HC Deb 14 May 1850 vol 111 cc19-97

Sir, I really feel it necessary on this occasion to cast myself on the kind indulgence of the House, while I bring under its consideration the important measure of which I have given notice. I am fully aware of the difficult position in which I appear, but I am also well aware that the country needs more information than it has hitherto had as regards the intentions of Her Majesty's Government towards the great interest which is now suffering distress. And, Sir, I will first allude to the actual occurrences that have lately passed, by way of illustrating the amount of attention which the great landed interest of this country is likely to receive. I will, at least, endeavour to show the agricultural interest, the labourers, and the tenant-farmers, the real position in which they are placed at this moment. I will endeavour to show them what they have to expect from the two great parties in the State, and in doing so I will allude to the addresses presented the other day—one to the noble Lord at the head of Her Majesty's Government, and the other to another noble Lord of opposite opinions. By the replies—the short and somewhat bitter refusal of the noble Lord at the head of Her Majesty's Government to the address presented to him; and the very different attention paid by the other noble Lord to the other address, and the dignified manner in which the deputation was received—it may be gathered whether the two great parties intend to fold their arms, and, seeing their strength so equally balanced, to allow the mischief to take its course. To clear the way to the comprehension of that struggle which was so feelingly alluded to in the address of Lord Stanley, I will endeavour to test the opinion of the Members of this House. At present the question, as alluded to by the noble Lord at the head of Her Majesty's Government, has not been brought definitely before the House, and many Members have evaded giving their opinion, on the plea that they would not vote absolutely for the return to protection, but for any practical measures that might be brought forward. Before I proceed further, I will refer to that which the noble Lord stated in the reply to the address presented to him. I find the noble Lord in the report is represented thus to reply to the address:— You also say here that the only hope of replacing the agricultural and other native and colonial interests in a state of prosperity rests on the re-establishment of a just system of import duties. I do not deny, or wish in any way to shrink from the responsibility which rests upon Her Majesty's Government for the line of policy they have adopted; but no such proposition has been made in the House of Commons, and the House of Commons has not rejected any such proposition. Now the proposition I am about to bring before the House, is one that cannot be misunderstood by those out of doors who are anxious to distinguish their friends from their foes. Now I ask the House if the noble Lord could fairly say that no proposition of the kind he referred to had been made? Did not hon. Members opposite approach the question, when they asked Government to give a fair consideration to the depression in the agricultural districts? Did they not approach it more than once by specific Motions; and were not such Motions met by the Government, in every stage, in every instance, almost with contempt, and always with decided opposition? Distress was asserted at the opening of Parliament. The suffering of the agricultural interest was even alluded to in the Speech from the Throne. And yet was it not afterwards denied that distress did exist? and I will ask the House, have not Government, and those hon. Members who usually support Government, asserted that the landed proprietors, the Lords and Commons of this country, maintained a vain and vexatious cry of distress, for the sordid and miserable purpose of maintaining high rents? The landed gentry were naturally insulted by that assertion, for a more insulting one never emanated from the Ministerial benches. The noble Lord at the head of the Government is reported to have said on the occasion just alluded to— I think it would neither be desirable to go back from free trade to prohibition or restriction, nor advisable to dissolve Parliament in order to ask the opinion of the country upon the subject. That is the conclusion to which I have come. With respect to the suffering which has been stated to exist, it is neither inconsistent with my expectations, nor inconsistent with what I have heard, that in various parts of the country deep suffering does exist, and that that suffering is partly—and I should say in part only—owing to recent changes in our commercial laws, which I believe were in their general aspect inevitable. By this I understand the noble Lord to admit, that a dissolution would return a Parliament resolved to protect native industry, and hostile to his maintenance of power, and in that one sentiment I heartily concur. Here, then, at last we have an important admission from the Prime Minister, long withheld; and to some extent, at least, we are relieved from the vile stigma of "having kept up a false cry of distress for mean and disgraceful purposes"—for the purpose of keeping up rents. Did I not know that such a feeling was not in the nature of the noble Lord—did not my respect for his personal character and talents utterly repudiate such an idea—the language of the noble Lord in such a crisis as this which runs thus— I believe that ton years ago it might have boon foreseen that this country, as it became more opulent and commercial, would require great changes in that direction, and my object was at that time to make the transition accompanied by as little suffering and distress as possible. But the advice I gave with that view was rejected, not only with contempt but with indignation"— would lead me to believe that he spoke to the suffering interest in a spirit of bitter vindictiveness. There never was a time when the country more required attention than now; there never was a time when the agriculturists—who I admit have cried out before—were more justified in crying out, and when distress was so universal. When Government are told that distress prevails generally, they refuse interference in the matter—the legislative power becomes stagnant, and the distress is allowed to continue, in the vain hope that affairs will amend themselves. Sir, at this moment we find the unions full and overflowing—we find the farmers clamouring for a reduction of rent—we find the labourers working at reduced wages—we find wheat reduced so low in price that farmers can no longer grow it at a profit. We find the average price of wheat at 10l. per load, we also find that the large importations of corn have no probability of becoming less in extent, or that there will be a sufficient rise in the price of wheat to remunerate the farmers; and under these circumstances the question presents itself—how or what is best for the agriculturists to do? They looked for some notice from the Throne—but they had it not; they looked for some amelioration of their sufferings at the hands of Government, but they were disappointed; they then turned their eyes to the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the vain hope of finding in his budget some relief in the shape of reduced taxation. What did they find? What did the mountain in labour produce from a free-trade Government, with all their promises, with all their professions of retrenchment and economy? Government did nothing, or rather, by transposing a single word, I may say they only gave the agriculturists a "brick" when they asked for "bread." By the proposed reduction of taxation, the landed interest—at least the tenant-farmer—will be the least benefited. The tax, instead of benefiting the agricultural interest at all, will, in fact, confer a far greater boon on the factory interest and the large manufacturing towns. And having adverted to the conduct of Government on previous occasions, I will refer to the course they have adopted in pretending to account for the prevailing distress. The landlords were first told, all they had to do to meet the prevailing distress was to reduce their rents. I maintain that no reduction of rents would meet the distress; and I maintain that no hon. Member has a right to call on private individuals to meet a difficulty which public legislation has occasioned. It was not—it could not be a question of rent; but if rents could be reduced to such an extent as to lead to the remission of the evil, then I say the landed proprietor would be ruined, and the manufacturing interest would shortly feel the same amount of distress which is now pressing on the farming interest. I am, however, told that the experiment is successful. Sir, the experiment has lasted three years. I say it is not an experiment; but even if it be right to call it an experiment, it has been sufficiently tried. Where is the end—what is the result to be? If you are not satisfied with the mischief occasioned by your half-bred, hybrid measures, to what extent is the mischief to go? If you are not content with what you see now, when will you be content? For there is no one circumstance that I can see calculated to give hope that the measure will ever arrive at a successful issue. The distress seems, alas, but too evident. It has been admitted even by those who have hitherto been the most reluctant to admit its existence—the present Government. When we bring before the House the fact of the farm sales taking place every day, and that the tenant-farmers cannot pay their rents under the present state of things, we are told that the present price of provisions cannot last, and that prices must soon rise again. Why, Sir, free-traders set out by declaring that low prices of provisions were what they wished to attain—that was their wish, and that was the great boon they wished to bestow on the country; but when they find themselves in a difficulty from the consequences they had not foreseen, they turn round and say, "The present low prices cannot last long. "Why, according to that style of reasoning. Government at last allows that gold might be bought too dear. It cannot be disputed that prices are now so low that they afford no remuneration to the farmer in this country. If so, how can we meet the evil, un less by giving to native industry sufficient protection? I do not ask the House to come to a direct resolution in favour of protection—I ask them to consider their erroneous policy, and I desire them to suggest some remedy for the distress under which the great agricultural interest is now suffering. If a cheap loaf be not the object of free-trade measures, I trust some hon. Member will let us know what their object is. One right hon. Gentleman stated some time ago that he did not expect prices would be so low. That admission alone, I contend, entitles us to ask for a reconsideration of the question. If you find you have gone further into the mire than you expected, it is only just that you should retrace your steps. Now, supposing the present prices to continue, as I maintain they will—supposing we are still to remain dependent upon the foreigner for our supplies—and supposing, when the farmers find it no longer remunerative to cultivate the land, the supplies from abroad should be stopped, what then would become of England and her greatness? It is a most unworthy policy to make this country dependent on the foreigner. We are met by the assertion that a tax on food cannot be tolerated. We are told, too, by the hon. Member for the West Riding of Yorkshire, that protection to any extent is dead and buried. But let the House look at the articles of food on which a duty is still imposed, as well as the manufactured articles. I find that thirty-six manufactured articles, and thirty-five articles of agricultural produce, are still subject to a duty. If you say you have no right to impose a bread tax, or a tax on food, why retain a tax on so many articles of consumption? Why, if you are to make an experiment at all, do you not carry it out fully? Why, if you adopt a system which you dignify with the name of free trade, which I thought you contemplated in the first instance—why not take off the taxes on food altogether? Why do you not adopt a system which shall enable farmers and all classes to compete with the foreigner? Why do you not give us full and fair free trade, instead of that hybrid measure which, if persisted in, will ruin all the interests of the State? You open your markets to the untaxed foreigner, and in the face of your prohibition of slavery are driven by your policy to fly in the face of justice, religion, and morality, in the re- ception of slave produce. You admit not only sugar the produce of slave labour, but you receive articles produced by bondsmen, whoso labour is not more expensive than that of slaves. They tell us that present low prices will not last; but what does this show?—that up to the 20th of January, and as far as this return for 1850 is made out, the prices of agricultural produce in England and Wales continue to decline. Take the weekly importation, and commence with the 16th of January, 1850, and compare it with the 24th of April. On comparing those two weeks, importation increased to such an extent, wheat in quantity was about doubled, wheat flour was less, but barley, in amount of importation, was more than doubled, and oats more than trebled. Look at the immense amount of this importation, the imported produce of which arises from serf labour, which is not more costly than slave labour, and from actual slave labour itself. Russia 173,292 qrs. of wheat; united States of America 13,944 qrs. of wheat, and 248,324 cwts. of flour. It will be said by some of the free-traders, that prices are looking up; and why are they looking up? Drowning men catch at straws, and many who find their cause failing claim the benefit of a rise of 6d. or 1s., which may be attributable to the easterly winds which have been so long prevalent. Prices may occasionally fluctuate, but you will find that after the next harvest prices will fall to a still lower point than they have yet reached. You will find that in America and other foreign countries, a greater breadth of wheat has been sown than at any former period; and you will find, year by year, the untaxed foreigner pouring his corn into the country to the prejudice of the farmers of this country, who, unless they are relieved from their burdens, will be entirely unable to endure the competition to which they are subjected. We know very well that in America land can be purchased at one-tenth of the price given in this country, and that it is cultivated at a much cheaper rate. It was said that free trade would diffuse happiness over the land. But free trade has not fulfilled a single prophecy that was made in its favour, and has failed from beginning to end. Now, let the House look at the promises made to the farmers by the hon. Member for the West Riding. He set out by promising us a land flowing with milk and honey, and with prophecies of happiness and wealth. Had any of those prophecies been fulfilled? No; the land of promise had turned out to be very like the dismal settlement in America described by Boz in Martin Chuzzlewit. The hon. Member also said, that the wages of the labourer would be increased. But have the wages of the labourer increased? In many counties they have been reduced to 6s. per week. Have they not less money to purchase the cheap loaf than they had to purchase the dear one; and were they not better able to buy the dear one than they now are to buy the cheap one? Then we were told that a great spirit of activity was to pervade the land, and that foreign imports were to be kept out; and all this was to be achieved by increased intelligence, the advance of science, persevering industry, and the outlay of capital. Now, is it likely that men who are engaged in a particular trade will increase their activity if you take from them the value of their produce? Is it reasonable to suppose that you will have increased activity and production? When the farmers found that the intention of the Manchester school was to benefit one individual class only, they found that they had not trusted in the right men, and began to bestir themselves. The hon. Member for the West Riding likened the fanners to the stupid ox; whilst the hon. Member for Manchester stigmatised the yeomen of England by the unworthy appellation of cowards. I wish to make every allowance for the excitement of men when they are addressing large meetings; and I should not have alluded to this matter but for the furioso speeches of the hon. Member for the West Riding, who absolutely seemed to hang up a loaf and say— Whoever dares this loaf displace, Must meet King Richard face to face. A great number of remarks, almost of a revolutionary tendency, have been made by the hon. Member for the West Riding and the hon. Member for Manchester; but I do not wish to notice them further. I refer to the fact because I find that when the farmers of this country were betrayed by their wrongs into hasty expressions, a free-trader and a Member on this side of the House was the first to allude to them; and I find that in consequence of some words recently spoken, it is the intention of an hon. Member to move that the yeomanry force be no longer tolerated. Why are hon. Members to visit one hasty expression upon a body of men who are deeply suffering, when they themselves are in the habit of using such violent lan- guage? I am only astonished that the farmers have been quiet so long. I am no advocate for any appeal to violence or for the use of violent language; but I think if the farmers had bestirred themselves in time, the present measure would never have been carried into effect. I think the advice now given to them is right, and I trust they will continue to agitate until they find themselves properly represented in the Commons' House of Parliament. I ask any hon. Member to show me any improvement which has emanated from the free-trade measures which have received the sanction of Parliament. I do not wish to trouble the House with statistical statements, but I feel bound to lay before it a few facts with regard to the condition of the county of Suffolk, which will show the state of the agricultural districts generally. Mr. Locke, whose respectability and credibility are beyond all question, says— To afford an example of the manner in which the landed interest of one of our most agricultural counties has been affected by the operation of the free-trade measure of 1846, I have but to refer to the following short statement. The county, under consideration is Suffolk, and it is to the farmers' capital in that county that I shall call attention. The estimated quantity of land in Suffolk amounts to 918,000 acres, comprising about

46,000 acres of rich loam land, at a
value of 8l. per acre,
which makes £368,000
80,000 acres marsh, at 10l 800,000
100,000 acres poor sandy soil, at 3l 300,000
150,000 acres good mixed soil, at 9l. 1,350,000
450,000 acres wet, heavy land, at 8l. 3,600,000
92,000 acres waste, wood, and roads
Making a total in value of 6,418,000
From the information I have derived in reference to this county, there cannot have been a loss of less than one-third since free trade came into operation. The present capital, therefore, of the farmers of Suffolk is reduced by 2,139,333l, leaving a net of only 4,278,667l. To give a slight insight into the working of the soil now, and the annual loss sustained through the instrumentality of the Act of 1846, I may mention that a diminution, or rather actual annual loss in the cultivation of the land, has taken place to the following amounts in the different descriptions of soil:—
Shillings. Acres. Loss.
15 per acre on 46,000 of rich loam land £34,500
20 per acre on 80,000 marsh 80,000
5 per acre on 100,000 poor sandy soil 25,000
15 per acre on 150,000 good mixed 112,500
30 per acre on 450,000 heavy land 675,000
Total £927,000
Annual loss in the cultivation of the soil £927,000
It may have been observed before, that the loss of capital amounted to 2,139,333
Giving a total of £3,066,333
The above statement embraces the whole county generally. We now treat the same in a local point of view. In one village alone I can show a loss to the farmer in an area of 766 acres of no less than 1841. 7s. On analysis it appears that there are—525 acres of arable corn land; 125 acres of pasture land; 32 acres of plantation land; 8 acres of roads land; 6 acres of allotment land; 70 acres of waste land; making the total of 766 acres alluded to. Now, it is well known that in Suffolk, farmers pursue their operations in this way—they give one-fourth to wheat, one-fourth to barley, one-fourth to fallow, and the remaining one-fourth to clover and beans. On the average the take of wheat is 30 bushels per acre of four roods, subject to the deduction of two bushels for seed, and two for tail, leaving of best wheat for market 26 bushels. With regard to barley, 40 bushels may be considered as the average product for the same extent of land, deducting two and a half for seed, and one and a half for tail, making 36 bushels clear for the market. On those two commodities alone do the farmers of this place depend for subsistence, as the clover and beans are, to a great extent, consumed by the working horses, &c., attached to their holdings. In reference to pastures, one ton per acre of hay is taken; and 15s. per acre for after-grass is about the sum the farmers receive. Now, allowing
131 acres of wheat, at 26 bushels to the acre, at 7s. per bushel, it will give £1,088 2 0
131 acres of barley, at 36 bushels to the acre, at 4s. per bushel 943 4 0
131 acres of clover and beans nil.
131 acres of fallow, 30 acres in turnips 60 0 0
125 acres of pasture, at 1 ton per acre, at 60s 375 0 0
After-grass off ditto, at 15s. per acre 93 15 0
262 bushels tail wheat, at 6s. 78 12 0
196 bushels tail barley, at 3s 29 8 0
Which gives an income of £2668 1 0
to this village. I may mention that the name of the village is Burstall, in the union of Samford. Mark the expenditure!—
Rent of 722 acres, at 26s. per acre, gives £938 12 0
Tithe 184 0 0
Tradesmen's bills, at 4s. per acre 144 8 0
Rates, at 4s per acre 144 8 0
Labour—30 men, at 10s. per week 780 0 0
Interest upon 6,000l. at 5l per cent 300 0 0
Living for the farmer, 10s. per acre 361 0 0
£2852 8 0
From which deduct 2668 1 0
Balance against farmer £184 7 0
I have further evidence of how the county of Suffolk is suffering from the effects of the 1846 Bill. In one union, that of Bosmen and Claydon, the increase of pauperism is surprising. One small parish alone, Flewton, has an order to pay into the hands of the treasurer for the two next quarters, I am informed, a sum of 90l; the first moiety was to have been paid the 6th of May, the second in July next. For the past half-year, or two quarters only, 50l. was paid. This shows an increase of no less than 80 per cent. For the whole union, consisting of 39 parishes, the amount required for the next two quarters is something like 5,300l The last two quarters brought in only 3,265l., thereby exhibiting an increase of about 61 per cent. At this period of last year there were only 267 persons inmates of the union; on the 17th or 18th of April last there were 333, with no less than 50 applications for relief by ablebodied paupers. I must now beg to read an extract from a letter written by a gentleman occupying a high and responsible position in the county of Gloucester. He says— I fully believe that unless some alteration is made in the existing law as regards the importation of foreign corn, that in the course of another twelvemonth half the farmers will be ruined: from my own knowledge know that many are obliged to sacrifice the little private property they may have to pay their rents, and to go on smoothly in the world; this is not as it should be. I was credibly infromed the other day that a corn merchant in Bristol had imported several large vessels of corn at 3s. per bushel. What could stand against this? No man (if he lived on a farm rent free), could pay his labourers, taxes, and current expenses at this. The next extract with which I shall trouble the House is a letter dated Ely, Cambridgeshire, the writer of which says— The country is fast approaching to ruin, and it cannot go on with the present low prices of agricultural produce. I farm 1,000 acres of land, principally fen, in a part where corn can be produced as cheap as in any other part of the kingdom. The difference between 4s. 6d. per bushel for wheat and 6s. 6d. affects me to the extent of at least 1,250l. per annum, whilst as an individual consumer it makes a saving only of 26s. during the same period. I cannot possibly reduce my expenses so as to enable me to farm at the present prices. I would here remark that 6s. 6d. is only a fair remunerating price. To prove what I have stated, I grow nearly 3,000 coombs of wheat in a year, which, at 8s. per coomb, amounts to 1,200l., and the difference in spring corn would much more than make up the remaining 50l. A coomb of wheat weighing 18 stone will produce 14 stone of flour; by adding 1s. per stone to the price, the grower would get 2s. per bushel, and the manufacturer, or miller, baker, &c. Is. 6d.—making the 14s. extra in the coomb of wheat. The aver-ago consumption per head being half a stone, proves 6d. per head per week difference between 4s. 6d. and 6s. 6d. per bushel. Whilst this difference is scarcely felt by the consumer, it is utter ruin to the tenant-farmer; also to the labourer, and all trades dependent upon agriculture. The labourer at us. 6d. per bushel would get 3s. per week more than he does now, his wife and children a proportionate increase, they would be fully employed, and the whole machinery would work well. If the present state of things should continue another year, the union houses will be overflowing, and many men unemployed by the farmers driven to desperation. Taking into consideration all that I have heard, and all that I know of the situation of the interest whose cause I am endeavouring to advocate, I am of opinion that the dangerous experiment which has been tried ought at once to be put an end to. If you cannot economise—if you cannot reduce the burdens on land to such an extent as to enable the home farmer to compete with the foreigner, who is not taxed to the same extent, and who does not pay his labourers anything like the same amount of wages—I appeal to you to give to native industry a sufficient protection. I ask this for a community who have always shown themselves a patient and enduring body I ask this for a community who have always been ready to enrol themselves as a constitutional power, on which the owners of mills and factories could always rely when they could not depend on their own workmen. I say if you cannot economise or reduce your expenditure, say so at once. Do not persist in maintaining a false position—do not hesitate to confess your error when the error is indisputable—do not continue to pursue a course which has proved so detrimental to one of the greatest interests of the country, and which must eventually injure every interest. Do not deceive yourselves by supposing that the agitation now going on in the country is at an end. I believe that we shall be forced to try the experiment, as it is called, some time longer, in consequence of the unconstitutional means adopted to obtain majori- ties in this House. Men are not allowed to vote according to their consciences. It is not very long since the hon. Member for Westminster published a letter, stating openly that, with respect to the African slave trade, he was forced to vote against his conscience. For myself, I can say that I never would submit to be forced to vote against my conscience. I would rather resign my seat to-morrow than give a vote of which my heart did not approve. It is time that some measure should be brought forward to reform the House, if hon. Members are to be forced to vote against their principles. I confess it is painful for me to be obliged to vote against the noble Lord, whom I have so long followed over the field which he has traversed. It is not without pain that I have been forced to sever from his Government. I have been taught from my earliest days to look up to the noble Lord with the same respect in his political as in his private character; but I cannot, consistently with my duty, go with him one step further. In bringing forward this Motion, I claim still to be considered a free-trader. I advocate the cause of free trade, which we have not yet obtained, and I say to the Government, "You have brought on free trade an odium which it ought not to have borne, by the insufficient way in which you have proceeded to carry it out. When you made the experiment, you were bound to do it fully and fairly, in order that every interest under the sun might benefit by it; but your legislation has led to the benefit of one class only, and to make the loaf cheap you have 'robbed Peter to pay Paul.' You take from one man the produce of his acres—you interfere with his capital—you say you had a thriving trade, but you shall have a thriving trade no longer, and with what we take from you we will enrich your neighbour." I say there is no justice in such a proceeding. I would recommend to you a reconsideration of the measure, for I defy any man to justify a system which places serf and slave labour on the same footing as English labour. I believe that the Government have not the power of carrying the principle of free trade into execution. They may cling to their theory of free trade, wild as it is; but it is impossible for them to carry it out. If that were so, they are bound to retrace their steps, and to give those who now suffered some chance of relief. I implore them, for the sake of the millions who are enduring the deep and unmerited distress brought on by free-trade measures, to reconsider the subject, and deal justice to those whose hearts and hands in time of war have protected us all. At present the sources that have supplied our martial force are falling step by step into irremediable decay. The industry of England is no longer protected. The foreigner alone has cause to rejoice. The foreigner knew what the effect of the policy of the hon. Member for the West Riding would be when he so feted and lauded him in his late tour on the Continent. The foreigner knew that the measures of the hon. Member would produce, not the prosperity of England, but the enrichment of the foreigner. And now, having made these observations, I trust the discussion will at least show to the farmers of England what they have to expect. It will, perhaps, show to them hon. Members who come here to protect their interests voting against this Motion. I ask for no unfair protection. I ask for the reconsideration of the subject that all classes may be protected alike. If the noble Lord at the head of the Government will hold out some hope of a wiser and better policy, then he may appeal to Heaven with a clearer conscience and clearer hands for the blessing of Providence on those counsels which he may be thus called on to give.

Motion made, and Question proposed— That this House will resolve itself into a Committee of the whole House, to take into consideration the Acts relating to the Importation of Foreign Corn.


seconded the Motion.


said, he had not heard any good reason adduced by the hon. Mover why the House should resolve itself into Committee as proposed. On the contrary, he had simply heard that which had been going the round of almost all the newspapers in the country—broad assertions, without any correct data on which to found them. He quite agreed in the statement that corn was now, and for the last six months had been, at a very low price, but that price was not lower than had prevailed for much longer periods under the old protection laws. Therefore, until the price of corn had been for a considerable time longer at a lower price than ever it was under protection, there was no ground whatever for going into any inquiry on the subject. Whenever it happened that for three consecutive years the price of corn had been lower than under the old law, and that parties com- plained of that low price, and showed they had been ruined by it, he should be perfectly willing to go into a Committee of Inquiry. Looking at the prices of corn which had ruled for the last half century, both at home and in those countries whence the largest importation was naturally looked for, including the countries on the shores of the Baltic and America, he was quite satisfied, upon an average of years, that it was impossible for those countries to compete with the English farmer by sending wheat here at a lower price than 45s. per quarter. He spoke advisedly, and, after examining into the quantities as well as the prices of the corn produced by those countries. From America, in its present state, our farmers need fear no large importation at a price lower than 45s,. New Orleans was the cheapest American port for wheat; and, on the average of twenty years, it had not ruled there below 34s. or 35s. per quarter; and, consequently, it could not be brought here below 45s. Owing to the high price of labour in America, nearly treble what it was in England, and the small quantity of corn per acre which even good land yielded—prairie, new land, rarely giving more than ten bushels to the acre—for a long period, no apprehension need be entertained of any competition with the English farmer from America. He admitted that, with a short harvest at home, supplies would conic from those countries where the harvest had been abundant, so as not to permit prices to rise as they otherwise would do, and the English farmer would be so far injured; but a bad harvest did not occur above once in five or seven years; and he was quite satisfied that no English farmer or proprietor of land would, for the sake of one year's profit, wish to see his fellow-countrymen starving by thousands. Much had been said about the condition of the English farmer at the present moment; he was precisely in the condition of all other manufacturers; he had times of low prices, times of high prices, and times of middling prices. In all times past there had been petitions to that House complaining of agricultural distress, whether with a corn law or without it. So lately as 1833, 1834, and 1835, there were petitions equally strong, complaints equally great, and assertions far stronger than any that were now made; it was then declared that the whole farming interest was totally ruined. The hon. Member for West Gloucestershire said the burdens on farmers had increased in a much greater proportion than those on other classes; he also said that they had to compete with untaxed growers of corn. From this he (Mr. Hastie) entirely dissented. It so happened, at the present moment, that the largest supplies in competition with the English growers were from France; and France was a country taxed as heavily as England; the revenue there rose to above fifty-six millions sterling. The large importations from Franco had arisen from this cause: Inst year the crop was abundant both in France and England—in the former beyond all previous history. Owing to the prevailing uncertainty of things in France, and the consequent distress, every farmer had been anxious to relieve his farm-yard, and turn his produce into money, so that in the event of another revolution, he might be able to keep his dollars in his pocket, and hence the low prices of agricultural produce, which were totally unprecedented of late years, and he believed almost unknown in the history of France. But these were all temporary matters. The manufacturers had to contend against similar influences; but they suffered quietly, persevered, and in two or three years recovered from their depression. At least they never gave in, but devoted themselves to the discovery of new modes of applying art with greater industry and additional skill, and thus they were enabled to go on. All he asked was, that English. farmers and landlords should be called on to adopt the same course. He had no doubt they would display the same energetic and persevering spirit, if they were only told that they could do it, and let alone. Unfortunately, they had been told by high authorities that it was impossible for them to live. And however firmly the landlords might believe that, it was impolitic to say so. Rather let the farmers be recommended to look at their brethren in the towns, and be assured that the same energy and perseverance would produce the same result in their case. But when people got an idea that they must be ruined, it was extremely difficult to persuade them that they really were not ruined; and it was very bad policy in the landlords to tell them so. As corn formed only a fifth part of the farmer's production, the profit upon it would bear but a small proportion to the rent, towards which all the agricultural products contributed their due proportion. He was informed that upon all well and duly-cultivated farms, this was the general propor- tion which corn bore to the other agricultural produce, though there were doubtless exceptions to this rule; therefore, when a law was passed which affected the value of only one-fifth of the produce, it was most unjust to ascribe the distress of farmers to the operation of free trade. He was convinced that, at the present time, the people were better employed, better fed, and better clad than ever they were. Poor-rates, and charges upon the land of all descriptions, were less than they had been at any former period; and how a reduction in the price of one-fifth of the produce should work such extensive ruin he could not understand. Since the beginning of the present century rent had risen from 26 millions, in 1801, to 46 millions in 1848; the poor-rates, which, in 1803, were four millions, upon a rental 26 millions, were six millions with a rental of 46 millions; and it was quite certain that the poor were better treated now than at the former period. The county cess had been much relieved by payments being thrown on the Consolidated Fund; and he did not think that the increase, comparing the present period with what were called years of prosperity, was at all proportionate to the increase of rental and population. On these grounds he felt called on to oppose the Motion.


said, the argument of the hon. Member who had just sat down amounted to this, "Wait till you are ruined, and then complain." As to the people being better clothed and fed, he flatly denied it. He would support the Motion, because he should be glad to accept of any relief for the agricultural interest from the present House of Commons. If the hon. Gentleman referred him to Scotland, he would ask him to read the speech delivered by Professor Aytoun, from Scotland, at the late meeting at the Crown and Anchor. It was a speech which he (Colonel Sibthorp) had the pleasure of hearing, and he believed the gentleman who delivered it was known for his high character and great intelligence. With regard to the proposed Committee, he thought they might as well attempt to extract blood out of a milestone as to get any relief to the agricultural interest from the present House of Commons. A dissolution of Parliament and a change of Ministry had been recommended. They had had a bad enough Ministry before; they had not a much better one now. In fact, they were altogether a precious set. In the event of a dissolution, he knew that many hon. Members would not again be returned, to deceive their constituents. He had been one of the agricultural deputation who waited on the noble Lord; he had told them before going of the courtesy with which they would be received, and that the noble Lord would bow them in and bow them out. The noble Lord at the head of the Government dared not, on account of his free-trade friends, give any relief to the agricultural interest, however well he might be disposed towards them. He, therefore, expected no good from anything but a dissolution, and would exhort the friends of agriculture to action; let them register and persevere. He had a Motion on the Paper for remitting the income tax on farmers, which was another attempt to obtain a modicum of the justice which they claimed. He hoped that the hon. Member for West Gloucestershire, whose eyes were partly opened, would soon be induced to quit his seat and come over to the protectionist side of the House. He should support this Motion, though he did not anticipate the slightest good from it. The more the country saw of what was called free trade, the more would they be convinced of the propriety of the warning given by him before it was passed. This Motion would at least show who were the real friends of the farmer, and who were but "sheep in wolves' clothing." [Laughter.] He meant "wolves in sheep's clothing."


said, that in these trying times for the owners and occupiers of land, the chief consolation held out to them was a series of prophecies that things would get better rather than worse. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Paisley had also indulged in prophecy, and had told them that there was no reason to fear that America could export wheat to this country under 45s. a quarter. He could not say that he had derived any consolation from such a prophecy, for he believed, like all free trade prophecies, it was one of deceit. He had heard very different language used by persons likely to be as well informed as the hon. Member as to the importations of corn that might be expected from America. He had been told that there was an illimitable extent of land ready for cultivation in America, and that in all probability there would be a large supply of wheat at a much lower price than that which had hitherto prevailed. The hon. Member for Paisley had also complained of the desponding terms in which landlords had addressed their tenants when they told them they could not compete with foreigners. It was asked why should they not be as able to compete with foreign farmers as our artisans with the foreign workmen. But the agriculturist and the manufacturer did not stand on the same footing. The agriculturist could not command the seasons. The manufacturer carried on his works almost independent of them. He was sorry the noble Lord at the head of the Government did not feel disposed to hold out any hopes of alleviation to those who were suffering-great distress. It was said, indeed, that the interest to which he referred might have to be put to three years' further trial. Now, that, he conceived, was their great reason of complaint. The agriculturists were told that they were not sufficiently fleeced, and, as they could bear more yet, they should endure it. The noble Lord at the head of the Government could know very little of what was the state of feeling, or what was going on in the agricultural districts, in which there was a great and increasing amount of distress. That distress was aggravated by the uncertainty which existed in regard to the future. If there was any chance of protection hereafter, the agriculturists might try to do that which they were so often told to do—namely, apply their skill and capital to a greater extent to the cultivation of the soil; but when no hopes were held out to them—when they had no security for the future, the answer which was given their demands was only adding insult to injury. They felt that they were mocked and insulted as well as injured. He would, no doubt, be disposed to recommend to that suffering class a perseverance in peaceful conduct; but the expressions of a multitude suffering great distress had been heard, and ought not to be disregarded. He thought the time had come when the Government were bound to afford something like hope to the large masses of the suffering agricultural population of this country; but the language of the Government and of the hon. Gentlemen opposite appeared to be, "Perish agriculture! flourish Manchester!" There was an immense body of the people of this country anxious to get employment, but who could not obtain it; and they thought it was very hard that the foreign producer should be favoured and encouraged, while they were left disregarded. That was a matter which they could not understand, and it was producing an effect which was worthy of the serious attention of the Government. Now, he did think that it was too much to endure for men who were suffering so much to be met only in that House by prophecies and assertions which would never be realised. They were told in the beginning of the Session to "wait a little while, and things would soon be better." He thought that things would be worse, and he felt satisfied that if the free-trade system were persevered in, it would be injurious and ruinous, not only to the agricultural classes, but to the entire community besides.


confessed he thought the country had gone on too fast in that matter, and believed it would have been better to have commenced with a low fixed duty. On the ground of justice, he thought the agricultural portion of the community, paying as they did a greater amount of local taxation than any other, were entitled to be relieved to the extent of that burden. And he thought any honest Committee of that House would concede so much to them, and he should feel disposed to leave to such a Committee the duty of deciding that matter. But the question was widely different when, after a long struggle, the duty on corn was removed, and now resolved itself into this whether or not they ought to resume that which was called a protective system? Into that he would not consent then to enter; but if it was an investigation to see how an equivalent could be given to the land for its exclusive burdens, which some hon. Gentlemen denied existed, he would be in favour of such a proposition. However, they were bound to let the trial they entered upon take its course; but he would not be in favour of encouraging the agricultural interest to tell their tenants that there was no hope for them in their future exertions. It was his impression that if the brought to bear those energies which, as Englishmen, they never could want, they would bring back that prosperity once more, which would not only be beneficial to themselves, but to all the community. The present evils under which the agricultural interests laboured, were caused, as he conceived, by the large importation of foreign corn into this country, the result of an unprecedented large production last year. When before had they such extensive importations from France or Belgium? And in those countries the agricultural interests were in a similar position of depres- sion to that under which England laboured. But in considering such a question as the present, he would ask the Legislature, Was there no other interest than that of the land to be taken into account? Were they not bound to boar in mind the condition of those who had no other property than their labour, and whose labour, therefore, ought to be protected? He maintained that the price of labour was not regulated by the price of food; it was regulated by the demand for, and the supply of, labour. But they were bound to take into serious consideration any measure which might have the effect of raising the price of food on those whoso only property was their labour. With regard to the question of the corn laws, that having now been so far settled, he conceived they were bound to try the experiment for some time longer, and he acknowledged that he was not very sanguine that it would succeed. He thought it likely that great distress might prevail throughout the country; and whether the energy and industry of the people would enable them to struggle through it, was more than he could take upon himself to say. But he thought hon. Gentlemen, connected as he was with the landed interest, ought to address themselves to various other matters connected with their position—for instance, the shackles which now surrounded property, and the various economical arrangements by which the condition of the poor) might be improved. If, however, the present distress should continue until the next Session of Parliament, he would vote for the consideration of the question as to whether an equivalent ought not to be given to the agricultural interest in proportion to the burdens under which it laboured. He was happy to say that there was no distress amongst the labouring agricultural population of the district with which he was connected and acquainted, although it might exist in other counties and amongst the agricultural interest generally. He believed that where distress occurred amongst the labouring agricultural inhabitants in other places, it resulted in many instances from a redundancy of the population, and the existence of abuses in the administration of the poor-law system.


Sir, I am anxious to offer a few remarks to the House on the vote which it will be my duty to give on the present occasion. I confess I am not surprised at the Motion made by the hon. Member for West Glou- cestershire, although it comes from an acknowledged free-trader, and from the opposite side of the House, because I have always expected that those hon. Gentlemen, when they were fully convinced that the system of free trade was not adapted to this country—I always felt that they would be honourable and willing enough to acknowledge their error. Sir, I am not surprised at the Motion of the hon. Member opposite, because I am fully convinced that there is a deep reactionary feeling taking place in the minds of all classes in this country—with men of all shades of political opinion, of all classes, and all positions. It was but the other day that the opinions of the agricultural tenantry of this country were expressed at one of the largest meetings perhaps ever held in this kingdom, and they gave it as their deliberate conviction that it was utterly impossible for them, if the present rate of prices for agricultural produce continued, to cultivate their lands; that such a rate would not give them any remuneration for the skill and capital and labour they expended. They told the country, moreover, that they were obliged to dismiss their workpeople in consequence of the great depression in the price of the articles they produced. But, great as the distress is in this country, it is much greater and more deeply felt in the sister island. And it is natural that it should be so, for seven-eighths of that country depend upon agriculture alone for their support. I will state a few facts of the distress in that country, and the authority from which I quote will hardly be supposed to be tinctured with what might be called, perhaps, protectionist fallacy. This is from the Irish correspondent of the Morning Chronicle:The decrease of spring labour is again crowding the workhouses in several of the southern and western unions. The guardians are making strenuous exertions to avoid the necessity of outdoor relief. In Killarney, beside the ordinary workhouse, there are no less than eleven auxiliary establishments, in which there are 4,873 paupers. Another cause of the extent of pauperism arises from the great number of helpless people, chiefly women and children, left behind by able-bodied men who are emigrating to America. There are various other extracts of the same character, with which I shall not trouble the House at present. The noble Lord at the head of the Government said he was obliged to bring forward his measure for the increase of the elective franchise in Ireland because the number of electors had so greatly decreased in that island. My hon. Friend the Member for Buckinghamshire, however, told the noble Lord, and told him truly, that it would have been much more statesmanlike on the part of the noble Lord, if, instead of lowering the franchise, he had introduced measures which would raise the people of Ireland to the franchise—if, instead of levelling the franchise to the pauperism of the country, he had raised the pauperism of the country to the franchise. And I confess I think that a more statesmanlike view than that which was taken by the noble Lord. But with respect to this country, the distress is not confined to the "tenant-farmers, notwithstanding what the hon. Member who has last spoken said on that subject. The hon. Member mentioned that the condition of the agricultural labourers was not a depressed one. [Mr. SLANEY said, he had spoken of those in the southern districts, with which he was acquainted.] I can speak, however, of the condition of the midland counties, and they are suffering, although the southern, perhaps, might not be suffering so much. I hope, therefore, that the hon. Member will not refuse to vote for the Motion of the hon. Member for West Gloucestershire. I can state that the weekly average rate of wages in some districts is not more than 4s. 6d. I regret I have not the documents to prove this at present by me; but I can assure the House the case is so, and it may rely on what I say. But the distress prevailing here was not confined to one class alone—it pervaded many others. It was only this morning I saw in the Morning Chronicle the following statement, to which I will take the liberty of calling the attention of the House. There has been a society established for the relief of the distressed needlewomen of this metropolis. It was founded in 1844, and amongst its objects were— to provide employment for suck needlewomen as might be out of work, by supplying them with materials for articles of coarse clothing, to be divided amongst the subscribers for distribution amongst poor persons; to procure instruction in needlework for women who are not efficient at their business, and to teach those who are capable of learning, and who merit such an advantage, certain descriptions of needlework which the women of London, from want of moans of learning, are incapable of executing, and the materials for which, made in England, are now sent abroad to be manufactured by foreigners for sale in this country. Now, the only way in which you can really find relief for these people, is by endeavouring to find them plenty of employment, and at fair wages, at homo. But what is the state of this particular sort of business? I find, by the last return from the Board of Trade, that for the three months ending in April, 1849, the amount of embroidered and needlework goods imported into this country was 36,185l., while for the three corresponding months of the present year it has reached no less than 67,955l., or nearly doubled. The labouring classes in the country are beginning to feel the effect of your free trade measures—they are beginning to find out that cheapness does not always, nor indeed generally, mean plenty; and they are beginning to discover that competion does not mean prosperity. Not only the labouring classes, but even the manufacturers themselves, are beginning to feel the pressure and impolicy of free-trade measures. It has been said, and said truly, this evening, that the prosperity of the agricultural districts depends upon that of the manufacturing districts. I fully admit the proposition, but at the same time I hold that the converse is equally true and tenable; and that the prosperity of the manufacturing depends also on that of the agricultural. And I am convinced that the manufacturers themselves are beginning to entertain that opinion also; they find that though by your free-trade measures the exports may be increased, at the same time the home demand for their goods is diminished. They are also beginning to find out that the home market is not only the largest and the most important one, but that it is also the most secure one. We have heard this evening that we must keep up our hopes, for that the prices of corn have been recently rising some eighteenpence a barrel one week, and sixpence, perhaps, another. And this has been held out to us as a reason why we should look to the future with more hope, and that farmers may expect the time will soon come when prices will be a great deal better than they are now. Now, with respect to this great anticipation, I will only say, I find by the Times newspaper that the average price of corn all over the united kingdom for the week ending May 4, 1850, was 36s., and if you think that this little rise of 6d., 1s., or 1s. 6d., will be of any advantage to the farmers, I can only reply that it appears to me to be perfectly ludicrous to talk in such a way. But what is the language of Her Majesty's present Government? How do they defend their free-trade measures now? Do they say their object has been gained? The object of free trade had been to reduce prices to the lowest possible amount. We wanted cheapness, and we got it. No, they do not say so. They admit that great distress prevails, and that many farmers will be ruined. The noble Lord at the head of the Government said he was aware that the suffering which existed was partly attributable to recent changes in the commercial laws of this country; and acknowledged that he had heard from various parts of the country that suffering did exist. The object of the Government now is to show that at some distant, unmentioned, and imaginary period, prices are likely to rise. Does not the Government know that the only hope of their free-trade measures was, that at some future day they would be inoperative? I say, therefore, that under all the circumstances of the present case, I am not astonished at the Motion which has this night been brought forward by the hon. Member for West Gloucestershire. I look upon the admission made by Government, that the distress which now prevails is great—that this is an experiment which we are trying—I look upon the admission made by the noble Lord at the head of the Government—by the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and by a noble Lord in another place, as a ripple upon the wave, caused by the alteration of the wind in the political horizon; and I look upon this Motion, which has led to a discussion upon protection to-night, as a wave that has broken from the opposite side of the House, and which is but the precursor of the storm which is shortly to arise. It has been said that we have brought forward no substantive Motion on this subject. I think the reply of my hon. Friend the Member for Buckinghamshire to that taunt was simple, plain, and emphatic. He said that in the present spirit of the House of Commons, and with the temper of the present Government, and seeing that from the commencement of the present Session, as well as from the insult offered the agricultural classes in the Speech from the Throne—seeing also the reception they had received from the noble Lord in Downing-street, my hon. Friend had no right to suppose that the present House would give its sanction to any alteration in the present law; more especially when he remembered the fate of his very moderate proposition for a revision of the poor-law, and for placing part of the present agricultural burdens on the Consolidated Fund; and also the fate of the Motion of the hon. Member for Oxfordshire. I think my hon. Friend was perfectly right in not bringing forward any distinct proposition on this question, and that he should reserve to himself the discretion of choosing the time when he might do so. For my own part, I rest my reliance for the reversal of the present system, not on any revision which may be entered upon by the existing House of Commons, but on the force of public opinion out of doors. I do rely on the force of public opinion abroad acting on the various Members within this House. I rely on that, and not upon any proposition which one hon. Member or another may bring forward in Parliament. What, then, is the condition in which we now stand? Being fully convinced that, sooner or later—it may be to-day, or to-morrow, or a month hence—public opinion will force upon you the reversal of that policy you have pursued—seeing that the distress in the agricultural districts is so great and acknowledged, and that the Government refuses to listen to any moderate proposition made from this side of the House, and seeing the purport of the Motion of the hon. Member for West Gloucestershire, I, for one, cannot vote against the proposition of the hon. Gentleman opposite.


did not intend to occupy the time of the House; but it was utterly impossible for him to avoid taking the opportunity of calling their attention to the circumstances in which they were placed with reference to the very serious subject under their consideration. If it were possible to suppose that any person, not a Member of the House, could come in that evening and ask what was the subject under discussion, and he told that it was the great question of the corn laws, about which so much had been heard out of the House, would he not be struck with some degree of astonishment at the very little interest that was taken upon the subject within its walls? And that same stranger—whom it was impossible to suppose could be present—might very naturally have asked on which side sat the protectionists; while he might drawn his own conclusion that they sat on the right hand instead of the left of the Speaker, because the majority had certainly throughout the evening been on that (the right side of the House; and it might naturally be supposed that those who had taken so great an interest in the question out of the House, would have come down in large numbers to look to the interests of agriculture in it, and thus have formed the most numerous body. But so far from that being the case, he had observed that when the three Gentlemen who had spoken from the protectionist side, namely, the hon. and gallant Member for Lincoln, the hon. Member fur East Kent, and the noble Lord who had just sat down, were addressing the House, the largest number of Members on their own side had been 27, and the smallest 17. Such was the fact; and he asked, if it was not a perfect farce to go among the people during the recess, stimulating their minds, and dissatisfying them with the state of the law, calling themselves the farmers' friends, and the only advocates of their interests—and then out of 200 or 300 having seats in that House, only from 17 to 27 to come down on an occasion like the present to advocate the interests of those deluded beings who had been led to look upon them as their only defenders. He said it was a farce and a delusion, and he was certain that if the Gentlemen who belonged to what was called the Manchester school had taken a similar course out of the House, and not come down to promote their measures within its walls, they would have been, in no measured terms, assailed with censure by hon. Gentlemen opposite. He asked why they stimulated the minds of the people out of doors, making them discontented with the law, and telling them that they alone were the friends of the people, and yet had not the moral courage to bring forward their propositions when Parliament met? And when their great question was brought forward, who was it that did so? The noble Lord the Member for Stamford said, he was glad to see that the first political wave that had proceeded in that direction had come from the Ministerial side of the House. [The Marquess of GRANBT had said, that it was the first wave from the Ministerial side of the House.] He thought that was very much the same thing, for no waves whatever had proceeded from the other side. The farmers found there was such a calm on the protectionist side of the House, that not even the least ripple was to be seen on the surface of that political sea; and at last they had to thank the hon. Member for West Gloucestershire for having brought forward the question in which they felt so deep an interest. He repeated that it was a farce and a mockery for Gentlemen during the recess to say all they had been saying to their constituents, and then allow three years of this Parliament to go on without even daring to bring forward this measure. ["Hear, hear!"] He had used the word "daring;" for if a man said a thing out of doors, he ought to have the moral courage to say it also in the House. What would be thought, for example, of the metropolitan Members who out of doors advised their constituents to petition for the repeal of the window tax, but after all took no steps in the House to carry that object? yet Gentlemen on the other side went among their constituents promising to do all in their power to obtain for them the repeal of the laws which took away protection, and then allowed Session after Session to pass without bringing the question forward. He would just mention a parallel case—namely, the agitation for the repeal of the legislative union between England and Ireland. The conduct of the protectionists ran pari passu with that of the repealers. The agitators professed that repeal was everything to them and to their country; but did they bring it forward? In 1833 it was brought forward, but from that time to the year 1848 not one Gentleman who was a member of Conciliation-hall ever mooted the question in Parliament. By whom was it then brought forward? Not by a member of the Repeal Association, but by a Gentleman who was perfectly at variance with the members of that assembly. The present question was now introduced to the House in exactly the same manner. [Laughter.] Hon. Gentlemen opposite might laugh; but the cases were precisely similar, and he pointed it out in order to show that hon. Members were not prepared to say in that House, that which they were constantly saying out of doors. He said this advisedly and deliberately, and he used the expression in this sense—that hon. Gentlemen on the Opposition benches had given the people out of doors to understand that they would bring forward this question. ["No, no!" I Then, why did they rouse up the people, unless it were for some definite object? And what object could it be but the amendment of the laws? And whore could they amend the laws, unless upon the floor of that House by fair argument? If, indeed, they wished to do it otherwise, let them say so. But the House of Com- mons was the proper place where the subject should be brought under discussion; and it had accordingly been brought under discussion that night, but not by the wish or desire of hon. Gentlemen opposite, but by his hon. Friend, with a view to see what was the real opinion of the House on the subject. They (the protectionists) could not deny the fact, that when the question was brought forward that evening, they could not muster more than twenty-seven Members; and if he (Sir B. Hall) and his hon. Friends had chosen to have walked out, there would not have been any House at all. He would not enter upon the question itself. He would only say that he was glad that an opportunity was now afforded for testing the votes of hon. Gentlemen on the opposite side of the House; and he hoped when they went to their constituents again and told them that they intended bringing forward a Motion before the House, that they would do so, and not leave it for a Member on his (Sir B. Hall's) side of the House to do it for them.


was somewhat surprised at the speech of the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down. He charged hon. Gentlemen upon his (Mr. Miles') side of the House with inconsistency; but what ground was there for the charge? They were accused of not having attended in such numbers as the hon. Baronet could have wished; but he ought to recollect that the Motion did not originate with protectionists, but from the free-trade benches. What the party to which he (Mr. Miles) had the honour to belong, had advocated, they still continued to advocate; and though there might be waverings and vacillations on the bench to the right of the chair, amongst his friends there was a concentrated and determined feeling. Every man who sat near him had stood by the principle of protection through evil and through good report. He saw no reason, however sincere protectionists might be in the advocacy of their ideas, why they should obtrude a discussion indiscreetly, inopportunely, and unadvisedly upon the House. The time was not far distant when Parliament would listen with a willing and an eager ear to the doctrines of protection, and when a British public would entertain these and no other. There was no similarity whatever between the eon-duct of the question of repeal and that of protection. The question of the corn laws had been argued and decided in 1846. Since then there had been a new Parliament, and (there was no denying the fact) a majority of the House of Commons had been returned in favour of free trade. There could be no doubt about it. The country was appealed to, and had given a decision in favour of free trade. They must wait for a reaction. [Ironical cheering.] Ay, but was not that reaction quickly coming? Had it not set in? Look to the agricultural districts in England—look to Ireland—look to the north of Scotland. The north of Scotland was, he believed, suffering more than any other portion of the united kingdom. The soil was sterile—the climate unfavourable—the farmers there were unable to grow the finer and more costly produce, but generally devoted their lands to the pasture of cattle and the growth of oats. Well, but see how the price of oats and cattle had declined. Under the fostering care of protection, remunerating prices had been obtained for the produce of the industry of those poor people; but under the present system all their exertions were unavailing—the foreigner was encouraged to undersell them in their own market. It was a well-known fact that the Scotch banks were in the habit of advancing money to the agriculturists, which indeed was one of the causes of the prosperity of Scotch agriculturists; but he had been informed, upon such authority as full credence might be placed in, that since free trade came into full operation, those banks, finding that farmers were unable to meet their demands, had called in capital to the extent of 200,000l. Now, he would put it to his right hon. Friend the Member for Tamworth, if, with the disadvantages of climate, soil, and withdrawal of capital, those men could go on to till their lands? From the information which had reached him, he regretted to perceive that it was not the agricultural interest alone that was suffering, but some of the commercial and manufacturing classes also; and he greatly feared that free-traders would find, in the general depression of the entire population, the injury which they had inflicted upon the consumer at home, and that nothing could be expected but a great falling-off in the homo trade. The hon. Baronet the Member for Marylebone had, in terms vague and undefined, spoken of certain promises made at protectionist meetings to bring the question before Parliament. He (Mr. Miles) had read reports of those meetings in the public papers, and must say that he had not seen it stated that any hon. Gentleman had expressed his intention of bringing forward during the present Session any Motion having for its object a recurrence to protection. The watchword of his party was, "Bide your time;" let the people trust in them. [Laughter.] Yes; let the people have full confidence in them, that they would never betray their principles, that they would never desert the cause of native industry, but that they were resolved upon not damaging their cause by a hasty and ill-advised course; that they would wait until the minds of the British people became convinced of the folly and fallacy of the free-trade theories, and when the national mind had constitutionally declared itself by returning to another Parliament a majority of protectionists, no time would be lost in retracing those steps and reversing that policy which had already manifested its disastrous effects at home as well as in our colonies.


perfectly agreed with the hon. Gentleman who had just resumed his seat, that the House ought not to legislate for any one particular interest, but for the general interest of the country, and more especially for the interests of the operative classes. It had been affirmed that the wages of the agricultural and manufacturing labourers had fallen in proportion to the reduction in the price of bread; but he believed it could be shown that, since the introduction of the system of free trade, the consumption of bread had increased one-third. How, then, could wages have decreased in proportion to the price of bread if there had been an increase of one-third in the consumption of that necessary of life? There could be no doubt that the facility of importation of corn had caused prices to fall; and he was satisfied that, by the lowering of price, the operative population had been placed in far more favour able circumstances than those in which they had lived before the recent measures of legislation were enacted. It was those measures which had kept this country quiet for the last three years, and had conducted them in peace through all the commotions that had agitated and disturbed almost every other portion of Europe. It was said that free trade had induced the farmers to sacrifice their property; but it was his opinion that the farmers had submitted to much lower prices than they had really any occasion to do; and this he attributed in a great measure, if not altogether, to the language which had been hold to them by hon. Gentlemen opposite. Some of those hon. Gentlemen, and amongst them the noble Lord the Member for Stamford, had by their manner of argument to the agricultural population, induced them to make a sacrifice in selling their wheat at 3s. and 4s. a quarter less than they might have got for it. What was the present state of the corn market? The price had increased 5s. a quarter within the last fortnight. Was that owing to a scarcity, or to an unfavourable state of the weather? Not at all. It was to be wholly ascribed to an increased consumption. That consumption had been so great that, notwithstanding the enormous importation of foreign corn, the stocks in this country were now reduced almost lower than they were ever before known to be at this time of the year. Indeed, his own impression was, that prices would gradually increase, and that so far from any reaction from the present prices taking place, the probability was that they would have prices 2s. or 3s. higher rather than lower—in point of fact, that the average would be somewhat about 45s. a quarter. Now, taking the comparative prices of all other articles into consideration, he considered that that was a price at which a British farmer ought to be satisfied to sell his corn when he had a good crop. Looking at the diminution of the prices of manufactures, of sugar, of tea, and the various other articles of consumption in this country, he considered that the farmer was now better off, when selling his wheat at 45s. a quarter, than he was twenty years ago when he sold it at 60s. a quarter. Therefore, at the price which, in all probability, he would ultimately realise, the farmer had no reason to complain. But if he chose to allow himself to be induced by the vaticinations of hon. Gentlemen opposite to sell his wheat at 35s., then he had no one to blame but himself. Among the hon. Gentlemen who had been instrumental in producing this effect on the minds of the farmers, was the hon. Member for Wakefield, in respect to whose observations with regard to the market price of wheat, seeing that the hon. Member was now present, he (Mr. Mitchell) would make one or two remarks. He understood the hon. Gentleman on a former occasion to state that he had purchased 1,000 quarters of wheat at a very low price. He did not doubt the veracity of the hon. Gentleman, and would admit that the hon. Gentleman had bought 1,000 quarters of wheat at the low price which he had stated; but what were the facts with regard to that wheat? The hon. Gentleman did not tell the whole truth. The wheat which the hon. Gentleman bought was not Stettin wheat, it was not wheat from Pomerania—both of which were of very good quality; but it was Silesian wheat, the bad condition of which was such that there was very considerable risk in transporting it to this country. But the hon. Gentleman made no admission in respect to that risk; he never said anything as to the difficulty of its importation from the Black Sea. But it was sufficient to say, that Silesian wheat was a very inferior red wheat, and which was subject to very great risk in its transmission to this country. He (Mr. Mitchell) further understood that at the moment that very Silesian wheat was imported at Hull, red Rostock wheat was sold for 7s. a quarter more than the hon. Gentleman could obtain for his Silesian wheat, and that the average price of red English wheat was 5s. a quarter higher than he could get for his said Silesian corn. What right, then, had the hon. Gentleman to come to that House, and talk of his having purchased foreign wheat at a very low price, and to frighten the English farmers into selling their wheat at a sacrifice? Surely one who so acted had no ground for assuming to be the farmer's friend. By his statements, the hon. Gentleman had been inducing the English farmers to sell their wheat at a lower price than they had any reason to do. He (Mr. Mitchell) was glad to see the recent advances which had taken place in the price of wheat; he therefore deprecated still more the language which the hon. Gentleman had used. He had now given the hon. Gentleman an opportunity of saying whether what he (Mr. Mitchell) had stated was correct or not.


said, the hon. Member who had just sat down had made a most unreasonable and uncalled-for attack upon him: he was sure the House would listen to him whilst he replied to that attack. The hon. Gentleman had just charged him with having, through statements made in that House on a former occasion, caused a serious and uncalled-for depression in the prices of grain through the agricultural districts of the country. He really had not till now been aware of the influence he possessed; and he should still have been incredulous had not the hon. Gentleman declared it was so. But he begged to assure them his only object in giving that information was to lay a true statement of facts before the House and the country; and he defied the hon. Gentleman to disprove his statements. The hon. Gentleman had referred to a certain purchase made by him (Mr. Sandars) of Stettin wheat, and had represented it as being an isolated and single transaction. If the hon. Gentleman had perused the correspondence published in the newspapers, he would have seen that it was not a solitary transaction, but that several merchants of Mark-lane had purchased Stettin wheat at the same period, and on equal if not more favourable terms. He knew that purchases had since been made at even lower rates than the cargo now alluded to. But the hon. Gentleman said he did not tell the whole truth—that it was Silesian wheat, and necessarily of inferior quality. Now, though the hon. Gentleman was a Russian merchant, he was not a corn merchant. [Mr. MITCHELL: I have imported corn.] Then, if so, it was that inferior quality of Riga or Archangel wheat, to the like of which he wished to compare his Stettin wheat; and he much doubted if the hon. Gentleman could tell the difference between a sample of Silesian wheat and a sample of Pomeranian. The order which he (Mr. Sandars) had sent out was published, and it was for the best quality of rod Stettin wheat. He mentioned nothing about Silesian; it was an order for Settin wheat 61lbs. to 62 lbs. to the bushel, and he would leave it to any person connected with the trade to say if yellow wheat of 61 lbs. to 62 lbs. a bushel from Stettin was not of the best quality. He had full confidence in the merchant to whom he had sent the order, and he performed it to his satisfaction. He had imported many cargoes of Silesian wheat, but he never had a cargo in the condition to which the hon. Gentleman had alluded. When the wheat arrived, its value in Wakefield market was from 37s. to 38s. He the hon. Gentleman referred to the quotations at that time in that market, he would find that the top quotation was 38s. to 40s. for the very finest qualities of English wheat. When he said finest quality of English wheat, he did not mean to refer to white wheat. The quality of the Silesian was a fine yellow wheat, and highly esteemed in the Yorkshire market. The hon. Gentleman said the farmers had submitted to a sacrifice; and no doubt he like other free- traders, was disappointed in the result that had taken place. It was found by experience that prices were much lower than they expected. He would read to the House a quotation from a speech of the hon. Gentleman. It was made in the month of last July, and he then said— There was a prospect of an abundant harvest, and if the farmers got from 45s. to 50s. a quarter, of which there was every prospect, they would be better off than they had been in any year of protection. The hon. Gentleman had also made an observation which certainly deserved some notice; it was that the consumption of wheat had increased one-third under free trade. A more preposterous statement than that, he (Mr. Sandars) could scarcely conceive. From whence had this increased quantity of one-third been obtained? During the last year they had imported about 5,600,000 quarters of wheat, the total consumption of the country having been 18,000,000 or 20,000,000 quarters. The hon. Member appeared to have left entirely out of his calculation the fact that the harvest of 1848 had been a defective one, and that 2,000,000 or 3,000,000 quarters at least were required to make up the deficiency. He had also not taken into account the quantity, amounting at least to 600,000 quarters, which had been exported to Ireland in that year, and the additional quantity required in that country in consequence of the failure of the potato crops. Altogether, at least 4,000,000 to 5,000,000 quarters were required to make up the deficiency; and it was a great mistake, therefore, to suppose that the 5,600,000 quarters which had been thus imported had been owing to the increased consumption of the country, while it had, in fact, only been imported for the purpose of supplying the deficiency of the previous harvest; and it was fortunate that they were able to obtain so large a quantity. But what was the quantity which would, in all probability, be imported for the years 1849–50? He found, by a return recently laid before Parliament, that the quantity of wheat imported during the six months ending 5th of April last was 1,401,000 quarters, as compared with 2,994,000 quarters in the corresponding period of the previous year. And if they were to go on at that rate for the remainder of the present year, they would import, not 6,000,000, but 2,800,000 of quarters only. The hon. Member for Paisley had stated that wheat could not be imported from America under 45s. per quarter. Such, however, was not always the case, for wheat had been imported into this country from New York and New Orleans at prices considerably under that; and it was only in consequence of the stocks of wheat being lower there than usual, that it was not now imported at less. Returns had been laid before Parliament, on the Motion of the hon. Member for Shrewsbury, which gave the prices of wheat in the continental ports and in America for several years past; and it would be found, upon reference to that return, that in 1844 the prices at New Orleans ranged from 17s. to 30s., and in 1840 from 23s. 6d. to 34s. The freight and charges, when added to those sums, would give a very different result from that mentioned by the hon. Member for Paisley, In Prussia Proper, for a period of 22 years, from 1816 to 1837, wheat had been 28s. 9d.; and for 17 years, from 1820 to 1837, only 25s. 5d; for Dantzic, for the same period, only 25s. 4d., as per Mr. Porter's tables. He was surprised that his former statements relative to the prices wheat had been sold at in Pomeranian ports should have been doubted: did the hon. Gentleman know the rates at which wheats had been selling in the English markets? He would state a few from those districts he was best acquainted with:—at Boston the averages through March were for wheat, 34s. 5d. 34s. 6d., 34s. 11d, 35s. 10d.; Oats, 12s. 10d., 12s. 5d., 13s. 3d., 12s. 10d.; Beans, 22s. 6d., 22s. 8d., 22s. 7d., 22s. 11d. His correspondent said, April 12th 1850—" Good red wheat sold on Wednesday last, 61 to 62 lbs., at 31s. to 32s., and fine 63 lbs. yellow up to 34s." At Wisbeach the average prices of wheat through March and April ruled from 34s. to 35s. April 20th a correspondent writes—" Prices to the farmers for 62 lbs. red wheat, 31s. to 34s. per qr." From Spalding, April 17—" Good red wheat was bought yesterday at 33s. per qr. 63 lbs. to the bushel, to the farmers, and for useful coarser quality, 31s., 61 lbs. to 62 lbs. per bushel; oats 11s. 6d. to 12s." From Driffield, May 4th—" The average last week was, wheat, 32s. 6¾d.; oats, 11s. 4d.: this week, wheat, 33s. 11d.; oats, 13s." Sales of good wheat were also made at Stamford, 63 lbs. at 32s. 7d. per qr. in quantity. He could give numerous other quotations of English markets to show the low prices at which English wheat had been selling; yet hon. Gentlemen appeared to be surprised, and doubted the truth of statements, quoting similar rates for foreign wheat: surely our merchants were not going to pay the foreigner more for his corn than they could buy it for at homo. We had a return of the exports of corn from Galatz and Ibraila. In Wallachia they amounted for some four or five years past to upwards of 1,200,000 qrs. per annum, though for some ten years previous they had only averaged some 300 qrs. per annum. He remembered that, in 1846, a large cargo of wheat arrived at Goole, in Yorkshire, from Ibraila, which had cost only 9s. a quarter, and, with freight at 8s. 6d. was delivered under 20s. Now, in a work which was published by the hon. Member for Westbury, the hon. Gentleman said— He would take 52s. 2d. to be the proper price of wheat; and it was therefore clear, that whatever was the average price, if it were above 52s. 2d. the farmer gained so much extra profit, and if it were under that amount he suffered so much extra loss. He (Mr. Sandars) was afraid that the balance was on the wrong side now. But the hon. Member for Wesbury went on to say— That while incalculable benefit would arise to the manufacturing interests and the working classes generally from the adoption of free trade in corn, nothing was more erroneous than to suppose that the price of provisions or labour would be cheapened thereby; but the consequence would be, by continued prosperity, to provide higher rates of each. He was sorry the opinion of the hon. Gentleman so far had not been carried out. He could not agree with the hon. Gentleman the mover of the Resolution, that it was desirable to bring this question before the House at the present time. He understood the hon. Gentleman to say that the present system had been tried three years, and therefore long enough; but he must remember that although the Act was passed in 1846 it did not come into operation until February, 1849. Up to that time there was a sliding scale; and the present system, therefore, as he conceived, had been in operation only fifteen months. Much had been said in that debate as to the prices of 1835. Hon. Gentlemen should remember that there was a great difference between the prices of 1835 and of the present time as to other descriptions of grain than wheat. If they took wheat, the difference of price was not very much; but if they took other descriptions of grain. they would see a very wide distinction. In 1835 the average price of wheat was 39s. 4d. Last six weeks of 1850 wheat was 37s. 8d.; difference. 1s. 8d.; barley, 1850, 22s. 9d., 1835, 29s. 11d., difference, 7s. 2d.; oats, 1850, 15s., 1835, 22s. 1d., difference, 7s. 1d.; rye, 1850, 21s. 2d., 1835, 90s. 1d., difference, 9s. 2d.; beans, 1850, 23s. 9d., 1835, 36s. 11d., difference, 13s. 2d.; peas, 1850, 25s. 1d., 1835, 36s. 6d., difference, 11s. 5d. These low prices arose from our large production; that year being considerably above an average, and the three preceding years were full averages. In 1849 the crop was large; but it was preceded by a deficient crop; and therefore the farmers were less able to bear the present low prices. He wished to call the attention of the House to the system of averages as made up in this country; they did not fairly represent the prices the farmer received for his produce, as it was returned over and over with an accumulation of freight and charges. For instance the averages were—

General Average. London Average.
March 22 38s. 1d. 42s. 5d.
April 5 37s. 9d. 42s. 10d.
April 29 37s. 10d. 42s. 2d.
May 13 36s. 11d. 41s. 4d.
Or a difference of 4s. to 5s. per quarter, and he believed the general average, if taken fairly from the growers alone, would not now be above 35s. in place of 36s. 11d. He should advise the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade to take this question into his early consideration, with a view of having the returns made from the growers or producers only, and that he would also turn his attention to a system of agricultural statistics. It was a disgrace to this country and this age that we had no means of testing our yearly produce and consumption of grain. Statements had been made of the small-ness of our stacks of wheat out of the farmers' hands. The noble Lord the President of the Council had said the other day, that the stock of foreign wheat in the country was only 242,000 qrs.: this was a great mistake. The stock in London alone amounted to fully this. In Liverpool it was considerable; and in Wakefield and Leeds alone it amounted to 120,000 qrs.; and take this country at large, he believed it amounted to near, if not quite, one million of quarters. There was one further point to which he wished to refer in connexion with this subject, and that was the danger which, in his opinion, arose from an extreme reliance upon foreign supplies of wheat in cases of deficient harvests at home. The great hulk of the supply of foreign wheat was obtained from European ports. It appears that during the last year there had been imported from Russian ports 550,000 quarters; from Denmark, 243,000 quarters; Prussia, 618,000; Holland, Belgium, and the Hanseatic towns, about 1,000,000 quarters; from France, 730,000 quarters; America 617,000 quarters; and from all other parts of the world only 418,000 quarters. When deficient harvests occurred in this country, a similar deficiency usually prevailed in the continental nations of Europe; the case was not so, however, with America, and drawing as we did our chief supplies from Europe, he could but apprehend serious difficulties, if not famine prices, in periods of deficiency at home from our relying to a great extent upon foreign supplies. As to what might be considered the natural price of wheat under the free-trade system, some diffierences of opinion appeared to prevail. He had taken some pains to procure correct information on this point, by correspondence with corn merchants in the principal ports of Europe, and the result was, that at 35s. per quarter here, we might expect considerable supplies of foreign wheat. It would be produced and shipped F. O. B. at 28s. to 30s. per quarter, and with 5s. to 6s. per quarter freight and expenses, delivered at the ports of this country. He would, with the permission of the House, read to it a letter he had received from a merchant of high standing in Prusia, and one who was high in the confidence of the Government of that country:— Stettin, April 4, 1850. The main question is, at what price can the farmer abroad afford to sell wheat, and what does it cost the farmer at home? I am not able to judge of the latter; but so much is certain, that you cannot grow wheat as cheap in England as is the case on the Continent; and I have therefore ever been of opinion that you ought to have retained a moderate duty, of perhaps 5s. per quarter, till such time when the price of land, rent, taxes, labour, &c., comes more to a level (if ever) with other countries; and I have no doubt that the country at large would have been quite as satisfied as with the present 1s. duty. I say this, notwithstanding I adhere to the principle of free trade as much as any sensible man can do, and I found it upon the conviction, that our farmers can well afford to sell at prices equal to 29s. and 39s. per quarter, free on board; and upon the belief that it will be found similar in all exporting countries, say, that under common circumstances, they ail can grow, or afford to supply you considerably cheaper than England. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had re- cently stated, that he believed the price would range at between 45s. and 50s. per quarter: hi his (Mr. Sandars') opinion it would vary from 35s. to 40s. Returns recently laid before Parliament. showed that they had imported under the 5th and 6th Vict., in two years, 400,000 quarters of wheat, which paid a duty of 20s., the average price of which must, therefore, have been under 50s. With respect to the Motion before the House, he felt himself placed in some difficulty. He thought it unwise to bring forward the Motion at the present time, as the system of free trade had not been in operation for more than fifteen months. He had pledged himself that he would give free trade a fair trial, and he felt bound to say that, in his opinion, it had not yet received that fair trial, and he did not, therefore, fool himself in a position to vote for the Motion of the hon. Member for West Gloucestershire.


said, the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down had referred to an opinion of his (Mr. Wilson's) expressed in a publication issued in 1840, and in referring to that the hon. Member had told the House, that in that year he (Mr. Wilson) had mentioned the price of 52s. 2d. as being the average price of the preceding seven years—a price which had paid the English farmers, and which would probably continue to be the price in future years. The hon. Gentleman had then expressed his regret, that the experience at present did not justify the opinion which he (Mr. Wilson) had put upon record at that time. Now, he held a paper in his hand, from which he found that, taking the average price of the last seven years, and comparing it with the price for the seven years preceding 1840, instead of its being 52s. 2d., it was 53s. per quarter. The hon. Gentleman also said, that the present average price was below the average in 1840; but it should be remembered that the seven years to which he (Mr. Wilson) had referred in 1840, included years when the price of wheat was lower for a longer period than it had been at any period during the last seven years, even including the present year. In 1835, for instance, for a period of thirty-six weeks, the price of wheat was under 40s.; whereas in 1849, the price had been under 40s. only for a period of sixteen weeks. Then the hon. Gentleman went on to quote the average price of barley and oats at that time, compared with the present, but fell into a great fallacy, because at the former time he quoted the average for a year, and at the present time quoted the average for the last six weeks only Let him quote the average price now and in 1835. Last year the price averaged 10s. higher than it did at the present moment; and therefore it was unfair for the hon. Gentleman to compare 1835, taking its low and high price together, with the price at the present moment. Then, the hon. Gentleman referred to the statements he had made in the House and elsewhere as to the prices at which he had made purchases. He (Mr. Wilson) had no doubt that whatever the hon. Gentleman stated as regarded his purchases was true; but he contended that the price at which he might have purchased wheat at the present time, considering that the present was an exceptional time—that at whatever price he might have purchased for the last two or three months, it could be no fair criterion of the price of wheat for a number of years. But the hon. Gentleman had gone further, and quoted several letters he had received from the Continent for the purpose of showing that wheat was lower than when he had addressed the House on a former occasion. He (Mr. Wilson) could only say in reply, that he had a statement from the continental ports, by which he found that in every market of the continent of Europe, extending to the Baltic ports, the price of wheat had risen from 1s. to 2s. 6d. during the last fortnight. He had observed that some of the letters from which the hon. Gentleman quoted were dated so far hack as the 9th of March, and that the latest was dated the 15th of April. The hon. Gentleman had also quoted letters from the home markets; but these also were dated some weeks back. Now, the rise of price in the home markets to which allusion had that evening been made, occurred during the last fortnight or three weeks. He found that in Canterbury four weeks ago the average price was 38s. 7d.; the present week it was 40s. In Lincoln, four weeks ago, it was 37s.; last week it was 39s. 8d. He had been told by a gentleman that evening, that at a market in Berkshire he had recently sold wheat at 14s., being is. higher than he had obtained for it a fortnight ago. But the hon. Gentleman had also complained of the mode of taking the averages, and he had quoted the London averages as being higher than those in the provincial towns. If, however, he had referred to his statements on former occasions, he might have found out why the London averages should be somewhat higher than the country averages. The hon. Gentleman was perfectly right in supposing that, so far as home grown wheat was concerned, it was subject in London to a portion of the same charges as the foreign wheat, and the addition of those charges might explain why the average here was higher than it was in the provincial towns. But, however, it was of much more importance that the House should consider the general hearings of this question, than that they should consume their time on individual cases. He was perfectly willing to admit, with many hon. Gentlemen on the opposite side of the House, that there was not in this country at present that universal prosperity which all present Would be glad to see; but all, he thought, must acknowledge that there was a wonderful distinction between the suffering at present compared with the suffering at former times. ["No, no!"] He thought every dispassionate man must admit that, whereas in former times much of the suffering had been undergone by the working classes, whatever suffering we had now to deplore was chiefly confined to the middle classes of this country. [Renewed cries of "No, no!"] Hon. Gentleman said "No, no;" but he had heard an hon. Gentleman on the opposite side say, in the course of the present Session—and it was a true saying—that this question of the corn laws must be settled by the influence it bore on the working classes. On that test he (Mr. Wilson) was willing to judge of this question. In February last, prior to the Motion of the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, the Government laid a return on the table from the Poor Law Commissioners, showing the state of pauperism on the 1st of January this year, as compared with former years. A noble Lord, in another place, who was dissatisfied with that return, and suspecting that there might be some cause for making it up to the 1st January, moved for a similar return applicable to the middle of the last quarter. What did that return show? He moved for a return of the number of paupers receiving indoor and outdoor relief in a given week in the middle of February. Now, that return, moved for by a noble Lord, himself a great protectionist, showed the following remarkable results: In the corresponding week of these years, there were—

Outdoor Paupers. Indoor Paupers. Total.
1847 729,000 179,000 908,000
1848 824,000 169,000 993,000
1849 784,000 159,000 943,000
1850 748,000 142,000 894,000
So that in the vaunted year of 1848, when wheat was 100s. per quarter, there were a far greater number of paupers than in the present year of alleged depression and distress; and the total number of paupers in the country had been reduced from 993,000 to 894,000. He thought they would hardly, after this evidence, deny that, whatever suffering there may be in this country as compared with former years, they could hot attribute an unusual portion of that Buffering to the labouring portion of the community. But while he admitted there was considerable suffering among the middle classes, he could not admit that that suffering was confined to the agricultural classes. They had been told by the hon. Mover of this Motion—and hon. Gentlemen seemed to think that the statement told a great deal in favour of their views—that the free-traders were disappointed in the expectations they entertained of free trade. But could hon. Gentlemen overlook the causes which affected the middle classes at this moment? Could they not discover one great cause to which farmers, shopkeepers, and others of the middle classes, owed much suffering? Some hon. Gentlemen present knew the county of Lincoln and other counties, and they were well aware that they could scarcely name a person in those counties who had not suffered severely from railway speculations. ["No, no!"] Hon. Gentlemen said, "No, no." He was not charging the agricultural classes with speculating in railways. He had already said that he did not confine his observations to them. He believed the middle classes of Liverpool and Manchester were as much, or, perhaps more, engaged in these speculations than others; but while he said this, he could not hide from himself the fact that this was one great and patent cause of the suffering with which free trade was charged. He had obtained a return from the secretary of the Stock Exchange, which gave an account of nine of the chief railways of the kingdom. From this it appeared that, in 1848, there were no less than 147,000 men employed in making railways; now, there were not quite 45,000. So that here were upwards of 100,000 men thrown idle in consequence of the discontinuance of those railways. What else did he find? In 1848, on these nine railways, there were expended 51,000,000l. sterling, from which the middle classes derived in dividends 2,700,000l. At present, there were expended 102,000,000l.; and what did the House think the public were deriving as an income from that sum? Why, no more than 2,500,000l., being 200,000l. less than they derived from the 51,000,000l. expended in 1848. In fact, then, 51,000,000l. had, in the interval, been expended by the community, from which the owners now realised absolutely no return whatever. This was a fact which, in his opinion, of itself explained a very great deal of the distress under which our middle classes were suffering. The hon. Gentleman talked of the diminished imports of grain last year. If any argument more striking than another could demonstrate the benefits which free trade had conferred upon the country, it was precisely that of the hon. Member on this particular point. The hon. Member told them that the harvest of 1848 was deficient, and that, in consequence of that circumstance, no less than 5,500,000 quarters of foreign wheat came into this country under the facilities given by our recent! legislation. Such was precisely the object of I that legislation. The hon. Member said that the importation this year had fallen off—the harvest of 1849 having been plentiful; this again was the object of their recent legislation; to equalise, as nearly as in them lay, the seasons. The hon. Member, moreover, was mistaken in his figures on this point; he stated that, in the last six months, up to April, 1,200,000 quarters had been imported, whereas the returns to the Board of Trade indicated only 600,000 quarters—463,000 of these being of wheat. The hon. Member asked what evidence the hon. Member for Bridport had of the large increase he indicated in the consumption of I bread this year. The hon. Member for Bridport had the same evidence that was open to the hon. Member himself in the simple facts, among others, that, in addition to the large quantity of foreign wheat imported, the quantity of home wheat sold in the English markets in the past six months was 2,627,000 quarters; whereas the quantity so sold in the six corresponding months of last year was only 2,310,000 quarters. The hon. Member who opened the debate talked of the English farmer being undermined by the United States' farmer; and, further, a great deal had been said about the quantity of wheat imported last year from the United States, of the large profits made upon those imports, and so on. Now, he held in his hand an account of four cargoes of wheat, imported last year from New York to Liverpool, by the house of which the hon. representative of South Lancashire was a member. He found that, upon the first of these cargoes, consisting of 4,315 quarters, there had been a loss in quantity of 357 bushels, equivalent to a charge of 2s. 1d. per quarter, the cost of bringing the cargo to England being 10s. 2d. per quarter; or, together, 12s. 5d. per quarter. The case with the other cargoes was much the same. It appeared that at the present time the price of good white wheat in New York was 44s. 9d. per quarter; so that this wheat could not be brought into the markets of this country under a total cost of at least 56s. He would add this further fact, that at the present moment flour was 3s. per barrel dearer at New Orleans than at Liverpool. He did not perceive, then, any danger of the British farmer being undermined by the United States' farmer; and, moreover, he should not be surprised to sec, within a few months, quantities of wheat shipped from Europe for the United States. ["Oh, oh!"] Hon. Gentlemen who cried "Oh, oh!" did not seem to know that scarcely ten years ago large supplies of wheat went from Europe to America. During the last ten years there had been variations of high and low prices. The years 1843, 1844, and 1845, had been, on the continent of Europe, the cheapest years that had been known for a long period; but he could not understand why some hon. Gentlemen should be unwilling to take the experience of the last ten or twelve years as a fair criterion of the probable prices of the next five or ten years. The condition and character of many parts of the Continent were entirely changed within the last fifteen or twenty years. The Rhenish provinces, for instance, had formerly exported a considerable quantity of grain; but, for several years past, instead of exporting, they had been regularly importing. It had been said that free trade would stimulate production abroad, and that in the course of time it would increase materially the supplies from foreign countries. He had no doubt that would be the case, provided we could give to those countries a higher price than they had been in the habit of receiving, for they would then bring new land into cultivation, and increase the productiveness of the land already cultivated; but, unless we gave an increased price, there could be no impulse to increased cultivation. He could only say that he thought it would be most unfair and most unwise in that House to declare that the experience they had hitherto had with regard to recent legislation could afford a satisfactory solution of this question. Would hon. Gentlemen, in the month of May, 1836, have been satisfied to take the experience of 1835 as a fair criterion of the effect of the sliding scale of 1828? Was he not, then, equally justified in declining to take the prices of 1848–49 as a fair criterion of what the price of wheat would be in future? It had been shown clearly and indisputably that, whatever parties in this country might be suffering from distress, the working classes were better off than they had been some years ago. ["Oh, oh!"] Would not hon. Gentlemen opposite credit returns which had been laid upon the table by their own friends? The House had no other criterion by which to form a judgment; but if hon. Gentlemen opposite could furnish any better criterion of the condition of the working classes than was afforded by the returns from poor-law unions throughout the kingdom, which were wholly uninfluenced by the Government, he would be willing to admit that these returns did not afford a satisfactory test. Until, however, some better criterion was found, he was entitled to say that, whatever effect free trade in corn may have had, and whatever consequences may have been produced by low prices, the working classes of this country are at present in a better position than they even enjoyed before free-trade measures were sanctioned by Parliament.


said, he would occupy the House only a short time. The present debate, as far as it had gone, was undoubtedly fertile in admissions on all sides tending to the hope that the House would ultimately come to some common agreement on this important subject. One hon. Member (Mr. Hastie) stated if the present state of things continued for three years longer, he would become a protectionist, and agree to a duty on foreign corn. The hon. Member for Shrewsbury (Mr. Slaney) made a remarkable statement, that had he been consulted on the repeal of the corn laws, he would have advocated a protective duty, because he considered it was justified by reason of the special burdens borne by the agricultural interest, and that if the present state of things continued, he was of opinion that protection must be given. Why, this was the very essence of protection, for the hon. Member was both retrospectively and prospectively in favour of that policy. It was much to be regretted that it had not the advantage of his present support. Let it always be well understood that the protectionists called for no special favour to any class. With respect to the agriculturists they asked for strict justice only, and they demanded it in the alternative: they required either a reversal of the free admission of foreign corn, or some compensation for the special burdens to which land was subjected. This, in fact, vas the whole question. The hon. Gentleman had said the present disastrous state of things was not wholly to be attributed to free trade; but he could not deny that a part of the distress was owing to the adoption of free trade. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Westbury gave the agriculturists hopes of better times—meaning better prices. What did that hon. Member mean by such inconsistency? If low prices be the object of the free-traders, and they had obtained them, why should they now turn round and say low prices ought not to exist any longer? All these contradictions, in his opinion, tended to further the Motion of the hon. Gentleman the Member for West Gloucestershire. He (Mr. Herries) would confine his observations to the question before the House, which was to go into Committee to consider the laws relative to the importation of corn. Taking the Motion in conjunction with another which had been announced some time back by the same hon. Member, for a fixed duty of 8s. on the importation of foreign corn, he would say if the House agreed to the Motion before it, he should in that view give it his support; and he must say he was surprised the noble Lord at the head of the Government should have any difficulty in giving his consent to this Motion, seeing that he at one time was in favour of an 8s. duty himself. The answer given by the noble Lord opposite to the remonstrances of this important and most aggrieved interest, when recently presented to him by a deputation entitled to much respect, was by no means satisfactory. The debate to-night had turned upon the argument, or what was called such, that this was but a trial of the experiment of free trade. He would refrain from addressing his observations on this occasion to the effect of such an experiment upon other branches of British industry, and restrict them to the free introduction of foreign corn in competition with our home produce, by which it was now no longer disputed that the value of that produce had been lamentably deteri- orated. As to the assumption now put forward, that the recent policy was adopted as an experiment only, he should protest in the strongest terms against such a view of the subject, and against the belief that any Legislature could have been rash and reckless enough to venture upon an experiment involving in its possible consequences the welfare of the largest and most important proportion of the community. He, for one, had never understood, at the time they were bringing forward their free-trade propositions, that they were about to try an experiment. He did not think that if the proposition were so understood, the House of Commons would ever have consented to it. When the hon. Member who had moved the Address at the commencement of the Session had admitted that the agricultural interest had suffered a loss of 90,000,000l., he did not treat that enormous sacrifice as the result of an experiment only, but rather gloried ill it as a permanent consequence of a permanent policy. If, however, these measures were to be looked upon only as an experiment, he thought that they must acknowledge this was an experiment which had had a fair trial, as far as the agricultural interest was concerned. It was now three years since the passing of the Act; but in point of fact there were only fifteen months that could be said to be applicable to the experiment made. From the moment that this Act might be said to have come into full operation, the most serious results were felt by the agricultural interest. This experiment had had, then, a trial which every reasonable man must admit had told most injuriously upon the farming interest of the country. In spite of all the calculations made on the other side as to the probability of that interest rising from its depressed state, it was now next to impossible that any dispassionate person could entertain a rational hope of their anticipations being realised under the existing law. The Legislature, he contended, had no right to impose these hard conditions, whether by way of trial or otherwise, upon the greatest interest of the country. It was impossible for the present system of government to continue without giving some relief to the agricultural interest, which was now suffering such unequal bur-dons. He would ask those who supported these measures to say candidly whether they had not been disappointed in the results expected from them? Was there any person now in office who, if he could have foreseen the effects that were to follow from these measures, would have had the folly or the wickedness to propose them? Would he not rather have shrunk from the idea of throwing the agriculturists of England into competition with the foreigner, if he had foreseen the consequences? The agriculturists were told to put their hope in the future, for that things would soon become better. They talked of the energies of the British farmer, and they spoke eloquently of the spirit of the British farmer hacked by his English capital being able to overcome his present difficulties. But he would ask them what right had they to impose these difficulties upon the British farmer? What right had they to test to the utmost extremity of even possible endurance his spirit and his strength under such circumstances? He had no doubt but that the British farmer would struggle to the last against these or any other difficulties, and perhaps be able, to some extent, to mitigate the evils with which the Legislature had surrounded him. But within the short time that had elapsed since this so-called experiment had been tried, the prices of agricultural produce had diminished 20, 25, and 30 per cent. Was not that broad fact sufficient evidence of the result of the trial, without descending to minute calculations or particular details? But, in order to show in the most tangible form the pressure that was imposed upon the agricultural interest, let us compare it with the pressure of the most prominent of the direct imposts upon the country, and the effects of which were universally felt and acknowledged. Compare what had been done to the British agriculturist with the alarm which was created in the last year by the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he felt himself compelled to repair his shattered finances by a proposition to increase the income tax. We all remember the universal outcry which followed the announcement of that proposal. It was true the Government were obliged to withdraw that proposition, and to content themselves with the simple continuance of the tax at its existing rate of 3 per cent. But what was this even when compared with the sacrifice now recklessly imposed upon the income of the agriculturists? What was the amount required to be paid by the agriculturists? Why, they had taken 30 per cent on the incomes of the farmers. They had taken in this one year from the farmers, what was equivalent, at the least, to ten times the present income tax. One hon. Member said, that if England continued to suffer thus for three years, he would be a protectionist. He (Mr. Herries) would tell the hon. Member that he should according to his own principles be a protectionist and help the agriculturist now. The commiseration of the hon. Gentleman ought not to be postponed—it should be manifested at once, for the extent of the loss and suffering was generally acknowledged. The proposition now made had for its object the going into a Committee with a view, no doubt, of proposing a fixed duty upon foreign corn. He (Mr. Herries) did not think that that would be a very great relief to the agriculturists. He was convinced that the effect of putting on such a duty would not materially affect the price of corn. He was disposed to think that the imposition of a moderate fixed duty upon corn would not have the effect of raising the price, but it would ensure them against the prices going much lower. It would have the effect of circumscribing the radius of competition of the foreign growers in our own markets, and would thereby put a certain limit upon those enormous importations, from which the detriment to our own producers had been so severely experienced. It might thus in all probability tend to arrest a further declension in the price of corn in this country. Even supposing that it would have the effect of raising the price of corn to the extent of 45s., that would, in some degree, be a boon to the farmer, as compared with the present prices. Could they point out any interest in the country that would be injured by a rise in the price of corn to 45s.? If they could not, why then did they not take some steps to attain this result? They certainly used much milder language to the demands of the agriculturists now than they did before. But would they do nothing more? Would they wait for the expiration of three years for the experiment, as the hon. Member for Paisley suggested? He would caution them against any further delay. They ought to take warning by the excitement and alarm that they had already created. But the agriculturists had been somewhat suspiciously advised by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Ripen, not to press their claims for relief in the present Session, but to postpone them until the next year, when the income tax would expire, and when a general reckoning with the Chancellor of the Exchequer must take place, and thus to throw the weight of their grievances into the general cauldron of difficulties with which the noble Lord at the head of the Government would then have to contend. It was admitted from both sides of the House that the landed interest was exposed to peculiar burdens which ought to be taken into consideration, and relieved, when the question arose of exposing it to open competition with the foreigner. Promises were given that such relief should be afforded. But the hour of fulfilment had not arrived. The most moderate application for the performance of those promises, had been made by the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire. That application had been rejected. Could they be surprised at the strong sentiments of indignation which that refusal had occasioned? He begged to be understood as not entertaining the slightest wish to contribute to the angry feeling that at present existed in the country upon this subject. That inimical feeling, however, clearly justified by the treatment which the agricultural interest had received, was not the source of the greater part of the obstruction experienced by the Ministers. They had a domestic opposition of their own from which it chiefly proceeded. It was from that quarter that they were continually attacked. They were treated by that section of the House like the idols of some savage tribes, or the saints of some Catholic countries hardly" less ignorant, alternately worshipped or whipped as the exactions of their votaries were granted or refused. There had been many whipping nights in the present Session. The retrenchment of 6,000l. on the abolition of the window tax, the resolutions on the timber duties, the attornies' certificates, were all administered from the same quarter, and in the same spirit. Let the Government ponder on these signs, and reflect upon the consequence of persevering in a system of ruinous injustice towards the great landed interests of the kingdom. Let them beware lest that great and widely-dispersed body of the community, upon whose loyalty and devotion all Governments had hitherto been accustomed to rely for the maintenance of a complicated and unpopular system of taxation, which was the very foundation of our national credit, should be driven to desert them in their hour of need! The true meaning of the word "protection" for which they con- tended, was neither more nor less than justice. It meant defence against an undue invasion of rights and property, or compensation for partial and undue taxation. On a former occasion, when he had assorted thus much, the hon. and gallant Member for Bradford had interrupted him and said, "Yes, and I ask for justice for my constituents." [Colonel THOMPSON: Hear, hear!] he (Mr. Herries) had as sincere a respect and admiration for the manufacturing interests as the hon. and gallant Member himself could have. No man could estimate more highly the national importance of that great branch of British industry, and the high claims which it possessed upon the gratitude and the support of this country. But he asked for an equal consideration of a still greater department of industry and capital. When the manufacturers boasted of their readiness to abandon all protection from import duties on foreign productions, and insisted on imposing the same condition on the landed interest, they overlooked or wilfully suppressed a material distinction. It so happened that the manufacturer was, under the present relative circumstances of this country and the Continent, enabled to produce the subjects of his industry at a lower price than the foreigner; while the British fanner was prevented, by the burdens imposed upon him, from raising agricultural produce at anything like the same rate as the continental cultivator. This made it as impossible for him to sustain competition, as it was easy for the manufacturer to do without protection. He would ask the liberty of calling the attention of the House to the converse of this state of things as it existed in Prussia, for example. There, matters were just in a contrary position. The Prussian farmer could grow his grain at a much cheaper rate than the British; while the manufacturer could not fabricate his woollen, or cotton, or hard wares upon the same terms as the English. What, then, if the Prussian landowner should come to his Government and say, "We want no protection, we disdain it; take it away therefore from the manufacturer!" But the Prussian Government is too wise to listen to him. It considers that the relative circumstances of each interest is fairly to be considered, and justice to be done to both as component parts of the same country, and having a common interest in its safety and its honour. The Government of this country appeared to forget these diversities of circumstances and claims, and this community of interests among ourselves. It was evident that a great change was taking place in the public opinion. He did not mean among the agricultural classes only, but in all others, whether connected with the manufacturing population or otherwise. There was a manifest reaction. And what was meant by reaction when applied to public opinion? It meant a reverse to truth from error, and false impressions, and that only. He should vote for the Motion.


was glad that his hon. Friend had brought this Motion forward; for he agreed with the hon. Baronet the Member for Marylebone, that the opinions of leaders of parties should be stated in one or other House of Parliament, rather than go forth to the public in answers to deputations and manifestoes published in the newspapers. In that House, at least, opinions could be sifted, statements answered, and assertions tested by reference to facts; and he was quite sure that by having these questions brought forward in Parliament, the public would receive a clearer impression of the true state of the case, and arrive at a juster appreciation of its merits, than when mere one-sided statements were put forth to parties, none of whom had any motive for questioning the accuracy of what was addressed to them. It was true, that latterly much light had been thrown on the views of the great party opposite from what had appeared in the public papers. They had at last come to some definite decision with respect to their opinions; and the noble Lord at the head of the party in the other House had put forward his manifesto of principles, and had unfurled the standard of protection. He was glad that it was so. Earlier in the Session hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House, had been a little chary in the expression of their convictions on this subject. It was true, that the hon. Baronet the Member for South Lincolnshire had talked of reconsidering our past legislation, to which he attributed the distress existing in some parts of the country; but the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, the great leader of the party, carefully avoided saying anything about protection in the discussion of the Motion he brought forward for transferring a large portion of the local taxation to other classes than those by whom it was at present paid—a relief, be it observed, which the deputation which lately waited on his noble Friend at the head of the Government scouted as utterly insignificant and unworthy of their consideration, and they gave him to understand that nothing but a return to protection would at all answer their purpose. It was right, then, to know what they were contending for; and the right hon. Gentleman who preceded him had told them fairly, that he conceived the object of Motion was the imposition of a fixed duty of 8s. per quarter on wheat. That, then, was the question on which they were to vote that night. It was not a Motion for a Committee of Inquiry into the distress of the agricultural interest, as had been supposed by the noble Member for Stamford, but was a Motion to ask the House to go into Committee in order to consider their past legislation, the object being in that Committee to make the proposal of a fixed duty of 8s. a quarter on the importation of foreign corn. Some difference of views had indeed been manifested amongst the hon. Gentlemen who had spoken in support of the Motion. The hon. Member for Somersetshire rather doubted the policy of the hon. Member for West Gloucestershire, who appeared in the somewhat ambiguous character of a free-trader and a supporter of protection. He was of opinion, that there was little use in appealing to the present House of Commons, and that it would be far better to postpone any Motion till they had got a new Parliament elected by an amended constituency, which he hoped and trusted would listen more favourably to the views and arguments addressed to it by his friends. What the precise mode in which this amended constituency was to be attained was, the hon. Gentleman forgot to explain; but he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) hoped he would do so before the close of the debate. He confessed, however, that he had no fear that the hon. Gentleman would obtain a reversal of the past policy of the country by any Parliament which he could obtain. He believed the greatest benefit had been conferred on the country by that policy; and he did not believe, whatever the hon. Gentleman and his allies might think, that the great body of the people, who had tasted the benefits and advantages of cheap food, was prepared to forego those advantages, or that the constituency of the country would return a body of representatives either in three years, or at any future time, who would reverse it. The right hon. Gentleman who preceded him had very properly declined treating this question as an experiment; and he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) must say he was a little astonished to see, in the address or manifesto issued by Lord Stanley, that the noble Lord supposed that he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) had ever used a word or let fall one syllable from which an inference might be drawn that he considered free trade as an experiment. The hon. Member for Wakefield had certainly talked of it as an experiment, and the expression had been used by other hon. Gentlemen on the opposite side of the House; but he disclaimed in the strongest terms for himself ever having used a single expression from which an inference could be drawn that he considered the policy of Government as an experiment. The noble Lord the Member for Stamford talked of "the ripple of the wave;" but he was utterly mistaken if he supposed he saw the slightest indication of a doubt on the part of himself or of his noble Friend at the head of the Government as to the wisdom, policy or justice of the course which had been pursued. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Stamford had put very clearly, though not very consistently with what fell from himself, what he conceived to be the object of protection. He stated he did not think even the imposition of a fixed 8s. duty would be of any great benefit, or materially raise the price of corn; and he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) must say, supposing the agricultural interests looked for much comfort from their friends, they would, on this occasion, at least, derive very little from the right hon. Gentleman, or from the admission of the hon. Member for Wakefield on that side of the House—far more important than any of those to which the right hon. Gentleman had referred with such apparent satisfaction—that the large importation of foreign corn in 1849 could not have in any way contributed to the alleged distress which had been the subject of two Motions last Session, and of one in the present Session of Parliament. The right hon. Gentleman had argued that, as the English manufacturer could produce cheaper than the foreign manufacturer, he did not stand in need of protection, but as the English agriculturist could not produce corn so cheaply as the foreign agriculturist, we ought to maintain protection on English corn, in order to en sure to the latter a price which would cover the cost of his more expensive production—that was to say, the right hon. Gentleman meant that the price of food should be raised by law to the consuming population of this country. [Cheers, and cries of "No, no!"] If that was not his object, let him state what he meant by his declaration, that a protecting duty on the low-priced corn of the foreigner was necessary, because the English agriculturist did not produce his corn so cheaply. He called the withdrawal of protection an injustice. He (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) said it was manifestly unjust and impolitic to raise the price of the food of the labouring population; and the principle on which he and the noble Lord had supported the measure of free trade, when introduced by the right hon. Gentleman opposite the Member for Tamworth, and had since maintained it, was because they believed it undoubtedly the wisest policy, and that which was most advantageous to all interests. It was not as an experiment that this policy had been proposed by the right hon. Baronet, or had been supported by him (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) and his Friends behind him: they had supported it on the one plain principle that it was essentially for the benefit of the large and increasing population of this country to have its main articles of food—its meat and its bread—as cheap as the world could afford them. [Cheers.] That was the principle on which the Government supported the free-trade policy; by that policy the Government was prepared to stand or fall; and let him assure hon. Gentlemen opposite, there was not the slightest shade of doubt or misgiving in the minds of himself or of his noble Friend that this policy was just and sound. He did not wish to use one word that could be construed into an insult to the agricultural body, and indeed the right hon. Gentleman had admitted Government gave them at least good words; but it was for the interests of the agriculturist, and for the character of Government, that no false expectation or delusive hope should be permitted to go forth that Government were prepared to change the course they had pursued, or had the slightest doubt as to its wisdom and its prudence. He did not think it inconsistent with that opinion to lay before the House the reasons for thinking the present prices of corn were lower than the permanent range of price was likely to be, and that they could not be solely or even principally attributed to the influence of free trade. He would appeal again to the authority of the hon. Member for Wakefield, whose speech had that night been received with such unanimous cheers by hon. Members on the other side of the House. Last year there were two Motions brought forward by the hon. Gentleman opposite the Member for Buckinghamshire—one for the relief of the burdens on land, and the other on the state of the nation. Both those Motions were grounded upon the allegation that the importations of foreign corn had unnaturally and unduly depressed the price of home - grown corn, and had thereby produced great agricultural distress. Well, what did the hon. Member for Wakefield say on that point? He said that the importations of foreign corn, last year, were not more than sufficient to supply the deficiency arising from a had harvest and the failure of the potato crop in Ireland—that it was God's mercy the corn came in time to prevent starvation—and that, so far from that importation depressing unduly the price of agricultural produce and the condition of the labourer, it was the greatest boon that could have been conferred upon the country, in order to obviate the evils which would otherwise have risen from a deficient harvest and the failure of the potato crop. Upon the showing, then, of one of their own principal authorities, notwithstanding the constant allegation of hon. Gentlemen opposite, that the importations of foreign corn had occasioned agricultural distress, it appeared that they had nothing whatever to do with it; and the whole argument, therefore, on that branch of the case had entirely fallen to the ground, if they gave any weight to the opinions of that hon. Member, to whose authority on the price of corn they so constantly appealed. The hon. Gentleman had also stated that, there having been a good harvest last year, the importations had considerably fallen off. That was another proof that the present prices were not occasioned by foreign importations. In fact, that argument had been utterly destroyed by the hon. Member for Wakefield. [Cries of "No!"] Those hon. Members who cried "No" had not, perhaps, heard the statements of the hon. Member for Wakefield, having come into the House since dinner; but he was satisfied that those who had heard that Gentleman's speech would concur in what he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) had just stated as to the effect of his admissions. The hon. Gentleman had in another part of his speech compared the average price of a year with the temporary price pf a week. That was not a fair mode of making a comparison. He (the Chancellor of Exchequer) would take the average price of wheat for the year 1849, as compared with that for the year 1835. In 1835 the average price was 39s. 4d., while in 1849 it was 44s. 3d., being 4s. 1d. higher last year than it was under an exclusive system of protection. Surely that was enough to show that it by no means followed that the importations of foreign corn had produced the present low prices. The hon. Gentleman had quoted various statements from different parts of the country, with the view of showing that there had been no such rise of price as had been stated. He attached little importance to statements as to particular places, and many of them of old date. He would read to the House a short paragraph from a publication whose authority hon. Gentlemen opposite would not deny—he meant the Mark-Lane Express of Monday:— Wheat is now worth from 4s. to 5s per quarter more than it was a month ago, and other kinds of agricultural produce have participated in the improvement. As the rise has been general, and nearly to the same extent at all the principal towns, it is unnecessary to refer to particulars. Nor was this owing to any speculative demand, for they proceeded to say— We may, however, remark that purchasers have manifested considerable caution, and that hitherto there has been little speculation in the usual acceptation of the term. It was thus obvious that there had been during the last month a rise of price in the case of wheat to the extent of 4s. or 5s. He would not trouble the House with the quotations in the cases of barley and oats. He would merely state that they also had participated in the advance of price, although not to the same extent as wheat. His hon. Friend the Member for Westbury had shown that an almost equal rise had taken place on the Continent; that the demand there was greater than usual at present, owing to the shortness of the stocks on hand. The same thing was true as regarded the United States. By the most recent accounts from New York, it appeared that the price of wheat there was 44s. 9d. per quarter, which, taking the freight into account, would bring its selling price in this country to little short of 52s. per quarter. His hon. Friend had also stated grounds for believing that owing to the exceedingly good harvest of last autumn there had been a much larger quantity of British wheat brought to market within the last six months than in the corresponding six months of last year. Surely that must be allowed to have some effect in lowering the prices. Hon. Gentlemen opposite had spoken much of distress, and Lord Stanley, in his manifesto, had stated that the existing distress was pressing upon every portion of the community. Now, he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) did not mean to dispute that in many parts of the country agricultural distress did prevail; but he defied any hon. Member to stand up in that House and bring forward proofs that distress was pressing upon all parts of the community. He emphatically denied that such was the fact. Who would get up and say that the manufacturing districts were suffering the slightest distress? He begged then to look to the facts. The same allegation of general distress was made as strongly month after month last year. It was the foundation of the Motions of the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire last Session, and had existed, according to his representations, for upwards of a year and a half, and up to the present time. Early in this Session he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) had taken the opportunity of stating the amount of poor-law expenditure and the number of persons relieved. He stated that the poor-law expenditure for the year ending the 25th of March, 1849, was less than that of the preceding year, and that the poor-law expenditure for the half year ending Michaelmas, 1849, was less than for the corresponding half year in 1848. But he felt that the amount of expenditure was not of itself conclusive, because it might be said that it had arisen from the low price of corn. He took, therefore, the number of persons relieved, and showed that, comparing the number relieved on the 1st of July, 1849, as compared with those on the 1st of July, 1848, and the number on the 1st of January, 1850, with the number on the 1st of January, 1849, there had been a considerable diminution at the latter period. But a noble Lord in the other House (the Marquess of Salisbury), not content with that statement, moved for a return showing the state of matters up to the middle of February; and what had been the result? It exactly corresponded with what he had stated before as to the diminished amount of relief. The noble Lord the Member for Stamford had said that there had been a great increase of pauperism in the midland counties. Well, he would take the three counties with which the noble Lord was most connected—namely, Leicester, Northampton, and Rutland, which would fully answer, he thought, the noble Lord's description of the midland counties; and what did he find? He found from the Marquess of Sahsbury's return, to which he had just referred, that in the second week of February, 1849, the number of persons receiving relief in the county of Leicester was 18,731; and for the same week in 1850, the number was only 15,715. With regard to Northamptonshire the numbers were for the same periods 15,885 in 1849, against 15,530 in 1850, and with respect to Rutland 1,410 against 1,292. So that in each of these three counties there was, according to the latest return, a diminution, and not an increase, of the number of persons receiving relief. He would not trouble the House with the other counties. [Ironical cheers.] Well, he would take one other county—the county of the hon. Gentleman who cheered so loudly—namely, Suffolk—and he would take the favourite year of hon. Gentlemen opposite (1847), when the price of corn was high; and what did he find? He found that in the second week of February, 1847, the number of persons receiving relief in Suffolk was 30,329, and in 1850 the number was 29,319. He would not detain the House with going over all the counties; but he was ready to meet any hon. Member who should challenge his statement with regard to any particular county. But, said the noble Lord the Member for Stamford, there was not only distress in this country, but the distress in the sister country was still greater than here; and in confirmation of his statement he read an extract from, he believed, the correspondence of a morning paper. It was a good thing to be able to produce facts in place of assertions. It so happened that the returns received from Ireland were up to a more recent period than those with regard to England. The last return he had received was up to the middle of April. Prom that return it appeared that the total number of persons receiving relief in Ireland in the week ending the 14tli of April, 1849, was 815,829; while in the week ending the 13th of April, 1850, the number had fallen as low as 338,897, being a net decrease of 476,932, or more than the whole number now receiving relief. But the noble Lord said that the distress was increasing. Why, notoriously in Ireland, when the spring employment was over, there was always distress; but, comparing the week ended the 14th of April, with that ended the 7th of April, 1850, there was a diminution in the numbers relieved of upwards of 6,000 persons. He thought, then, that he had shown that in the selected counties of the noble Lord, and in the sister kingdom, the statements of the noble Lord were not borne out by the facts. It was very desirable that these assertions should not be met by mere counter assertions, but by facts that were undisputed and indisputable. But there was another test of distress, one to which his right hon. Friend the Home Secretary had alluded in a recent debate—he meant the state of crime. Now, there was, as his right hon. Friend had then shown, a considerable diminution in the number of commitments for trial in 1849, as compared with 1848. He did not mean summary convictions, but commitments for trial at assizes or sessions. The committals for trial at Epiphany sessions, 1849, were 4,443; at Epiphany, 1850, they were 3,980. The next gaol delivery was at the Lent assizes. The number of commitments for trial at the Lent assizes in 1849 was 2,805, while at the same period in 1850 the numbers were 2,558, showing a decrease of 247, or nearly nine per cent. Then as to the number of commitments for trial at the Easter sessions, 1849, they were 2,334. In 1850 they were at the same period, 2,007, showing a decrease in the commitments of 327, or fourteen per cent. Now, surely this was a most satisfactory statement to make to the House. It was quite notorious that the diminution of crime was a proof of increased employment and prosperity. Next as to revenue. The revenue for the year ending April, 1850, as compared with 1849, excluding the corn duties, showed a slight decrease in the Customs duties; but that was entirely owing to the extraordinary importation of foreign sugar in the preceding year. But there was an increase upon the Excise, the returns of which, for 1849, were 13,932,000l.; for 1850, 14,002,500l. There was likewise an increase upon each of the items of stamps, taxes, and income tax; which fact was quite irreconcileable with the existence of general distress. He was still more happy to be able to state that, during the month, from the 5th of April to the 5th of May, the same improved appearance still continued. Then, so far as employment was concerned, let them take the exports for the first three months of this year, as compared with the corresponding period of 1849 and 1848. The value of the exports in 1848 was 11,684,000l.; in 1849 it was 12,822,000l.; in 1850 it was 14,000,000l. These exports are produced by the labour and employment of the people of this country, who, in addition to having good wages and employment, had the advantage of cheap food. Surely this afforded a strong argument against the existence of general distress. Of these exports he would mention one article of agricultural produce—wool. Taking the exports of wool for the last throe years, in the first three months of each year they showed the following results:—In 1848, 1,750,000 lbs.; in 1849, 2,080,000 lbs; in 1850, 2,162,000 lbs. That was an instance of a very largely improved demand for agricultural produce. There was also an improved demand for both corn and stock. Indeed, he believed the price of stock as well as of corn had been mainly kept down by the quantity produced at home. The reports of Newcastle market, for instance, state that the stock, both beasts and sheep, brought there had been gradually increasing during the past four years; and, at the same time, he should observe, that the importation of foreign cattle had diminished. He would detain the House by no further statements at that late hour. He was glad this question had been fairly brought to an issue. He was glad that they were about to express an opinion upon what Lord Stanley had called "a mistaken and insane policy." There he joined issue with the noble Lord. He (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) believed that policy to be a proper, a wise, and a just policy; and it was one by which they were prepared to stand or fall. He believed that so far from sowing dissension, as the right hon. Gentleman had said, between two classes of society, that policy was essentially necessary for binding together all classes of the community. He believed that by it peace had been hitherto preserved. He did not mind the violent language that had been used at public meetings. He was not afraid of farmers mounting their horses and riding down their fellow-citizens. At those meetings gentlemen talked together until they brought themselves up to fever heat. Re did not think it very wise language to use; but he was not the least afraid of its being put into execution. But what he did believe was, that the policy which had been pursued was essential for the maintenance of tranquillity and good feeling in the country, and that no other policy could tend so much to maintain permanently those valued institutions which they must all desire to maintain.


Sir, I can assure the House that at this late hour of the night it I is not a very agreeable task to me to be obliged to address it. But after the observations of the right hon. Gentleman, in which he has described so freely the assumed policy which would be pursued by those with whom I act, I think I may, before the division is called, at least be permitted to place before the House a more correct perception of the course we should approve of. This Motion has come upon myself somewhat unexpectedly, and I should think that that was the general feeling of the House. The Motion is, "That this House will resolve itself into a Committee of the whole House to take into consideration the Acts relating to the importation of foreign corn." Now, Sir, this is not the first occasion upon which I have found that notice upon the table of the House. It is not four years ago that an identical notice was placed on the table, the object then being to propose, if we resolved ourselves into a Committee of the whole House, that the repeal of the laws which then regulated the importation of foreign corn should be passed by the House of Commons. Sir, I need not remind the House of the lengthened debates and ample discussions—of the fiery struggle that took place upon that occasion. I had the honour of voting, on every occasion when the question was brought before the House, in the minority—one not contemptible in number, though not ultimately successful in the object for which they struggled. In the majority I find the name of the hon. Gentleman who proposes the resolution now before the House. A Whig Member—a Member for a county—a Member of an ancient Whig family—a supporter of the repeal of the corn laws—one of the triumphant majority before whom we fell—after less than four years' experience, feels it to be his duty to move that the House of Commons should form itself into the same Committee as was proposed less than four years ago, but with an object very different, and for a purpose quite contrary. But when that Member for a county, who voted for a repeal of the corn laws, to-night made this Motion, what followed? Why, Sir, a Member for a borough—a liberal Member, but a Member for a town—seconded the resolution. [Cheers., and "No, no!"] Most decidedly it was seconded by a Member for a borough, who sits upon that side of the House. And, therefore, when a proposition of this kind is made by a county Member on that side of the House, and seconded by a borough Member on that side of the House, all that I can recognise is the act of repentant free-traders. I cannot suppose for a moment that any caprice could have prompted the Gentlemen who have taken this step to solicit the attention of the House of Commons to so grave a subject, and, in the presence of so many Members on both sides, to have submitted their views upon the question. There was, indeed, an hon. Baronet who taunted these benches in an early part of the evening because they were so thinly filled; but I may observe that I have seldom at that particular period of the evening seen the benches more fully occupied. But I have no doubt that had hon. Gentlemen known that the hon. Member for Marylebone was about to address them, the attendance at that time would have been more ample. Unquestionably, then, the hon. Gentleman who has made this Motion would not have taken such a step; and a Member for an Irish borough, a Gentleman entitled in every way to our respect, would never have come forward to second it, and thus give voice to long suppressed feelings upon the benches opposite, had they not known from their own experience, and from public report, that both this country and the sister isle were in a state of great distress. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer—who, not content with repeating the speech he made the first night of the Session, has also repeated the speech of the hon. Member for Westbury—has, entering into considerable details, taken the usual tests of the poor-law, of the criminal returns, and of the revenue, to show that the working classes are not suffering at this moment. But you may have great distress in the country without the working classes suffering. No one will deny that the farmers of England, the most considerable portion of the middle classes, are suffering; and no one can be surprised that they are suffering if the estimate of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton be correct—that they have lost more millions than California has produced. But we have had to-night a frank admission of great distress by the hon. Member for Westbury. He says there is no doubt of the existence of great distress; that it is confined to the middle classes, not of the agricultural body merely, but of towns like Manchester and Liverpool—"especially," he said, "among the great towns of the north." It seems that those important communities have been guilty of great imprudence; investments in railways, it would appear, have ruined the north of England; yet let me remind the House that the expenditure in those railways afforded the speculative data upon which those laws were repealed, which have consummated the agricultural ruin of the country. But if it be a fact, as we are told by hon. Gentlemen opposite, that the portion of the middle class connected with agriculture have recently incurred a loss quite unprecedented; and if it be a fact, as we are also told, that the other section of the middle class not connected with agriculture have incurred losses very considerable, what must be the inevitable consequences upon the labouring classes, to whose still limited and fast-vanishing means you are now forced to appeal as your only evidence of the prosperity of the country? If the House will permit me, I will now frankly express my opinion upon the Motion before us. It is not a Motion of which, if I had been consulted, I should have recommended the introduction; and I will fairly tell the House why. My objection to it is that it is of a partial character—that it is asking us to take into consideration the interests of one class only. However just may be the claims of that class, I would rather we should have been called upon, at the right time, to take into consideration the state of all the other classes of the country, than that we should be asked, inferentially, to legislate for the advantage of one only. We have heard to-night a great deal more than we have of late heard from the other side of the House upon what is popularly called "protection;" and the right hon. Gentleman who has just addressed the House, assuming that we mean by the word "protection" what in fact we do not mean, has delivered himself of a violent invective against a phantom of his own creation. Now, I will tell the House, if they will permit me, what we do mean by "protection," for I have no wish to change the word now popularly-accepted among us. I look upon this as a fact, that the legislation of the year 1846 was the foundation of a new commercial system. I know it is a convenient fashion, in debate upon economic subjects, to treat the legislation of 1846 as the completion of the legislation of 1842. But I find in the two schemes features of the most contradictory and opposite character. In the legislation of 1842, I recognise a wise effort to expand our commercial relations upon scientific terms of interchange, so that the labour of this country should not be brought into fatal and fallacious competition with the labour of other countries: at the very moment that those measures were brought forward, the great feature of which was that the commercial interchange between countries should be balanced by countervailing duties, efforts were made, in perfect unison with that wise policy, to induce foreign nations to enter into commercial treaties and tariff regulations with us. That policy announced that, while we were ready to open our ports to all the world, we were resolved that strangers should not come in and enjoy our markets, unless their markets were equally free to us. But all these principles were entirely discarded in measures which I really believe to have been fatal and insane, to quote the expression thrown into the discussion by the right hon. Gentleman, in the legislation of 1846. You then commenced the system of allowing free imports to come into this country from countries which met you with hostile tariffs; and, in my mind, you then took a step most injurious to the rights and interests of labour in this country. That is to say, the English producer not only had to give his articles of production in exchange for the foreigners' articles, but he had also to pay a duty on the admission of his productions into the foreign market. In fact, he paid tribute, and does pay tribute, to the amount of the duty imposed upon him. I maintain, then—and it is the object of Gentlemen who sit on this side of the House to maintain—that the real principle of protection, as a general rule, is, that free imports shall not be received from any foreign producing country which, by hostile tariffs, refuses to put our producers upon equal terms. That is a plain principle. I call that the principle of protection to native industry; and it can be supported not only as high policy. but defended as scientific truth. Now, I look to the Motion of the hon. Member for West Gloucestershire in this view on which it is proposed to found a duty upon the importation of foreign corn, I find, as far as principle is concerned, that he is justified on every principle of economic science in proposing such a measure; but when I lay that down as the general principle upon which the commercial code of this country ought to be established (as the only principle upon which a commercial code can be established, which is just to the rights and interests of British labour and native production), I find, with regard to those articles to which our attention is particularly called—the importation of foreign corn—that there are exceptional circumstances which solicit our notice. It may be said, "If you take as the principle of your commercial code, that every foreign country shall send its imports free here, and we receive them free, are you prepared to let any country send its corn here free who will receive our manufactures free?" Now, Sir, I am not prepared to do that, unless I can find consideration of the interests of the agricultural producer met by hon. Gentlemen opposite in a fairer spirit. In my opinion, there are peculiar burdens upon the cultivators of the soil, from which all other producers are free. It has been calculated by men of great eminence, by political economists, to whose works Gentlemen opposite perpetually refer, that a fixed duty of 8s. is what the agriculturist has a right to expect as a countervailing duty from the State, in consequence of the peculiar burdens to which he is liable. Now, I am not one of those who would wish the agriculturists to be compensated in such a manner. I bad rather you would settle the question of these peculiar burdens as I have indicated they ought to be settled—that you should make that fair adjustment of taxation to which, depend upon it, you must and will be brought—that you should say, "It is not a just thing to go on as we have—one-third of the income of the country paying for the remaining two-thirds, which goes scot free." This, Sir, is now a matter of general—nay, universal—interest; but if you will not be just—if you will persist in a system which makes the tiller of the soil repair your roads, support the poor, build vast establishments for the reception of the infirm and lunatics of the community, out of his hard-earned gains, then we have a right to come to you and say that, "having placed us in competition with all the world, you can no longer postpone the question of deciding whether we shall be sustained by those burdens being taken off, or by giving us a countervailing duty." Then, Sir, I maybe asked, "Do you suppose that the community can be taxed for the advantage of a class?" Why, I say, that to tax the community for the advantage of a class is not protection; it is plunder, and I entirely disclaim it; but I ask you to protect the rights and interests of labour generally in the first place, by allowing no free imports from countries which meet you with countervailing duties; and, in the second place, with respect to agricultural produce, to compensate the soil for the burdens from which other classes are free by an equivalent duty. This is my view of what is called "protection;" and it is because I believe it is founded in justice—because I believe it can be supported by scientific argument—because I have never heard the positions satisfactorily refuted—because (above all) that a commercial system founded upon such principles would, I believe, very much increase the prosperity of the country, and tend to terminate that misery which is partially acknowledged by every Gentleman in this House, that perilous position of the great middle class which more than one Minister has admitted, I am an advocate for protection, and for a commercial policy founded upon those principles which have been, and will again ere long be, recognised by the country. And there is an important corollary to these considerations to which I would briefly call attention. On the principle that no State should send its imports free here which will not receive ours freely too, you will derive the greater portion of your revenue from customs duties. There may be a question as to the degree in which the foreigner may pay a portion of your customs duties; but no man of a temperate order of mind will, I think, be found to maintain that the foreigner pays no portion of it. I think that, under the circumstances to which my right hon. Friend has referred—such, for instance, as a fixed duty of 5s. on corn—the foreigner would pay the whole; but I don't believe that, under any circumstances, it would happen that the foreigner would not contribute some portion to the Treasury of this country. But what portion does the foreigner contri- bute of the revenue which is raised by inland taxation? And that is the reason why our lamented leader, Lord G. Ben-tinck, laid it down as a great principle of policy, that in all our attempts to relieve the community, to increase the means of employment, and diminish the burden of taxation, we should attack the Excise, and not the external revenue, which must be partially contributed by the foreigner. You have for years been acting upon the contrary principle, the necessary consequence of those fallacious assumptions which have been the foundation of your policy; but if the fiscal intelligence that presided over our Exchequer some years ago had directed its power and attention to our inland revenue, our inland revenue probably would not at this moment have existed. It might have vanished, as it were, with the exception of one or two taxes which would gradually have lapsed as our surplus revenue justified alterations; whilst the labour of the English people would have got rid of the burdens which are contributed entirely by themselves. This is the reason why the people of this country have always connected the rights and interests of labour with the revenue raised from customs duties; and, instead of revenue raised from customs duties being founded upon a principle odious to the people, it is founded upon a principle favourable to their interests, because whatever is raised from the foreigner is more welcome than that which is absolutely wrung from the native producer. I think that foreign corn should contribute, like all the productions of foreign labour, to our Treasury; but at the same time I should deplore any legislation, 60 partial and limited, upon such a subject as the reconstruction of our commercial code. I wish that question to be brought before the House upon its broadest basis; but when I am taunted with not bringing it forward, I am taunted by those who consider the question only with regard to the interests of parties, the chances of a good division, or getting up a temporary cry in the country. I never will be a party to such conduct. However I differ from the policy of 1846—however I may deprecate and deplore it, I do not suppose you can, like a capricious woman, in a year or a year and a half, turn round and rescind all you have done. No; I have said it before; and I repeat my conviction, that no vote of this House can decide, with any satisfaction to the people, the great ques- tion in which are concerned the rights and interests of labour. It is by sharp experience—by the distress which is recognised and described by the hon. Member for Westbury among the middle classes-it is in the trouble and travail which await them—it is in the suffering of the nation that the salvation of the people must be found. These are the views that have influenced me throughout this question; and, called upon to-night to vote for a Motion which, though limited in its character and partial in its results, is founded upon scientific truth, and conducive to the prosperity of the realm, I cannot do otherwise than record my support in its favour.


said, he would not delay the House more than a few minutes; and he must confess at once, that he felt himself labouring under that sort of mental illusion which seemed to be shared with him by hon. Gentlemen opposite, for he was not sure that he understood the definitions of the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down. He endeavoured to follow the hon. Gentleman, with some experience too of the question, and some practice in following a debate; and he would try and put clearly before the House what the hon. Gentleman said with regard to the principles which he now advanced in that House. The hon. Gentleman began by saying that the policy pursued with regard to their legislation in matters of trade in 1846, was quite different from that which had been pursued previously; that in 1842 the principle which they followed was one of reciprocity. Now he could not allow the hon. Gentleman to occupy that ground, for since 1823, when Mr. Huskisson commenced the policy of free trade by reducing the duty on ribbons, gloves, and silks—when free trade was popular in high quarters whilst they were only dealing with articles of French luxury—from that period to the present time, with the exception of a conditional clause in the navigation laws, there was not a single stipulation for reciprocity in any measure of commercial legislation which had become law in this country. But the hon. Gentleman, starting from that point, led them on to the ground which he professed to occupy, namely, that he was a free-trader if they could have reciprocity with foreign countries. Now the hon. Gentleman's definitions of protection and free trade differed in some respects from those of the right hon. Member for Stamford—and would not harmonise with those put forward by Lord Stanley. And from the silence and gloom which prevailed amongst hon. Gentlemen opposite, he thought the mystery penetrated to them, late as it was, and that they saw the danger of the position which their leader was taking up. The hon. Gentleman advocated reciprocity, but he made an exception in favour of agriculture. He said, "Let us have competition with the needlewomen, with the shirtmakers, the shoemakers, and with every branch of domestic industry, only let us have a special exception with regard to agricultural produce, and I will be a free-trader like the rest." ["No, no!"] He (Mr. Cobden) hoped there was no fallacy or misrepresentation in what he said. The hon. Gentleman said that he was for free imports, provided an exception was made in favour of agricultural produce. Now, he wanted to know of what use that would be to the needlewomen and the other classes for whom they professed to have so much sympathy? What compensation would it be for the needlewomen that the French, Germans, and Belgians, took their woollens, cottons, and iron, duty free, if the commodities which they made were subjected to competition? The effect would be, that they would ensure a larger importation of those by the plan of the hon. Gentleman than by the other course. But the hon. Gentleman said that if he were allowed compensation for the burdens on land, he would apply the same principle to agriculture also. But did the hon. Gentleman find that principle in any of the resolutions lately passed at the meeting of which they heard so much? Was it not there laid down that without protection the farmer could not carry on his business, and could not compete with the foreigner? The tenant farmers were not now so blind with respect to the incidence of taxation as not to know the truth of what the hon. Gentleman stated at Marlow—that it was one thing to tax the land, the raw material, and another thing to tax the capital and industry employed upon it. The hon. Gentleman would therefore find himself much mistaken if he thought the farmers would be satisfied with the kind of compensation which he now proposed. And what a clumsy process was that of the hon. Gentleman, because he now proposed not only to take the tax from off the land, but he proposed to take it from real property of all kinds, mills, railways, &c. And that was the compensation he pro- posed to the farmers! The hon. Gentleman seemed to be at variance with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Stamford, for the right hon. Gentleman said that they could not protect manufactures, because manufacture had arrived at that point of superiority by the application of skill, energy, and capital, that it did not require protection. The manufacturers could send the produce of their looms and spinning frames to Germany with a duty of 30 per cent, and to America with a duty of 20 per cent against them, and still beat them in their own markets. But the hon. Gentleman went further, and said that he objected to the Motion because it did not include manufactures and all kinds of domestic industry. The hon. Gentleman found fault with the partiality of the tax; but the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Stamford, with more frankness, admitted that they could not be impartial—that if they were to protect any interest, it must be that interest which is unable to compete with the foreigners at our own doors, after paying for the cost of freight; whilst the manufacturers were able to beat their competitors in their own markets at a disadvantage of from 20 to 30 per cent. The scheme of the hon. Gentleman was too transparent as regarded the farmers not to be found out by them; but he proposed to make it acceptable to the country at large by including the stuff manufacturers of Bradford. But the manufacturers laughed at the hon. Gentleman when he talked to them in that way. They would not be caught in a partnership with the hon. Gentleman when the question was to put a tax on the price of bread. There was not an operative in Lancashire or Yorkshire, still less in Scotland—there was not a linen weaver in Ireland who would not laugh at such a proposition; and, therefore, he said of the Member for West Gloucestershire—" I wish you joy of him." If they gave him the picking of that side of the House to make them a present of one of his colleagues, he would present to them the hon. Gentleman. Yes, and therefore the hon. Gentleman the Member for West Gloucestershire had done right in coming forward frankly and honestly, and flinging everything about cotton and hardware overboard, asking for a tax upon bread. The hon. Member for Paisley deserved the thanks of the House for giving the direction to the debate which it had taken. He was followed by the hon. Member for Wakefield, who made a speech in favour of protection, but was going to vote against the Motion. Let the hon. Gentleman take courage and vote also. But he would repeat now what he had said before, that it was discreditable in them, some of whom were at least supposed to have an interest in the price of cattle and corn, that they should be spending their nights in discussing the price of corn. It was astonishing what long habit would reconcile them to. What would the House say if his hon. Friend the Member for Manchester were to bring forward his last stock-taking, and to show how unprofitable was the sale of yarns, in which he dealt rather largely. This showed how much more they were at home at Mark-lane than on the Exchange. If he had talked of the low quality of wheat, they would not have thought the allusion at all astonishing. Had the hon. Member for Manchester shown how small a margin of profit there was as regarded cotton, that would have been considered derogatory to the character of the House: that the House did not perceive that the same mode of dealing with corn was equally derogatory, only showed how long they had been following a bad habit. He maintained that they had nothing to do with the price of Corn. He would not say that he had reckoned on corn being so low. What he had always asked was, that the price of corn in this country should always be the natural price of the world; and then if it were 35s., 40s., or 45s., he should be perfectly satisfied. It was said that this was an experiment. He, or the people, had never regarded it as an experiment. He argued that the advantage of a low price of corn in this country must be tested altogether by facts and experience. He was not going into the facts. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had in his able speech said all that need be said on that subject. The right hon. Gentleman had access to statistics, and he had brought them down to the latest time, and by the facts which he had brought forward would this question be judged. If hon. Members opposite wanted to re-enact the corn law, they must deal with those facts; and, if satisfied that facts were on their side, they would court inquiry. Was it true, or was it not, that with a moderate range of prices for the first necessaries of life, crime had decreased in magnitude and quantity? He would not confine himself to the manufacturing districts, or to the quarter-sessions of Lon- don, the chairman of which had stated that the low price of food had tended to diminish crime. In the rural counties of Berkshire, Wiltshire, and Hampshire, there had been noticed at the last quarter-sessions a diminution of crime. In the rural towns of Devizes, Salisbury, and Winchester, there was not a single prisoner for trial at the last sessions; at Andover there was only one. Was it true that the revenue had increased in consequence of the moderate price of food? Was it true that the exports had increased—that the gold in the coffers of the banks had augmented? Then, he said, unless they were advocates for an increase of crime, an augmentation of pauperism, a diminution of exports—unless they were advocates for increasing misery and want amongst the people, hon. Gentlemen opposite would not dare to propose to that House another corn law. Would they escape from their dilemma by saying that the House was not prepared to reverse its former decision? He maintained that that House followed pretty closely any change which took place in the opinions of the people. Defective as was the representation, if any great change of opinion took place out of doors in the third year of its existence, that House speedily responded to it. But how could hon. Members produce a change except by discussion? Could they not speak from the lofty pedestal of that House to the whole country? In every journal they had an advertisement to make known their arguments: would they fail to avail themselves of such an opportunity of appealing to the country? An hon. Member had said that it was of no use to move, because they (the protectionists) were in a minority. How were majorities created in that House, if not by discussion? If hon. Members opposite would not discuss the question, it was because they knew that facts and experience and arguments were all against them. ["No, no!"] Well, then, if they had facts, and arguments, and experience, on their side, what miserable debaters must they be! He had always considered it his duty to advocate an opinion which he couscientiously held in the face of majorities; and they (the protectionist Members) might depend upon it—he said this for their encouragement—that, generally speaking, truth was in a minority; and, therefore, if they would set about discussing the question, having facts, and argument, and experience, on their side, they would be victorious. But they talked of waiting for a dissolution. Was it true that farmers were suffering that distress which they (the protectionist Members) said they were? He would suppose that it was; and yet they told them to fold their arms. They told them to submit to a State of paralysis, so far as their own pursuits were concerned. He must take it for granted that in telling the farmers to wait for a dissolution, as that which would restore protection, they did rot tell them to prepare for competition with the foreigner. They were to wait three years for a dissolution, with the certainty of being ruined in the meantime. The landlords did not appear likely to take any steps to enable the farmers to pass through the ordeal. Would it not be better if, instead of letting the farmers wait till the House reversed its decision, and in the meantime to do nothing, landlords were to share their sufferings? The right hon. Member for Stamford, who had taunted him with proposing to reduce the expenditure to the extent of five or six millions—about enough to relieve farmers from the burden of the malt tax—had held out a sort of shadowy offer of collusion with the Government, implying that his side of the House would get them out of their difficulties with regard to the budget and the renewal of the income tax, if they would disregard the free-traders. Talk of a dissolution! He challenged them to return a Member in favour of protection for any borough in the kingdom having a population of twenty thousand. A great parade had been made about the people being interested in the question. Did hon. Members remember that not more than one in six of the adult males of this country had a vote; and would it be wise in them, on the question of the people's bread, to bring on their backs the question of the representation? Even if they obtained a numerical majority, did they think that the two Members for Stamford going into one lobby would be allowed to count for the same as the hon. Members for Finsbury, Marylebone, or the Tower Hamlets? No, they knew they would not. They must not be under the impression that he was afraid of a dissolution. [Crien of "Question!"] That was the question. As he understood the matter, hon. Gentlemen opposite were going to hang up this question for a dissolution; and too much had been said on that side of the House, and by the press, to show that they (the free-trade Members) were afraid of a dis- solution. Representing a constituency of a million and a half—not a very bad test—he invited that event. If hon. Members were really sincere in their professed wishes for a dissolution, they should support a Motion for triennial Parliaments. If they really desired that the people should have an opportunity of deciding the question, they should vote for an extension of the franchise. By hanging up this question for a dissolution, at the end of three years, they would ruin the farmers by paralysing their energies; and if Parliament should be dissolved on the question, they would be doing their best to bring about the most democratic revolution in this country that could possibly be conceived.


said, the hon. Member for the West Riding had appealed with great confidence to the result of a dissolution. Now, he wished to ask the hon. Member whether the following words attributed to him, had been or not used by him in a speech which he had made not long since in Sheffield?— I am told, upon very good authority, that let a dissolution take place next year, and 90 at least out of 105 Irish Members would come up pledged to restore the corn law. Again, let the English landlords enter this unholy alliance with the bankrupt, beggarly, degraded landlords of Ireland, and become themselves equally degraded in the eyes of the world, and I mistake the temper of Yorkshiremen, if you do not make such an example of these conspirators as will make them regret the day they ever attempted it. Thus spoke the hon. Member of those who desired a dissolution. He asked if that language was consistent with what they bad heard from the hon. Gentleman in the House that night? He believed the hon. Member had spoken the truth at Sheffield. The hon. Gentleman showed an excessive anxiety for discussion in that House, and spoke of the propriety of a discussion being carried on by a minority. But he forgot that he had himself told his constituents at Leeds that he only wasted his time in that House—that it was useless for him to discuss his proposition for financial reform there, unless it was taken up and discussed in meetings throughout the country. They (the protectionists) were following, therefore, the example of the hon. Gentleman; and if they did not at this time promote divisions by the introduction of their measures, it was out of deference to those who show that their opinions were changing upon this ques- tion. ["Divide!"] He appealed to the House whether the statement made by the hon. Member for the West Riding (Mr. Cobden) at the same meeting with reference to the measure of 1846 was not doubly true now, that a large number of the majority were voting against their convictions. ["No, no!" and " Divide!"] The hon. Gentleman told his constituents that he could not find in that House 200 men who voted heartily for the repeal of the corn laws; and, as to the Upper House, he said he had gone through the list, and could not find twelve men who voted heartily for the measure. And if that was true of 146, no one, after hearing the admissions of hon. Members opposite, could doubt that it would be doubly true now of the majority (if there were one) against the Motion of the Member for Gloucestershire to-night. The hon. Member used two languages—one language in the West Riding, and another in that House. The hon. Gentleman endeavoured to find some fanciful differences between the arguments used by the hon. Member for Bucking ham shire and the right hon. Member for Stamford; because the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire had advocated protection on the grounds of reciprocity, of equality of the terms of the interchange of commodities between this and foreign countries, and on the ground of special burdens; while the right hon. Member for Stamford had advocated protection to native industry on the ground that each nation ought to adapt its laws to the special circumstances and requirements of its own people. The hon. Member for the West Riding declared on his own part and that of those who followed him, that the manufacturers will have corn imported free, that it may be as cheap in England as in the cheapest country of the world: no matter what are the consequences to others, we will have free imports, said the hon. Member. Did he represent all the manufacturing classes? Did he represent the manufacturers of the silk trade, for instance? In his published letter to Mr. Prowse, last autumn, he said that the silk manufacturers were ready to give up their 15 per cent protection. Had he consulted the manufacturers of Coventry and Macclesfield? He (Mr. Newdegate) was confident that the hon. Member had not, or that he knew the silk manufacturers would not agree to such a proposition, but concealed his knowledge of that fact. Was it likely the silk manufacturers should agree to such a proposition, when the hon. Member, in the same letter, cited the reduction of the duty on calico prints, in which trade he had been engaged, and confessed the injury that reduction had inflicted, the best proof of his sense of which consisted in his having quitted that trade? The hon. Member represented, then, only a section of the manufacturers, the section of a class who were determined to sacrifice their neighbours for their own advantage, without consideration for the relations of this country to foreign nations, or the internal circumstances of this country itself; but he differed from both the Member for Bucks and the Member for Stamford in this, that he urged the blind application of the principle of unrestricted imports, without reference to the policy of other countries, and without any consideration of the state of the people of this country, and this for a class purpose, for the benefit of certain manufacturers, to the injury of the industrial classes.


said, he merely rose for the purpose of assuring the House that he never at any period of his life was a free trader. He denied the statement of the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire that he (Colonel Dunne) ever had been a free-trader. He defied the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer or any Irish Member who might support a free-trade policy that night to say that Ireland had received the slightest benefit from free trade. They had first destroyed the manufactures of Ireland, leaving her nothing but agriculture to depend upon; and they had now also destroyed her agricultural prosperity. The test of improvement, as shown by the poor-law returns, was easily accounted for, inasmuch as many had gone to their long account, whilst many more had fled, and were flying, from destruction at home. He begged to ask Irish landlords how many acres they had thrown upon their hands, and how many acres were out of lease, by reason of the flight of the farmers from the destruction that awaited them at home? He was ever most conscientiously opposed to free trade.


replied. He denied the assertion of the right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer that the object of his Motion was to bring about the imposition of an 8s. duty. All he wanted to obtain by his Motion was, that the House should reconsider the measure. He cared not for the sophisms of the hon. Gentleman on his left, the Member for the West Riding, or the annoyance he felt at the part which he (Mr. G. Berkeley) took in the debate of that evening. In his opinion if any thing required reconsideration, it was the question before them. The hon. Member for Buckinghamshire had taunted him with having voted for free trade. He begged to say, he did no such thing. On the contrary, so doubtful was he on the matter, that he remained neutral. He did not like the appearance of the measure; and he was, therefore, determined not to vote for it. He had watched the experiment, and he was now convinced it was a decided failure. The hon. Member for the West Riding had asserted that no reciprocity had been broken through. [Mr. COBDEN: No, no!] What! had there been no breach of reciprocity between this country and Brazil? ["No, no!"] He was not surprised at the anxiety manifested by the hon. Gentleman to remove him (Mr. Berkeley) from that side of the House, because his views were at variance with his own. The hon. Member for the West Riding had also laid down the law—as he was in the habit of doing—and asserted that no borough with 20,000 inhabitants would return a protectionist candidate, or a candidate adverse to free trade—what did he say to the return made by Cork? He regretted the noble Lord the First Minister of the Crown had not thought fit to favour the House with his opinions on the subject. He regretted it very much; and could not help observing that there were some lines of Sir E. Bulwer Lytton that suited his position:—"The golden medium was his guiding star, which means move on until you're uppermost; and then things can't be worse than what they are."

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 184; Noes 298: Majority 114.

List of the AYES.
Alexander, N. Beresford, W.
Arbuthnot, hon. H. Bernard, Visct.
Archdall, Capt. M. Best, J.
Arkwright, G. Blackstone, W. S.
Bagge, W. Blair, S.
Bagot, hon. W. Blakemore, R.
Bailey, J. Blandford, Marq. of
Baldock, E. H. Boldero, H. G.
Bankes, G. Booth, Sir R. G.
Baring, T. Bramston, T. W.
Barrington, Visct. Bremridge, R.
Bateson, T. Brisco, M.
Bell, M. Broadley, H.
Benbow, J. Broadwood, H.
Bennet, P. Bromley, R.
Bentinck, Lord H. Brooke, Lord
Brooke, Sir A. B. Hornby, J.
Bruen, Col. Hotham, Lord
Buck, L. W. Hudson, G.
Buller, Sir J. Y. Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H.
Burrell, Sir C. M. Jones, Capt.
Burroughes, H. N. Kerrison, Sir E.
Cabbell, B. B. Knight, F. W.
Carew, W. H. P. Knightley, Sir G.
Cayley, E. S. Knox, Col.
Chandos, Marq. of Law, hon. C. E.
Chatterton, Col. Lennox, Lord A. G.
Cholmeley, Sir M. Lennox, Lord H. G.
Christopher, R. A. Leslie, C. P.
Clive, H. B. Lewisham, Visct.
Cobbold, J. C. Long, W.
Codrington, Sir W. Lowther, hon. Col.
Cole, hon. H. A. Lowther, H.
Coles, H. B. Lygon, hon. Gen.
Colvile, C. R. Mackenzie, W. F.
Conolly, T. Macnaghten, Sir E.
Davies, D. A. S. Mandeville, Visct.
Deedes, W. Manners, Lord C. S.
Dick, Q. Manners, Lord G.
Dickson, S. Manners, Lord J.
Disraeli, B. March, Earl of
Dod, J. W. Maunsell, T. P.
Dodd, G. Maxwell, hon. J. P.
Drax, J. S. W. S. E. Meux, Sir H.
Drummond, H. Miles, W.
Duckworth, Sir J. T. B. Morgan, O.
Duncombe, hon. O. Mullings, J. R.
Dundas, G. Mundy, W.
Du Pre, C. G. Naas, Lord
East, Sir J. B. Napier, J.
Egerton, Sir P. Neeld, J.
Evelyn, W, J. Neeld, J.
Farnham, E. B. Newdegate, C. N.
Farrer, J. Newport, Visct.
Followes, E. Noel, hon. G. J.
Filmer, Sir E. O'Brien, Sir L.
FitzPatrick, rt. hon. J. W. Packe, C. W.
Floyer, J. Palmer, R.
Forbes, W. Pigot, Sir R.
Forester, hon. G. C. W. Plumptre, J. P.
Fox, S. W. L. Portal, M.
Fuller, A. E. Prime, R.
Galway, Visct. Pusey, P.
Gaskell, J. M. Rendlesham, Lord
Goddard, A. L. Richards, R.
Gooch, E. S. Rushout, Capt.
Gordon, Adm. Scott, hon. F.
Gore, V. R. O. Sibthorp, Col.
Granby, Marq. of Smyth, J. G.
Grogan, E. Somerset, Capt.
Guernsey, Lord Stafford, A.
Gwyn, H. Stanford, J. F.
Hale, R. B. Stanley, E.
Halford, Sir H. Stanley, hon. E. H.
Hall, Col. Stuart, J.
Halsey, T. P. Sturt, H. G.
Hamilton, G. A. Talbot, C. R. M.
Hamilton, J. H. Taylor, T. E.
Harcourt, G. G. Thompson, Ald.
Harris, hon. Capt. Thornhill, G.
Heathcote, G. J. Tollemache, J.
Heneage, E. Townley, R. G.
Henley, J. W. Trollope, Sir J.
Herbert, H. A. Tyrell, Sir J. T.
Herries, rt. hon. J. C. Vesey, hon. T.
Hildyard, R. C. Vivian, J. E.
Hildyard, T. B. T. Vyse, R. H. R. H.
Hill, Lord E. Waddington, H. S.
Hood, Sir A. Walpole, S. H.
Walsh, Sir J, B. Yorke, hon. E. T.
Welby, G. E.
Williams, T. P. TELLERS.
Wodehouse, E. Berkeley, G. C. G.
Worcester, Marq. of Dunne, Col.
List of the NOES.
Abdy, Sir T. N. Damer, hon. Col.
Acland, Sir T. D. Dashwood, Sir G. H.
Adair, H. E. Davie, Sir H. R. F.
Adair, R. A. S. Dawson, hon. T. V.
Alcock, T. Denison, J. E.
Anderson, A. Divett, E.
Anson, hon. Col. Douglas, Sir C. E.
Anson, Visct. Douro, Marq. of
Anstey, T. C. Drummond, H. H.
Armstrong, Sir A. Duff, G. S.
Armstrong, R. B. Duff, J.
Bagshaw, J. Duke, Sir J.
Baines, rt. hon. M. T. Duncan, Visct.
Baring, rt. hon. Sir F. T. Duncan, G.
Barnard, E. G. Duncuft, J.
Bass, M. T. Dundas, Adm.
Beckett, W. Dundas, rt. hon. Sir D.
Bellew, R. M. Ebrington, Visct.
Berkeley, Adm. Ellice, rt. hon. E.
Berkeley, hon. H. F. Ellice, E.
Berkeley, C. L. G. Ellis, J.
Bernal, R. Elliott, hon. J. E.
Birch, Sir T. B. Estcourt, J. B. B.
Blackall, S. W. Evans, Sir D. L.
Bouverie, hon. E. P. Evans, J.
Boyle, hon. Col. Evans, W.
Brand, T. Ewart, W.
Bright, J. Fagan, W.
Brocklehurst, J. Fagan, J.
Brockman, E. D. Ferguson, Col.
Brotherton, J. Ferguson, Sir R. A.
Brown, H. Fitzroy, hon. H.
Brown, W. Foley, J. H. H.
Browne, R. D. Fordyce, A. D.
Bulkeley, Sir R. B. W. Forster, M.
Burke, Sir T. J. Fortescue, C.
Butler, P. S. Fortescue, hon. J. W.
Buxton, Sir E. N. Freestun, Col.
Campbell, hon. W. F. Gibson, rt. hon. T. M.
Cardwell, E. Gladstone, rt. hon. W. E.
Carter, J. B. Glyn, G. C.
Caulfeild, J. M. Goulburn, rt. hon. H.
Cavendish, hon. C. C. Grace, O. D. J.
Cavendish, hon. G. H Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.
Cavendish, W. G. Granger, T. C.
Chaplin, W. J. Greene, J.
Charteris, hon. P. Greene, T.
Childers, J. W. Grenfell, C. P.
Clay, J. Grenfell, C. W.
Clay, Sir W. Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.
Clerk, rt. hon. Sir G. Grosvenor, Lord R.
Clifford, H. M. Grosvenor, Earl
Cobden, R. Guest, Sir J.
Cockburn, A. J. E. Hall, Sir B.
Cocks, T. S. Hallyburton, Lord J. F.
Coke, hon. E. K. Hardcastle, J. A.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. Harris, R.
Collins, W. Hastie, A.
Corry, rt. hon. H. L. Hastie, A.
Cowan, C. Hatchell, J.
Cowper, hon. W. F. Hawes, B.
Craig, Sir W. G. Hayter, rt. hon. W. G.
Crawford, W. S. Headlam, T. E.
Crowder, R. B. Heald, J.
Dalrymple, Capt. Heathcoat, J.
Heneage, G. H. W. Ogle, S. C. H.
Henry, A. Ord, W.
Herbert, rt. hon. S. Osborne, R.
Heywood, J. Paget, Lord A.
Heyworth, L. Paget, Lord C.
Hobhouse, rt. hon. Sir J. Paget, Lord G.
Hobhouse, T. B. Palmer, R.
Hodges, T. L. Palmerston, Visct.
Hodges, T. T. Parker, J.
Hogg, Sir J. W. Patten, J. W.
Hollond, R. Pearson, C.
Howard, Lord E. Pechell, Sir G. B.
Howard, hon. C. W. G. Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.
Howard, P. H. Peel, F.
Howard, Sir R. Pelham, hon. D. A.
Hughes, W. B. Perfect, R.
Hutchins, E. J. Peto, S. M.
Hutt, W. Pigott, F.
Jervis, Sir J. Pilkington, J.
Jocelyn, Visct. Pinney, W.
Johnstone, Sir J. Power, Dr.
Keating, R. Price, Sir R.
Keogh, W. Raphael, A.
Ker, R. Rawdon, Col.
Kershaw, J. Reid, Col.
Kildare, Marq. of Reynolds, J.
King, hon. P. J. L. Ricardo, J. L.
Labouchere, rt. hon. H. Ricardo, O.
Lascelles, hon. W. S. Rice, E. R.
Lawless, hon. C. Rich, H.
Legh, G. C. Rebartes, T. J. A.
Lemon, Sir C. Roebuck, J. A.
Lewis, rt. hon. Sir T. F. Romilly, Sir J.
Lewis, G. C. Rumbold, C. E.
Lindsay, hon. Col. Russell, Lord J.
Littleton, hon. E. R. Russell, hon. E. S.
Loch, J. Russell, F. C. H.
Locke, J. Rutherfurd, A.
Lushington, C. Salwey, Col.
M'Cullagh, W. T. Scholefield, W.
M'Gregor, J. Scrope, G. P.
M'Taggart, Sir J. Scully, F.
Mahon, The O'Gorman Seymour, Lord
Mahon, Visct. Sheil, rt. hon. R. L.
Mangles, R. D. Simeon, J.
Marshall, J. G. Slaney, R. A.
Marshall, W. Smith, rt. hon. R. V.
Martin, J. Smith, J. A.
Martin, C. W. Smith, J. B.
Martin, S. Smollett, A.
Masterman, J. Somers, J. P.
Matheson, J. Somerville, rt. hon Sir W.
Matheson, Col. Spearman, H. J.
Maule, rt. hon. F. Stansfield, W. R. C.
Milner, W. M. E. Stanton, W. H.
Mitchell, T. A. Staunton, Sir G. T.
Moffatt, G. Stuart, Lord D.
Molesworth, Sir W. Stuart, Lord J.
Monsell, W. Sullivan, M.
Morgan, H. K. G. Sutton, J. H. M.
Morison, Sir W. Talbot, J. H.
Morris, D. Tancred, H. W.
Mostyn, hon. E. M. L. Tenison, E. K.
Mowatt, F. Thicknesse, R. A.
Muntz, G. F. Thompson, Col.
Mure, Col. Thompson, G.
Norreys, Lord Thornely, T.
Norreys, Sir D. J. Tollemache, hon. F. J.
Nugent, Lord Towncley, J.
O'Brien, Sir T. Townshend, Capt.
O'Connell, M. Tufnell, H.
O'Connell, M. J. Turner, G. J.
O'Flaherty, A. Tynte, Col. C. J. K.
Vane, Lord H. Wilson, J.
Verney, Sir H. Wilson, M.
Villiers, hon. C. Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Vivian, J. H. Wood, W. P.
Wakley, T. Wortley, rt. hon. J. S.
Walmsley, Sir J. Wrightson, W. B.
Walter, J. Wyld, J.
Watkins, Col. L. Wyvill, M.
Wegg Prosser, F. R. Young, Sir J.
Wellesley, Lord C.
Willcox, B. M. TELLERS.
Williams, J. Hill, Lord M.
Williamson, Sir H. Grey, R. W.

The House adjourned at a quarter after Two o'clock till Thursday.