not present at the early part of this debate, during the speech of the hon. Gentleman the Member for North Northamptonshire. I am told that in that speech he made a personal appeal to me, and asked me on what grounds I thought there was an undue depression in the price of agricultural produce at present. Sir, I will tell him. It is because I find, in many continental countries—in countries which have the advantage (if advantage it be) of protection—I find in them the same depression of prices, and the same complaints which exist here. I find that depression of price to exist, notwithstanding that the markets of England have been opened to them—notwithstanding that there has been a new and unusual demand for their agricultural produce. In France and in Belgium, our nearest neigh-hours (each of which countries has had, until a very late period, laws giving full protection to native produce), their agricultural productions are unusually depressed in price, and the occupying tenants are complaining that it is impossible to cultivate the land at the present prices. I say, then, there appears to be pervading many countries of Europe the same depression of prices of which we complain in this country. Whether or no it be attributable to precisely the same causes which have operated here—whether the same partial famine which we have had during the last three or four years, may have stimulated production, and the prices of foreign corn may have been depressed by an unusually productive harvest following several years of scarcity—I will not undertake to say. But the fact remains unquestionable, that in many countries of Europe there are the same complaints of lowness of price and depression that we have here. Sir, since I came into this House to-night, a Gentleman was good enough to place in my hands two documents. One is a circular from Antwerp, dated the 9th of February, 1850, which speaks of the state and prospects of agriculture in that part of the Continent. Observe, so recently as the 9th of the present month, it is said in this circular— At our to-day's market the trade generally ruled dull, and the turn in prices was in favour of the buyers, though we do not expect an important decline, the value of the corn being already too depressed to pay the rents of our farmers. The other document is a paper of a similar description, bearing the same date as the former, and issued at Nantes. This circular states— Prices of corn are for the present very low everywhere in Europe; but, taking into consideration the good quality of some produces of our growth, and of our best brands of flour, combined with the low freight obtainable now, we consider that our market deserves the attention of every one willing to risk interest of money at a low rate against the chances of a rise, whilst a further decline is quite improbable, as needy sellers have everywhere disposed of their crops, and also noticing that the continuance of the present prices in this part of France would soon involve the ruin of the landed interest. Here, then, Sir, are two countries which have had, not only the new advantage of free importation into the English market, but also protection to native produce; and yet in these two countries agricultural produce is so depressed, that it is said ruin to the fanners is inevitable. From thence I conclude that causes other than the removal of protection have contributed to our own distress; and that probably there is some cause general in its operation which has produced the depression of prices complained of throughout a great part of Europe.

Another ground on which I view with less despondency than others the condition and prospects of agriculture in this country, is this, that I witness with the greatest satisfaction the increasing consumption of this country. It is not in the tendency to increased consumption only that I see indications of general prosperity; but the importation of corn in the course of the last year was in addition to an unusual consumption of native produce. The people of this country have not only imported, but they have consumed and paid for, by the produce of their own labour, no less than 5,600,000 quarters of wheat, that consumption of foreign corn not diminishing the consumption of wheat of our own growth. In 1849, as compared with 1848, there has been an increase in the consumption of British wheat, and concurrently with the increase in the consumption of British wheat there has been the enormous consumption of 5,600,000 quarters—not, observe, of Indian corn, not of oats, not of rye, but of the noblest grain, namely, of wheat. By whom has that wheat been consumed? When we are asking for proofs of the improved condition of the country, why should we minutely enter into these details? Why not rely on the one conclusive proof supplied by the fact that 5,600,000 quarters of foreign wheat have been imported, paid for, and consumed. By whom? Not by the upper classes. I will venture to say, that the quantity of bread eaten by the aristocracy has very little increased—that the quantity consumed by their households and domestics has very little increased amongst the more affluent of the middle classes. Probably amongst the middle classes, amongst those living on moderate incomes, in times of prosperity their consumption of luxuries may be increased; but the consumption of bread—the great element of human life—is not increased in any great degree. No, Sir, this consumption of foreign wheat has taken place in consequence of the improved condition of those who live by labour. You will not have millions of quarters of wheat consumed, except that millions of mouths can be found to eat them. And I want no better indication of general prosperity—I except, of course, the agriculturists, whose distress I admit—but I want no better proof of the general prosperity, of the general ease and the general comfort, than the fact that there has been an increase in the consumption of bread, and bread of the best quality, perfectly unparalleled. Well, Sir, if we can only continue that consumption—if by our legislation, under the favour of Divine Providence, we can continue the demand for labour, and make our trade and manufactures prosperous, we shall not only be increasing the sum of human comfort and happiness, but we shall be giving to the agriculturists of this country the best assurance, by increased demand, of ultimate prosperity. Consider the daily demand for agricultural produce, in the time of manufacturing prosperity, in such places as Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, and the great mining districts. When we speak of agricultural produce, the term is not limited to corn; it includes meat, milk, cheese, and butter. If you take into the account the daily increasing facilities of transport, and the advantage of the vicinity of markets, surely the agriculturists of this country need not fear competition with those of any other.

Sir, when I gave my consent to the Address in answer to the Speech from the Throne, I had no impression that it was intended to slight the distress of the agriculturists. The words used, indeed, were that there were complaints; but I understood that there was an admission of distress, and a sincere feeling of regret for its existence. If that had not been the construction I placed upon the Address—if I thought there was any intention of slight—any intention to imply that the com- plaints of distress were unfounded or unworthy of notice, the answer to the Speech from the Throne should never have had my support. I will now apply myself to the speech of my right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford, and will proceed to state the grounds on which I come to a conclusion different from his. My right hon. Friend takes the specific terms of the Motion made by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire, and contends that he is perfectly at liberty to dismiss all the extraneous considerations connected with it, and to consider only the abstract proposals which are contained in the Motion. Now, there I differ from my right hon. Friend. It is all very well to say to a very young Member of this House, "I make a proposal for the House to resolve itself into Committee, in which the whole question will be open for consideration. Go into Committee; you will be pledged to nothing; hear my proposal; reject what is objectionable, and modify what is capable of modification. Do this, and you will conscientiously discharge your duty; and, even should you agree to no part of my proposal, you will at least have the merit of showing your sympathy for the farmer." But, Sir, I say that that is not the construction which the tenant-farmers will place upon the Motion of the hon. Gentleman. He will have (if his Motion be agreed to) excited the hopes of the agriculturists. The hon. Gentleman is not chargeable with any attempt at deception; but let others well consider the circumstances under which we are discussing this question. A proposal was made for an Amendment to the Address—some contended that by that Amendment the issue intended to be joined was, whether protection to agriculture should be re-enacted, or not. ["No, no!"] Some certainly considered that that was the question at issue. The hon. Member for North Northamptonshire said to-night that he thought that that issue was fairly raised upon the Amendment to the Address—that the Lords and Commons had decided against protection—and that he would not ask his friends to occupy the House with needless debates which would result in nothing. That, in short, he considers the question of protection decided. ["No, no!"] I do not mean decided permanently and for ever; but if the hon. Member who cries "No, no," had heard the speech of his hon. Friend the Member for North Northamptonshire, as I heard it, he would have heard him say that he considered the question decided, so far as the present Parliament was concerned. Well, Sir, after that decision, a Motion is made for the purpose of giving to the agricultural interests the compensation to which they are said to be entitled for the wrong done to them by the removal of protection. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire contended last year, and still contends, that the burdens unjustly thrown upon the landowners exclusively are not less than 12,000,000l. a year; that they are subjected by general and local taxation, including the land tax, to an amount of annual taxation from which they are entitled to relief of not less than 14,000,000l. This Session he says—" I won't go into the general and extended question at the present time; I propose now only the partial removal of taxation from the agricultural interest to the amount of 2,000,000l. only. But don't be deceived, this is only the first of a series of measures. Others will follow, adopting the same principles." Even after those the question is still open, for although this proposal is brought forward as a compensation for protection, at any rate as a measure rendered the more necessary and just by its removal, the hon. Gentleman gives us no assurance that after we have granted this demand he will not avail himself of the earliest opportunity of reviving that system of protection which he contends it is the true policy of this country to adopt. This removal of two millions of taxation from the agricultural interest—this transfer of that amount from them to other payers of taxes—is accompanied by a distinct notice that this is not a measure closing the account—not a measure with which the agricultural interest ought to be satisfied—that it is but a small and partial instalment of a great debt—and that if it be acquiesced in by us, the claim for the remainder will be prosecuted. And therefore, Sir, my right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford cannot say that he is deceived by the Motion of the hon. Gentleman. He cannot disregard extraneous considerations, and limit himself to the simple abstract proposal. It is a proposal involving a principle. If he votes for this proposition for the purpose of giving satisfaction to the agricultural interest, and then refuses to follow up the series of similar measures, the end which he has in view he will not gain. There will be no satisfaction with a mere partial admission of one portion of a great claim, the rest of which is to be contested. But what is this claim? and will the satisfaction of it be for the benefit of the class whose interests the hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire advocates? Let us first consider it in the point of view in which my right hon. Friend wishes to consider it, as a definite proposal, transferring 2,000,000l. of taxes, now borne by real property, to the Consolidated Fund—ending there—entailing no other consequences. I wish to consider the proposal in its bearing on the finances of the country. The proposal, then, now made is this—that previously to any exposition of the financial condition of the country by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, we shall, by a vote of this House, determine that new charges to the amount of 2,000,000l. be placed upon the Consolidated Fund. Now, let us consider the effect of such a measure upon the financial prospects of the country. Let us consider—that which I am willing to consider, I trust, in no unfair spirit—whether the course which we are invited to take be really for the benefit of that class for whose alleged advantage it is proposed. I am asked, then, to consent to the first of a series of measures which proposes at once to appropriate the whole of the assumed surplus of the present year. If followed up, it will appropriate the whole of the surplus which may progressively accrue for several years to come. Because, mind, on the ground on which the hon. Gentleman this year urges the exemption of real property from certain charges, he will, in future years, claim its exemption from others of a similar nature. This, however, by the way. In the present year, by the present Motion, previous to the production of the budget, previous to the receipt of any authentic information as to the finances of the country, I am invited to consent to the appropriation of the whole of the surplus revenue, by establishing a new annual charge of 2,000,000l. on the Consolidated Fund. Now, is such a course desirable, even in behoof of that interest now labouring under depression? I have always understood—I heard it from the hon. Gentleman himself—that one great source of relief to the agricultural interest, is the scrupulous maintenance of public credit, and the consequent reduction of the rate of interest, thus giving increased power to owners of land to relieve themselves from charges to which they are now liable. And although I differed from the hon. Gentleman as to the mode by which he proposed to make capital cheap, still I thought that there was great force in his observation, that if you can maintain public credit, and thereby diminish the rate of interest, you are conferring benefit upon landed proprietors, and enabling them to relieve themselves from a portion of the difficulties under which they are labouring. What says my hon. Friend the Member for West Surrey? He tells us that we ought to have settled the mortgage question before repealing the corn laws. Is my hon. Friend about to settle the mortgage question by destroying the surplus? My hon. Friend says—"the land labours under heavy mortgages"—mortgages, remember, all contracted under protection. [Lord Ministerial cheering.] Ay, contracted under protection. What a picture of the state of landed property did my hon. Friend draw! Estates overburdened with debt, estates of which the owners cannot keep possession, estates which must be sold. When, I ask again, did these incumbrances arise? Can there be a stronger presumption against the advantages of protection if my hon. Friend's account of the state of landed property be a true one? Admitting it to be true—admitting that many landlords are now paying for borrowed money at the rate of 4½ or 5 per cent—my hon. Friend thinks that before we repealed the corn laws, we should have enabled the landowner, by borrowing money at 3 per cent, to pay off the mortgages bearing interest at 5 per cent. Does my hon. Friend really think that the way to do this is to tell the fund-holders that all the present year's surplus is to be appropriated, and that any surplus arising in future years will also be appropriated by relieving local taxation at the expense of the Consolidated Fund? I regretted to hear my hon. Friend the Member for West Surrey the other night speaking so lightly of the maintenance of public credit. Let me tell my hon. Friend that in any measures which shall destroy confidence in the public faith and in the maintenance of public credit, he will have but a short-lived triumph over the public creditor. The moment that he strikes a successful blow at that public creditor, he will strike one still more fatal to the landowner whose interest he professes to advocate. Looking, then, at the bearings of the present proposal on the general financial condition of the country, looking at its special bearing on the landed interest, I should consider its acceptance as the most precipitate, the most unwise act which a legislative assembly ever committed. If without giving to the responsible Minister an opportunity of explaining his views on the financial position and prospects of the country, we should consent to appropriate the whole of this year's surplus revenue, and imply, by just inference, the appropriation of the surplus of future years, I repeat, Sir, we should take a course the most unwise, the most improvident which ever was taken by any Legislature. But my right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford says, "Oh, but there ought to be a revision of taxation." Now, I cannot conceive any two questions more important than these: first, having a surplus, will you maintain it intact for the purpose of inspiring such confidence in the public credit that the funds may rise, and the landed interest be thereby benefited? Secondly, in case you should decide against the maintenance of a surplus, how shall that surplus be applied in the remission of taxation with the greatest possible advantage to all interests, but, under present circumstances, especially to the agricultural interest? But by his vote to-night my right hon. Friend will preclude us from considering either of these questions. He will consent to appropriate at once the whole surplus, by relieving one class at the expense of another. My right hon. Friend says that he hopes to see the timber duty reduced, and the duty on bricks removed. How can he hope to see either the one or the other? How is it possible to make this revision of taxation—how is it possible to remove many taxes unduly bearing on the agricultural interest—if you choose to apply the whole surplus revenue by transferring charges borne by real property to the Consolidated Fund? Who can deny that there are considerations of the utmost importance connected with the revision of the duties I have mentioned. Take the duty on bricks. I must say to the agricultural interest, that if, by their assent to this Motion, they preclude the Chancellor of the Exchequer from considering whether or no the brick duty shall be removed, they will be taking a course most injurious to their own interests. See how unfairly in different parts of the country this duty operates. Here, perhaps, is one county abounding in coal and stone—the latter advantageous for the construction of houses for all classes. There is another county without coal, with no command of stone, obliged to depend entirely upon bricks as the material for building. How heavily does this duty fall on a county so circumstanced, and especially on the land- lord who has cottages and farmhouses and farm-offices to build and keep in repair! Excuse me for saying that if you could get the duty upon bricks removed at a loss to the revenue of 400,000l. or 500,000l., you would be gaining a greater benefit for real property than you could hope for by carrying the proposal now before us. You wish to relieve real property. Well, all real property will be benefited by the removal of the duty on bricks. Take the sanitary condition of towns—a subject now occupying so much attention. Can you conceive anything of greater importance—anything affording greater facilities for the necessary local improvements in most districts—than a free command of the material essential to the construction of houses. The advantages to agriculture of enabling landlords to improve the farm buildings of occupying tenants has been often adverted to. The construction and improvement of farm buildings for the preservation of farm implements and for the extended feeding of cattle, are daily becoming objects of increasing importance. Such objects are now obstructed and counteracted by the duty upon bricks. The pecuniary amount of the duty does not measure the extent of the obstruction. What is the consequence of the removal of excise duties? You have not only the advantage of the pecuniary burden taken off, but there is the abolition of an inquisitive excise meddling with the application of skill, and the operations of labour. The bricks must be made of a certain size; so many inches long, so many broad, and so forth. There is the constant apprehension of prosecution for fraud; there is a constant impediment to the exercise of ingenuity and skill. Relieve us then of this brick duty: let men be permitted to mould clay into bricks of any dimensions they please. Will not you, the owners of real property, derive an immediate advantage from such a removal of a pecuniary burden, and such a stimulus to architectural ingenuity? I would have hon. Members read the papers lately laid on the table of the House, on a question of vital importance to the social condition of this country—I mean the operation of the law of settlement. The consideration of that question will be forced on us. It would be premature to enter into it now, but read the able papers on the practical operation of the law of settlement, drawn up by the gentlemen employed for the special purpose, and you will understand the difficulties which arise at present in certain districts from the want of cottage accom-. modations. You will then be able to judge of the consequences of that want, of its effect upon the health and comfort of the labouring poor. You will find it stated that in some instances the labourers come to the farm on which they are employed mounted on donkeys, on account of the distance of their residences from the place of their labour. Sir, these things ought not to be beneath our consideration. If it is in proof that on a certain farm, the name of which is given, there are not less than twenty donkeys employed to carry the people to their work. [Laughter, and cries of "Hear, hear!"] Sir, this is no fit subject for merriment at present. It is a subject suggesting topics for very serious consideration. It is fully shown in the reports to which I refer, that there are many labouring men whose strength is exhausted by the length of the distance which they have to come to their work. There are others forced into adjacent villages, where they pay 4l. or 5l. for the small and imperfect houses which they occupy. The remedy for these evils is to promote the construction of comfortable and convenient cottages by the removal of the brick duties, and to alter the law of settlement, so that there may be no legal discouragement to the providing of these comfortable habitations. If you admit that these are matters of importance—if you admit that they form part of a series of important considerations bearing on the social position of the labourer, do not preclude yourselves from entering upon the discussion of them by hasty resolutions which preclude the wise revision of taxation. In the present state of the public revenue, before I give any opinion on the extent to which the revision of taxation may be carried, or on the policy of any remissions whatever, I shall wait until I hear the statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. For, Sir, observe, the present is a peculiar period. Next year will necessarily come before us the question of the income tax. It may be of the greatest importance that we should reserve for unfettered deliberation the question whether that tax should be continued and, if continued, what modifications may be made in it. By affirming the proposal now before you, you will compel the continuance of the income tax. ["No, no!"] I say, emphatically, yes; unless, indeed, by voting away the surplus this year, and discontinuing the income tax next year, you contemplate the revival of the import duties upon food. I advise my right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford well to consider that point. If we resolve to appropriate the surplus of the present year, and to establish a principle which implies a similar appropriation—the surplus of future years, and if at the same time the income tax is to be discontinued—then it is manifest what are your intentions. It is manifest that, convinced by the arguments of the hon. Member for West Surrey, you mean to enact that upon every article, without exception, imported from a foreign country, there shall be placed a duty. This is my hon. Friend's (Mr. Drummond's) proposal. This is the proposal of him who declares that there is a struggle between capital and labour—between money and life—and that he is the unflinching advocate for labour against capital, and for life against money. What, then, is the course which he advises us to pursue? Is it to remove taxation from labour, and to place it upon capital? No! just the reverse. It is to tax labour, and exempt capital. My hon. Friend says, "I never will be satisfied until the labourer can make his own bricks—can gather his own hops, and can brew his own beer." And will my hon. Friend rest satisfied unless the labourer can eat his bacon and his bread without paying a tax upon the import of them? This advocate for labour against capital, this advocate for life against money, this friend of the poor, who says we never shall hear the last of it until the labourer can gather his own hops from his own hedge, and make his own bricks—this very man won't allow us to repeal the duty upon bricks—to—["No, no!"] Yes, but you are taking a course which renders the remission of the brick duty impossible. True it is, if you are careless of the public credit, then, indeed, it matters not. Then, any day you please, you may do all you propose; you may appropriate surplus, repeal income tax, remit the brick duty; but you cannot do all this, and at the same time maintain your obligation to the public creditor.

Now, let us see what this proposal will amount to, so far as benefit to the occupying tenant is concerned. I will not make a distinction between the occupying tenant and the landowner. I will assume the occupying tenant would derive the whole benefit from the change proposed, that there is that kind feeling on the part of landlords towards their tenants that they would not—supposing this proposition to be carried—act upon the rule of strict economic principle, and increase rents in proportion to the remission of local burdens. There would, therefore, arise a certain degree of benefit to the farmer. Let us estimate its real amount. This is a proposal to relieve real property from a charge to which it is subject—a charge, the amount of which I assume to be 2,000,000l. and to transfer this charge to the Consolidated Fund. The burden is one not upon land exclusively, but upon real property, upon houses, mills, factories, as well as cultivable land. Now, the proportion which the land contributes to the tax is progressively diminishing, in consequence of the increasing prosperity of commerce and manufactures. That proportion of the 2,000,000l. which falls on real property, other than land, has, I say, been continually increasing. If you estimate the proportions paid in the year 1828, you would find that of the 2,000,000l., to which all real property was subject, not less than 1,380,0002. was then paid by land. In 1833, the amount paid by land had fallen to 1,260,000l.; in 1841 to 1,040,000l.; while in 1849 there is only 900,000l. paid by the land out of the whole sum of 2,000,000l. Consequently, since 1828, as the result of the improvements in manufactures and commerce, and of the increase of houses, there has been and is a gradual tendency to relieve the land by the transference of the tax to other descriptions of property. There is, at the same time, notwithstanding an increase in the population, a diminution of the cost of maintaining the poor, on account of the diminished cost of provisions. Under these circumstances, the proposal is to grant relief from burdens upon real property to the extent of 2,000,000l., the whole amount of these burdens which fall upon land being only 900,000l. It is other descriptions of real property which are to have the largest share of the relief—houses, mills, and manufactories, the owners of which have been directly benefited, according to your own argument, by recent changes in our legislation. Up to the present hour we heard of nothing but of landowners having been sacrified to millowners—that the manufacturers have been in the ascendant scale—and that the prices of provisions have been reduced expressly for their benefit. Yet now, in order to gain 900,000l. for yourselves, you propose to relieve of a still greater burden others whose condition you declare has been actually improved by free trade, while yours has been deteriorated. But will the occu- pying tenant be benefited by a change which, while it removes only 900,000l. from the land, will remove from another description of property which has no claim whatever to relief, no less an annual charge than 1,100,000l? How is that 1,100,000l. to be provided for? By taxation, to which the occupying tenant must contribute his full share. What is the amount of benefit which the occupying tenant will receive—for I will admit, for the sake of argument, that he is to have the whole benefit? Threepence or fourpence in the pound will perhaps be the amount of his relief from direct charge; but he will have to bear increased taxation in order to make up the deficit of 2,000,000l. What, then, will be the position of the occupying tenant? You are preventing the remission of those public taxes which press upon him. You are about to reduce the amount of his payments to the extent of threepence or four-pence in the pound; but that threepence or fourpence of advantage must be diminished by the increased charge which he will have to bear in order to make up for the loss caused by the transfer of a pecuniary burden, more than one half of which falls on another party. It is my firm persuasion that the occupying tenant will derive no benefit whatever to compensate him for the loss you are about to inflict. This proposition, then, is an impolitic one, even so far as it concerns the interest of those whom it is specially intended to serve. My belief is, that agriculture, the landed interest, the occupying tenant, will find their interests better consulted by leaving it open to Parliament to consider whether any remission of public taxation unduly pressing upon them can be made, than by taking off this small percentage in the pound. So far, therefore, as the interest of the land is concerned, I decidedly object to the proposal, even if reference be had solely to its own abstract merits. If, indeed, it has another object—if it be intended to involve a reversal of the financial policy upon which we have been acting for some years, I have other and still stronger objections. I maintain, that up to the year 1842, the apportionment of the public taxation was most unjust—that labour and those who live by labour were unduly burdened—that there was scarcely a single article which entered into the consumption of the poor man which was not heavily charged. His cheese, his butter, his bread, his meat, everything that he consumed, every necessary of life, if brought from a foreign country, was subject to high taxation. The price of those articles according to your own admission, has been reduced—by what? It has been reduced, I presume, by free competition, by the unrestricted import from foreign countries of that produce upon which the labourer lives. You now remove from real property a charge of 2,000,000l., and you are about to impose that charge upon the labouring class whose condition you considered in 1842—whom you thought unduly aggrieved by the pressure of taxation—whom you sought to relieve—whom you did relieve—and whose affection and gratitude you received in return. The relief you gave was material, but was not complete. There are still complaints of the tea duty, complaints of the soap duty, complaints of the window tax; you are fettering your liberty to consider all or any of these questions by appropriating this surplus. You are preventing the relief which it may be possible to give—relief much more valuable, much more extensive—by transferring this charge from the quarter where it is at present borne, and placing it upon the Consolidated Fund. I object to the justice of that transfer. I do not say that there may not be some burdens now borne by the land, in respect to which there may not be relief. I admitted in 1846 that the land was unduly burdened; that I thought the apportionment of local taxation was unjust; I attempted to give relief by transferring the whole charge of criminal prosecutions, the whole charge of the Irish police, half the charge of medical relief, the charge of schools—by placing these upon the Consolidated Fund. I am not prepared to say that full and complete relief was given in that respect—that the expenses of vaccination, or the militia, or the registration of voters, do not fall under the same principle. But I know this, that if you were to go into the Committee for which the hon. Gentleman moves, and were to deal with these trifling matters, and nothing else—were to say, as my right hon. Friend (Mr. Gladstone) possibly may say, "I think there is an excellent case made out for the vaccination charges being transferred to the Consolidated Fund; but I am sorry to inform the occupying tenant that he can have no other relief afforded him"—your relief will provoke nothing but scorn. Nay, if you should resolve that lunatic asylums fall within the same principle, and that the charge for them may beneficially be transferred to the Consolidated Fund, the farmers will consider that you give the most decisive proof of being fit inmates of such asylums, by making such a proposition after the hopes which will have been excited by the success of such a Motion.

Sir, my main objection to this proposal is, that it will imply, in the opinion of all those who rely on the promise of renewed protection, a reversal of the financial policy which we have of late adopted. I believe the welfare of this country is intimately connected with the relief of industry from undue taxation. I believe there is no more powerful instrument by which you can promote contentment and peace and satisfaction with your legislation, than by convincing those who live by labour that we, the landed proprietors—that the aristocracy of this country—are willing to submit to sacrifices which shall relieve from taxation those articles of food on which the industrious classes depend for subsistence. You have reaped the full advantage of the remissions of such taxation; you have witnessed during the last three or four trying years more contentment, more true loyalty to the Crown, more submission to privation, more of determined refusal to favour the designs of seditious men—of men pretending sedition, but in general agitating for their own private gain—than you have experienced under any other state of legislation. The burdens you may at first impose, may he light; this first of the series of measures may but in a small degree affect the labour and industry of this country, but you will shake the confidence of all who live by labour by this indication of repentance as to the course you have of late pursued. The relief to land which your first measure will give, will be found inadequate; there will he a fresh demand for the fulfilment of your promise of protection: and you will probably end, if you are strong enough to prevail, by the reimposition of duties, if not corresponding in amount, at least in principle, with those which were removed in 1842, and in subsequent years, under the system of commercial policy which has been since pursued. I earnestly and sincerely deprecate that course. I deprecate it as intrinsically unjust—I deprecate it as most impolitic, from its tendency to deprive you of that confidence and good will which have more than repaid you for any sacrifice you have made.

For the advice I gave you in 1846 to submit to those sacrifices, I have been exposed to charges for the last three or four months—the revival of charges of having acted unfaithfully and treacherously to interests which I undertook to defend. So far as intention is concerned, I entreat you to consider whether I could have any personal interest—any personal or political object, in giving the counsel which I gave, and in recommending the measures which were adopted. Admitting that there ought to be, with respect to the conduct and motives of public men, the utmost latitude of discussion, I shall abstain from any farther reference to the vituperation with which I have been assailed. There is, however, one charge that has been brought against me by the noble Lord the Member for North Nottinghamshire, which I must notice. That noble Lord not only imputed to me mistaken conduct, but he declared, at a meeting held in the county which he represents, that I had a private and personal interest in recommending those changes of the law which I proposed in 1846. It would be as well if we abstained in our political controversies from lightly imputing to each other dishonest motives. I should be disposed to give the noble Lord, in any course which he may take, credit for the purity of his motives, even while I might censure and denounce his acts. The noble Lord has not treated me with equal forbearance; he not only thinks that my course has been most impolitic and unjust; he not only thinks that it has been unfaithful to the interests which I was bound to protect; but the noble Lord informed those whom he addressed that I was influenced by considerations of private paltry gain in advising the repeal of the corn laws. He founds his charge against me upon the assumption that my interests in funded property far exceeded that which I had in land. The noble Lord had condescended, it appears, to make inquiry into my private circumstances, and undertook to inform those who were listening to him that my property in land was only one-fourth of that which I had in the funds, and that, therefore, I had a direct pecuniary motive in advising the repeal of the corn laws. Sir, I am little disposed to deprecate any reference which the noble Lord may think it consistent with his public duty to make to my private circumstances. I should have borne with much less equanimity the charges which have been brought against me, if I were not perfectly indifferent to inquiry and examination into any acts of mine, public or private, connected with my duty to the Crown. But this I have a right to require, that when the noble Lord thinks it fitting to charge me with personal motives, and to found that charge upon allegations connected with my private fortune, I have a right to require from the noble Lord that he will make some inquiry into the facts on which he relies, and that he will not prefer a charge upon an assumption which is utterly and totally erroneous. Sir, I shall not trouble the House with references to private matters; I shall only say that if the noble Lord had happened to state exactly the reverse of that which he did state with regard to my affairs, he would have been much nearer to the truth. The noble Lord, however impolitic or unfaithful he may think my course to have been, must acquit me of any intention to derive personal gain from the course I pursued.

Before you denounce the conduct of a Minister of the Crown as treacherous, it would be but just to place yourselves in the situation in which that Minister is placed, and to advert to the duties which devolve upon him. Sir, when I and those with whom I acted—my valued friends and colleagues—determined that it was our duty to propose to the Legislature the removal of the duties upon food, we were threatened with a portentous and mysterious calamity. It was impossible for us to know to what extent that disorder which threatened the food of a very large portion of the people of Ireland might go. We knew this—that in Ireland alone not less than 4,000,000 of men depended upon a single article of sustenance; we knew that on that article of sustenance no reliance could be placed. I must say, for one, that I felt it to be an imperative duty as a public man to take precautions, even if they should prove to be superfluous, against a calamity which might be fatal to the peace of the country, fatal to many thousands of lives. I believed that it would be injurious to the interests of the agricultural classes to witness the effects of disease and famine, and refuse to apply the natural remedy, namely, increased means of subsistence. I felt a strong persuasion, first, that the duties on the import of food ought to be suspended; and, secondly, that having been suspended, they could not, in the then state of public opinion and public feeling, be renewed—that the conflict for the revival of those duties, after their being once suspended, would be one which, even if successful, would not be for the real interest of those for whom it was undertaken. The noble Lord at the head of the Government had come to the same conclusion; the noble Lord did not, I believe, intend to embarrass the Government; but he had come to the same conclusion, that the duties upon corn ought to be suspended, and that after their suspension their revival would be impossible, at least impossible without a conflict which would be injurious to the interests of those for whose benefit protection was established. That was my sincere belief. I thought it my duty—a duty which I owed to God and to this country—if there were the chance of famine, to take the best precautions which could be taken, by suspending the duties upon food. I did conscientiously believe it would be most unwise to give a pledge that after that suspension those duties should be renewed. I may have been mistaken; but if mistaken, could I have had any personal or political object in forfeiting your confidence, in relinquishing office, and in exposing myself to all the abuse and vituperation, much less galling than the loss of the friendship and confidence, of those with whom I had long acted? That loss I must submit to, but in submitting to it I declare that the interval that has passed has only confirmed my confidence in the prudence of the course which we adopted, and in the policy and justice of those commercial principles which were acted upon from 1842 to 1846, and to which the present Government has, infinitely to my satisfaction, steadily and consistently adhered. Sir, I agree with the hon. Gentleman that the land is the stable basis of the State. I should deplore the day when the land lost its legitimate influence. But that day will never come; the land always must, and will, retain its legitimate influence. Why, you are now proclaiming that if there were a dissolution to-morrow, and a general election, so predominant is the influence of the land that a Parliament would be returned which would again revive protection. I totally differ from you as to the probable result of that election. It is my firm belief that protection never will and never can be revived; but you convince me that you think that the just influence of land is not diminished when you prophesy that it would return to Parliament a majority pledged to protection. Sir, the lapse of years, the progress of public opinion, the changes of institutions and manners, greatly modify the causes which contribute to the influence of landed property. It would be impossible to reinvest the land now with the privileges which it possessed at the time when the feudal system was broken up; and yet the relative weight and influence of the land are not necessarily diminished. Our institutions have undergone change and modification, but their vital energies are unimpaired. Queen Victoria could not address the House of Commons in the tone in which Queen Elizabeth addressed it. She could not exercise prerogatives which, exercised by her predecessor, were not contested; but I doubt whether the real authority of Queen Victoria—although great prerogatives have been relinquished—the influence of affection, of attachment, of willing obedience—be not greater than any which was possessed by Queen Elizabeth. So it has been with the privileges of the aristocracy; so it has been with the privileges of the House of Commons. There was a time when he who fished in one of your fishponds could be apprehended, and punished for a breach of privilege. You made a wise concession of privileges revolting to public opinion; but has your influence abated? No, but it has been derived from other sources. The willing abandonment of that which could not be justly maintained, was rewarded by an ample compensation in point of real power and honour. And so it is with the land. The froward retention of old customs, of old privileges, of unjust exemptions and advantages, would only undermine and not increase your force. A time had, in my opinion, arrived when relinquishment of such things was more for your permanent advantage, more for the maintenance of your real authority, than a severe, even a successful, struggle for their retention. By relinquishing protection—by giving to the poor and the labouring classes the advantages of an unrestricted import of food—by doing this, cheerfully and voluntarily, when there was no immediate pressure of absolute necessity, no violence, no menaces, you secured ample compensation, in enhanced influence and authority, for that which you relinquished in abandoning protection. Your just influence cannot be diminished. It is founded on ancient prescription, on the nature of our institutions, on your own high character and conduct; and depend upon it, it will not be lessened because you have refused to derive a pecuniary advantage by increasing the price of food, and imposing duties upon the sustenance of the people. Your interests are inseparably interwoven with the general prosperity. It may be premature to speak of the results of that system of commercial policy you have adopted, but you are not entitled prematurely to condemn it. I am speaking at a moment when the exports of manufactured produce in the first year of free trade in corn have exceeded by ten millions the exports of the last year, during which you had a system of restriction. I am speaking at a time when there is general contentment and submission to the law, when crime has been diminished, when morality has increased. If you will not admit these to be the natural results of our commercial policy, at least you cannot deny that they have been concurrent with a greater command over all the necessaries and comforts of life. I will not taunt the hon. Gentleman with not bringing forward the question of protection; but I deeply deplore that there has not been, and that there appears not likely to be, an opportunity of testing by discussion the merits of that great question. I think it unfortunate that by some direct vote we cannot decide whether protection shall be revived or not. It would be important to set at rest the minds of the occupying tenants; it would be important that landlords should understand that it is by encouraging improvements, by the application of skill, by affording facilities to the exertions of their tenantry, that they must trust for the means to meet foreign competition. The hope of meeting it by renewed protection will prove to be delusive. If that question be brought forward, I should then state at length the grounds on which I adhere to the principles on which I acted in 1842, upon which I should implore you not to shake the confidence which has been reposed in the justice and wisdom of Parliament, to look for the revival of agricultural prosperity by continuing the encouragement to industry, by increasing the demand for produce, by removing every remaining restriction on commerce, by leaving this great country, possessed as it is of natural advantages over every other country in the world—possessed of superior skill and capital, and every physical element of prosperity—I should implore you to trust to your superiority in all such advantages, and not seek, by protective duties and restrictions on commerce, to abate the motives for enterprise, and the inducements to perseverance and industry. These, Sir, are my opinions, acted upon while I was in power, and confirmed by all subsequent experience. To these opinions I adhere; and I earnestly hope that I may never live to see the day when the House of Commons shall retrace its steps.


Sir, before the House comes to a division I feel it to be my duty to state—and at this late hour I shall do so very briefly—the reasons why, as a Minister of the Crown, I think it my duty to resist the Motion of the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire. The hon. Gentleman came forward, and, in a speech the temper and ability of which have been generally acknowledged, has proposed to us to go into a Committee of the whole House on the subject of the poor-laws, with a view to such a revision of them as may mitigate the distress of the agricultural classes. The hon. Gentleman has told us that, if we go into that Committee, he will propose three resolutions—the effect of the first of which would be to transfer to the Consolidated Fund the whole expense of the establishment of the poor-laws; the second would transfer to the Consolidated Fund some half a million of other charges; and the third would place upon the general revenue of the united kingdom the cost of maintaining and providing for the casual poor. The hon. Gentleman reckons that upwards of 2,000,000l. may be transferred to the Consolidated Fund, and he said, most fairly—not concealing his objects—that this was but one of a series of measures which he meant to propose. Now, Sir, I object to the proposition of the hon. Gentleman, in the first place, because I think the allegation, that it is founded in justice and required by justice, has not been proved. If it be true that this change is demanded by justice, I ask how it can be contended that the remaining 10,000,000l. of taxation, which the hon. Gentleman says is unfairly placed upon the agriculturists, should still continue to be imposed? The claim of justice applies to the whole 12,000,000l., as well as to the 2,000,000l. which he proposes to transfer. If the claim of justice applies, it applies equally to the ten as to the two millions. I say, then, that the statement of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ripon was perfectly well founded when he said that he did not contemplate this as the only change; but that some fourteen or eighteen millions would follow the proposal now made. But, Sir, I do not believe there is any justice in this claim. I do not think, if we compare the whole of the burdens of this country as they are laid on the various classes of it, that there is the unfair pressure on the agricultural interest to which the hon. Gentleman has alluded. Let us consider how far the taxation of the country affects other classes as compared with the agricultural classes. With regard to legacy duty, for instance, that does not affect landed property. Then, again, with respect to the income tax, there is an inequality which I believe cannot be avoided, but which certainly cannot be denied—namely, that incomes obtained by the exertion of professional skill, the power to earn which may cease at any moment, are equally taxed with the hereditary incomes derived from landed property. Then, if we look to the poorer classes, there are upwards of 11,000,000l. raised by the Excise; and there are also the Customs' duties, to which the right hon. Member for Ripon has alluded, through which those classes contribute a large amount to the revenue of the country. So that I do not think that, as a general proposition, it can be maintained that the landed interest is unfairly burdened. But, supposing this claim is not founded in justice, let us consider if it is expedient to make the proposed transfer. Upon this point I am bound to say, that I should not feel justified, as a Minister of the Crown, in presuming that there will be a surplus of 2,000,000l. of revenue, or that this House can safely proceed upon that supposition. I do not feel by any means sure that, after the estimates are voted, the balance of the income over expenditure for the year will leave a surplus of 2,000,000l.; and if there were not such a surplus, the hon. Gentleman would have to propose new taxes. I must say, that, after having increased the public debt within the last few years, it will be our duty, if there should be any probability of a surplus, of income over expenditure in the next year, to diminish, if not the great general debt of the country, at least that portion of it which has been contracted within the last four years. I know that it would be a much more popular measure to propose a revision of taxation, but I feel I should not be justified in saying that I should be ready to take that course, because I consider that in the first place we should attempt some reduction of the debt lately incurred. But, supposing we were altogether to neglect that duty—that the House should decide that the whole surplus calculated upon shall go at once to the revision of taxes, I do not think it would be wise to determine now that the whole of that revision should be favourable to real property, and that you should preclude yourselves from the revision of any taxes that press hardly upon the industry of the country. There is one species of taxation which has been alluded to and strongly animadverted upon by a Committee of the House of Lords, appointed for the special purpose of considering that tax. The hon. Member for Buckinghamshire professes to be anxious to relieve not merely the great landed aristocracy, but the 200,000 persons who own small landed estates. Now, how are those small proprietors affected by the taxes now enforced as stamp duties? It is stated by the Committee I have alluded to, that in a 50l. sale the stamp duty amounts to 12½ per cent; on a 100l. sale to 5 per cent; and on sales above 100l. to 1 per cent. They state further in the evidence given by Mr. Baxter, that it appeared in evidence before them that a mortgage of 50l. would cost in law expenses and stamps 30 per cent; and that the expense goes on diminishing in proportion to the amount of the mortgage. The expenses on a mortgage of 12,500l. would be 1l. per cent, and upon a mortgage of 25,000l. 15s. per cent, and one of 100,000l., only 12s. per cent. It appears, therefore, that the smaller proprietors, who may wish to mortgage their property to the extent of 50l. or 100l., pay for stamps and law expenses a much greater amount in proportion than a larger proprietor who may effect a mortgage for 100,000l. When the hon. Gentleman says, then, that his object is to benefit not the richer proprietors, but the smaller yeomen of the country, I contend that it is not consistent with that profession to ask the House to adopt resolutions which would entirely preclude the Government and the House from entertaining any propositions which would tend to equalise these taxes, and diminish the very great and disproportionate burden thrown upon the yeomen. I will not now allude to other taxes, to which both the right hon. Baronet who spoke last, and the right hon. Member for Ripon, have referred; but I wish to notice one observation of the right hon. Member for Ripon, because otherwise impressions might be induced which might lead to very serious apprehensions in one of our colonies—I allude to the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman that a tax should be placed upon co- lonial timber. I will not discuss the question whether it would be possible or advisable to reduce the duty upon foreign timber; but as Parliament has deliberately reduced the duty on colonial timber to 1s. a load, and Canada—which was deeply interested in the question—has suffered greatly from the failure of the expectations held out by the Act of 1843, that she should enjoy, to a great extent, a monopoly of corn in the markets of this country, I think it would be acting with very great imprudence, and even with injustice, to our North American provinces, if any further duties were imposed on colonial timber. The proposition of the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire would entirely deprive us of any chance of diminishing the debt we have incurred within the last few years; and in that respect I consider that if the House adopted it, they would come to a rash and imprudent decision. It would also deprive us of the opportunity of applying any surplus which may remain to the diminution of taxes, whether pressing specially upon the landed interest, or pressing generally upon the industrious classes. I think, therefore, that it would be wiser for the House to wait till the financial year is closed, and the whole state of our finances is laid before Parliament, and they can then judge whether the proposition of the Government, or the proposition of the hon. Gentleman opposite, will tend most to relieve the country. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department has truly said that we are not to be considered, by rejecting this Motion, as being precluded, if there is any particular charge which has been unduly placed upon the real property of the country, from transferring it to the Consolidated Fund, or to the general revenue. But my right hon. Friend certainly did not intend any such revision or transfer as is proposed by the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, but alluded to some of those smaller burdens which have of late years been placed upon the real property of the country, and which might be transferred without any embarrassment to our finances. Now let us see, as a matter of policy, what would be the advantage to the landed interest if the proposed great transfer were made. The right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth has shown that of the 2,000,000l. which the hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire proposed to transfer, 1,000,000l. would go to the owners of real property who have no claim to special relief; and it is certainly in evidence that no great part of it would go to the tenant-farmers of the country. We are told by the right hon. Member for the University of Oxford that the landlords would show some indulgence to their tenants. I must say I think it is exceedingly doubtful. But beyond this there are other considerations which have not been much adverted to in this debate. There is one which I think of considerable importance, and it is this—the expenditure which would be caused under the proposed transfer. We know very well, that so long as the establishment charges are under local management, and supported by a local rate, there is a strong reason for a vigilance which it would be difficult for a public body such as the Poor Law Commission to exercise, and that if the proposed change were adopted, there would be a great danger that the expense would increase; but, besides, there is a part of the hon. Gentleman's proposal which I heard with considerable surprise—I mean that part which refers to the casual poor. Now, if there is one thing more than another which would lead to negligence and abuse, it would be the transference of that particular burden to the public revenue. It was stated by Mr. Ward, while Member for Sheffield, on one occasion that the expense of the casual poor of that town had increased in two years from 13l. 15s. to 503l. He stated that the increase of the poor-rate was in the following ratio:—In 1840 it was 26,000l.; in 1841, it was 35,000l.; in 1842, it was 52,000l. He did not positively state that the whole of this increase was owing to the casual poor; but the increase from 13l. 15s. to 503l., which I have referred to as having occurred under local control, shows how impossible it would be for my right hon. Friend the President of the Poor Law Board, conducting, as it is generally acknowledged he does, with great ability, that board, how impossible it would be for him to get any account of the casual poor so as to enable him to keep down the expense which would arise. There is another part of the statement of the hon. Gentleman which I think deserves the most serious consideration. The hon. Gentleman told us that this is the first of a series of measures, and the noble Lord the Member for Colchester told us that he considered this was only a part of the debt which is due to the landed interest. Now, are you prepared to take the first step in that direction, with the alternative of either agreeing or refusing in the ultimate measures which the hon. Gentleman proposes? The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford said, to be sure, that it is usual when persons proposed any reform, to say that it would lead to other measures. It was, no doubt, usual for the opponents of a measure to say so; but here it is said by the author of the measure—by the person who brought forward the resolutions. Well, then, let us see what those measures are to be. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire presented a petition from Buckingham and its neighbourhood, praying the House to sanction such measures as would make real property bear a fair and just proportion of the revenue of the country, and also to render the competition between native industry and the foreigner more equal, by raising a portion of the revenue from foreign importations. Now, these words mean, as I understand them, that there should be an import duty upon all articles imported, including the special article of corn. The hon. Gentleman's measure, therefore, is a measure which is to lead hereafter, first, to a much further and more extensive transfer of the burden from the poor-rate to the Consolidated Fund, and, in the next place, to a revival of protection. Now, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford, I must say, treated this subject in a manner which surprised me. The right hon. Gentleman said, if you adopt this measure, its tendency would be to weaken the agitation for the restoration of protection. I own I never heard a more curious consequence deduced from a victory than that it would weaken the application of the persons who had obtained it, and induce them to refrain from the further prosecution of their object. I always thought before, that if persons who pursued an object, in which, no doubt, they were very sincere, very zealous, and very earnest, got some advantage in the course of their career, that advantage excited them to go on. The right hon. Gentleman says, "No; give them this first step in their series of measures, and then the party will be satisfied and will go no further." The right hon. Gentleman, as the representative of the University of Oxford, ought to be a great logician; but I must confess that his present logic is very different from any that I have heard of in any university or school whatever. But let us follow out the practical consequences of the success of this measure, and see if they are such as are likely to weaken agitation. Let us suppose that the hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire, with the aid of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford, who is opposed to protection, and who would be sorry to see the principles of free trade disturbed—let us suppose, I say, that with this aid the hon. Member succeeds in his Motion to-night. With the same majority we must suppose that his resolution to transfer 2,000,000l. from the real property of the country to the Consolidated Fund would be carried in a Committee of the whole House. We must also suppose, that in order to carry out the measure, there would be a change of Ministers—for it would be contrary to decency and precedent that we should attempt to carry it into effect. Lord Stanley, and others who might obtain official position by the vote of this House, would doubtless be anxious to satisfy his friends in the country, who, if there is any truth in the history of agitation, would be more eager and bent on their object than ever. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire would, no doubt, very soon propose some further measures which would have for their end the restoration of those import duties upon articles of food, which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford induced Parliament to remove. When he made that proposition, the right hon. Gentleman, I conclude, would oppose it; and if he was successful in his opposition, that would of course be an end to the now Ministry for the restoration of protection; and how would the agriculturists like that? How would they relish to have all their hopes suddenly cast down to the ground, and told that a majority of the House of Commons would not allow them to be carried out? I ask, whether this is really the way to put an end to agitation? Would it not, on the contrary, be twice as great as now? Or, suppose that that other event of which so much has been talked of of late—I need have no delicacy in mentioning it—suppose I say that a dissolution of Parliament took place, and the battle, instead of being confined to the debates of this House, were carried to every hustings in the country—I ask if that would be likely to weaken the agitation? And until they get the new Parliament and saw whether it would agree to protection or not, with the whole agricultural interest on the one side, thinking the hour of victory was come, and the manufacturing classes irritated and violent, on the other, at the proposal for restoring the tax on their food, would not the agitation be ten times worse than it is at present? Although, therefore, I can well understand the object of the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, and think he is proceeding in a fair way enough to obtain his object, I own I cannot understand those who, being against the end he has in view, are yet in favour of the means by which he seeks to obtain it. The agricultural interest may think that we who are the Ministers of the Crown have not only failed in our duty in not expressing proper sympathy for their distress, but in not proposing those measures of relief which they imagine to be calculated to give them the alleviation which they seek. My answer to that is this, that although we sincerely sympathise with the distress which they are suffering, I believe we should aggravate that distress, and not diminish it, if we said that either by a transfer, such as now proposed, or by reopening the question of protection, we should give any effective relief. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary quoted returns which showed how great had been the diminution of the burdens upon the landed interest from the year 1815; and upon looking at those returns I find that while in 1815 the burdens upon real property for relief of the poor were as 1 to 49, they were in 1849 as 1 to 15. That is the statement as to the whole of the real property of the country in land; and if you were to take every description of real property, it would be seen that while about two-thirds of the whole sum charged, 5,813,000l., fell upon the land in 1815, less than one-half fell upon land in 1849. If that is the ease, and the land has at the same time increased in value, I beg the House to consider whence this alleviation of their burdens has arisen. It has arisen from nothing but the increase of the wealth of the country, from the manufactures, commerce, and industry of the country; and if this great relief has occurred from 1813 to 1849, so, if commerce and manufactures continue to flourish, the burden will be still further relieved, in the first place by commerce and manufacture bearing a great part of the burden, and in the next place by having the best market in the world ready at hand in which to dispose of their agricultural produce of every kind. Such I believe to be the true interest of agriculture. If, on the other hand, the landed interest will take the advice of a noble Duke, and say, "We will try our hand at political speculation, and see whether we cannot get another Government and other Parliament, which will restore protection," I believe that instead of their being in a flourishing condition they will continue to keep up agitation, and the cultivation of the soil will not be attended with that success which in other circumstances it would be certain to attain. I have no doubt that although the landed interest of the country have been of late misled in the view they have taken of their own interest, that in a short time, unless the House shall give encouragement to a contrary course by their vote to-night, they will act with the spirit which Mr. Lindsay, the shipowner, who wrote very ably in favour of the navigation laws last year, has displayed with regard to ships. He said— I fought for the navigation laws, but they are gone. Let us act with the spirit of Englishmen, and see whether we can't get better men to command our ships—whether we cannot build them cheaper, as well as improve their construction, and whether we cannot stand against the competition of the world. Now, if that is the case with regard to a shipowner, who sends his vessels to distant lands, what, I ask, is there to prevent the agricultural interest of England to compete, at their own homes, and close to their own doors, with any farmers abroad who may send their produce to this country? One of the mistakes most commonly inculcated is, that in other countries no taxes exist similar in amount to those of this country. But that is a total error. In France the land pays a tax amounting to 30 per cent on the value of the land. In Prussia the land pays a tax of more than 20 per cent, and there is hardly any of these countries in which the tax on the owners of land is not greater than in England. If this, then, be the case, let the landed interest of England look to their own exertions, to their own means, to their own intelligence, for their success in that great and useful pursuit in which they are engaged. I believe that the landed interest, containing among them the whole of the proprietors, great and small, of the land of this country, and all the occupiers of land in this country—I believe that they will preserve the influence they have hitherto had in this country. Sir, towards the end of the speech of the right hon. Baronet, who last spoke, the right hon. Gentleman alluded to a matter personal to himself. Now, the only thing I regretted in the course of his speech was, that the right hon. Gentleman should have thought it necessary to notice a speech of a noble Lord the Member for North Nottinghamshire, who imputed to him motives of personal interest in the course he had taken in recommending the repeal of the corn laws. Now, such a charge will not be credited by any man of sense and intelligence in this country. Whether the course which the right hon. Gentleman took in 1846—and in which I fully agreed with him—was for the benefit of the country, or whether, as some believe, it was calculated to injure the great agricultural interests, my belief is, that full justice will be done both in this time and in all future time, to the motives by which he was actuated. Commanding, as the right hon. Gentleman did, a great majority in the House of Commons—having it in his power if he thought fit, and believed it beneficial to the country, to continue to possess that majority by means of upholding the corn law, that he had then proposed the repeal of that law, shows, I say, that nothing but a predominant and paramount sense of duty—of duty to his Sovereign, of duty to those with whom he acted, of duty to the great mass of the people—could have led him to take the course which he then did. Sir, I have omitted altogether any question as to whether the course which the right hon. Gentleman took was a course which I thought at the time calculated for the benefit of the country. But I say that it would be to reduce the noble science of political administration in this country—that it would be to reduce the men in this House who take part in your deliberations—to the meanest level, if it could be supposed that he who then was the leader of the Government, and the leader of this House, could be induced by any mean or unfair motives to take the course which the right hon. Gentleman then took. I only trust that he will not think it necessary again to defend himself from these attacks. If he does defend the course which he then took, let it be on the ground that it was calculated to be for the benefit of his country; but with regard to his personal motives I hold that he is quite above every breath of suspicion.


said, he should not have risen at all, had it not been for the direct reference which had been made to him by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth; for he had not the vanity to suppose that, at that late hour of the night, the House, which had shown so little forbearance to speakers of the first class, would listen to him for more than a few moments whilst he endeavoured to give an answer to the remarks of the right hon. Baronet. If the right hon. Baronet had confined himself simply to what he (Lord H. Bentinck) did say on the occasion referred to, he would not have extracted a single word from him on this occasion; but as he had given way to a weakness—and not for the first time in that House—in sporting with non-combatants, who might not, from one circumstance or another, be able effectively to answer for themselves; and since the remarks of the right hon. Baronet had been somewhat hastily endorsed by the noble Lord who had just sat down, he trusted to the House to give him an opportunity of saying a few words in reply to the right hon. Gentleman. The right hon. Baronet had accused him with having, at a recent meeting in the country, charged him with falsehood and treason. [Sir R. PEEL: No; with treachery.] Well, that was very nearly the same thing. However, he would now correct the right hon. Baronet as to what he really did say. What he said was, that the right hon. Baronet was a benevolent man—that, being in a good position in point of fortune, he was better able to bear the change his policy had produced than those agriculturists who had no funded property; that he was, on that account, better able to do what was handsome and liberal by his tenants. He did say, though he might be wrong in his figures—he did say that one-fourth of the right hon. Baronet's property might be in land, and the other three-fourths in money or in the funds. The right hon. Baronet, however, had now said that the reverse was actually true. [Sir R. PEEL: No, no!] The right hon. Baronet had also said, that it was his (Lord H. Bentinck's) duty, before speaking of his property, to have investigated the matter, and to have ascertained in what his fortune exactly consisted. Would the right hon. Baronet say that he had nothing invested in mortgages? ["Oh, oh!"] The chief witness, however, on whose testimony he had rested what he had said about the right hon. Baronet, was the late Sir Robert Peel himself, who had said, when the right hon. Gentleman was passing his Currency Bill in 1819, that he would increase the fortune of his family, though he would ruin his country. That was sufficient ground for the remarks he had made respecting the right hon. Baronet's fortune; and if the right hon. Ba- ronet would now get up and say that three-fourths of his property was in land, and one-fourth in the funds, he would be satisfied.


I really am quite ashamed to trouble the House upon this matter. The noble Lord said, at a public meeting, that I had a direct and personal interest in proposing the repeal of the corn laws, because my property was three-fourths in the funds, and one-fourth in land. He now asks whether I have not something in mortgages? If it is any satisfaction to the noble Lord, I will tell him that I have not a single shilling on mortgage; and what I said to the noble Lord was this, that if he had reversed his statement that I had three-fourths of my property in the funds, and one-fourth in land, he would have been nearer the truth.


replied: The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State, in following him the first night of the debate, had replied to a speech which he (Mr. Disraeli) had made in the House at the beginning of last Session; he also replied to a speech which he had the honour of making, in the county of Essex, during the recess; but the right hon. Gentleman, in his eagerness to meet all the points of the case, quite forgot to make any reply to the observations which he (Mr. Disraeli) made when he introduced this Motion on Tuesday last. The right hon. Gentleman said the Government were much disappointed that he had not proposed something definite respecting the Law of Settlement, which was rather singular, since, in the reports on the Law of Settlement by their own Commissioners, which the Secretary of State himself had just laid on the table, it was stated that although the general feeling of the country was against the Law of Settlement, as at present existing, yet opinion was equally general against any interference with that law, unless the Legislature, at the same time, interfered with the whole question of levying the rates for the maintenance of the poor. As that was a question which he (Mr. Disraeli) studiously and avowedly did not interfere with on the present occasion, his object being to avoid as much as possible all elements of controversy, he thought the disappointment of the Government at his declining to deal definitely with a subject on which the Government, and no one else, was prepared to legislate, was a disappointment which had rather been occasioned by unfoended expectations. The right hon Gentleman had also charged him (Mr. Disraeli) with having fallen into the same error as he did last year, and having confounded landed and real property. Now if there were any characteristic of the debate last year more marked than another, it was the precise and accurate manner in which the subject of discussion was presented to the House. What the House was then called on to consider were the burdens on real property; and there could be no mistake on the point, for on that occasion he (Mr. Disraeli) had laid printed resolutions on the table of the House, expressing, in language which could not be mistaken, that it was the general question of burdens on real property, and not the partial one of burdens on land, as the right hon. Gentleman now found it convenient to assert, which it was proposed to alleviate. What amused him (Mr. Disraeli) was the great uneasiness expressed by the opponents of this Motion lest the agricultural classes, in obtaining relief from unjust taxation, should also relieve other classes of Her Majesty's subjects equally oppressed. It seemed to him a great sin on their part that they had devised a scheme which might have this twofold effect. Nothing could exceed the astonishment of the Government, or the blank confusion of the ultra economists beneath the gangway, that men should be so besotted and so unselfish as to seek for relief from imposts, a part of the burdens of which fell on the shoulders of others. It seemed to be a course quite unparliamentary. Now he (Mr. Disraeli) always held it of the first importance that every proposition for the relief of taxation should be founded on principle. The principle of the present proposition was, that the whole property of the country should not enjoy great advantages supplied by taxes on one particular portion of that property. If in asserting that great principle of political justice, they conferred benefit not merely on the classes connected with the cultivation of the soil, but on other classes of the community, so much the better. Following up this strange objection of Gentlemen opposite, the right hon. Member for Ripon had said, that while they were complaining of local taxation they should think how much local taxation the railways were paying. Why should they grumble when the railways paid so heavily? Why, they had thought of all this. They had not forgotten the intolerable burdens experienced by the railways; and if these measures were passed, the railways, which formed a por- tion of the oppressed property, would find their due portion of relief. The hon. Member for Manchester came down the other night wailing over his falling shares; but if he could only support the proposition before the House, he might extend some relief to his suffering constituents who were interested in that species of real property. Were railways in such a flourishing condition, that they could afford to scorn relief from such a quarter? The Motion before the House had been subjected to some observations from another Member of the Administration, the Member for Westbury. He (Mr. Disraeli) was very sorry that absence from the House had prevented his hearing the greater portion of that speech. When he re-entered, he heard the hon. Gentleman say, "Now I will take you into the interior of Russia." This was the way in which a proposition to mitigate agricultural distress was met by a Member of the Government. The interior of Russia! Why, the farmers had had quite enough of the interior of Russia, and it was the very place of all others which they wished to hear no more of. The Motion of to-night had been opposed by a right hon. Baronet to whom he had already referred, the Member for Ripon, in a very considerable speech, but one which fortunately it was not necessary for him to dwell upon, for the moment he sat down, Fortune sent them an unexpected champion, who fairly unhorsed the right hon. Baronet. He could not help observing, however, that the right hon. Baronet at the commencement of his address had announced, that the measure was an enormous measure, and had finished by describing it as a petty Motion. He had no wish to pursue distant researches in Hansard, but he found at a date so recent as the 17th March, 1845, not five years ago, the right hon. Baronet stated to the House that "the landed interest was entitled to protection; but he felt that their peculiar burthens were rightly placed, and he was opposed to their removal;" and he did not think "that they should attempt to throw these burthens off, the rather that protection was given on account of them." This statement was made a few months before that protection was removed, greatly through the influence of the right hon. Baronet himself; and, therefore, on such a subject he might quote it, not only as an authentic, but as a classical, opinion. Then rose the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Tamworth. His principal ob- jection to the Motion—a Motion to mitigate the distress of the agricultural classes by relieving them from some portion of taxation which no other classes bore, was, that the Motion did not take the shape of a definite and absolute proposal for the revival of what was called protection; the right hon. Gentleman would then have enjoyed the opportunity of discussing that great question, of which it would seem he had hitherto been deprived; and of entering into all those details which such a proposition would authorise. Now he (Mr. Disraeli) must observe, that whatever form any previous Motions of his had assumed, he was not aware that the right hon. Gentleman had ever omitted any opportunity of discussing the question of protection; and he would add, of considering it in every conceivable shape. Last year he (Mr. Disraeli) had proposed a Committee on the state of the nation, and had impugned the policy of the Government on every head: their foreign policy; their colonial policy; their financial policy; and so on. Well, he remembered the right hon. Gentleman had then risen, and in a speech certainly of great ability, but of remarkable length, had stated that he could not enter into the consideration of the foreign, or financial, or colonial, policy of the Government; but that considering this Motion an attempt to reverse the new commercial system, he should confine his observations solely to that subject. And to-night, too, when the right hon. Gentleman deplored not having an occasion to vindicate his commercial principles, he had spoken for a considerable time, and to his (Mr. Disraeli's) attentive, but it appears mistaken, apprehension, the right hon. Gentleman had entered very fully into the subject of protection. What the right hon. Gentleman would do when they did bring that question formally forward—in a definite and absolute manner—at what hour of the night he would rise, and at what hour of the morning he would cease—was one of those Parliamentary mysteries he (Mr. Disraeli) could not pretend to unravel. They had heard objections urged to adjourned debates, and he had sat on a Committee in which the right hon. Gentleman intimated that one means of shortening debates was to shorten speeches; but whenever the right hon. Gentleman did rise completely to vindicate the new commercial system of the country, judging from evidence afforded by what they were now to consider his collateral treatment of the case, it would seem that the address would be one of no ordinary length. The right hon. Gentleman seemed to admit that, on the whole, the agricultural interest was not fairly dealt with in 1846, and that he did not then diminish their burdens to the extent to which they were entitled. The noble Lord, too, the First Minister, once wrote a letter, in which on this subject he held out great hopes to the agricultural body; but when he was subsequently asked what he intended to have given them, the noble Lord shrunk under the gaberdine of the right hon. Gentleman, and said he meant what the right hon. Gentleman meant. But everything came out at last in that temple of free discussion; and now they had found out what the right hon. Gentleman and the noble Lord meant as compensation to the agricultural classes. The right hon. Gentleman clearly meant to take off the duty on bricks. The right hon. Member for Ripon was in the secret; he was also for taking off the duty on bricks. But the noble Lord was not for bricks; he was for taking off the duty on stamps. If these were the measures they had to propose, why did they not propose them on the proper occasion, so that the country might have understood that agricultural distress was to have been prevented by taking off the duty on bricks, and modifying the duties on stamps? They were now told that the surplus of which they had heard so much was an imaginary surplus; but it was not treated as an imaginary surplus on the first night of the Session. Then they brought down the hon. Member for Wolverhampton in unaccustomed and magnificent array to descant on the unprecedented prosperity with which the country was blessed, and they were told in that illuminated edition of the Speech from the Throne that there was a surplus of two millions. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Tamworth told them, that if this Motion were carried, it would be tantamount to a reversal of their present commercial policy. A moderate demand for a partial relief from the unequal pressure of local taxation by a suffering class, tantamount to the reversal of their commercial policy! Why this was a style of rhetoric similar to that which introduced into public meetings a big loaf and a small loaf by way of calm discussion. It was nothing more nor less than clap-trap. But he (Mr. Disraeli) had observed of late that this was the way they were always now met on this subject. On the first night of the Session the noble Lord the First Minister had founded an argument, that the Amendment proposed a different meaning from what it expressed, on some expression that had been used in another place by a noble Duke. Judging from the tone of the noble Lord, and the effect that had been produced on him, one would have supposed that the noble Duke had delivered some matured and highly elaborate oration, almost as famous as the speech De Coronâ, on the present state of public affairs. Who could have supposed that it was a casual and conversational observation, not delivered even on his legs, a whisper as it were aside, while another was speaking, which was the foundation of all this solemn pother. Yet they were reminded of it again to-night, in accents still more awful. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ripon—he was also convinced that the present Motion was a wolf in sheep's clothing; and why?—because of this ejaculation of the noble Duke on the first of the Session. The noble Duke again! So there were already two Richmond" in the field! But I hope the phantom will not after this be multiplied. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Tamworth said, he was anxious to settle the question of protection by a vote of this House. He (Mr. Disraeli) was not one of those who, in or out of the House, attempted to depreciate the character, or detract from the just influence, of the House of Commons. He was too proud of being even its humblest Member ever to do that, even if it might please the passions of the multitude. But he thought the right hon. Gentleman on this as on some other occasions, had taken a somewhat exaggerated view of the influence of Parliament. He denied that the right hon. Gentleman could settle this question by a vote of the House of Commons. If it could have been settled by a vote of the House of Commons, it would have been settled long ago. The question must be settled out of doors. He gave no opinion now how it would be settled; indeed he deprecated and protested against the introduction of that topic into a debate with which it had nothing to do. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Tamworth had studiously argued the question to-night, as if it were one between the aristocracy and the community. But there he joined issue with the right hon. Gentleman and his friend. He believed the right hon. Gentleman made a great mistake in doing so; and he deemed it an error which, if persisted in by a person so eminent, would lead to a great confusion in this country. Let him remind the House that it was not the aristocratic element of the agricultural classes that was agitating the country. He had read that morning in a journal of ability, which he believed was the organ of the right hon. Gentleman, that the more important portion of the hereditary aristocracy of the country did not sanction this disturbance. If that were the case, the more serious did the matter become. Sever from what are called the great proprietors this section of the aristocracy, and what had they against them? The most considerable portion of the middle classes. These were the people. They were not patricians, rich squires, or manorial lords who were agitating the country, but men of limited means, thrifty habits, and industrious lives. Such men could not be met by obsolete and old-fashioned distinctions about relieving owners at the cost of occupiers. What they said was, "You have thrown the soil of England into open competition with all the soils of the world, and you are bound by every principle of justice, and by every principle of your new industrial system, to free that soil from every general impost that is practicable, as a matter of policy, and from every peculiar burden as a matter of right." It had been objected to this Motion that it contemplated other interests besides those of the farmer. It was their pride that they had laid down a principle that would do justice to other interests; it was also a source of satisfaction to them, that these measures, if carried, would not benefit England alone, but equally Ireland and Scotland. Half a million of the assumed sum which would be remitted by these measures would go at once to Ireland. He looked with confidence to the support of the Members for Ireland to-night. If those hon. Gentlemen rightly understood the opportunity given to them by this Motion, they would avail themselves of it with alacrity. Were they not complaining every night of the Government of this country? Did they not feel themselves insulted the other night when an hon. Member ventured to hint that a loan to Ireland would ultimately turn out to be a gift? He asked them, therefore, well to consider the nature of the offer now made to them by the proposition before the House. [A laugh.] That laugh indicated how the Irish Members were treated in this House on this class of subjects. He offered them no loan, no boon, no bribe; but he called on them to come forward, and, on a principle of justice, de- mand a relief which was substantial and considerable. Was it not better to obtain a remission of taxation to the amount of half a million per annum on a principle of justice, than to lurk and linger in the haughty antechambers of Downing-street while some small aid was dribbled out, which, when it came down to the House of Commons, was ironically received by their opponents, as if Ireland was not prepared to fulfil the engagements which she had undertaken? The hon. Member for Meath (Mr. Grattan) had said the other night, that he, for one, would not accept the loan of the Government; but if he would assist in carrying this Motion to-night, he might be able to repay the whole loan of 300,000l. in one year, and put 200,000l. in his country's pocket besides. He should leave this Motion with great confidence in the hands of the House. He would not advert to the many extraneous topics which had been introduced into this debate. Whenever any effort was made to advance any practical measure of relief for the agricultural interest, they were always favoured with these diversions; and to-night the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Tamworth had not only vindicated his policy, but, as the noble Lord had delicately intimated to him, had unnecessarily vindicated his character. The right hon. Gentleman had been doing this for several years. He would pardon him (Mr. Disraeli) if he said, that it might become him, eminent as he was, to follow the example of an individual not less illustrious, who, placed in somewhat the same situation, and finding that his self-vindications were not as successful as he wished, at last declared, that "for the future he should appeal to posterity." Before the division was called, he would remind the House what was the proposition on which they were going to divide. It was not a proposition to reverse the commercial code of the country. It was a proposition to afford practical and real relief to interests which were acknowledged to be greatly suffering, and which he thought were greatly injured; but, above all things, he denied it was a proposition to assist the landlords, or that it was one of a series of measures the object of which was to foster the interests of the aristocracy. It was a measure to assist those 250,000 landed proprietors whom he had already described; to assist those 700,000 farmers with whose sufferings it would at least be policy to show they sympathised; but, above all, it was a measure which, by increasing the resources of the cultivators of the soil, was a forerunner of a policy that would elevate the condition of the peasantry of England.

The House divided on the Question— That this House will resolve itself into a Committee to take into its Consideration such Revision of the Laws providing for the Relief of the Poor of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland as may mitigate the Distress of the Agricultural Classes.

Aves 252: Noes 273: Majority 21.

List of the AYES.
Acland, Sir T. D. Colvile, C. R.
Anson, Visct. Compton, H. C.
Arbuthnott, hon. H. Conolly, T.
Archdall, Capt. Corry, rt. hon. H. L.
Arkwright, G. Cotton, hon. W. H. S.
Bagge, W. Cubitt, W.
Bagot, hon. W. Currie, H.
Bailey, J. Deedes, W.
Bailey, J., jun. Dick, Q.
Baillie, H. J. Dickson, S.
Baldock, E. H. Disraeli, B.
Bankes, G. Dod, J. W.
Baring, T. Dodd, G.
Barrington, Visct. Drax, J. S. W.
Barron, Sir H. W. Drumlanrig, Visct.
Bateson, T. Drummond, H.
Beckett, W. Duncombe, hon. A.
Bell, M. Dunne, Col.
Bennet, P. Du Pre, C. G.
Bentinck, Lord H. East, Sir J. B.
Berkeley, hon. G. F. Egerton, Sir P.
Best, J. Egerton, W. T.
Blackstone, W. S. Estcourt, J. B. B.
Blair, S. Euston, Earl of
Blakemore, R. Evelyn, W. J.
Blandford, Marq. of Farnham, E. B.
Boldero, H. G. Farrer, J.
Bramston, T. W. Fellowes, E.
Bremridge, R. Filmer, Sir E.
Brisco, M. Floyer, J.
Broadley, H. Forbes, W.
Broadwood, H. Forester, hon. G. C. W.
Bromley, R. Fox, S. W. L.
Brooke, Lord Frewen, C. H.
Bruce, C. L. C. Fuller, A. E.
Buck, L. W. Galway, Visct.
Buller, Sir J. y. Gaskell, J. M.
Bunbury, W. M. Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E.
Burghley, Lord Goddard, A. L.
Burrell, Sir C. M. Gooch, E. S.
Burroughes, H. N. Gordon, Adm.
Cabbell, B. B. Gore, W. O.
Carew, W. H. P. Gore, W. R. O.
Castlereagh, Visct. Grace, O. D. J.
Cayley, E. S. Grattan, H.
Chandos, Marq. of Grogan, E.
Charteris, hon. F. Guernsey, Lord
Chatterton, Col. Gwyn, H.
Chichester, Lord J. L. Hale, R. B.
Cholmeley, Sir M. Halford, Sir H.
Christopher, R. A. Hall, Col.
Christy, S. Halsey, T. P.
Clifford, H. M. Hamilton, G. A.
Clive, hon. R. H. Hamilton, J. H.
Clive, H. B. Hamilton, Lord C.
Cobbold, J. C. Harcourt, G. G.
Cocks, T. S. Harris, hon. Capt.
Codrington, Sir W. Hayes, Sir E.
Cole, hon. H. A. Heneage, G. H. W.
Coles, H. B. Heneage, E.
Henley, J. W. Palmer, R.
Herbert, H. A. Patten, J. W.
Henries, rt. hon. J. C. Pennant, hon. Col.
Hildyard, R. C. Pigot, Sir R.
Hildyard, T. B. T. Plowden, W. H. C.
Hill, Lord E. Plumptre, J. P.
Hood, Sir A. Portal, M.
Hope, A. Prime, R.
Hornby, J. Pusey, P.
Hotham, Lord Reid, Col.
Hudson, G. Rendlesham, Lord
Inglis, Sir R. H. Renton, J. C.
Jocelyn, Visct. Repton, G. W. J.
Johnstone, Sir J. Richards, R.
Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H. Rufford, F.
Jones, Capt. Rushout, Capt.
Ker, R. St. George, C.
Knight, F. W. Sandars, G.
Knightley, Sir C. Sandars, J.
Knox, Col. Scott, hon. F.
Lacy, H. C. Seymer, H. K.
Lascelles, hon. E. Sheridan, R. B.
Law, hon. C. E. Sibthorp, Col.
Legh, G. C. Sidney, Ald.
Lennard, T. B. Simeon, J.
Lennox, Lord A. G. Smyth, J. G.
Lennox, Lord H. G. Somerset, Capt.
Leslie, C. P. Sotheron, T. H. S.
Lewisham, Visct. Spooner, R.
Lindsay, hon. Col. Stafford, A.
Lockhart, W. Stanford, J. F.
Long, W. Stanley, E.
Lopes, Sir R. Stuart, H.
Lowther, hon. Col. Stuart, J.
Lowther, H. Sturt, H. G.
Lygon, hon. Gen. Sullivan, M.
Mackenzie, W. F. Talbot, C. R. M.
Macnaghten, Sir E. Taylor, T. E.
Meagher, T. Thesiger, Sir F.
Mahon, Visct. Thornhill, G.
Mandeville, Visct. Tollemache, J.
Manners, Lord C. S. Townley, R. G.
Manners, Lord G. Trevor, hon. G. R.
Manners, Lord J. Trollope, Sir J.
March, Earl of Turner, G. J.
Maunsell, T. P. Tyrell, Sir J. T.
Maxwell, hon. J. P. Verner, Sir W.
Meux, Sir H. Villiers, Visct.
Miles, P. W. S. Villiers, hon. F. W. C.
Miles, W. Vyse, R. H. R. H.
Monsell, W. Waddington, D.
Moody, C. A. Waddington, H. S.
Morgan, O. Walpole, S. H.
Mullings, J. R. Walsh, Sir J. B.
Mundy, W. Wegg-Prosser, F. R. H.
Mure, Col. Welby, G. E.
Naas, Lord West, F. R.
Napier, J. Williams, T. P.
Neeld, J. Willoughby, Sir H.
Neeld, J. Wodshouse, E.
Newport, Visct. Worcester, Marq. of
Newry & Morne, Visct. Wynn, Sir W. W.
Noel, hon. G. J. Torke, hon. E. T.
Nugent, Lord Young, Sir J.
O'Connor, F.
O'Flaherty, A. TELLERS.
Packe, C. W. Beresford, W.
Pakington, Sir J. Newdegate, C. N.
List of the NOES.
Abdy, Sir T. N. Adair, R. A. S.
Adair, H. E. Aglionby, H. A.
Alcock, T. Ellice, rt. hon. E.
Anderson, A. Ellice, E.
Anson, hon. Col. Ellis, J.
Armstrong, Sir A. Elliot, hon. J. E.
Arundel and Surrey, Earl of Enfield, Visct.
Evans, Sir De L.
Bagshaw, J. Evans, J.
Baines, rt. hon. M. T. Evans, W.
Baring, rt. hon. Sir F. T. Fagan, W.
Barnard, E. G. Fergus, J.
Bass, M. T. Ferguson, Sir R. A.
Bellew, R. M. Fitzroy, hon. H.
Berkeley, Adm. Foley, J. H. H.
Berkeley, hon. H. F. Fordyce, A. D.
Berkeley, C. L. G. Forster, M.
Bernal, R. Fortescue, C.
Birch, Sir T. B. Fortescue, hon. J. W.
Blewitt, R. J. Fox, R. M.
Bouverie, hon. E. P. Fox, W. J.
Bowles, Adm. Freestun, Col.
Boyle, hon. Col. Gibson, rt. hon. T. M.
Brand, T. Goulburn, rt. hon. H.
Bright, J. Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.
Brockman, E. D. Granger, T. C.
Brotherton, J. Greene, J.
Brown-Westhead, J. P. Greene, T.
Brown, W. Grenfell, C. P.
Browne, R. D. Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.
Bunbury, E. H. Grey, R. W.
Burke, Sir T. J. Grosvenor, Lord R.
Busfeild, W. Grosvenor, Earl
Buxton, Sir E. N. Guest, Sir J.
Campbell, hon. W. F. Hall, Sir B.
Cardwell, E. Hallyburton, Lord J. F.
Carter, J. B. Hanmer, Sir J.
Caulfield, J. M. Hardcastle, J. A.
Cavendish, hon. C. C. Harris, R.
Cavendish, hon. G. H. Hastie, A.
Chaplin, W. J. Hastie, A.
Childers, J. W. Hatchell, J.
Clay, J. Hawes, B.
Clay, Sir W. Hayter, rt. hon. W. G.
Clerk, rt. hon. G. Headlam, T. E.
Cobden, R. Henry, A.
Cockburn, A. J. E. Hervey, Lord A.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. Heywood, J.
Collins, W. Heyworth, L.
Copeland, Ald. Hobhouse, rt. hon. Sir J.
Corbally, M. E. Hobhouse, T. B.
Cowan, C. Hodges, T. L.
Cowper, hon. W. F. Hodges, T. T.
Craig, W. G. Hogg, Sir J. W.
Crowder, R. B. Hollond, R.
Currie, R. Hope, H. T.
Curteis, H. M. Howard, Lord E.
Dashwood, Sir G. H. Howard, hon. C. W. G.
Davie, Sir H. R. F. Howard, hon. E. G. G.
Dawson, hon. T. V. Howard, Sir R.
Denison, J. E. Hume, J.
Devereux, J. T. Humphery, Ald.
D'Eyncourt, rt. hon. C. T. Hutt, W.
Divett, E. Jackson, W.
Douglas, Sir C. E. Jermyn, Earl
Douro, Marq. of Jervis, Sir J.
Drummond, H. H. Keogh, W.
Duff, G. S. Keppel, hon. G. T.
Duke, Sir J. Kershaw, J.
Duncan, G. Kildare, Marq. of
Duncombe, T. King, hon. P. J. L.
Duncuft, J. Labouchere, rt. hon. H.
Dundas, Adm. Langston, J. H.
Dundas, rt. hon. Sir D. Lascelles, hon. W. S.
Ebrington, Vise. Lemon, Sir C.
Lewis, rt. hn. Sir T. F. Rice, E. R.
Lewis, G. C. Rich, H.
Littleton, hon. E. R. Romilly, Sir J.
Loch, J. Rumbold, C. E.
Locke, J. Russell, Lord J.
Lushington, C. Russell, hon. E. S.
Mackinnon, W. A. Russell, F. C. H.
M'Cullagh, W. T. Rutherfurd, A.
M'Gregor, J. Salwey, Col.
M'Taggart, Sir J. Scholefield, W.
Mahon, The O'Gorman Scrope, G. P.
Mangles, R. D. Scully, F.
Marshall, W. Seymour, Lord
Martin, J. Shafto, R. D.
Martin, C. W. Sheil, rt. hon. R. L.
Martin, S. Shelburne, Earl of
Masterman, J. Slaney, R. A.
Matheson, A. Smith, rt. hon. R. V.
Matheson, J. Smith, J. A.
Matheson, Col. Smith, J. B.
Maule, rt. hon. F. Smythe, hon. G.
Melgund, Visct. Smollett, A.
Milner, W. M. E. Somers, J. P.
Milnes, R. M. Somerville, rt. hn. Sir W.
Milton, Visct. Spearman, H. J.
Mitchell, T. A. Stansfield, W. R. C.
Moffatt, G. Stanton, W. H.
Morison, Sir W. Staunton, Sir G. T.
Morris, D. Strickland, Sir G.
Mostyn, hon. E. M. L. Stuart, Lord D.
Mowatt, F. Stuart, Lord J.
Mulgrave, Earl of Talbot, J. H.
Muntz, G. F. Tancred, H. W.
Norreys, Lord Tenison, E. K.
Norreys, Sir D. J. Tennent, R. J.
O'Brien, T. Thicknesse, R. A.
O'Connell, M. Thompson, Col.
O'Connell, M. J. Thornely, T.
Ogle, S. C. H. Tollemache, hon. F. J.
Ord, W. Towneley, J.
Paget, Lord A. Townshend, Capt.
Paget, Lord C. Trelawny, J. S.
Paget, Lord G. Tynte, Col. C. J. K.
Palmerston, Visct. Verney, Sir H.
Parker, J. Villiers, hon. C.
Pearson, C. Vivian, J. H.
Pechell, Sir G. B. Wakley, T.
Peel, rt. hon. Sir R. Wall, C. B.
Peel, F. Walmsley, Sir J.
Pelham, hon. D. A. Watkins, Col. L.
Pendarves, E. W. W. Wawn, J. T.
Perfect, R. Willcox, B. M.
Pigott, F. Williams, J.
Pilkington, J. Williamson, Sir H.
Pinney, W. Wilson, J.
Power, Dr. Wilson, M.
Power, N. Wood, W. P.
Price, Sir R. Wortley, rt. hon. J. S.
Pugh, D. Wyld, J.
Raphael, A. Wyvill, M.
Rawdon, Col.
Reynolds, J. TELLERS.
Ricardo, J. L. Hill, Lord M.
Ricardo, O. Tufnell, H.

The House adjourned at half-after One o'clock.

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