HC Deb 13 February 1851 vol 114 cc509-604

Order read for resuming Adjourned Debate [11th Feb.]—Debate resumed.


said, that in the observations he felt it to be his duty to offer to the House on this occasion, he should endeavour (as far as it was possible for him to do so) to compress them; be-cause, in the first place, he believed it was the desire of the House to divide this evening, and also because many Gentlemen of this considerable and important interest were anxious to deliver their sentiments on this occasion. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the answer he had made to his hon. Friend the Member for Buckingham-shire, certainly went into a great many extraneous topics, and had also dwelt upon I points which had no reference to the subject in debate. They had now had five years' experience of free trade; they had now been for five years in "a state of transition," as it had been called, and the result was, that the agriculturists now found themselves in a worse condition than they had ever been at any previous time. They had not advanced, as far as their material interests were concerned; but they had made a considerable advance in winning for themselves the public sympathy. A reference had this Session been made to them in Her Majesty's Speech; the agriculturists, and the sufferings endured by them, were not denied—last year they had been repudiated; and, perchance, if public affairs went on in this way they might be alluded to in a future Session of Parliament as "the late much lamented and respected interest." Now, in order to show the depreciation of the property; of the agricultural interest, he would remark that there was grown on the average annually in this country 24,000,000 quarters of wheat; that by the depreciation of the price of that wheat from 56s. to 37s. the quarter—that was, very nearly 11. a quarter—the depreciation in the value of the produce of the British; farmer on that one article alone was 24,000,000l.; and if they looked to the whole of the crops, including wheat, the reduction of 30 per cent on the price of their produce was no less than 60,000,000l. This then being the case of the agricul- tural interest at the present moment, what was the course that his hon. Friend had taken? His hon. Friend had asked of the House of Commons, in a speech of great moderation—of great ability—of great research, the result of infinite labour—he asked of the House of Commons to do—what? His hon. Friend asked of the House not to reverse that policy which had been adopted, but to reconsider the taxation of the country; and to see whether they could not relieve the landed interest of burdens that at all times had been unjust, but, by reason of the competition to which it was now exposed, had become intolerable. That then was the very moderate proposition which had been offered to the House, and he could not think that they would have the rashness or the temerity to reject it. His right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the few observations that he had directed to the Motion of his hon. Friend the Member for Buckinghamshire, did not venture to say that the proposition was unjust; but he said that there was a difficulty in relieving the agricultural interest of the weight of the burden of which they complained. He hoped the attention of the House and the country would be directed to the ground upon which his right hon. Friend resisted the Motion, because be thought a lesson was to be learned, and a moral was to be drawn from the statement his right hon. Friend had made. He said he bad been taunted with not being a freetrader in sincerity, and with not carrying out his principles, and he (the Marquess of Granby) again asserted that the right, hon. Gentleman was not an absolute freetrader—that he could not lay claim to the name of an unconditional freetrader. But his right hon. Friend declared that he was not only a freetrader, but he had also to consider how the revenue was to be raised in a manner that would be at the same time most efficacious for the pub-lie service, and least vexatious to the subject. Why, that was a feeling in which they all participated; but if his only object was to raise a revenue, ho wished to know whether he did not admit that according as the duty was levied or taken off a particular production, that production would not be discouraged or stimulated? If that was not the case, why did he object to put a duty upon the importation of foreign corn? If it raised the price to the consumer, it would assuredly benefit the producer. But, then, his right hon. Friend said that he wanted to have corn at the natural price of the market—to let the people have it as cheap as they could. Now, the price of corn in England and the natural price of corn were two very different things. The natural price of corn in England was that price which arose in consequence of the heavy burdens that had been placed on its producers. It was not the price which was now given to the British farmer—when he received but 38s. the quarter. The natural price in England was a great deal more than that. But if his right hon. Friend was so anxious for cheap foreign corn and for cheap bread, why was he not also as anxious to obtain cheap British bread? Why not have cheap British bread as well as cheap foreign bread? Now, in asking that question, he was not going over again the various items of taxation to which the British farmer was subjected—such as poor-rates, county rates, &c. He would but take a single article, that of labour, to show the difficulties to which the British fanner was exposed. He asked why it was that the British farmer had to pay so much higher wages than the foreign producer? It was partly because, and he thanked God for it, the English labourer was better off than the foreign labourer—but it was also because he had to pay taxes on almost everything that he consumed—taxes on tea, taxes on beer, taxes on sugar, taxes on tobacco, taxes upon almost everything that he consumed, and everything that he wore. Such was the reason why the farmer paid to the English labourer higher wages than foreign labourers received. And so it was with every other class connected with the land—all paid taxes—the miller, the seller of flour, the baker—every one who came in between the producer and the consumer paid heavy taxes. This, then, was the reason why they called upon the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he would not aid them with respect to foreign competition, at least to enable them to meet that competition by relieving them from that burden of taxation which pressed them down. But then his right hon. Friend, with a mournful countenance and in piteous accents, asked them how were they to make up the deficiency? He replied to his right hon. Friend, they (the protectionists) had nothing to do with that—they had not introduced a system that was ruining the best men in the country, which was compelling their farmers and their labourers to emigrate. He said that those who had introduced that system were bound to find a remedy against it. It had been suggested in Her Majesty's Speech, that a remedy might be found in the flourishing condition of all other classes—that if the manufacturers were flourishing, so must the agriculturists; but, in making that suggestion, one very important consideration had been overlooked. It had been perfectly true, that, as long as the British manufacturers were supplied by the produce of the British farmer, the British farmer did partake in the prosperity of the British manufacturing interest; but now the manufacturing interest repaired for its corn to Poland, America, Russia, and Egypt, and gave to those countries the benefit of manufacturing prosperity; whilst the British agricultural interest did not, and could not, participate in it. They had been told that it would be no advantage to the British farmer to cultivate tobacco—that it would be unprofitable—that the duty on foreign tobacco produced 4,000,000l., and that they would not peril the loss of 4,000,000l. to enable the British farmer to grow tobacco. But if the cultivation of tobacco would be unprofitable to the British farmer, what fear could the right hon. Gentleman have of the revenue being affected by its produce? With regard to local burdens, his hon. Friend the Member for Buckinghamshire had said, that out of the 12,000,000l. paid by the country, the agricultural and landed interest paid 7,000,000l. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer denied that—he said, Oh, there was the ground-rent of houses, and other matters, that came under the description of land. He believed that was a case of total misapprehension on the part of the right hon. Gentleman. He had also referred to the increased value given to laud by railroads, canals, and other improvements. Why, he was really astonished, that, in the House of Commons, and in the year 1851, it should be asserted by a Chancellor of the Exchequer, because justice had been done to other classes, there was no justice to be done to the agriculturists. He had referred to the number of paupers receiving poor relief, and had observed, as being rather curious, that the amount expended in the maintenance of the poor for the half-year ending Michaelmas last, had been diminished fully 10 per cent; but then they were told that the reduction in the price of provisions was equal to 30 per cent, and, therefore, either the reductions in the price of food was a fallacy, or there had not been a proportional reduction in the number of paupers relieved. The right hon. Gentleman referred to the returns from Ireland, but he had omitted to include Scotland. It was extraordinary, that, in taking a great national view of the question, the right hon. Gentleman should have left out so important a part of the united kingdom. He found the amount expended in Scotland to September in 1850 was 581,000l., and the amount expended to September in 1849 was 577,000l., showing an increase of 4,000l. in the last year. It appeared to him that there were three important considerations to be kept in view in looking at the diminution of pauperism, and which it was very necessary should be observed if they wished to arrive at a right and just conclusion. They should first know what was the amount of emigration; secondly, the number employed upon the roads; and, thirdly, the number receiving employment by means of private subscriptions. He had made some inquiry upon two of those points in the parishes nearest to his residence, and the results were as follow:—in the first parish the number employed on the roads was 2, emigrated 20; in the second parish, 4 were employed on the roads, 12 emigrated; third parish, 2 on the roads, 8 emigrated; fourth parish, 3 emigrated; fifth parish, 18 on the roads, 20 unemployed, 10 emigrated; sixth parish, 5 on the roads, a large number would be unemployed, were it not for the drainage now being carried on ["Hear, hear!"]—and a great number had emigrated. With reference to the cheer raised when he was reading that a number of labourers were employed in draining, ho begged to state, that landlords were draining now to an immense extent, in order to furnish employment to labourers, who would otherwise be thrown upon the poor-rate. From another parish, the return he obtained was to this effect:—"Within two years not fewer than 70 persons have emigrated, and between 20 and 30 within the last week." These were facts which might lead the most ardent freetraders to doubt the soundness of their policy. The ratepayers of the parish of Oundle, in Northamptonshire, with the view of checking the rapid increase of pauperism, had subscribed a sum of money, out of which they paid married labourers 8s., and single labourers 7s. a week. The result was, that there was a tendency to reduce wages generally to that standard throughout the county. The insurrection in Barham had been admitted that night, as well as the distressed condition of the cotton weavers of Carlisle, and doubtless similar cases might be pointed out in other parts of the kingdom. This was not a gratifying state of affairs. He now came to the boast of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that the condition of the labourer was satisfactory under the system of free trade. He believed that if the agricultural labourer was asked whether he would have proportional high wages and a high price of food, or proportional low wages and cheap food, that he would at once say that he would prefer the former. He would tell the House why. If the labourer had money in his pocket, and the corn or any other article that he had to buy was dear, he might abstain from using the same quantity of it as he would otherwise do, and have more money to expend on other things. Suppose the price of bread was high, he would consume half the quantity of bread, and a greater quantity of meat or something else. Although the rate of wages might not be immediately reduced to the same level as the price of grain, it was to be borne in mind that the price of bread did not immediately fall with the price of corn. He found that the average saving to the labourer between wheat at 56s. and wheat at 36s. the quarter, did not exceed 14s.16¼ per annum.

500 lbs. of bread at 56s. is, per lb. 1.341
500 lbs. of bread at 36s. is, per lb. 0.844
Difference 0.480
Weekly 3.360
Or with a family of three, one 4-lb. loaf per day, 2l. 18s. per annum, or only equal to a reduction in wages of 1s. 1d. a week.
From these facts it was evident that the condition of the labourer was not so prosperous as had been represented by the right hon. Gentleman under the free-trade system. With regard to the statement that the country generally had derived advantage from the diminished price of the necessaries of life, he would refer to the evidence of the right hon. Gentleman himself before the Salaries' Committee. The question was asked whether a reduction in the expenses of society had taken place to any great extent in the class of living to which the persons holding these offices belonged— The question," said the right hon. Gentleman, "asked by the hon. Member for East Kent, I have already answered. I have already said that I did not think the expense and style of living of persons in the higher ranks of society has diminished; on the contrary, I think it has increased. The right hon. Gentleman was then asked, are house-rent, wages, or taxes at all diminished? and his answer was— Wages have increased, house rent I do not think is lower, and there is no material diminution in the expenses of gentlemen of ordinary fortune. Now if there was no diminution in the expenses of gentlemen of ordinary fortune, he would be glad to know why there should be any reduction in the expenses of living of the poor man? He had now gone through those portions of the right hon. Gentleman's speech that referred to the speech of his hon. Friend the Member for Buckinghamshire. He had avoided touching upon the question of whether the prosperity of the manufacturing and other interests had been as great as was represented by the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He had purposely avoided that, because the question was foreign to that mooted by his hon. Friend the Member for Buckinghamshire. He had avoided it because that increased prosperity was an argument in favour of the Motion of his hon. Friend. At the same time he felt it a duty to himself, and to the class with which he had the honour of acting—he felt it his duty to the House of Commons generally, that he should state honestly his own convictions, founded upon deep and long consideration, that these interests were not so flourishing as had been represented by the right hon. Gentleman. He believed that that prosperity was fast waning, though this was not the time for inquiring into the subject. He was anxious also to state his conviction—a conviction which had been heightened and had received increased force from the course of the present debate, and more especially from the nervous and hesitating speech of his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that they would be obliged, and that ere long, whether they liked it or did not like it, to return to a system of protectional duty—that they would be obliged, whether they liked it or not, to admit the justice of the principle that for every tax they placed upon the home producer, an equivalent tax should be placed upon the foreign importers. That was his own private conviction, and he should not be dealing fairly with the House if he hesitated to declare it, which he hoped he had done without offence to any person. His hon. Friend the Member for Buckinghamshire had expressed a wish that the noble Lord at the head of the Administration had come forward and proposed some relief to the agricultural interest. He (the Marquess of Granby) could assure the noble Lord that he cordially concurred with every word his hon. Friend had uttered; and it was in no spirit of hostility that he now told him that, if he refused to do anything for the landed interest, after admitting their distresses, and expressing his belief that every other interest was prospering, the public at large would come to the conclusion either that the noble Lord was not sincere in the conviction which he expressed of the prosperity of the country generally, or, if he was sincere in that belief, that his only rule of public conduct was to oppress the greatest interest of the empire, the interest upon which all the others depended, and that his only principle of legislation was to tax the energies of the industrial classes of the community.


Sir, I am obliged to the House for permitting me to follow the noble Marquess who has just spoken. On a former evening, if two speeches had not occupied so large a portion of time, it would have been my desire to have addressed the House even then upon what I conceive to be a question of the greatest moment; and, considering the present juncture of public affairs and the state of parties, I was anxious to have stated my opinions without disguise, and with a frankness similar to that of the noble Marquess. I am glad, however, that a short time has intervened for considering the question, because I had much rather, in all such cases, that a short opportunity should be given for reflection, in preference to at once expressing what my first impressions would lead me to state.

Before I proceed farther I shall, with great pleasure, mention two or three points in which I agree with the noble Marquess who has just sat down. I cordially join with him in commending—I was going to say, though I can hardly venture to use that word—but I cordially agree in saying with him that the speech of the hon. Gentleman who made this Motion was exemplary for its moderation and ability. I beg to say also, that I am prepared to follow the example of the noble Marquess, to use no subterfuge or disguise, but to declare my opinion openly, avoiding as much as I can any cause of offence to any one. The noble Marquess told us that upon two leading points he had expressed his opinions without disguise: first, that the great body of the working classes, including the agricultural labourers, have not been gainers by I the recent changes in our fiscal policy; and next, that it was his deliberate opinion, upon reflection, that sooner or later it would be found expedient to return to a system of protection. The noble Marquess enunciated these two principles, and at the same time added, what was wholly unnecessary, that he hoped that in doing so he had said nothing offensive to the House. I am sure the noble Marquess need not have apprehended such a result. Now, Sir, I mean to join issue with the noble Marquess upon both those points. I trust also that in the manner in which I shall argue this question, I may omit, what he has so entirely avoided, using one word which may be disagreeable to the feelings of any Gentleman who differs from me.

The hon. Member who made the Motion expressed a hope that there would be no outcry against rent in debating this question. Now, from me the hon Member can anticipate no such attack upon rent; for upon rent depends all that the person who now addresses the House possesses in the world. If rents are increased, no one will probably be a greater gainer than I shall be by such an increase; and, if they materially fall, there is no one on whom a greater injury will be inflicted by the depreciation. Then, again, the hon. Member said he hoped there would be no attacks upon the English farmer. Why, I should be the most ungrateful of men living if, upon any occasion, I allowed one word to escape my lips injurious to the character of the English farmer. I have known them long—I have been associated with them in times of prosperity and of difficulty. I can only speak with perfect knowledge of my own tenantry; but I must say that, high as has been my admiration of the English farmer at all times, that opinion within the last three or four years has been greatly exalted—for I have never seen a body of men who have encountered difficulties, and the extraordinary discouragement attendant upon those difficulties, with equal firmness, equal patience, or equal fidelity in the performance of their fixed engagements. I should, therefore, be the most ungrateful man living if, with these impressions, I should fail to give utterance to them at every fitting time and place, and particularly in the House of Commons. I think there are some admissions which, in order to argue the question fairly, may well be made on both sides. I admit that the depreciation in the price of corn has been somewhat greater than I had anticipated. I also admit that the duration of that depreciation has been longer than I anticipated. On the other hand, the hon. Gentleman who introduced the Motion made a very large admission, as it appears to me. If I did not misunderstand him, he admitted that, excepting the landlords and the occupiers of the soil, the general condition of the great body of the people of this country was prosperous, happy, and contented. Now, I conceive that this is an immense admission. But the noble Marquess who has just sat down has somewhat retracted that admission; for he argued that the agricultural labourer had not partaken of the general prosperity. Now, the question of the condition of the labourer lies at the root of the whole subject, in my opinion. I do not undervalue the importance of the landlord—I do not undervalue the importance of the farmer—but still, whether speaking numerically or as regards the happiness, peace, and welfare of the community, I cannot overlook, I cannot but regard as paramount, the condition, the welfare, and the happiness of the great body of the people, including the agricultural labourer.

The hon. Member for Buckinghamshire hoped that we should not be inundated with statistical returns respecting the poor-law. I had thought that portion of the subject had been nearly exhausted by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and I should therefore very unwillingly have reverted to it to-night; but the noble Marquess has re-introduced it, and it is impossible not to recall to his recollection, and to that of the House, some points which have been established, by indisputable documentary evidence, by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I might go to any part of the united kingdom, but I shall first take Ireland. There is a remarkable document which has been laid on the table of the House since the commencement of this Session, and which, I confess, has far exceeded my most sanguine expectations, and that return refers to Ireland. Will the House believe that while, in 1848, 1,400,000 ablebodied men were receiving relief—not within the walls of the workhouse, but out of the House—that while, in 1849, the number was 1,210,000, in the last year this frightful and enormous amount of persons receiving relief out of the workhouse was reduced to 372,000? With respect to Ireland, this is the most satisfactory fact which has been presented to my knowledge. Now, with regard to England, it will be recollected that according to the doctrine of the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire the poor-rate is the leading local burden which falls upon the farmer and landowner. Well, the amount of money expended for the maintenance and outdoor relief of the poor in England in 1850 was about 400,000l. less than the sum expended in 1849—an amount of reduction equal to 10 per cent on the whole charge. Nor is this the most satisfactory circumstance, for the number of ablebodied poor receiving relief in 1850 was reduced about 14 per cent on the whole. The noble Marquess also referred to Scotland; and here also, although I have no knowledge of the matter beyond what documentary testimony affords, I cannot help thinking the noble Marquess fell into a great error with respect to the increase of pauperism in Scotland; for I find that in 1850 the number of casual poor so far diminished as to be less than it has been in any other year since the Poor Law Amendment of August 1845, came into operation. But, before I refer to this document, I beg to say that I should not have been surprised to have heard that there was some increase, because my own impression has always been that a very scanty measure of relief was dealt out to the poor of Scotland; and I should not, therefore, have been sorry to have heard that there had been some increase of relief. Still, I have the greatest confidence in the Board of Commissioners which administers relief there. I know that they are most anxious that strict justice should be done between the claims of pauperism on the one hand, and the expenses borne by property on the other. I know that they are most anxious that, on the one hand, every just claim presented to them should be met in the spirit of mercy and kindness; and that, on the other, everything that is an encouragement to idleness, and to indigence arising from idleness, should be withheld. Well, what are the facts with regard to pauperism in Scotland? So far from there being an increase, it appears from the report which has just been presented to the House— That from 1845, when the recent Act came into operation, and for at least ten years previous to that date, the expenditure on account of relief to the poor, exclusive of other charges, has exhibited a constant annual increase till—when?—till the year ending May, 1850, when, for the first time it has so far decreased as to be 22,695l. less than that of the preceding year, and 9.032l. less than that of the year ending May, 1848. But that is not all. It appears further that the number of registered poor relieved during the year ending May, 1849, was 106,434; and during the year ending May, 1850, 101,454, showing a diminution of 5,000; that the number of poor who died, or ceased to receive relief, in the year ending May, 1849, was 24,077, and in the year ending May, 1850, 22,423, showing a decrease of about 1,600; that the number of poor on the register in May, 1849, was 82,357, and in May, 1850, 79,031, showing a decrease of 3,326; and that the number of casual poor—one of the heaviest charges in Scotland, arising from the immense amount of immigration from Ireland—the number of casual poor relieved during the year ending May, 1849, was 95,686, and in the year ending May, 1850, 53,070, showing a diminution of 42,616. But the noble Marquess said, with great truth, that a very large proportion of the indirect taxation of this country is borne by the large mass of the community. But the moment he makes that admission, I look to the state of the revenue. I remember, on a former occasion, I dwelt upon the remarkable fact, that 31,000,000l. of our annual revenue were raised from the great body of the community on the necessaries of life, or on articles hardly of luxury, but to them of primary importance, such as tobacco, spirits, beer, the produce of malt, tea, sugar, coffee, &c. Now, what can be a more direct test of the general prosperity of the community than when, notwithstanding the great remission of taxes which has recently taken place, the Customs and Excise are maintained almost without any diminution, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer meets Parliament with a surplus of nearly 3,000,000l.; and when, coincident with the absence of defalcation in taxation, it is admitted by the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire that there is prosperity and happiness among the great body of the people? My surprise is very little diminished when I look to another official return which was also laid on the table yesterday. What is the great cause of prosperity among the working classes? Why, ample demand for workmen, and employment and good wages consequent on competition to obtain labourers. In the history of this great commercial country there never was a time when the value of our exports, which are the produce of our industry, amounted to anything like the sum that it appears by these accounts they did last year. That amount is almost fabulous—it is hardly credible. Up to the 1st of January, 1851, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer informed you, it would be found that the value of the exports exceeded the sum of 70,000,000l. sterling within the year. I do not wish to go into all those matters too much in detail, but I will just run over a few facts which bear on the question before us. Falsification of prophecies Why, Sir, I have admitted that some of the expectations I had formed have not been realised; and prophecies are always very dangerous things when they relate to the prices of a fluctuating commodity, dependent on the variation of the seasons; but let me here recall to mind some of the prophecies which were made with respect to the repeal of the navigation laws. Is not the increase of tonnage outwards a proof of increased export of British commodities? and, if so, I will show you there has been an actual increase of British shipping and British tonnage outwards. [Mr. HERRIES: "Outwards?"] Yes. Notwithstanding all the experience of my right hon. Friend, I still challenge him to prove to the House that outward tonnage is not a test of export of British commodities—the results of British ingenuity and labour. [Mr. HERRMIES: What of tonnage inwards?] My right hon. Friend wishes to come to tonnage inwards. Well, I think the diminution of British tonnage inwards is not above 3,000 or 4,000 tons. [Mr. HERRIES: It is 330,000 tons.] My right hon. Friend is generally very accurate in these matters, and perhaps a reference to the returns will set the question at rest. The returns I refer to were put into the hands of hon. Members this day. My right hon. Friend is correct, and I am in error. I can assure hon. Gentlemen below me, it is not my wish to mar their triumph, or to misstate any fact. I will come to the figures which I have in the return before me. As to the question of outward tonnage, there is a matter of dispute between me and my right hon. Friend, whether it is a fair test of the prosperity of the trade of the country or not; but, passing that by, I will quote the figures of the returns in my hand. It appears, then, that the number of British ships cleared outwards in 1850 was 17,169; the number cleared out in 1851 was 17,648. The tonnage of the shipping in 1850 amounted to 3,762,000 tons. The tonnage in 1851 was 3,960,000 tons; showing an increase of tonnage outwards for the latter year. We now come to the tonnage inwards of British ships from the united kingdom and its dependencies. The tonnage of British shipping and British colonial shipping in 1850 amounted to 4,390,000 tons. The tonnage for 1851 was 4,000,078 tons. Now, I admit I was inaccurate, and that I thought the difference of tonnage inwards much less; but I still repeat I am surprised, considering all the circumstances of the last two years, that the difference was not much greater. Why, did you not predict there would be a great increase of the United States' shipping inwards? When I look to the returns I see the American tonnage cleared inwards, in 1850, was 587,000 tons, while the tonnage cleared inwards, in 1851, was 595,000 tons—a very inconsiderable increase, but the number of American ships entering British ports in 1851 was only 748, as contrasted with 896 in 1850. That I conceive to be, when I remember what I regard as the peculiar circumstance of large importations of corn during the last two years, a fact which, on the whole, is a falsification of the prophecies which were made on the part of my hon. Friends who opposed the policy of those years, and looked with alarm at competition with the shipping of the United States of America.

But, in consequence of the cheer of my right hon. Friend, I hare been led further into this part of the subject than I had intended. And now to return to the more immediate question before us. After all, Sir, the test of the real prosperity and well-being of the great body of the people is one which I am afraid hon. Gentlemen sitting on this side of the House will not think with me a certain and infallible one; but it is one which I put higher than any of the rest, and than all the rest taken together. And what is it? It is that of which the landed interest are accustomed to complain—the immense importation of foreign wheat and flour. Millions of quarters of wheat and flour have been imported; they have been paid for—they have been consumed. How have they been consumed? Why, I believe millions of mouths have been fed with wheaten bread which, but for these importations, would have wanted food; and that, I say, after all, is the most conclusive evidence that can be adduced of the real prosperity and welfare of the people of this country.

Sir, the hon. Member for Carlisle (Mr. Hodgson) introduced the subject of the state of my neighbours in Cumberland, and more particularly the condition of the weavers in Carlisle. Now, I will first touch on the question of the weavers. Now, the hon. Member omitted to inform the House what is the peculiar character of the cotton trade in Carlisle and its vicinity. He did not tell us that it is a hopeless competition between handloom weaving and machinery; and I remember stating before to the House a circumstance which makes this competition peculiarly unfortunate—that this handloom weaving, struggling thus, as I believe, in vain against machinery, is embarrassed by this peculiar difficulty—that it is the manufacture into which the largest quantity of the raw material enters—it is a trade in heavy cotton goods containing the largest quantity of the raw material. It happens most unfortunately for the handloom weavers that the price of raw cotton has greatly risen, and the usual employers of handloom weavers have been increasing their power of machinery to meet the difficulty, and in order to encounter the high price of cotton are passing from handloom weaving to the greater use of power-looms. This is a peculiar circumstance of recent origin, but I am bound to say I have always felt and thought that the days of handloom weaving were all but numbered, and that the struggle with the power-looms must end in defeat. But this is a question of the price of cotton, and, strange as it may be, it opens out a ray of hope even to the landed interest. Whence does this ray come? Why, it comes from the quarter whence they least expected it:— —"Via prima salutis, Quod minimá reris, Graià pandetur ab urbe. It is from the mills of Messrs. Bright and Co. It is from Rochdale that this light of hope opens on the landed interest. Hopes are entertained—confident hopes—that by a new management of the flax stalk flax wool may be used in large proportions, and with great advantage and diminution of cost in mixture with cotton wool, sheep's wool, and even with silk. And, Sir, for my part, I cannot conceive any dispensation of Providence more merciful than that science and skill should succeed in overcoming this difficulty, whereby we should be rendered in a great degree independent of foreign supply in the great staple of our textile manufactures, while a great stimulus would be given to them; and if, happily, this encouragement to the cultivation of flax here should succeed, I am very confident we shall hear no more of the distress of those handloom weavers, and that the cultivation of land will be largely improved by the introduction of capital in growing this new plant, and that this plant will be of peculiar service to the agriculturist from its being peculiarly adapted to increase the fertility of the soil. I pass from the handloom weavers to the farmers and landlords of Cumberland. I know none of the cases to which the hon. Member alluded when he adverted to a farm which has been recently relet in Cumberland at a considerable diminution of rent. The noble Marquess has spoken of his labourers. Perhaps I may here be permitted to say a few words respecting my tenantry. I have already stated to you the infinite obligations I am placed under by the conduct of my tenantry; Sir, I stand hero this moment without an acre of land unlet which I wish to let. I have not for the last five years changed two tenants who pay me above 100l. a year, and I have not an arrear of 300l. on my whole rental. That is the state of my county, so far as I am concerned. But I look to the estate of my neighbour, of my colleague, and of my friend, as I am proud to call him—the Duke of Buccleuch; one of the greatest proprietors in the south of Scotland, and one who differed from me as to the policy of a change in the corn laws. He has not in Roxburghshire and Dumfries let land falling out of lease—and those leases are usually for nineteen years—at any diminution of rent. A case has been mentioned by the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire of a farm in East Lothian, and I dare say some hon. Member more conversant with the details of that property than I am will speak upon that point; but, as I am informed, the farm in question had been previously in the hands of the owner, and had never been let before—that it was never calculated to be worth more than 1,800l. a year—that some speculative farmer took it at 2,200l., that he made an imprudent and improvident bargain, and that a remission, therefore, has taken place, reducing the rent somewhat below 1,800l. a year, but not much. I have friends in East Lothian, and I have made it my business to inquire into these matters, and I am told farms let freely as they fall out of lease without any diminution of rent whatever; and also I am informed that the value of the fee-simple, which is the real test among the shrewd and sagacious people of Scotland, has increased since the repeal of the corn laws. I have said I have no farms to let; but I have perceived that since the repeal of the corn laws there has been a competition for land, arising among a class of persons with whom there was formerly no desire to occupy land, while there was the uncertainty which attended the operation of those laws. Shopkeepers retiring from business, small merchants in country towns—these persons attracted by the pleasures of an agricultural life—[Ironical cheering.] Yes, you laugh at that attraction. But I thought country gentlemen would have been the last to laugh, or to undervalue the charms of agriculture and of a country life, in which health, and air, and the simple enjoyments which nature affords, are largely given. But, I repeat it, that small traders of little capital in country towns are now waiting the moment to make investments in farms; the competition for farms on the fall of the lease is unusually great, and I know of my own knowledge that on any change of the present occupiers I could find men with good capital to take my farms. So much with respect to the state of affairs in my own immediate neighbourhood.

But now let us try another test. Are inclosures falling off? Is there any indisposition to bring land into cultivation in this country? Now, I am reminded of a melancholy event, because it relates to a noble Lord with whom I once lived on terms of great intimacy, and, though partial differences may have estranged us before his lamented death, I will never cease to speak of him as a man of great talent, of ability, and energy, of great perseverance in the pursuit of his objects, and of great sagacity in the selection of them. I speak of the late Lord George Bentinck. He was a great promoter of what has been called winning from the sea a new English county. Before his death the enterprise was not completed. Has it been abandoned since? I hear that it is going on as vigorously as ever, and that half of the Victoria county is to be gained. [Lord H. BENTINCK: 60,000 acres.] That, as my noble Friend, the Member for Lynn says, 60,000 acres of land are about being recovered by prudent and sagacious men, who have formed themselves into a company for the purpose of reclaiming half an English county from the sea. Sir, such has been the progress of economical science, that it would be useless to occupy time in any disquisition upon the great question of prices; but still it was touched upon by the noble Marquess, and I cannot avoid mentioning it generally. The cost of production in a long series of years must regulate the price of every commodity, but the market price is constantly for short periods not regulated by that rule. There are disturbing causes, which may make for short periods the market prices fall below the cost of production. The market price is often disturbed by seasons, and by consequent variations in the supply, without reference to the cost of production. Now, the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire rather sneered at the doctrine that the present prices are exceptional. But I should like those who sneer to answer a case of fact. It was touched upon by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but it cannot be too often recalled to the recollection of Members. There is a country under high protective duties on corn close to our shores, and yet disturbance of price has taken place in France even greater than here. I am informed that the price of wheat in the neighbourhood of Bordeaux not long ago was 28s. a quarter, and that under a high protective duty. The market price being below the cost of production the natural consequence necessarily follows, and capital is rapidly withdrawn from the cultivation of the soil. I am told that at the time of the revolution of 1848 there were 300,000 fundholders in France. There are now 800,000 fundholders. Thus rapidly has capital been withdrawn from the cultivation of land by reason of exceptional causes, partly political and partly economical; and what shows still more the character of political disturbances, as tending to withdraw capital there from the cultivation of the soil, there is in France at this moment a powerful disposition to hoard, as is evinced by the rate of exchange, and still more by the rise in the price of silver. It is true, that in calculating the sources whence corn might be expected to be imported into this country, any supply from France was not anticipated, and it now turns out, that while those who were afraid of an over-abundance of bread in this country thought the imports from the United States would be overwhelming, they have been far less than were anticipated; while from France, which was excluded from these calculations, the largest import of any foreign country has been drawn. What do I infer from this? That predictions as to price of wheat are most fallacious. I ask this question—Have we always been very accurate in our calculations? Have we, for instance, always been very accurate with respect to the cost of production, and as to what is a remunerating price in this country? I am, unhappily, grown old in these discussions. I remember the debates of 1815: we were then told that 80s. was the minimum remunerating price. I may be told that was under a depreciated standard of value. I lived, however, to see the discussion renewed in 1827, after the standard was restored, when suddenly the lowest remunerating price was declared to be 60s. I remember another discussion on the corn laws in 1842, when the remunerating price of 60s. was abandoned, and 56s. was declared to be the proper amount. And now, I believe, the landed interest, and I use that term in the meaning which has been given it in the debate, as signifying landlords and farmers, would be quite content to abandon 56s., and would be most thankful and satisfied with a remunerating price of somewhere from 48s. to 46s. I therefore cannot but observe that this matter of remunerating price is one which largely depends on the skill and industry of the grower, and is not an amount so fixed and certain as some Gentlemen imagine. You talk of disturbing causes; but were there no disturbing causes under your old corn laws? Yes—and they were far more disastrous in their, effects, and the low prices were more ruinous. The noble Marquess, accustomed to the old rule of reasoning on this subject, spoke of our annual produce being 24,000,000 quarters; but, grant that to be true, and what was the result? If in an abundant season there was an excess of 1,000,000 quarters—and it was impossible to avoid such an occurrence in the variation of seasons—the effect on the market was more instantaneous and powerful than any which, under the new law, and with a more extended market, can now occur. Why, I remember the year 1822, when Mr. Western moved for his Committee, when there had been some bad previous harvests, the result of which was to have a greater breadth of land sown than usual, that there was a good season, that there was a great redundancy of supply, and down went the prices at once to 44s. a quarter, and I believe for six weeks they were even under 40s. But that case is not so strong as that which took place in 1835, when the average for the year was only 39s. 2d., and for some weeks the price fell below any that has been yet reached even under free trade with the largest imports.

But, Sir, anxious as I am to admit any ground of complaint, I cannot, while I acknowledge the distress which unhappily prevails, lose sight of the fact that the Channel Islands, in view of the English coast, did enjoy perfect freedom in the trade for corn during the continuance of our protecting duties, and from their vicinity to England there was the greatest temptation held out to have as much corn stored up as was necessary, at least, for their own consumption; and yet what was the price of wheat during the protective system? For a long series of years it was, as I remember, but 48s. Now, I will not venture to make any prediction with respect to the price of corn in future; but this, Sir, I say, that, be the price what it may, the time has arrived when it must be left to find its natural level, and that for any Government or for any Legislature artificially, and by power of law, to enhance it—I say the day is gone by. And why do I say so? I say there is not a ploughboy who plods his weary way on the heaviest clay in England who does not feel practically his condition improved within the last three years—and he knows the reason why. I tell you there is not a shepherd on the most distant and barren hill of Scotland who does not now have daily a cheaper and a larger mess of porridge than he ever had before—and he also knows the reason why. I tell you again there is not a weaver in the humblest cottage in Lancashire who has not fuller and cheaper meals, without any fall in his wages, than he ever had before—and he knows the reason why. Now I must tell you the whole truth. The time has arrived when the truth without concealment must be spoken. I will speak of another class still. There is not a soldier who returns to England from abroad that does not practically feel that his daily pay is augmented, that he has a cheaper, larger, and a better mess, and that he enjoys greater comforts—and he also knows the reason. Now, Sir, I entreat my hon. Friends who sit below me to be on their guard. You may convulse the country— you may endanger property—you may shake our institutions to the foundations; but I am satisfied that there is no power in England which can permanently enhance by force of law the price of bread. That, Sir, is my honest and firm conviction. The peace of this country, my own possessions, are as dear to me as to any hon. Gentleman who sits on the benches below me; but I feel we have arrived at the period when it is necessary to speak the truth, 'and to bear it in mind, and I have spoken it without reservation.

And now, Sir, to look upon this question as one of taxation, as the noble Marquess says it is. He put it in the fairest possible manner. He says, the question we have to decide is in what way revenue can be raised with the least burden on the great body of the community. I accept that definition. Nothing can be more fairly put. The noble Marquess has observed on the fact that the labourer in this country is heavily taxed; that he pays taxes on his tobacco, his sugar, his tea, his beer, his spirits, &c. Now, the question that naturally presents itself to me when I hear that is, what is the reason why he should pay a tax on his bread also? Is it a reason for persevering in the endeavour to impose that tax? The noble Marquess asks, how is the deficiency of revenue to be made good if you remove the taxes on articles of primary necessity? and I was astonished, considering his high position, to hear him say that the question was not one for him or of any hon. Member on his side of the House to consider. Now, Sir, in my opinion, that is a question of paramount importance requiring a careful answer, and there is not a Member in this House who is not affected by it. If the establishments of the country are to be maintained and good faith kept, the deficiency arising from taxation ought to be the primary consideration of every hon. Member in the House. Now, the question is short and simple—it is, from what sources shall the revenue be raised? Will you tax labour, or will you tax capital, to the relief of labour, beyond its present burden? In other words, will you reverse your financial system and reimpose on industry those burdens from which realised capital asks to be relieved? That, Sir, was the great question which, as I thought, was decided in 1842. And here let me observe that that great decision has not been unproductive. I am speaking in the presence of Her Majesty's Ministers, and of the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Home Office. In 1842 I warned the House of the danger of continuing the then existing system of taxation. It has been changed, and the right hon. Gentleman, I think, will be able to tell you that there has been more social order and less seditious movement among the people for the last three years than at any former time; and I attribute that fact to our fiscal policy, to the care and attention bestowed upon the labouring classes, and the relief you have given them, in the price of their food, without reference to their occupation, whether connected with land or with trade.

And now, Sir, I am brought to the objections I entertain to this Motion, which are, that it is in effect, though not avowedly, an approximation to the reversal of the policy I have thus traced to its results. I feel those objections still more, because the words in which it is framed, though claiming to be plain, are studiously elusive, and present nothing tangible. It was said by the hon. Member who moved it, "I do not ask your votes in favour of any specific proposal. It is not my duty to bring one forward." Well, then, I say it is my duty to refuse my consent to a Motion the nature, extent, and tendency of which I cannot understand. Sir, there is a studied ambiguity not only in the Motion but in the very able speech in which that Motion was presented to us. Observe what that speech did. It presented to our consideration a great many things declared to be objectionable, but which the Mover did not seek to remove, and a great many things which he indicated as remedies, but refused to press. I will now take the first class of those charges which he described as objectionable, but which he did not propose to remove. The hon. Member referred to the prohibition of the growth of tobacco. Now, I am surprised that with all the astuteness of the hon. Member it did not appear to the hon. Member that, whether the extremely high duty upon tobacco were remitted or continued, one of two inevitable consequences would be produced. If the duty upon the importation of foreign tobacco were remitted, it would be impossible for it to be grown in this country; for it would come to us from all quarters of America and from many parts of Europe, where it can be produced at a much cheaper price, and of much better quality, and we should then make a great sacrifice of revenue without conferring the smallest advantage upon the landed interest. But, on the other hand, if you permit the growth of tobacco, and continue the present high duty upon foreign tobacco, you will he introducing protection in one of its most flagrant, most absurd, and most objectionable forms. You will be offering a premium to the growth of inferior tobacco to the full extent of the duty, and you will besides offer irresistible temptations to frauds upon the revenue and smuggling. The same objection applies to the growth of beetroot for sugar. If you grow it subject to no duty, and continue the existing duties upon foreign and colonial sugar, there is absurd protection. If you remit the duty upon sugar, in addition to that on tobacco, you will sacrifice 10,000,000l. of revenue, which must be supplied in some other way, while the British farmer would not derive the least benefit from the change, for he would be just as unable as he is now to compete with the grower of foreign sugar. I now come to the malt tax. I do not know what the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Disraeli) may have said upon this subject in former years. I do not think, however, that he is in favour of its repeal; and I am sure that the leader of his party in the other House, Lord Stanley, is not, for that noble Lord, in and out of office, has said that it would be inexpedient to repeal that tax; that it was paid, not by the producer, but by the consumer; and that its repeal would carry with it no benefit to the land commensurate with the loss to the revenue. These are, then, the first class of difficulties with which the hon. Gentleman said, the agriculturists had to contend, but which he did not seek to remove.

I now come to the second class of remedies which the hon. Gentleman indicated as desirable, but which were not pressed by him. The first was the cultivation of land en commandite. Now, the hon. Gentleman the Member for Nottingham (Mr. F. O'Connor)' has had some experience of the cultivation of land en commandite. He has tried the experiment. I do not know whether he is favourable to the plan, but I believe his partners were not, and I believe the only parties who derived any benefit from the scheme were the gentlemen in Westminster-hall. At all events, the experience we have had on this subject would not induce me to look for relief to the agricultural interest in this direction. The law of settlement was next adverted to by the hon. Gentleman. Now, I rejoice that the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Poor Law Board (Mr. Baines), who is now a part of the Government, has expressed an intention of dealing with the law on this subject. I have before expressed my opinion that the landed interest will gain extremely, by an alteration in the law of settlement, and gain in the most legitimate manner, because the agricultural labourer is, after all, the principal sufferer from the present state of the law. His labour is his only property, but by the force of the law you restrict the free employment of his labour within the circuit of one of 14,000 narrow circles; whereas, by adopting a union settlement in the place of a parish settlement, you do a great deal to emancipate the labourer, for you widen the sphere of his labour, and enable him to seek employment within 600 circles. But I warn the hon. Gentleman, if he has not well considered this matter, there are lions in his path. He will, if I mistake not, encounter the opposition of some distinguished representatives of the landed interest. The hon. Member for Dorsetshire (Mr. Bankes), and, I believe, the hon. Member for Oxfordshire (Mr. Henley), will be against him; and I suspect that the landed interest will be found very much divided in opinion as to the benefits of such an arrangement, and whether it would be desirable to introduce a union settlement and a union rate. But that is not the plan of the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire. He opened to our view the much larger measure of a national rate. It is true he did not pledge himself to support it, and I, for one, know no course that the House of Commons could take more dangerous in every respect than a measure having such a decidedly Socialist direction as instituting a claim to maintenance at the cost of the nation. A national rate for the relief of the poor would, as I believe, hand over the property of this country and the industry of this country to idleness and indigence—indigence, the fruit of that idleness, and idleness encouraged by the hope of relief from a boundless source. Such a measure would be Socialism, and Socialism in its most dangerous form. The hon. Gentleman also adverted to the commutation of tithes. Well, now, I say that the less the landowners say on this subject the better. I, as a landowner, am entirely satisfied with the bargain we have made. We had before the Title Commutation Act passed an ugly copartner in the soil, who, contribu- ting nothing of industry or capital, yet shared in all the produce of our industry and the profits of our capital. That growing claim to the increasing value and produce of the soil was cut short and ousted by what was certainly a very stringent, and, as I thought, very politic measure. But what was the effect? I think that the poet's advice to the domestic chaplain—"Stick to thy pudding, friend, and hold thy tongue," is applicable to us. The parson was not well pleased with the Act, but the country gentleman has every reason to be pleased with it. The parson in future shares in a fixed and immutable quantity, however much increased the amount of produce may be. He gets no share in any increase in quantity, and yet he shares in the diminished value of the increased quantity through the fall of price. My advice to the hon. Gentleman is, then, to let the Tithe Commutation Act remain untouched. The hon. Gentleman then came to the repeal of the Banking Act of 1844. Now, I would ask him when the supply of bullion in the coffers of the Bank has been more abundant than since the passing of that Act? I should like to know when the issues of paper, both by the Bank of England and the country banks, coincident with and justified by the amount of bullion in the Bank, have ever been more sound or more unrestricted? I should like to know when the rate of interest has ever been lower for commercial transactions or for mortgagees than during the last three years? And I tell the country gentlemen that if they seek to operate through the medium of the currency, they must go much further than the Bank Act of 1844. The hon. Member (Mr. Disraeli) went on to say that the best course which he, as a leader of Opposition, could take was to recommend that certain local burdens to be remitted should be placed upon the Consolidated Fund. Now, if we look merely at the tactics of a leader of Opposition, that may be so; but if we look at the public welfare, and the interests of public economy, then no more dangerous course would be pursued by the Government. I have had some experience, and I have observed that all charges once placed upon the Consolidated Fund are seldom revised, seldom abated, and never removed. That is my experience, and I am therefore jealous of placing local charges upon the Consolidated Fund.

But then I may innocently ask, what is really intended by this Motion? What does the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Granby) ask the House to do? The hon. Member who introduced this Motion does not ask you to return to protection. But the noble Marquess is more explicit, and with manly frankness declares his opinion, that it would be better to return to protection. Now, I say that if this Motion does not mean that we are to return to protection, what in the name of common sense does it mean? The hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire in his preliminary observations avowed that he had this remarkable object in view—he implored us to forget the past. Now, this struck me as very much like administering a dose of choloroform before a capital operation. It was not a soporific, certainly, but it lulled the senses very sweetly. However, I have since had time to recover from the effects of this anodyne. I am no longer steeped in oblivion, and I have come to the conclusion that it is our duty to look: to the past. The hon. Member told us the other night that he adhered strictly, severely, and religiously to all that he had said on this subject in a former debate—namely, the memorable debate which took place on his Motion relative to the burdens on land at the beginning of the last Session. I have compared the declaration of last year with the declaration of this year; I and I hope I shall not say anything in the least displeasing to the hon. Gentleman if I quote the important words used by him in the debate last year, and contrast them with some of the expressions used by him this year, because, in a case where we are; not quite sure what is really intended, it is important to dwell on words, to weigh them, and endeavour to ascertain their meaning. The hon. Member last year, on bringing forward his Motion relative to the burdens upon laud, said— On this side of the House we believe that this depression has been occasioned by recent legislative enactments—by the recent repeal of the laws which regulated the importation of foreign agricultural produce. We believe that the surest course, the most safe, the most efficacious, the course which, in the long run, would be most advantageous to the community, and most popular I with the community, would be the re-establishment of laws regulating the importation of that I foreign produce. Speaking for those Gentlemen with whom I have the honour to act, I can say that we do not in any way shrink from an argument upon that subject. We have seen nothing at all which in our opinion confutes the conclusions which, in good report and evil report, we have attempted to advocate in this House with regard to that great subject. We still believe that the principles on which you have constructed your commercial code are fallacious."[Hansard, Third Series, vol. cviii., 128.] These words are strong, but still they are not so strong as those which were quoted by me in the debate of the 21st of February, which were taken down by me when spoken, and not disclaimed by the hon. Member (Mr. Disraeli):— I do not bate one jot of what I hare always declared. I adhere to every argument and every opinion on this question; and I tell you I think it would be wiser and more politic to return to protection—no longer to cease to impose duties of revenue on articles from abroad, including corn, and thus indirectly to raise revenue having the effect of protection. Words more clear could not be used; and they indicate a distinct policy, which is known to be advocated by the great body of the party of which the hon. Gentleman is at the head. Now, what were the words used by him upon the present occasion, the night before last? I have the words before me, and I cannot find in them anything at variance with the language used last year. The hon. Gentleman told us on Tuesday night— I last year said what I now adhere to severely, strictly, even religiously. I said, then, that I would not in this Parliament make any attempt to bring back the abrogated system of protection. Observe the hon. Gentleman says, "in this Parliament." Again, he says— It would be most disastrous for the community that you should accord these claims, which, in the spirit of severe justice, the agricultural interest has a right to prefer. Observe, this points to compromise—what is that compromise? It has been proposed by Mr. M'Culloch that the deficiency in the revenue might be supplied by a fixed duty on corn. I say, that we cannot admit that a fixed duty or a countervailing duty is an arrangement in favour of the agricultural interest. It is an arrangement which, as Members or as Ministers, we may think would, on a balance of circumstances, make what was called the best bargain for the community. I am not called on to say what might be the effect of imposing a 5s., or an 8s., or a 10s. duty. They are propositions which may be considered, and they may be in the nature of a compromise, in which, like all persons receiving compensation, the land would not be likely to receive more than half its due. Reference then is made to the financial exercitation of the right hon. Member for Stamford, with which we were treated in 1848, wherein he laboured to prove that a moderate fixed duty fell on the foreign grower, and would not enhance the price to the consumer. Now, here is a difficulty. I am bound to put the best interpretation I can upon the mystical expressions used last year and this year, and reading them by the aid of the glossary of the Duke of Richmond, I put an interpretation upon them last year, and to that I now adhere. Remembering that it is said that they "as Ministers" would have a right to impose a duty upon foreign corn, and that it is also said it would not be right to attempt to impose that duty in the present Parliament, I come to the conclusion that the object of the hon. Gentleman and his party is to turn out the present Administration—to dissolve the Parliament—to return to protection in the next Parliament—and to reimpose a duty upon corn. That is the interpretation I put upon the hon. Gentleman's speech last year, and that is the interpretation which, upon the whole, I am disposed to put upon it now. Frankly avowed, there can be no more legitimate policy for a party. I know not what the result of that attempt might be. I think it would be a dangerous attempt, inconsistent with the preservation of the peace of the country and with the safety of property; and an attempt which I could not agree to join in making. On the other hand, I see very plainly that we are on the eve of a great and serious struggle. I see a party of Gentlemen in this and the other House of Parliament, powerful in numbers, powerful in the respect in which they are held for their personal and hereditary virtues, having great influence in the country and great possessions; they are an interest which, up to the present moment, has commanded great influence with the Government; and, with the community at their back, they exercise a power upon any question that is irresistible. This powerful party have in this House no insignificant leader. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Disraeli) is the accredited leader of that party. I may say, that very early I appreciated the great talents of that Gentleman; and the time has now arrived when it is impossible for any one to gainsay or undervalue his commanding ability as a debater in this House. But this is not all. The leader of this party in the other House, (Lord Stanley), is a noble Lord ever foremost in the battle, of dauntless courage, of eminent ability, and of spotless character. I have stood beside him in the fray, and I know how formidable is his vigorous attack, and how broad is his protecting shield:— ——"Experto credite, quantus In clypeum assurgat, quo turbine torqueat hastam. With such opponents it behoves us to gird up our loins. I know not whether the watchword, "Up, Guards, and at them!" may not already have been given. It is clear to me that the opponents of protection must prepare for a severe conflict. They must stand upon the defensive. They must stand to their arms, and close their ranks, and prepare for a firm, manly, and uncompromising resistance. There is one point to which I wish to advert, but my heart is so deeply grieved that my tongue almost refuses to utter what my feelings dictate. The author and the champion of that policy which I think it is the tendency of this Motion to reverse, has been withdrawn from us. He has ceased from his labours, and is at rest. He no longer shares in the angry strifes and conflicts of this House. But, although dead, he still speaks, and from the tomb I still hear the echoes of his voice resounding within these walls. I well remember the memorable words that closed the peroration of the magnificent speech which he delivered last Session, in answer to the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, when he said— I still adhere to the opinions I have expressed, and I earnestly hope that I may never live to see the day when the House of Commons will retrace its steps. He is gone, and may Heaven avert the omen that the House of Commons is about to retrace its steps! My voice may be feeble, and my power insignificant. But, Sir, my part is taken. I hold it to be a sacred duty and a sacred trust to defend that policy to the best of my ability; and, as a proof of my sincerity, as an earnest of my firm determination, I give my unhesitating vote against this Motion.


said, if he had followed the inclination of his own mind he should have forborne to take any part in the debate in this early stage of his political career. But he had the honour to represent a great agricultural county, though his own personal interests were more immediately connected with manufactures and commerce. He therefore felt that he should ill discharge the duty he owed to his constituents, and to those interests with which he was more immediately connected, if he declined to take part in the present discussion. The hon. Gentleman who opened this debate felt that he had one great anomaly to deal with, and this difficulty was not diminished by the mass of anomalies subsequently imported into the debate. Still he did not regard them as at all inexplicable or overpowering, and felt assured that if they could arrive at the solution of one difficulty, there would be very little difficulty in unravelling all the rest. He proposed to comment on the various topics in the order in which they occurred in Her Majesty's Speech. That Speech evidently was prepared with more than the ordinary caution usually bestowed even upon great State documents of that kind. One portion of that Speech had been brought before the House by the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire in a speech of the most transcendent ability. Our gracious Sovereign was made to tell Her Parliament, that notwithstanding the large reduction in taxation effected of late years, the receipts of the revenue had been satisfactory. Here, then, they had the anomaly of a Chancellor of the Exchequer feeling satisfied with a retrograde, if not a failing revenue. He held in his hand an account of the net public income of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland ending the 5th July, 1850, and also a similar account ending 5th January, 1851, and what did they show? That whilst the excess of income over expenditure at the former period was 3,438,358l. 17s. 4d., the excess in the latter period was 2,579,006l. 3s. 3d., thus showing a decrease in the excess of nearly 1,000,000l. sterling within the period of six months. But he found it exceedingly difficult to deal with these accounts. In the Post Office, for instance, there was a charge of 820,000l., not including the packet establishment, which cost 738,000l., nor the payment to the East India Company, to the amount of 200,000l., which would make that side of the account show a positive deficiency. But the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer told them, and truly, that the estimated amount of reduction and repeal of taxation within the last ten years, had been 10,762,000l. since 1841, while the amount imposed in that period was only 5,655,000l., being a balance in favour of the public of 5,107,000l., and yet the revenue had increased by 4,700,000l. He thanked the right hon. Gentleman for taking a period of ten years, for during that period, as evidenced by the last census, the population would probably be found to have increased about 12 per cent; and in the approaching census he apprehended the increase of population in Great Britain and Ireland would be 3,000,000, and he could not but think that 3,000,000 of mouths, with their proportionate number of heads and arms, must bring something to the public revenue—which could scarcely he less than 1l. per head per annum. That, if population in a country was worth anything, would account for a considerable portion of the increase; and to this must be added the revenue derived from increased railway travelling. But to pass to the next paragraph of the Speech. Her Majesty was made to say, that "the state of the commerce and manufactures of the United Kingdom had been such as to afford general employment to the labouring classes." That was an exceedingly cautious expression. He admitted that they had afforded general employment to labour, but he denied that they had afforded productive employment to capital, upon which only the safe employment of labour and its permanent endurance must depend. It was necessary that he should bring this to the test of figures, and in doing so he must crave the indulgence of the House. He would first take the shipping interest, and then pass to the consideration of the home trade. He found that in 1845 the number of British ships with cargoes entered inwards was 20,292; ships entered outwards, 17,169. In 1850 the number entered inwards was 18,843; outwards, 18,077—making 36,920: leaving a decrease in ships of 541 in number, and 2,335 in tonnage. In foreign ships he found entered inwards and outwards 20,500, with a tonnage of 3,350,000; and in 1850 the number entered inwards and outwards was 27,000 odd, with a tonnage of 4,070,000; showing, therefore, an increase in foreign ships of more than 6,500, and more than 722,000 tons. A comparative statement of the returns for the last ten years showed that while the increase in the number of British shipping had been 35 per cent, the foreign ships had increased 91 per cent. He would now call attention to the state of the home trade, and here he must remark whatever stress might be laid on the advantages attending an increase of imports, they ought carefully to see whether they were balanced by the exports. The exports in 1849 amounted to 89,247,915l. in value, while the imports were 105,874,000l., leaving a tremendous balance of trade against this country. The last account stated the aggregate official value of imports into the united kingdom to be 89,170,000l., and the like declared value of British produce and manufactures exported from the united kingdom to the same countries and colonies, 60,152,670l., the exports from Ireland being left out altogether. This return raised a most serious question to the home trade. There had been a decrease in the cotton trade to the amount of 5,786,000l. He would now go to the woollen trade; but, before he did so, he could not refrain from expressing the surprise with which he heard the Finance Minister allude as a subject of congratulation to the exports of wool and yarn, for by the exportation of the raw material we were, in fact, raising up competitors in manufactures against ourselves. But he would now take the woollen trade. In woollen goods the decrease in the quantity consumed in the home market was 2,502,670l;. He would now take another trade, and one in which he was personally engaged—the great staple iron trade—which was essentially a national trade, as every part of it, from the ore and the fuel to the article manufactured for exportation, was the object of British skill, British capital, and British labour. In iron there was a diminution of value in the consumption of the home market to the extent of 2,788,587l. The circumstances of that branch of our national manufactures were these, that the value of the produce had suffered an enormous reduction since the free-trade measures of 1846—full 45 per cent—while the wages of labour to the operative, who raised the ore and fuel and smelted and manufactured the produce, had diminished 57½ per cent. He believed that other branches of our national manufacture would be found to be pretty much in the same condition. There were most disastrous rumours in the City that day from Scotland; and he might appeal to the Manchester Gentlemen whether their branch of manufacture was ever in a less satisfactory state; but he was unwilling, as a Member of Parliament, to create alarm. He warned them, however, to beware, lest, while they were seeking the phantom of foreign trade, they lost the substance of the home trade. He utterly denied that the condition of the labourers, either manufacturing or agricultural, was improved. In the county which he had the honour to represent, wages had diminished to an immense extent—to a greater extent than the diminution which had taken place in their articles of consumption. He was so sure of the good feeling among the manufacturing and operative population, that he was certain that if agitation were allowed to subside, they would gladly hail the introduction of any measure which would give their agricultural brethren, whom they knew to be their best customers, justice and fair play. Justice and fair play they must have. The hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, in moving the present proposition, had very properly said that, as this question had been debated over and over again in an adverse House of Commons, he would not reiterate his opinions and determination here, but that he would leave the whole matter of the reversal of the present policy to be settled by the country. He assured the House that he knew the feeling which existed in the country. He had been sent by a great agricultural county without a promise being given or implied; but he was sent under such circumstances that he would be ashamed of himself if he flinched from expressing the conviction he felt, that, sooner or later, the House and the country must return to a fair and proper measure of protection to British industry. It was a principle upon which there could be no cavil. If the foreigner was permitted to come into our markets—and God forbid that he should not, under proper regulations—and bring his competing produce here, then he (Mr. Booker) desired to know under what principle it was that he was not to be called upon to contribute to those fiscal burdens which gave protection to his competing produce, when he brought it into a market which ought to be the market for the labour, industry, and capital of our own population? The House might depend upon it, say what hon. Gentlemen might, that they could not maintain their arguments, nor could they maintain their assertions. They had been deceived. They had deceived themselves, and had, unwittingly he was sure, deceived others. But the time was approaching when justice must be done. The country was in peril; and, as a commercial man and a manufacturer, he asserted that they could not maintain the colossal fabric of their commercial and manufacturing system if they undermined the foundation upon which it rested—the agriculture of the country. At all events, he could see no principle upon which the foreigner, whose competing produce was brought here, and who was hurrying on the pauperism of the country, should not be called on to pay his fair quota in aid of the funds for the relief of that pauperism, if he did occasion it, and the lightening of the pressure of the local and parochial burdens of those into whose market he intruded himself. As an act of justice and of policy, then, he called upon the House to look those difficulties fairly in the face; not to continue temporising with and reasoning against facts and disasters which could not be gainsayed; not to shut their eyes to the difficulties in which the mainstay of the country was now placed, but to give all interests justice and fair play. He would call upon the Minister to assure himself, and to assure his Sovereign, in the words of one whose opinions were at least entitled to all respect—he alluded to the great Lord Erskine, who said— Vain are all your hopes for your suffering country; for you might as well expect to see a tree flourishing in full vigour when its roots are perishing or decayed, or the human body in active motion when palsy has reached the heart, as to see trade, or commerce, or manufactures, of any kind or description, flourish, when agriculture has declined. He thanked the House for the patience and kindness with which it had listened to him, and he trusted that he had not abused its indulgence.


said, he was sure the House must have experienced much gratification at hearing the speech of the hon. Gentleman, who, as he had truly observed, represented a great agricultural county, and was himself connected with an important branch of our manufacturing industry. He believed it was the desire of both sides of the House that this discussion should terminate during the present evening, and he should endeavour to promote that object by confining his remarks to the narrowest limits. It was not his intention to enter into a discussion of the general question then before the House; namely, the propriety of altering a great national system of taxation. The policy of reversing the commercial system adopted of late years had been so fully debated and so well argued by his right hon. Friends the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the right hon. Member for Ripon, that he was quite content to rest the case of those who were opposed to the Motion of the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire upon the arguments and statements adduced by those two right hon. Gentlemen. He was surprised that so many questions connected with the trade and commerce of the country should have been incidentally brought before the House on this occasion, for notwithstanding the professions of the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire in introducing the subject to the House, every Gentleman who had since spoken upon it—and none more so than the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down—had felt that the proposal did in fact amount to a change of policy, which would affect every branch of trade and manufacture in the country, and that therefore the defence of the policy which was now impugned must rest upon the results it had produced upon the industry of the country, and the prosperity and comfort of the people. Those results were ascertainable; and whether they took revenue, consumption, pauperism, exports, or imports, these and every other test which could be applied would give the one answer, that there never was a period, notwithstanding the distress of the owners and occupiers of land, which they all deplored, when the great branches of the industry of the country, when the great body of the population of the country were equally so flourishing, well off, contented, and employed. About most of the facts upon which this statement was made, it was impossible that there could be any dispute whatever. No one could say that the cotton manufacture, taken as a whole, was in a state of depression. On the contrary, they had been constantly taunted with having sacrificed too much to that particular branch of trade. No one would say that the woollen and silk manufactures and other great branches of industry were not only in a state of prosperity, but of prosperity which rested, he was happy to say, upon a sound foundation. But he did admit that there was one important branch of industry, with which the hon. Gentleman the Member for Herefordshire was particularly connected, of which the same could not be said—he meant the iron trade. He felt it to be his duty, therefore, to call the attention of the House to the actual circumstances in which that trade was now placed—to point out the reasons why, in his opinion, it was not, and could not, be in the same state of prosperity as the other great branches of industry he had enumerated, and to demonstrate to the House that that state of things was in no degree to be attributed to the action of our com- mercial policy. There was, perhaps, no other branch of public industry that had of late years been developed with such extraordinary rapidity as the iron trade. Its extension had, in fact, been almost beyond all precedent. In the year 1830 we made 678,417 tons of iron, in round numbers, whilst in 1843 we made no less than 1,248,780 tons. But the hon. Member for Herefordshire said, that after that period a great collapse took place. Well, was there no reason for that collapse? Why, that was the time when there was such an extension of the railway system in this country that an immense increase in the iron trade was a necessary result. New furnaces were established, and he believed it was well known to gentlemen acquainted with the circumstances of this trade, that furnaces being once established, could not be stopped without a serious loss, and from the information he had received, he learnt that the iron-furnaces now established were capable of producing 2,000,000 cwt. of iron at this moment. After the demand for iron for the extension of railways had ceased, of course the increase of the quantity produced in the same ratio was not to be expected. But that any distress was attributable to a decrease of the exports of iron was contrary to the fact; for by a return then before him he observed that the exports of iron in 1845 amounted to 352,000 tons; in 1849, to 701,000 tons; and in 1850, to 772,000 tons, a much larger quantity than in any previous years. This rendered it quite clear that the difficulties of the iron trade could not be attributed to any falling-off in the foreign demand for English iron. There was no doubt that if foreign countries liberalised their tariff in this respect they would contribute to our advantage, and doubtless, also, secure some great advantages for themselves. And if it were for the interest of this country to cripple and confine the manufacturing energies of other countries, of France and Germany especially, then, as an Englishman, there was nothing which he would so much desire as to see our continental rivals taking iron at double the natural price, and so placing on themselves a burthen and restriction which would effectually prevent them properly developing their resources. That restriction he would desire to see in rival commercial and agricultural nations, but he would more especially desire to see it operating in shipbuilding and shipowning countries. But, as it was not the interest of England to disable her neighbours, so he did not rejoice at viewing the restrictions which were maintained: for it was now being every day more and more admitted that the prosperity of England depended upon the concurrent prosperity of her neighbours. But, for the present, looking upon them merely as rivals, he would say that the persistance of those two nations in the policy of excluding our iron from their markets, was the policy of all others best calculated to give us the first place in the field of competition. There was another very important branch of trade, also, which had been affected by recent legislation, which had been adverted to by the right hon. Member for Ripon, and which he thought it would be most inexpedient that the House should overlook when it was occupied in taking a review of the effects of our present commercial policy upon the general trade and industry of the country. He alluded to the effects produced by the change in the navigation laws upon the shipbuilding and shipowning interests of the country. Now, he ventured to make this positive assertion, that, so far from the predictions of those who stated that that change in the navigation laws would be fraught with ruin to the shipbuilders and shipowners of England, any one who took the trouble to look into the facts of the case, would find that the results of the change had been completely in an opposite direction. Some discussion had incidentally taken place between his right hon. Friend the Member for Ripon, and the right hon. Member for Stamford, with regard to the shipping returns which had been laid upon the table of the House. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Stamford seemed to think that the inward tonnage was the true test of the effects of the navigation laws, and that any reference to outward tonnage would be fallacious. He (Mr. Labouchere) was ready to admit that formerly it was the opinion of Mr. Huskisson and others, that, to test the navigation of the country, we should look to the inward, and not to the outward, tonnage; but since that was said, circumstances had altogether altered. At that period the shipping which loft our ports did so to a great extent in ballast, either wholly or in part, whilst the shipping which came to this country was almost all of it with cargoes. But now it would be found, that, owing to our great exports, the shipping which left this country did so with much less ballast than it used to do; and therefore the entries outward represented the actual trade of the country more than they had ever done before. Without disputing, however, whether the inward or the outward tonnage was the more correct proof of the state of trade, he contended, in accordance with the views of his right hon. Friend the Member for Ripon, that they ought to take both together, in order to arrive at an accurate and a safe result. First of all, he would begin with the total tonnage of the shipping employed, both foreign and English, in the trade of this country; and he thought there would be no disputing that there had been a considerable increase of English and foreign together during the last year. The total tonnage of vessels entering inwards and clearing outwards in cargoes in each of the three last years, was as follows:—

1848 10,630,698 tons.
1849 11,501,177 tons.
1850 12,020,674 tons.
He admitted, that if this return were analysed, it would be seen that there was an inconsiderable falling-off in British shipping, and a considerable increase in foreign shipping, employed in the trade of the country. Of course, the latter must be so, when we opened to foreigners branches of trade which they did not before possess; and it could not form matter of surprise to any one who supported the change in the navigation laws, that the foreign shipping had greatly increased. But he thought he could conclusively prove to the satisfaction of every hon. Member in that House, that, so far from the change in the navigation laws having occasioned a diminution of employment of British shipping all over the world, it had greatly conduced to its increase. The trade with this country of those who were considered our most formidable rivals, namely, the United States of America, had increased to a very inconsiderable extent, and, whatever increase of tonnage had taken place, was with respect to other nations. The returns for the last three years of the tonnage of United States' vessels trading with the united kingdom, exclusive of vessels in ballast, showed these results:—
Vessels inwards. Tons inwards. Vessels outwards. Tons outwards.
In 1848 958 598,182 815 551,465
1849 896 587,986 619 608,324
1850 748 595,191 776 620,037
But had there been no compensation to the trading and the shipping interests of this country from those new channels of trade which were opened to our shipping by the repeal of the navigation laws? He was prepared to say that the result of thus opening the field to British shipping, had been quite commensurate with the most sanguine expectations of those who proposed that measure to the House. He wished he had it in his power, which he had not, to prove to the House, by a complete aggregate statement, what was the number of voyages that had been made by British ships from one foreign port to another foreign port, from which they had before been excluded. But it did so happen that, from one of the most important ports in the world he had received accurate and conclusive evidence, which he was enabled to lay before the House, of the result of the change in the navigation laws. He held in his hand an abstract of a return which had been sent to the Government from the British Consul at New York, informing them of the voyages which had been made by British ships entering that port from different parts of the world; and which voyages those ships would have been prevented from making had we not repealed the navigation laws. In the course of the year 1850, then, the ports of the United States having been opened to British vessels from all parts of the world, there arrived in the single port of New York British vessels with cargoes from Hayti, Cuba, and other foreign West India islands, 56 of 8,286 tons; from various foreign European ports, 60 of 16,800 tons; from Brazil, 9 of 1,600 tons; from other ports of South America, 6 of 1,323 tons; from China, 4 of 1,833 tons; and from other places, 11 of 1,982 tons; making a total of 146 British vessels, with a tonnage of 31,824 tons, which had thus arrived in the port of New York on voyages which they would not, and could not, have taken but for the repeal of the navigation laws. This, he thought, was a striking and satisfactory proof, not only to the advantage of our own shipping, but of the general development of the commerce and trade of the world, which had been produced by the example of this country having been followed by the United States of America, in liberating shipping from restrictions, and facilitating the communication with different parts of the world. He would add, that, to those who felt alarmed at the number of American ships which came to this country, it must be satisfactory also to know that, though the Americans visited us so frequently, we had not failed to return their visits. The total arrivals of British vessels in New York, excluding those he had just referred to, was, in the year 1850, 961, with a tonnage of 252,000. He would not multiply instances illustrative of the wisdom of the policy which had been adopted; but there was one of a most striking description to which he could not avoid calling the attention of the House. He alluded to what had taken place when such an extraordinary impulse to navigation and trade was given by the rapid settlement of California. For a long period the Americans who had settled in California made no attempt to bring the American navigation laws into operation. They accepted goods from all parts of the world, in whatever bottoms they came, and were exceedingly glad to get those goods in any manner. But, after some time, an order was received from Washington enforcing the navigation laws of the Union; and the effect was that any British ship arriving with British goods from any port not being a port of the united kingdom was prevented unloading. The merchants lost their goods, and the ships were seized or sent back, and, in short, all trade was stopped. The order had arrived unexpectedly, and there was great consternation among the English and French ships. Most fortunately, however, a few days after, another order arrived from Washington, announcing that we had changed our navigation laws, and that in consequence they had modified their maritime code; and then, while the French ships continued to be excluded, the English ships were admitted, and the trade, which was a most profitable one, was renewed. Another branch of the subject to which he would call attention was this. It was said that, however else these changes might affect the navigation of the country, there was one branch of industry which would be ruined, and that was the shipbuilding interest. Now, he took upon himself to say, without the smallest fear of contradiction from any one acquainted with the facts of the case, that there never was a time in the history of the country when the principal shipbuilding yards were more fully occupied and employed—when more ships were building; and, above all, when equally good ships were building; that the result of our changes had been not only not to discourage, but absolutely to encourage and urge the shipbuilders to build better ships than they had ever built before; and that the ships which would leave our dockyards this year would, not only in capacity, but in all the qualities of merchant ships, be able to compete with the vessels of any country in the world. This activity in the shipbuilding yards was the most distinct proof that could be given of the opinion of those whose interest it was to watch events and the prospects of our merchant navy; for he did not think these gentlemen would continue to build ships at such a rate if they did not think those ships would be employed. He granted that there were small and inferior ships, which were not employed at this moment; and he believed that the exertions which were now making to improve the qualities of our ships had thrown out of employment that particular description of ship. That was a necessary consequence, perhaps; but, however he might regret, for the sake of individuals, that they suffered loss in this respect, it was utterly impossible for us on that account to stay the progress of a great maritime country in the art of shipbuilding. He held in his hand a return of the number of ships built and registered in the united kingdom in the last few years, exclusive of the Channel Islands and the colonies. The return exhibited these numbers:— In the year 1841 the number of ships was 1,111, and their tonnage 159, 578. being an average of 144 tons; 1842, ships 914, tonnage 129,929, average 142; 1843, ships 698, tonnage 83,097, average 1J 9; 1844, ships 689, tonnage 94,995, average 137; 1845, ships 853, tonnage 123,230, average 145; 1846, ships 809, tonnage 125,350, average 155; 1847, ships 933, tonnage 145,834, average 156; 1848, ships 847, tonnage 122,552, average 145; 1849, ships 730, tonnage 117,953, average 161; 1850, ships 689, tonnage 133,695, average 194; the number of foreign-built ships admitted to British registry in 1850 being 57, with 10,499 tonnage. This showed, that though the number of ships launched from our dockyards had decreased, the amount of tonnage had considerably increased. With regard to the prospects of shipbuilding during the current year, he had received from the Commissioners of Customs information which they had obtained from the shipbuilding yards upon what was now going on there; and he had no hesitation in saying that the present year would exhibit an increase in the number and an improvement in the quality of ships. In the course of his inquiries on this subject, he lighted upon a fact which had given him extreme gratification and pleasure. Hon. Gentlemen who took an interest in the question of the navigation laws would probably recollect the evidence which had been given by a most respectable gentleman before the House of Lords' Committee; he meant Mr. Money Wigram. He remembered that gentleman saying, that if the navigation laws were repealed, he was so completely convinced that it would be impossible to build ships in this country to compete with American ships, that he should establish his son in New York, build all his ships there, and take an English register for them, and employ them in the English service. Now, in the course of prosecuting his inquiries upon the subject, he (Mr. Labouchere) had received a report as to the present state of shipbuilding at Southampton, which contained the following passage:— The number of ships building is more than usual, and the vessels are of unusual tonnage. This is to be attributed in a great measure to the circumstance of Messrs. Wigram & Co. having taken an extensive yard, and who have at present on the stocks one steam-vessel of 2,250 tons, and two sailing vessels, of 500 and 250 tons respectively. These, then, were the points to which he desired to call the attention of the House. Upon the general question he would not enter further; but leave the decision of the House to rest upon the speech of his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and the admirable speech of his right hon. Friend the Member for Ripon.


said, that he could not imagine what was the meaning of all these statistics, unless it was for the purpose of throwing dust into their eyes; but he could assure the right hon. Gentleman that, whatever they did in this House, they would not deceive the country. The question was not the navigation laws—the question was the burdens upon land—and it seemed to have been a matter of convenience to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the President of the Board of Trade, and, in some measure, of the right hon. Member for Ripon, to give that question the go-by. The last-mentioned right hon. Gentleman had given them his inferences and his warnings; but he (Mr. Cayley) confessed that he would much rather have the right hon. Gentleman's vote. The inference which the right hon. Gentleman had drawn from the Motion before the House, was, that protection was the thing demanded. But it was not so stated, he believed. What the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli) did demand, and what he (Mr. Cayley) seconded him in demanding, was, justice. And was it their fault if justice and protection were convertible terms in the mind of the right hon. Gentleman? The right hon. Gentleman had given the House very much what the Chancellor of the Exchequer had given it—namely, a stereotyped edition of his speech of last year; the same advice, the same warnings, and the same compliments. The right hon. Gentleman had complimented the farmers; and in that he (Mr. Cayley) joined him. They were a hardy, industrious, persevering race of men—aye, they had persevered almost against hope. The right hon. Gentleman had also complimented the landowner; and in that, too, he joined him. But one curious compliment which he paid them, was, that they were always victorious when they had the nation at their back. For his part, he (Mr. Cayley) did not know any other class that would not be equally triumphant under the same advantage. The right hon. Gentleman did not say, however, that they stuck to their guns when their leaders had deserted them. In spite of clamour, and in spite of a temporary perverted reason on the part of the public, they still adhered to the principles which they conceived to be right and just. And for that, above all other things, they did deserve the compliments of the right hon. Gentleman. No one could say either that that body had not been desirous to promote the comfort of the poor. The right hon. Gentleman knew that with both sexes of that class there was no more grateful occupation than to look after the condition of the poor, or that more pride or satisfaction was afforded them than when they found the poor well paid, happy, and contented. The hon. Member for Nottingham had truly stated, and he certainly was an impartial judge, if you wanted to see a happy and contented people, you must go upon the estate of some country gentleman, and not into the manufacturing towns. Reference had been made to the low prices prevailing at present in France, and it had been said that the land there would cease to be cultivated, and that the ultimate effect must be to create a rise in prices. But that assertion was merely hypothetical. What was the real fact? Why, that in spite of 1,300,000 quarters received last year from France, prices remained the same as before that importation had begun. But did not France, did not the United States, teach them a lesson something beyond that? The inference from the speeches of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and other right hon. Gentlemen, was, that the prosperity of the country, of which they boasted, came from free trade? But dide free trade exist in the United States? did free trade exist in France? and yet in both those countries more rapid progress had of late been made towards prosperity than in this country. And what did they learn besides from France? In spite of the revolutions which had recently distracted that country—in spite of the threatened devastations of Socialism and Communism which had frightened capital from its propriety there, and made it take refuge in this country, and in spite of the consequent increased investment of foreign capital in this country, how stood the case with respect to the amount of bullion in each country? In France it amounted to 20,000,000l.; in this country it was 14,500,000l., and it was gradually diminishing. The right hon. Baronet (Sir J. Graham) knew a good deal about corn and currency, and he would know the advantage to our currency under its present regulations, and to our commerce in consequence of foreign bullion having come here the last three years for investment. He shrewdly suspected that the right hon. Gentleman, in his hopes of the future, relied largely on his expectations from California. We boasted of our revenue. Let a comparison with France again form a standard to judge by. France, notwithstanding her revolutionary convulsions, had, within the last three years, increased her revenue by 2,458,000l.; whereas the net produce of the ordinary branches of our revenue showed a decline. The net revenue from ordinary sources in this country was, in the year—

1848 £52,422,000
1849 52,307,000
1850 52,177,000
Showing a decrease of 245,000l., which result was but little altered as compared with other periods, even after taking into account the reductions in taxation the last three years. The inference from the arguments of their opponents, was, that free trade had done something more than prevent a decrease of revenue—that it had, in fact, created a large increase. Was that so? The figures he had cited showed the reverse. He would show them what had taken place under protection. According to the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, they had five millions now more of revenue than in the year 1841, notwithstanding a reduction of 10,000,000l. in taxation; but more than half this period was one of protection, and eight-tenths of the reduction was during protection, as also was the spring in the revenue. Under protection and free trade, in every recoil from a monetary collapse, the same symptoms were presented. When a man was on the ground he must either lie there or get up. If he got up at all it must be through a process of rising. They had been prostrated in 1847, and they had been rising ever since; but he utterly denied that they had risen quicker in that period of free trade than before. Nay, they had not risen so quickly as upon every other similar occasion previous to the introduction of free trade. Since the year 1820, the recoils they had had occurred in 1824 from the distress in 1822 and 1823; again, in the year 1836, from the distress in 1834 and 1835; and lastly, in 1845 and 1846, from the distress in 1841–2. What was the state of the revenue in these respective periods? In 1822, it was 55,600,000l., the amount of taxes repealed in 1822 was upwards of 2,000,000l., and in 1823, upwards of 4,000,000l., making a total in those two years of 6,600,000l. repealed taxes. Yet, in spite of those reductions, the revenue rose in the latter year to 59,302,000l., which, considering the taxation repealed, was equivalent to an increase of 9,688,000l. in the taxpaying powers of the people in those three years under the system of protection. In the year 1834, the revenue was 46,425,000l.; in 1836 it amounted to 48,352,000l.; and as there were 2,000,000l. repealed in 1834, and about 130,000l. reduced in 1835, the increase of revenue in 1836 as compared with 1834 was equivalent to 4,000,000l., again tinder the system of protection. Again, in 1845, the revenue was 53,004,000l.; in 1846, it was 53,790,000l. In the former year the amount of taxation repealed was 4,535,000l. Yet, in spite of that reduction, the revenue had so increased between 1845 and 1846 that the augmentation was equivalent to 5,360,000l. That, too, was under protection. Such a state of things was not witnessed in these days of an altered policy, notwithstanding the loud boasts in its favour. There was another fact not a little remarkable as contradictory of the specious philosophy of the present day, namely, that coincident with all these instances of renewed prosperity and of an enormous spring in the revenue, there was very considerable increase of and indifference to expenditure, accompanied by a rapid rise in the price of corn. The Chancellor of the Exchequer was very emphatic, also, on the subject of the poor-rate; showing that the expenditure for the poor relief had been reduced within the last two years as compared with a year of collapse. But let them compare the three years preceding the introduction of free trade with the three years succeeding it in this respect, namely, the years 1844, 1845, and 1846, with the years 1848, 1849, and 1850, omitting the intervening year of 1847 as a year of panic. The average poor-law expenditure for the three first years was 4,989,000l.; for the three years of the second period, it was 5,750,000l.; showing an increase in that item of the national expenditure of near 1,000,000l. Now, with regard to exports. In estimating the value of their exports, they must take into consideration the value of the raw material of the manufactured article exported, and keeping that consideration in mind, they would find that their exports in the present year, so far from reaching the highest value, were below those of some past years. Their boast was, that this year the value of their exports was 65,000,000l., which was more than that of any other year. Let them see. He had been informed by an eminent cotton manufacturer that day, that more than three-fourths of their produce were exported, leaving less than one-fourth for home consumption. What then was the state of the case? They had imported 6,000,000 cwt. of cotton last year, the cost of which was 8d. per lb.; in 1845, the price was 4d. per lb.—a difference which amounted on the value of the quantity manufactured to 11,000,000l.; and as they exported more than three-fourths of their produce, the difference on the quantity exported amounted to some 8,000,000l. or 9,000,000l. sterling. Now, in 1845, their exports were of the value of 60,000,000l.; and in the present case, it was 65,000,000l.; and if they deducted from the latter sum the 9,000,000l. increased cost of the raw produce, they would have as the result 56,000,000l. as the true relative value of their exports this year, which was less than it was in 1845 by 4,000,000l. With, respect to the years of collapse, to which he had referred, he might observe in passing, although attributed generally by Members of this House to a natural law, they were attributable to nothing else than their own bad legislation—to their own judicial blindness as regarded a circulating medium. As respected exports and their increase under protection. In the years 1821–2, there was a period of collapse—in 1824, one of prosperity; the increase of exports in two years was 1,177,000l. In 1834, they had depression—in 1836 prosperity. The difference in the value of the exports in two years was 11,000,000l. Again, in 1842, the exports were upwards of 47,000,000l.; in 1845, they were up to 60,000,000l., showing an increase of 12,000,000l. Thus he had shown them that, under free trade, their poor-relief expenditure had increased, their revenue had scarcely, if at all, increased; that while their revenue must always rise somewhat after a period of collapse, the rise was quicker under protection than under free trade, and that as regarded the real value of their exports, there were no grounds for the boasts made of the increase. On the other hand he had shown that the revenue and exports had in unison made a much more rapid spring under protection than under free trade. And the reason was obvious. Under protection their home trade was flourishing, because they had a remunerating price for corn. In 1847–8, when manufacturing and commercial pressure existed, the prosperous state of the home trade was admitted by the President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Labouchere). But could they depend on that source now if there came a monetary pressure; and they might rely on it, unless California came more speedily than he expected to their aid, they would have a monetary pressure. Even now it was looming in the distance; and if it did come they would find ten times more reason to lament the absence of protection than they had ever done to lament its existence. For whose benefit, then, was agriculture robbed? The only parties benefited substantially and permanently by it were the annuitant and foreigner. He did not, indeed, say there was a want of employment amongst the agricultural labourers generally in the country, but there was an insufficient employment for them, and even that employment was supported, not out of the profits, but the capital of the farmer. His objection to the present system was that it did not allow the landed interest—the farmer, to recover from the public the taxation which he advanced to the Exchequer. This was wholly contrary to the intention both of indirect as well as direct taxation. The last ten or twenty years we had heard nothing but the cuckoo note of "relieve the consumer from taxation!" and during all this while we had been transferring to the producer the taxes heretofore placed on the shoulders of the consumer. But taxing production rather than consumption was against every principle of justice and sound policy—unless it could be made out that the despotism of Turkey and the land tax of India were sound industrial policy. Tax the consumer! Why, who was intended to be taxed? The indirect tax on produce was always intended to be transferred to the consumer of that produce; the workman receiving it back in his wages—his employer in the price. But the unceasing attack of the Legislature upon prices since the war, had had the effect of throwing taxation more and more on the producer instead of the consumer: for under diminishing prices the taxation could not be recovered by the producer, especially of corn under our bastard free trade. Other classes were treated more justly than the farmer. Take the grocer for instance. The grocer advanced to the Government the duty on sugar, and the public repaid him in an increased price; this was the true principle in all cases of indirect taxation—the consumer was intended to pay what the producer advanced to the Exchequer. But what would be thought of the system, if, just after the grocer had advanced the money for the sugar duties, the Government should set up stores in every town, where they would sell sugar duty free. The operation would be similar to the treatment now experienced by the farmer at the hands of the Government. He was invited, in the first instance, to advance 30 to 40 per cent of taxation, local and general, to the Exchequer; and then, before he could repay himself, the Government introduced the produce of the comparatively untaxed foreigner to compete with him in the market, at a price which fell short of the taxation he had advanced. Some philosophers would tell them, and in a great measure he coincided with them, that nothing was of such value as knowledge. But suppose, after taxing the bookseller in his paper and other ways, they should on this ground let in foreign books of a similar description free of duty. It was too barefaced a proposition, taken so nakedly as this, to commit such an injustice on either the bookseller or grocer. He could, indeed, imagine a Government saying, the food of the mind is so important (although as a general principle all interests should be equally taxed—yet) that in the case of an article of first necessity like this, we will exempt it from taxation altogether, and then admit foreign books free of all duty, in order to secure cheap food for the mind. He (Mr. Cayley) could imagine a similar argument with respect to the physical food of the people; and he should not object to such a principle being carried out with fair play to the grower. But to let foreign food in, and to leave at the same time exorbitant taxation on home-grown food, was the height of injustice, and perfectly intolerable. What they shrunk from in the case of the tradesman and bookseller, that injustice they committed upon the farmer. On those grounds, then, he objected to their legislation, because he believed it was fatal to the best interests of the country—that it sapped the foundations of its industry, and was draining the resources of the farmer, who, whatever might be the apparent prosperity of the country, would be unable, under such circumstances, to give permanent employment to the labourer. The agricultural labourers were not, it was true, thrown out of employment in large numbers at once, nor were their wages as yet proportionably reduced, for there was a disinclination on the part of the farmer, knowing the wants of the labourer as he did, to lower his wages. But the system that was coming into operation was the same in effect; the labourer was only employed for a certain number of days in the week; three, four, or five, as the ease might be, but not the whole six. The employment given was out of capital, instead of profit. That was certainly the case in the localities he was acquainted with—in the north of Yorkshire, for instance. The flattering picture of prosperity, then, which had been presented by the right hon. Gentleman was not real; it was specious, it was very attractive, but it did not represent the actual state of things at present. If, then, they meant common justice, or justice of any kind, if they meant anything short of barefaced and malignant foul play, they must reduce the burdens upon land to a fair proportion with the burdens borne by other interests. He knew his countrymen well, and they could bear great burdens, no doubt, when placed equally on all shoulders; but nothing created more dissatisfaction and discontent than the feeling that one class was singled out from amongst the rest of the community to bear burdens inordinately larger than those imposed on other classes. The representative of no other interest in this House would vote for that interest being so treated. If that were so—since we affected, at least, to be governed in our legislation by Christian principle—he could not see how any Member, acting on the divine maxim of doing as he would be done by, had any other alternative than to vote for the Motion of the Member for Buckinghamshire.


said, the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, had come like a skilful general to the rescue of an army which, resting under the impression of his right hon. Friend, was endeavouring to perform that critical operation in the presence of an enemy, a change of front. Before the hon. Gentleman addressed the House, the question of free trade was, in the powerful and workmanlike speech of the hon. Gentleman who introduced the question, consigned to a convenient oblivion. In the able and candid speech which the House had just heard, a new battleground was taken. The hon. Member for Yorkshire commenced by saying, that he asked for justice and not for protection; but every sentence and every word of his speech was one continued impeachment of those great measures, by means of which the pressure of a crisis unparalleled had been greatly mitigated, and the peace and loyalty and safety of the country insured in times of more than ordinary difficulty. He did not know whether the hon. Gentleman would allow him to refer to those passages of Adam Smith, which spoke of the simplicity of the country gentlemen, and the astuteness by which they have been overreached by their manufacturing and mercantile fellow-subjects. The hon. Gentleman had repaid the compliment, for he seemed to imagine that the representatives of the mercantile communities were the type and patterns of simplicity, that would be readily misled by the language of a plausible Motion in the guise of a demand for justice, and, closing their ears to all the intelligence which, by any avenue could find its way into their understanding, they would go into the lobby, and voting for the present Motion, commit an act of treachery against the free-trade policy. The hon. Gentleman said, that figures were troops that could be so strangely marshalled, that he began to think no faith should be placed in them; that such a remark should be made was no matter of surprise; and he must confess, that so far at least as the hon. Gentleman's figures went, he agreed with him on the subject: for he (Mr. Cardwell) had sent to the library for all the statistics to which he had understood the hon. Member to refer, and he declared he never before felt himself so much mystified as he was by the use to which they had been put. The hon. Gentleman had ventured to deal with this case so far as the revenue was concerned. He told the House that in 1822 and other years, the revenue and exports had increased, and the advantages of the working classes had been multiplied under the ægis of protection. He (Mr. Cardwell) had those figures before him, and he could find no instance in which such advantageous results had been produced under protection as under the free-trade system. He knew no instance where it happened that 7,500,000l. of taxation had been taken off, and the revenue left still larger than before. In 1841 the revenue amounted to 48,000,000l., and before the 5th April, 1845, 2,000,000l. of taxation having been taken off, and a large deficiency to begin with, there was a balance in the Exchequer larger than the whole amount of the income tax. In 1845, having reduced upwards of 5,000,000l. of taxation further, there had been so large an increase in the revenue, that Sir Robert Peel, in addressing his constituents at Tamworth, was able to say that the whole effect of the free-trade measures had been to remove more than 7,500,000l. of taxes, while the ordinary revenue of the last financial year for which his Government had to provide, had considerably exceeded the ordinary revenue derived from the same sources in the financial year that immediately preceded his accession to office. The hon. Gentleman was astonished to find that during the last two years there had been a falling-of of 250,000l. in the gross revenue. One would think that the hon. Gentleman had spent his time in some Arcadian retirement, where the notion of the duties on stamps, sugar, and bricks, never entered into his mind, or he never would have expected to find the revenue larger this year than the year before. The hon. Gentleman then dealt with the exports. Now, if there was in the compass of political science one phenomenon—one circumstance more than another encouraging to the political philosopher—it was the state of the exports. The hon. Gentleman said, that he had some record of an increase during the days of protection of 11,000,000l. in the exports. He (Mr. Cardwell) had before him a table of the exports, and he found there was in that table one case of extraordinary increase: that case he should now proceed to lay before the House. Before free trade the highest amount of exports in any year was 53,250,000l. In 1842 they sank as low as 47,000,000l. In 1845 they had risen to 60,000,000l. In the last year, the year 1850, they had exceeded 70,000.0002. The hon. Gentleman had gone into an argument to show that the country had derived no benefit from those exports, and that the profits went into the pockets of the foreigner. But if we manufactured 70,000,000l. where before we only manufactured 53,000,000l., we must surely have greatly benefited the labouring population. It was preposterous to say there had been no profit, for if there had been no profit, there would have been no increase. How many homes had been gladdened by this diffusion of wages! The hon. Gentleman said, the increased value of the exports was owing to the increased price of the raw material. But what had become of that unprecedented crop of cotton grown in the United States of America in 1849? Every particle of that had been manufactured—we had the lion's share of the profits. Were not the effects of this increasing trade perceptible in the increasing comfort of the working classes? In 1841, the consumption of sugar was 4,000,000 cwts.; last year, it was 6,000,000 cwts. The following figures showed the comparative increase in other articles of general consumption:—

1841. 1850.
Cocoa 1,930,000 lbs 3,103,000 lbs.
Brandy 1,165,000 gals 1,861,000 lbs.
Tea 36,681,000 lbs 50,000,000 lbs.
Tobacco 22,308,000 lbs 27,685,000 lbs.
These two last were articles on which no remission of duty had taken place. If they exported to the extent of 70,000,000l., at what price must they sell the goods so exported? Must they not sell at the foreign price? Were they not under a compulsion to sell their commodities at the price of foreign markets? If the nature of the compulsion was that they should sell cheap, he would ask those who were for protection, at what price would they buy? Were they such enthusiasts that, being compelled to sell cheap in foreign markets, they would be generous enough to insist that they should have the privilege of buying dear in the home market? The hon. Gentleman said the home trade had failed, and that in future we must never rely on the home market for help, whenever a monetary revulsion occurred. He (Mr. Cardwell) would suggest to the House, that that crisis through which we had passed—that crisis of reverses in trade—that crisis of railway expenditure and of continental convulsion—never could have been passed through without far greater suffering, if we had not in 1842, and downwards, relaxed those restrictions which fettered our trade, and cramped the energies and industry of the country. When an enormous mass of imports was brought in, of which smaller quantities were introduced before, and when an increased amount of exports was sent out, was not the home trade benefited? When imports came to Liverpool or London, did they not pass to the retail trader; and when they were transmitted from hand to hand, was there no profit realised as they were circulated? It was unnecessary to read details as to what was going on in the north of England. He had in his hand two commercial circulars which he had selected from others, not because they were singular in their character, but because they were full of protectionist sentiments. Any one who wished to read them would find in them ample arguments on the protectionist side of the question. He implored hon. Gentlemen to attend to the extracts which he was about to read, because he contended that the Legislature, by their late free-trade policy, had laid the foundations for an entire revolution and reformation in the social and economical history of this country. He contended that they had strengthened the foundations of the manufactures of this country, and had enabled us to encroach upon the manufactures of foreign countries. The first extract he would read referred to cotton:— The imports into the United States are greater than from the extent of the crop we had any reason to expect, owing to diminished consumption there, and disproportionate shipments to France and the Continent of Europe. The first part of the remark, as to diminished consumption of cotton in the United States, confirmed what an American gentleman said to him the other day, "You are shutting the mills in Massachusetts." The circular proceeded:— The prospects for business in the ensuing year are of a highly satisfactory character, there being nothing apparently likely to check the cotton trade, unless it be an insufficient supply of the raw material. The means of subsistence are within the reach of all having even moderate employment, and in the manufacturing districts the masses have rarely been more comfortably circumstanced. We may look, therefore, to a steady and perhaps improving home trade (it having been so long depressed), and the foreign trade is evidently in a healthy state. The other circular was that of Mr. Little-dale, of Liverpool, whose name was well known. It stated that— There has lately been a remarkable revival in the inquiry for heavy goods and low yarns, both for home use and export, present stocks of which are inadequate to supply the growing demand. On the whole, perhaps at no former period was there a greater feeling of security in the future. Another year of commercial prosperity has closed, and the frightful losses of 1847 and 1848 may be fairly considered to be cancelled by the gains of 1846 and 1850. And might not the commercial part of the community say to their agricultural friends, "We went through a severer trial than any that has yet befallen you." He (Mr. Cardwell) remembered very well the commercial crisis of 1847; and although he had the honour of representing a commercial community, he could sympathise with agricultural distress, and hoped that they would never have to undergo a crisis like that of 1847. If the manufacturing and commercial classes, by their own energies, by the untiring strength of British power, and not by the aid of Parliament, had triumphed over their difficulties, might they not hope that a similar result was in store for the gentlemen of the agricultural interest? He had no right to speak upon agricultural subjects; but he would appeal to hon. Gentlemen sitting near him, whether agriculture had displayed no portion of British energy and enterprise? Had agriculture, since the repeal of the corn laws, been nothing but a desponding and despairing interest? Three years ago the Excise was prosperous, and when the supporters of free-trade principles referred to the prosperity of the Excise, hon. Gentlemen replied that that was owing to an extraordinary and abnormal state of things; that the extraordinary expenditure in the making of railroads was the cause; that was alleged to be the artificial means which supported the Excise. There was no doubt a great deal of force in that reply. Now, let him ask them this question. How was it that the Excise was prospering now, notwithstanding the remission of the duty on bricks? Where were those thousands of labourers now employed who at that time were employed in the construction of railways? His right hon. Friend the President of the Poor Law Board, had no cognisance of them, nor had Sir John Macneil, nor the poor-law authorities in Ireland. Why, the truth was, as they had been told that evening, those labourers were now employed by the agricultural gentlemen, who had nobly come to a determination to improve the cultivation of their land. Were there ever so many drain-tiles, so many heaps of lime on the land, so many moorland fields converting into productive land? Parliament laid aside some money, to be lent on interest, for the improvement of the land. Had there been any remissness in taking up that loan? Had it not been greedily sought for at a high rate of interest—6l. 10s. per cent—if it was merely to be considered as interest? and he should like to know in how many instances in England and Scotland the occupying tenant had engaged to pay the whole, or the greater part, of that account payment? Would the occupying tenants and the landed gentlemen be so anxious to borrow that money, in improving the cultivation of their land, if they were so convinced that agriculture was an overwhelmed and ruined interest, that they had no prospect of future prosperity? Had they not rather determined to endeavour to survive the shock by a manly and vigorous independence? Were not the manufacturers of farming implements fully employed? Now let him ask the agricultural interest another question. Did they not feel that they held their land by a safer tenure? On the 10th April, 1848, did none of them thank God that a great cause of disaffection had been removed in time? Did they believe they could re-enact a corn law without incurring dangers yet more serious than the dangers of the 10th April? Did they suppose that, if they succeeded in carrying it, the danger would then cease? Did not they know, that resting on a corn law, there would be a volcano ready to burst beneath them? Would they then feel the security necessary for these great investments? The hon. Gentleman the Member for Yorkshire had candidly told them that he had no remedy to propose for the present agricultural distress, which was likely to receive the support of the House; but he intimated his own opinion that protection was the only remedy. [Mr. CAYLEY was understood to intimate dissent.] He should be sorry to misrepresent the hon. Gentleman. If the hon. Gentleman abandoned protection when he had made one of the ablest speeches in the course of the debate on the side of those who supported the Motion, then it must be said the prospect of restoring protection was remote. But there were other advocates of the agricultural interest who were more sanguine, and who looked to a restoration of protection. The hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, who introduced the present Motion, said, that when the tobacco question had been settled, the duties on malt and spirits properly adjusted, and local burdens transferred, perhaps in another Session some moderate protection might be introduced. [Mr. DISRAELI: I never said any such thing.] He (Mr. Cardwell) was very unfortunate, and if others were as little successful as himself in rightly comprehending the hon. Gentleman's Motion, he should recommend them to be very careful how they followed him into the lobby. But what would be the effect of a 10s. duty upon corn? A great authority, Mr. Young, had sent him a copy of his speech. Mr. Young said— I call upon you to consider this, however, which lies on the surface:—The annual value of the agricultural produce of this country is certainly not less than 220,000,000l. sterling, even at the present reduced prices. Now, taking wheat as the standard, and supposing—and I believe it is sufficiently near for a general calculation—that the price of wheat is a fair exponent of the general prices of agricultural produce, and that you could get prices raised 10s. per quarter, that would give one-fourth part of the 220,000,000l., or 55,000,000l. put into the pokets of the agricultural producers. Mr. Young truly said, "That looks something like relief." Well, now considering that it also looked something like the whole of the revenue of the country, and considering that virtually the hon. Gentleman called upon them to impose upon their constituents another tax equal to the whole of what was already levied upon the country; considering, too, that not a shilling of that second tax was to go into the Exchequer, he (Mr. Cardwell) thought it became those who represented commercial communities to be very careful of the steps they took, and to consider how much the hon. Gentleman's proposition would add to the burthens of the poorer classes. He had looked to the report of the Commissioners, appointed some years since, to inquire into the condition of the handloom weavers, and they said— If we estimate the average income of each family of the poorer class of weavers to be 10s., the average number of the family at 4, and corn to be upon the average 60s. per quarter, we could not estimate the average expenditure of each family for bread, at less than 5s., or one-half their whole income. They said that the effect of such an impost as would raise the price 20 per cent, would be an income tax of 10l. per cent upon each poor family. Now, this burden would fall upon the Dorsetshire labourer, as heavily as the handloom weaver; and the question was, whether the Legislature was prepared to levy an income tax of 10l. per cent upon the poorest classes of the community? With regard to the question of the burthens upon land, the hon. Gentleman who had preceded him had cut short that part of his speech, and therefore had relieved him (Mr. Cardwell) from following him into the details of that question. But he could not help reminding the hon. Gentleman of this, that in the last five years, two Committees of the House of Lords had sat upon this subject. They had gone into all the details relating to all the burdens on land, and all the remedies; and neither in the report of 1846 nor in that of 1850 was there a suggestion that Parliament should enter on the course which was now proposed. Having endeavoured to lay down as succinctly as he could what he (Mr. Cardwell) believed to be the real state of the facts as to the commercial and financial measures introduced of late years, he knew not whether in the warmth of the moment he had said anything to offend, but he could only say the views he had expressed were the sincere, the earnest, and, he thought he might add, the unalterable convictions of his mind. He was not prepared in any circumstances to be a traitor to those principles the operation of which he believed had enabled the country to pass, not without suffering, but with mitigated suffering, through a great crisis. He believed that they had confirmed the security of all kinds of property, and, not the least, of landed property, and that by their healing operations they had strengthened the foundations of the Crown and Government.


had entertained some j hope that the Government would have proposed a remedy for the distress which was recognised in the Speech from the Throne; but every Member who had risen in opposition to the Motion before the House had endeavoured to disprove the assertion in the Speech, as indeed the Seconder of the Address did on the very day that Speech was delivered. Leaving the Ministry and its supporters to settle as they could such a discrepancy with respect to England, and to those Members connected with that country who might follow him in the debate, to decide the actual state of the agricultural classes in their own, he would; apply himself to the state of Ireland. Reference had been made to that country as in a condition of commercial prosperity. What was the truth? There was a diminution in the customs of Dublin, of Cork, of Limerick—in every port except Belfast. The number of persons employed in manufactures in Ireland was not sufficient to compensate for agricultural depression, even if they were well employed. But he must deny that any class whatever was getting better food, better wages, or better employment. The entire numbers hitherto employed in manufactures in Ireland, scarcely exceeded in factories 24,000; and when it was asserted that employment in sewing machines had been given to some thousands of young women in the north of Ireland, in certain districts, it might be literally asserted with truth that 67 per cent, or even 100 per cent, more than last year were now employed, where none were employed last year; but this employment was confined to certain districts, and the numbers employed; and, still more, the continuance of such employment was problematical, and certainly did not by any means warrant the conclusion that the condition of the manufacturing classes in Ireland were improved. The deposits in savings banks had very largely decreased. The ordinary circulation had diminished. He had a return of prices of agricultural stock at Ballinasloe fair, and from 1845 to the present time, there had been a diminution on the average of all classes of cattle of 5l. a bead. Then the Incumbered Estates; Act was working prejudicially to the owners as well as occupiers of land in Ireland. By throwing so much on the market at once the value was depreciated, and land sold at from 6 to 12 years' purchase, and frequently the price did not amount to the sum the estate was mort- gaged for. He knew an estate for which an offer was made some time previously to buy it at 25 years' purchase. The offer was refused, and it was sold under the Act for 18 years' purchase on the net rent. Had it been sold under the former offer there would have been left to the owner 63,000l.; whereas at present there was a deficiency of 60,000l. to liquidate the debt. The hon. Member for Liverpool asked where the labourers were who had made the railroads, and said the Poor Law Board in Ireland had no cognisance of them. Let him go to the churchyards, let him go to America, and there he would find them. There was a less number receiving relief, because they had desolated the country. There was an increase in workhouses in districts formerly flourishing. In one district in one of the west parts of Ireland there was an increase from 2,610 to 3,170. Ireland was going down in the scale, and was becoming more exhausted every moment. The poverty was now felt by the middling classes, whose property was diminishing. That was the opinion of the land agents in Ireland. In Roscommon they said, that instead of improving they were sinking, and that the capital had left the country. It was said that indoor relief had diminished, but that was owing to death and emigration. Wages had diminished in every part of Ireland, but an Irish labourer would not go into the workhouses so long as he could gain a bare subsistence out, nor would the guardians admit him. They called this a united kingdom, but they ignored nine millions of the inhabitants of the country who were left entirely out of consideration. The special ground on which the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire made this Motion was that taxation pressed unequally on the owner and occupiers of land. That was so especially in Ireland where the taxes were raised entirely from land. With reference to the case of tobacco, the hon. Baronet the Member for Ripon seemed to assert that they could not grow tobacco in Ireland; but his (Col. Dunne's) answer was, that they had grown it there, and the culture of it had only been considered too rapid and successful; and the hon. Baronet would scarcely forget that the Ministry, when the law for the prohibition was introduced, actually purchased the tobacco then in the hands of the producers for a large sum. He was quite prepared to show that it could be not only grown with profit to the farmer, but could even bear a certain tax. With regard to the observations of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Ripon respecting flax, he (Colonel Dunne) only hoped that Irishmen would not be too lightly induced to rely on the flattering expectations held out as to the wealth they were to realise by its cultivation: true, they might considerably extend that cultivation with advantage, but they must recollect that within a few years it had diminished, not increased. The hon. Baronet said, it would be substituted in Manchester for cotton; but as yet the experiments that had been made were by no means so conclusive as to ensure success; but assuming this success, the hon. Baronet had stated we might look for relief where we least expected it. His (Colonel Dunne's) reply was— Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes. It was asked how relief could be afforded them. If this Motion were passed, the Irish Members would point out the means. Ireland was taxed to the amount of two millions for poor-rates, one million and one quarter for county cess; then they had the tithes and the repayment of advances, many of which had been forced on the Irish nation. It had been calculated that while the local burdens in England amounted to 2s.d. in the pound, they were 8s. 4d. in Ireland. And this all fell on the owners and occupiers; the incumbrancers and mortgagees paid nothing. Now the question was, how were they to give compensation for these burdens? There were a great many things in this country which were paid out of the Consolidated Fund, which in Ireland were laid on the land. In England, at that moment, they were paying for each convict about 22l., while in Ireland no more than about 5l. was paid by the Government. The medical officers employed under the poor-law, were paid out of the Consolidated Fund in England; out of the local rate, in Ireland, so were the poor-law schoolmasters. Large sums were given to prosecutors in England, but in Ireland the greater number of prosecutions were left to be carried on at the expense of the persons who suffered wrongs; in fact, while in England the charges on local taxation had been diminished within a very few years, by about a million; in Ireland the local taxation had been increased by at least 2,000,000l. If a specific measure for the restoration of protection were brought in, he was quite prepared to Vote for it, although it had been said, they might have another 10th of April. But that was not the question. The question was simply this—Her Majesty's Ministers admitted that the agriculturists were suffering. In Ireland they were suffering most, and it followed that Ministers were hound to give them some relief. He thought every Irish Member ought to claim protection for that class which was so deeply suffering. The Government had disclaimed the idea of removing the courts of law from Dublin; but, notwithstanding all they had said, he was convinced that their intention was to centralise those courts. They might not do it this Session, but the measure was impending. It was in vain for Irish Members to ask for relief; all that they ever got was an adverse division. His noble Friend (Lord Naas) had asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer to remove the injustice of the present excise laws with regard to Irish spirits. The House of Commons had last Session approved the justice of that demand; yet the Chancellor of the Exchequer refused to accede to it. The hon. Gentleman the Member for the city of Dublin had asked the noble Lord at the head of the Government if he meant to persist in abolishing the office of Lord Lieutenant in Ireland. The noble Lord replied that he did; and yet the noble Lord must be well aware that the people of that country were almost unanimously opposed to the measure: he had himself called on Ministers to amend that poor-law which, it was universally admitted, was desolating the country, and reproducing the poverty it pretended to relieve. Ministers refused, and all he obtained was a Committee so composed that it made that poor-law more oppressive than before. A pliant majority recommended the rate in aid, which was unnecessarily levied on the most exhausted districts. Irishmen complained of the confiscation of their estates by the iniquitous Encumbered Estates Court; and the Attorney General only promised them an Act that would render its action more ruinous than before. Ministers had made the Queen admit the suffering of the agricultural classes. The hon. Member for Buckinghamshire asked them to relieve the distress they thus admitted, and Ministers refused. Can Ministers for a moment call on Irish Members, the representatives of that country their legislation has so deeply injured, to aid them in sustaining that refusal? Let them do so. Nevertheless he appealed to all those hon. Gentlemen who, with him, represented that country, on both sides of the House, whether they had not a right to some alleviation of their sufferings? For himself, he should support the Motion of the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, being convinced that in doing so, he did his duty to Ireland.


hoped the House would allow him to occupy its time while he stated the grounds on which he intended to give his vote. He could not assent to some of the observations of his hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, and he denied that in voting for the Motion now before them he would be a traitor to the policy of 1845. On the contrary, it was to place the seal upon the question of protection, which he believed to be closed for ever, that he should support the claim for justice now put forward on behalf of the agricultural body. He had listened to the speech of his hon. Friend with great attention; and ingenious as that speech was, it struck him to be deficient in one point, namely, that it did not touch the question before the House. It was a speech which was directed to prove the general prosperity of the country, in which he cordially concurred. It was with diffidence that he (Viscount Jocelyn) came to the consideration of that question, because he regretted to differ from one with whom he had generally acted, for whom he had the highest regard, and whose ability and sagacity he believed to be unrivalled in that House. But he would remark that the speech of his right hon. Friend the Member for Ripon supplied him with the ground of the course he should take that evening. It went to prove most clearly the general state of this country, and the prosperity of all interests excepting one; and his right hon. Friend distinctly admitted the depression of that one class of the community. He (Viscount Jocelyn) found in Her Majesty's Speech, a declaration of the general prosperity of the country, while it also admitted the depression of the agricultural body. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in his speech, did not deny the depression of that interest, nor did his hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool. He (Viscount Jocelyn) could testify from his own knowledge that the assertions which had been made on that subject were not overstated. And when he looked at the Motion before the House, was he to refuse to act fairly to that suffering interest, by calling upon the Government, who had admitted the depression, to enter upon a consideration of the fair claims they might be able to put forward. He had been an humble member of the party which up to the year 1846 had supported the great policy of protection, and he could not forget how, in 1846, owing to peculiar circumstances, over which the Government had no control, a change came over their views regarding that policy. The principles of protection were then forsaken, and it was for the House afterwards to consider whether by a return to them it would raise warfare in the country, and whether by such return the particular protected interest would not be more severely injured than any other. He believed it would have been fatal, and the measures he then supported from expediency he was now ready to maintain as just and sound in policy. That was the view which he had taken, and which he now took, but he was not blind to the fact that the change which was then adopted in our commercial policy must necessarily affect the agricultural interest. The hon. Member for the West Riding of Yorkshire knew that it would affect the price of grain, otherwise what object had he and the manufacturing interest in engaging in such a struggle; but while he (Viscount Jocelyn) was quite prepared for a great change, he was also prepared to do justice to the claims of the landed interest. He believed that the course he was about to take was not an inconsistent one. He believed that the Member for Buckinghamshire had brought forward his Motion fairly and honourably, and he (Viscount Jocelyn) would take it as it stood on the paper, and would vote for it as he read it. He had the simple fact before him that a great interest was in severe distress; there were great burdens upon that interest, and he knew that there was a pressure upon the agricultural which would not be borne by the manufacturing interest. He therefore concluded that the Government, who admitted their distress, ought not to deny to them a fair hearing of their claims. He would take the language of the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire. That hon. Member admitted freely the general prosperity of the country; he even went further, and most judiciously acknowledged that if there was a bare majority in that House, he would not be the man to ask for a return to protection. He said, "if we are to go back to protection, it would not be by a mere majority of the House of Commons, but by the general wish of the people." Considering the prosperity of the country, he (Viscount Jocelyn) did not anticipate that if there was a general election it would have the effect of reversing the free-trade policy. He believed the policy to be unreasonable, and therefore he was the more ready to listen to the claims the agricultural interest might put forward. The right hon. Baronet the Member for Ripon had spoken of the great works that were going on in his (Viscount Jocelyn's) county, and he would ask if any man who had travelled from north to south of England could deny that the agricultural interest was displaying an energy worthy of that great class? He considered that those works proved an amount of energy, on the part of the agriculturists, which did them honour, and which was an additional reason why their case should meet with due consideration. The British agriculturist was still willing to spend his money in the improvement of the soil, and not to be backward in the struggle; but was he (Viscount Jocelyn) therefore to deny the claim which they put forward for consideration to an equalisation of the public burdens? In listening to their case, and remedying injustice where it might exist, he considered he did great service to the cause and to the policy which he had previously supported. He wished to explain the grounds on which he had come to a different conclusion from those with whom he generally acted. His vote was not influenced by any wish to withdraw from the policy which he believed had been productive of benefit to the masses of the people; but while they consulted the prosperity of the people, they ought not to sacrifice the interests of any particular.


said, it was not his intention to trespass upon the House, except to explain the reasons for his vote, and that explanation was the more essential, because there had been great discrepancies between the speeches which had been delivered, and the terms of the original Motion. The noble Lord who had just sat down, had aptly and fully represented his (Mr. Cochrane's) views. He should vote for the Motion of the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, because in Her Majesty's Speech there were these facts contained, namely, that there was great prosperity in the country, concurrent, and he might say consequent, upon the free-trade measure; but, also, consequent upon that measure, there was I distress in the agricultural interest. He therefore said that they were more bound by the very sequence of the terms of Her Majesty's Speech, to listen to what the agricultural interest had to say, and give them whatever remedies were rendered necessary by that policy which he had j supported for the last few years.


Sir, there have been a great many attempts to explain what is the nature of the Motion before the House. Some Gentlemen say that it is favourable to protection; others, on the contrary, say that it is not; but if we look at it with the eye of common sense we shall see that it involves one of two things. What is really the object of it? It is either a Motion to return to a duty on corn, or it is a Motion for compensation for the loss of that law. I apprehend that the object in either case will be protection. Now, I do not know that I should have troubled the House after the able, comprehensive, and exhaustive speech of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Ripon, if it had not been; that the hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire, in introducing his pro-position, seemed to ground his claims on the assumption that in passing the Act of repeal we had agreed that certain prices should thereafter he obtained for corn. The hon. Gentleman then quoted the speeches of right hon. Gentlemen on the Treasury bench, and of other hon. Gentlemen who had expressed their opinion that prices would range at a certain level. Having shown that those prices had not been realised, the hon. Gentleman then comes before the House, and before the country, and thinks that he has got a fair claim for compensation. Now, as I had some share in the long and wearisome discussion previous to the passing of the measure, and subsequent to it, I must be allowed to state my own principles and my own views upon the matter. I have never, then, given the slightest encuragement to such a doctrine; and I cannot proceed to grant compensation on any such assumption, because I am prepared to show that in the whole course of my arguments upon this question, I never so much as offered an opinion what the price of corn would be. [Cries of "Oh, oh!"] Let hon. Gentlemen who cry "Oh, oh!" only have the industry to look through the records of my opinions in Hansard, and then I challenge them to bring a single instance where I said anything about price. I always argued the question on totally different principles. I said again and again, I don't care what the price of corn may be so, that we have corn at the price of the world's market. That was the argument I always took. We have it now at the natural price of the world's market, and I am content, and the country is content—and the country would be content if the universal price were 50s. instead of 40s. It is quite possible that the price may be 50s. or 45s.; for it has been 80s. since the corn laws were repealed. I. offered no opinion, and I protest against any compensation on such ground as that; for there was nothing that can afford any reason for the assumption of the hon. Gentleman. I now ask if these two classes that you have singled out (the landowners and farmers) have suffered so much in consequence of the repeal? We have one large landed proprietor in the House, who in his own case prefers no claim; and will the hon. Gentleman tell me that the landowners as a class have suffered in consequence of repeal? Will the hon. Gentleman tell me that the landed proprietors have, one with another, made a reduction of 10 per cent on their rents? Well, but I have information which I will not make use of at present, of many distinguished personages who have made no reduction of rent at all. But let me ask you farther, if you have suffered a reduction of 10 per cent, do you think that you are the only class in the community, during the last four or five years, that have had losses? Take those, for instance, who have capital in mines. Don't you think that coal mining has also been subject to these losses during the last four years? Take again those who have invested their property in railways during the last three or four years. Have they suffered no losses? With respect to the iron trade also, there are hon. Gentlemen who will tell you that it has not been all profit during the last three or four years; and even some branches of the cotton trade have not been so very prosperous. If that be so, will any hon. Gentleman come to this House and presume to say that the owners of land and farmers alone have any right to be compensated for their losses? The effects of free trade on farmers have been very various. In some very heavy clay lands the farmer will have great difficulties to encounter; but near large towns which they have to supply with potatoes and other produce, the farmers have not been doing a bad or unprofitable business. But you come to the House and ask to give a general compensation to all landowners and farmers. What you ask us to do is, that we who represent shopkeepers, merchants, manufacturers, and others, should come here and legislate for the interests only of the owners and occupiers of farms. Now, I object to this attempt of the hon. Gentleman, and to the proposition of a right hon. Lord, who, in another place, has told us that we must make a transfer of taxation, and that we must shift it from the shoulders of the farmers to those of other classes. But the other classes won't endure it. Besides, the hon. Gentleman does not tell us exactly what he wishes to do. He says he does not intend to increase the property tax, and he does not intend to increase the taxes on articles of consumption. Then what is he going to do? You are all mute. I ask you, do you propose to increase the income tax, or the duties on the customs? You are all mute—you don't venture to reply. But how are you going to take off five or six millions from the agriculturists if you are not prepared to point out a substitute? There is nobody that wants to pay more than he does, and nobody that will bear increased taxation. When the Chancellor of the Exchequer proposed to modify the Stamp Acts, by proposing a fair ad valorem duty, the rich and the higher sort of the middle classes resisted the increase. They said that if we are to have a modification you must begin very low, so that we may not have any additional burdens. You cannot shift the burden of taxation; for those on whom you lay a feather's weight additional taxation will resist more than those from whom you remove a hundred weight will help you. Therefore, if you pass the Motion, it will be only a chimera. The only way in which you can mitigate the taxation of the farmer is by reducing the whole amount of your expenditure. I am ready to relieve the landowner and the farmer, but it must be by a general reduction, and that will be the most substantial kind of relief. The relief that you would administer to one class you must administer to every class; but in trying to make a transfer of taxation you are only losing. The hon. Gentleman has gone into a great number of cases with which he proposed to deal, but I will not refer to them because the right hon. Baronet the Member for Ripon has disposed of them all. But there are a great many things by which the agriculturists might be benefited; but I think Motions like these do them harm by retarding the adjustment between the landowner and the farmer, which might lead to some beneficial consequences. The last messenger of protection from the agricultural mind of Herefordshire who has addressed you, talked about navigation and trade, and the like, and plunged into a boundless sea of statistics without rudder or compass, but not a word did he say about a return to the taxation of food. He talked of justice, and I talk of justice. He said justice was protection. I say it is free trade. I say free trade is justice; you say protection is. But do you think to win your cause by talking such childish nonsense as that? Everybody has justice in view. Do you suppose that anybody would advocate an injustice? But now you propose, after three years' mystification of the farmer on the subject of protection, to lead him through other three years, or till the dissolution of the present Parliament, by the cry of an adjustment of taxation. I complain of that; because you thereby prevent the farmer from entering into other arrangements with his landlord which really would be for his benefit. There are many things which the farmers and landlords can do for themselves far more than we can do in this House to help them. In fact, nine-tenths of their difficulties must be got over by the landowners and tenants themselves; there is not more than one-tenth in which this House can at all assist in the removal. In the first place, they never come together for the sake of honestly consulting on their affairs; they keep at a most respectful distance from each other. The landlords assured the farmers that they should have protection; and, so long as they chose to do so, the farmers believed and followed them, thinking that when protection failed, that would give them a better plea for compensation in another shape. This is now worn out. Now we have a fresh device, which will last two or three years longer—a proposal to modify taxation. I defy the farmers—if they did not go to sleep over the first column of the hon. Gentleman's speech, but waded through the whole of it—to make out what it is that he asks for. Let us leave the landowners and farmers, in the first place, to adjust their difficulties amongst themselves. I will point out something that will help them. Don't you think, if you were to alter your tenure, that it might do good? Don't you think leases might be adopted with advantage? [Laughter.] Now, what will Scotchmen say to this? I mention leases as one of the necessary conditions of good farming, and there is a roar of laughter from the protectionist side of the House. Now, could anything more completely justify what I have been saying—that you have not looked at the real means of remedying your difficulties? Don't you think there are conditions of holding, by an alteration in which you might improve the chances of your tenants? Don't you think you might diminish the game a little? [Laughter.] I don't think you understand much of the farmers' mind after all; because farmers never laugh when you talk of game. It was stated and proved in evidence, before the Committee obtained by my hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, that the game on a farm where it was preserved in the ordinary way—not in an extravagant way—cost the tenants as much as all the local rates and general rates. There is another law which I think very injurious to the farmer; and that is the law of distraint. I think they are very much opposed to that law, which gives a preferable claim to landlords over the goods of their tenants for rent; and I believe if you altered that law, you would very much increase the amount of capital which tenants are disposed to lay out upon the land. Are there not things that might be done by the landowners themselves to improve the value of the land? Don't you think that a change in the mode of transfer of land would be beneficial to the landlords? Don't you think that anything which facilitated the transfer of land would not only have the effect of raising its value, but would also increase the number of landowners, and thereby call into requisition a greater amount of labour, and diminish the amount of poor-rates? These are all things necessary to be done, and which can only be done by yourselves. But you do not do these things, so long as you keep the attention of farmers directed to Motions like those of the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, so long as they are diverted by looking to this House for remedies, instead of seeking them by an adjustment with their landlords. Can it be believed that the things which the hon. Gentleman has mentioned would be really a benefit to the farmers? He says that 12 or 15 millions of taxation are paid out of agricultural produce. Do you suppose the farmers will credit what you say when you tell them that they pay the tobacco tax, or the beer tax, or the taxes upon gin and whisky? I venture to say, that many a coalheaver on the Thames pays more of the malt tax than any farmer that lives. Yes, and he pays more than the farmer in respect of his own consumption; for it is the man who consumes the beer or gin, and not the man who raises the barley out of which they are made, upon whom the tax really falls. I am surprised, at this advanced period of the discussion, that any body should so far count upon the credulity of the farmers as to put forward such a proposal as has emanated from that side of the House. Well, the landowners are very strong in this House—they represent a considerable number of farmers—but they are bound, in justice, to remember that a very large portion of the community are not so powerfully represented in this House. You may, by your resolution to-night, reverse the policy which has been adopted before, or attempt to compensate yourselves for the recall of the corn laws; but depend upon it, by so doing, you will only enter upon another difficulty—you will but begin a fresh struggle with every other profession and class in the country, with the exception of the landowners and the farmers, and you will be beaten again, as you were beaten before. You have now avowed that all you have been telling us for the last ten years with respect to the interest which the labouring classes have in this question, has been altogether unfounded. ["No, no!"] Yes; because your leader has admitted that the great mass of the people are in a state of comparative prosperity. He says that the case of the farmers and the landowners is an exceptional case; and he says that the prosperity of all other classes is his strong point. Then, I say that what you have been saying for the last ten years with regard to the interest which the labourers have in these questions has been completely falsified by the facts. Have you considered what this involves? It involves this consequence, that, for the thirty years in which the corn law was maintained by the landowners of this House, you were doing a great injustice to the people of this country, who were, during that time, suffering privation and misery, inflicted on them by the legislation of this House. If you admit that they are now benefited by the change, you cannot deny the argument, that they were injured by the infliction. Then, I would advise you not to say one word about compensation, and not in any way to stir this question again. I hear complaints of vast importations of corn and grain. As the right hon. Baronet the Member for Ripon has well said, that proves the advantage of repealing the corn law; and no other argument need be used, because that shows that the measure has brought comfort, plenty, and happiness to the homes of the great mass of the people. Have you ever carried it a little further, and asked, what would have been the condition of the people if these 10,000,000 of corn and flour that came last year into the country had never been brought here? and, if I may judge by what I see now, with your good will you would have kept it out. I warn you against entering into another career of opposition to the interest of the great mass of the people. I hope that the hon. Gentlemen on this side the House who represent Ireland will not follow the example of the hon. and gallant Colonel the Member for Portarlington, who talked of the sufferings of Ireland, and would attempt to meet them by the exclusion of foreign corn. Let him read the last annual circular of Messrs. Sturge Brothers, of Birmingham, and notice the amount of Black Sea wheat carried into Ireland for consumption there. Does he look upon that as a calamity, that the grain brought by our merchants from Odessa should be allowed to go and feed his starving countrymen? Oh, shame upon such an argument! Here are poor creatures that have been fed upon lumper potatoes; they have now a chance of getting a loaf of wheaten bread; and the hon. and gallant Gentleman raises a loud cry of despair, and falls into a paroxysm of anger because these poor people are allowed to have a loaf of bread like himself. I hope that my hon. Friends who sit beside him will not follow the example of the hon. and gallant Colonel. He is following the course which he has always pursued; and, had it depended upon his good pleasure, not one grain of this corn would have gone into Ireland at all. I hope the hon. Gentlemen who sit beside him will not take a course adverse to their own convictions. I hope that no temporary excitement against the Government will induce them to vote against the interest of their own country and the great mass of their countrymen. When I have the opportunity of addressing the House on that other question, I shall endeavour to satisfy them that the mass of the people do not sympathise with the course they are pursuing on that question. I beg, in conclusion, to state this to hon. Gentlemen opposite. We have heard a great deal said about justice. Now, I ask you to remember that last evening, or the evening before, my hon. Friend the Member for Bolton put a question to the noble Lord at the head of the Government, as to whether it was his intention to extend the suffrage? and the noble Lord said, that he had no such intention. Bear in mind, that at present the working classes have no representation in this House. Now, what is proposed to be done? That you should remove burdens from the shoulders of the landowners and farmers, in order to transfer them, in some shape or other, to the Consolidated Fund. We know that the great bulk of the taxation of this country is raised from the consumers—the unrepresented masses of this country. And if there were no other reason for warning you to pause in the course it is now proposed to take, it is lest you should be charged with great injustice to those who have no representation in this House.


said, he would support the Motion before the House for two reasons, both arising out of a strictly Irish view of the question; a view which, whether from utter indifference, or whether from tact and prudence—it could not have been from ignorance—had been entirely excluded from the range of consideration of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Ripon, He would support the Motion, first, because he approved of the express terms of the resolution itself, the truth of which, as regarded that part of the united empire called Ireland, he defied any man to gainsay. They had heard the statements with regard to the condition of Ireland made by his hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Portarlington. And what was the result of those statements? Why, that the land of Ireland was in the market, and that there was no one to purchase it; the tiller of the soil was in the workhouse, or was gradually drafted off to foreign shores; a nominal proprietary and a nominal tenantry were waging a war for existence against each other—extermination on the one side, hostility, and obstruction on the other; both grasping at everything, neither realising anything—the desolation of a waste, and the clamour of a crowd; the lethargy of neglect, and the rage of competition, staring each other in the face, and presenting a dismal antithesis of misery unparalleled in the history of any other agricultural community. But not only did they all admit the disease, but they all imagined that they knew the remedy; and although the remedy of one man might not be the remedy of another, how could any one, believing in the possibility of remedial measures, refuse to declare by his vote, upon that occasion, that those remedial measures should be applied? Remedial measures had been the cuckoo cry for Ireland during successive Sessions. Introduce a Bill to prevent agrarian outrage—where are your remedial measures for agrarian evils? was the prompt reply. Introduce a Bill to prevent the carrying away of crops on Sundays—remedial and not coercive measures had been their answer to that strange solution of agrarian difficulty. But if they were at present to carry a resolution declaring the necessity of remedial measures, the Irish Members, it was said, might embarrass their friends on the Ministerial benches. Now, for his part, he thought that that circumstance, so far from being a difficulty, ought to act as an incentive to those Members to act upon an Irish view of that question. And that brought him to the second reason which would decide his vote upon that occasion; a reason on which he ventured to say that the whole population, or at least nine-tenths of the population of Ireland were united; and that was the determination to prove to right hon. Gentlemen on the Ministerial benches, that they should not hold their places, except on the principles which they had professed on coming into office; except as friends of civil and religious liberty. As such, and only as such, they had hitherto maintained them in office;—it was in consideration of that one redeeming quality, that they had shut their eyes to their weakness, their inefficiency, and their errors. On the division upon the Greek question, or rather upon that more extended question of foreign policy which had been introduced by the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield, during the past Session, who but the Roman Catholic Members of the House of Commons had kept the Government in office? If they had been the narrow-minded bigots that they had been supposed to have been, there was much in the policy of the noble Lord the Foreign Secretary with regard to religious matters which would have induced them to have given a hostile vote. But they had proved upon that occasion that their faith had not "confined the intellect," or "en- slaved the soul." They had taken the broad and catholic view of the matter; and, regarding the noble Lord the Secretary for Foreign Affairs as the friend of the constitutional rights of man all over the world, they had given their vote for those principles which they had believed to have been assailed in his person. And what had been their reward? Why, that the noble Lord at the head of the Government had used the staff which they had placed in his hands to smite them in the teeth. He said, the staff which they had placed in his hands, because, upon the Opposition benches his hostility would have been comparatively harmless, if, indeed, it would not have been melted, as of old, into love. The noble Lord on the Opposition benches had never resuscitated the policy of the middle ages; on those benches he had rather leagued with sedition than trampled upon freedom; on those benches he had always been the friend of civil and religious liberty, and on those benches he would be again their friend, if the House would only charitably help him in the transmigration. To the Irish Members behind him he would particularly address himself, and he hoped they would not think he was addressing them with an unparliamentary frankness, when he entreated them not to give a vote that night, which would compel the people of Ireland to look upon them as men who were retaining in office a Minister who had absolutely stepped out of his path to insult their religion, and who had deliberately excited against its ministers the sectarian rancour and fanaticism of a whole people. This statement might not be palatable, but it was true. The noble Lord had announced his intention of devoting his future career to a series of vexatious and obstructive measures, to a continuous course of bit-by-bit persecution, for the purpose of preventing the development of the Roman Catholic religion. Hon. Gentlemen had to consider whether they would maintain him in power for such a purpose. He, at all events, would do his duty, and would not, if he could help it, allow a man, who had made use of the religious feelings of his countrymen for years for party purposes, to employ the fanatical passions of others against them now, for purposes still more discreditable.


Sir, I can assure the House that if I were not persuaded that much more than the embarrassment, or even the fate, of a Ministry was involved in the result of the discussion to- night, I should hardly think it necessary to trouble it at any length on this occasion. Indeed, had the House been as full as it now is when the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ripon addressed us, I would have been ready to declare that I could add nothing to the argument which he laid before us, and that I was ready to abide the issue on the case which he placed before the House. But, Sir, it is my duty, seeing the present state of the House, to enter into the consideration of this important Motion; a Motion which, I must say—introduced as it was by a speech of great ability, of great moderation—is in itself, as I conceive, fraught with as injurious and dangerous consequences, if it should be approved by this House, as any Motion that in the whole course of my public life I ever recollect to have been introduced. Sir, the hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire laid down a great many propositions with respect to the state of the landed interest—propositions which seem to many Members of this House, I believe, to be serious propositions—for their consideration, but which, as I conceive, were actually intended to disguise the real objects of the Motion. For the hon. Gentleman told us, in the first place, that it was a great hardship to the landed interest that they were not allowed to grow tobacco. Why, Sir, the very easy and simple answer to that is, that if you took any just course—if you either remitted the whole of the duty, or if you kept up the duty and enforced an excise duty of equal amount on the grower of tobacco, and obtained the payment of that duty—and these are the only two ways in which an equality could be established—if you adopted either of these measures, no tobacco at all would be grown in the united kingdom. The hon. Gentleman next went to a similar grievance with regard to beet-root sugar; and to this a similar answer is applicable. Next, the hon. Gentleman showed the evils and hardships of the tax on malt. But, without entering into his argument on this point, I may just mention that the noble Lord the eminent leader of the party to which the hon. Gentleman belongs, has declared that so large a portion of the revenue as that derived from the malt tax ought not to be remitted, and that if he were a Member of this House he would give his vote against such a proposition. Another question brought before us by the hon. Gentleman was the question of tithes. On that subject I should say, following the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ripon, that if there is a disadvantage in that bargain, the disadvantage is to the tithe-owner, and not to the landowner. It is of no importance to consider at present what was the original tithe; but the present state of the case is that there is a rent-charge which is payable to the tithe-owner; and, according to the hon. Gentleman's own showing, if the present prices continue, the tithe-owner would receive in a few years 75l. for the 100l. received at the time of the tithe commutation. I must really protest, if any such plan as the hon. Gentleman quoted is to be adopted—if there is to be a re-settlement of the question, with the view to diminish the sum payable to the tithe-owner, that a more flagrant act of robbery against the rights of property could not be conceived. Well, then, I cannot believe that the hon. Gentleman contemplates any such thing. Another matter which he threw out with equal length and ingenuity for our consideration was a change of the present local rate for the relief of the poor into a national rate. That is a matter which has been frequently under discussion, and I believe that most men who have considered this subject have come to the conclusion that a scheme more destructive of all economy, more destructive of industry on the part of the poor, more destructive to the finances of the poor, than a commutation of the various local poor-rates for one great national rate for the relief of the poor, could never be devised. Then, Sir, with regard to that subject, I cannot believe that the hon. Gentleman was in earnest in recommending a change. His own scheme of last year, to transfer some two millions from the local rates to the Consolidated Fund, did not meet this year with much notice from him; and the arguments against that proposal have been so fully admitted, that I shall not trouble the House with any observations on them. But the hon. Gentleman's whole course reminds me of a direction that I remember a friend of mine told me he had received when he asked the way he should go. He was told, "Why there is a way to the left, but it very soon leads into a swamp, and you cannot pass that way; and if you go a little further, there is another way, a little to the right, but it is a very intricate path, and you may lose your way; you had better not go that way." "But," said the person from whom he had asked his way, "if you keep on straight, and go along the road, you will arrive at the place which you wish to arrive at." I think the hon. Gentleman rather gave us a specimen of the details of the road that he did not wish us to follow, with the view of introducing the subject which is really the matter of his argument; for I consider that the real object of the Motion of the hon. Gentleman is that protection which was concealed during the greater part of his speech. It seemed to be the only thing upon which a practical measure could be proposed; and it is really worth the while of the House to consider what was the course which he proposed to them to adopt with respect to that. He has said that the proposition of the restoration of protection was not one that he could expect to be adopted by the present Parliament, and that it could only be carried by the opinion of the people in general, and even that a small majority would not be satisfactory, but that it ought to be so large a majority as to show unequivocally the opinion of the country. Now, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ripon has explained this allusion by referring to a statement which was made by the Duke of Richmond last year, to the effect that the object was, after having changed the Government to dissolve the Parliament, and in the new Parliament to propose a restoration of protection. But let us consider the way in which the hon. Gentleman proposes to attain his object. He said that unless the country was very unequivocally in its favour a Government should not propose that restoration. All that might be very well, supposing that the Government of this country were a thing quite independent of popular opinion and popular election. But supposing these new Ministers, to whom the hon. Gentleman alluded, to go down, upon their nomination, to their constituents for re-election, why, the first question that would be asked in the counties would be, "Are you for protection or are you not? do you mean to restore to us the protection that we have had, or do you not?" and they would not be satisfied with that indirect kind of answer which the hon. Gentleman has signified that he should give. "Protection is a very good thing, if the country in general is in favour of it; and if there is not only a majority but a large majority of the House of Commons, who will vote for it." No body of electors, anxious for protection, will be satisfied with such an answer; they will oblige their candidates to say whether or not they are for that protection which is in accordance with the opinions of those constituents; and the new Members or the new Ministers must come to this House determined to act in one way or the other when they come. And then suppose that they were to arrive here in that manner unpledged, who is to say whether or not there would be a sufficient majority in this House to content the hon. Gentleman? Who is to say, until we come to the vote, whether there would be a great majority or not in favour of protection? What is, then, the meaning of this? What is the meaning of this proposal, but that it is the most dangerous proposal that can be made, namely, without declaring directly or boldly in favour of protection, to throw the whole question again open to the country, to say that it was doubtful whether protection will be restored or not, to declare that it would be a good thing if it could be restored, but that it must be a matter of doubt and uncertainty for a year or two to come whether that protection should be restored or not. I now ask the House whether there can be any course proposed more mischievous to the country, more likely to lead to a revival of all those angry feelings which the hon. Gentleman himself declares he wishes to terminate by his present Motion? Why, Sir, in the first place, with this measure in contemplation, what would be the first operation? It would be heard all throughout the country; merchants and manufacturers would doubt and hesitate as to giving their orders; their foreign correspondents would say, "We cannot tell whether we can send the corn which we meant to send in return for your manufactures; we do not know what articles we can send; we do not know what import duties may have been imposed; we do not know what may be the nature of the measures that the Government and Parliament of England are about to adopt with respect to their commercial policy." Well, the consequence of that would be that orders would cease; that the employment now given, and which the hon. Gentleman himself admits is general, employment for the working classes would be diminished; that workshops would be idle—that factories would be closed; and that the whole country would be waiting for those measures which are, after all, to depend upon a measuring-cast majority in this House. But, Sir, there is even a good deal more than that in this question, because, as has been truly said, the great masses of the working classes in this country, whether they be employed in manufactures or in commerce, or whether they be employed in agriculture, now feel themselves interested in the question. When the question was under debate ten years ago, it was very commonly said by those who were strongly in favour of protection that the working classes would gain no benefit by a relaxation of the corn law, because whatever might be the cheapness of food, that their wages would be reduced in proportion, and they could not, therefore, be gainers by the change. Now, I believe that that argument was very successful with the working classes, and that for a considerable time, whatever was the opinion of the merchants and manufacturers, whatever amongst the middle classes was the agitation on this subject, that the working classes were disposed to believe that they would not be gainers by the change. But what is the ease now? What is now the opinion of the working classes? Do not they now know that the reduction in the price of food—the reduction in the price of bread more especially—is greatly more than commensurate with the reduction in their wages? Do not the whole mass of the people feel an interest in this question which they never felt before? And would you not, therefore, find that the maintenance and continuance of your old protection is a totally different question from the introduction of new taxes on corn, which they would believe, at all events (whatever may be said by the right hon. Member for Stamford) will increase the price of the bread they consume. But take the man with twelve loaves a week for his family; if he pays 5d. for his loaf, and if he. expects to pay 6d. if protection is restored, there would be a shilling a week lost to him, which he now has to lay out on sugar or on coffee, or in paying for schooling for his children, but which he would then have to pay as an additional price for his bread. And do you think he would be indifferent to that question? Do you think he would see quietly the attempt to raise this question again, and to propose again a duty upon corn? I think those Gentlemen who are proposing this very much deceive themselves if they imagine there would be any quiet in the country under such circumstances—that there would be the least chance of tranquillity during the discussion of this return to protection. Why, it might be a proper course to say that they would propose the restoration of protection, and would stand by the question. But that is not the proposal of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire. His proposal is to have a continued discussion and agitation of this question; and the proposal of the hon. Gentleman is to have nothing settled, but to leave this question for a time in abeyance. I say they should do one thing or another; they ought to come forward and say, "However excellent the system of protection may be, it is not passed, and cannot be regained:" or they ought to say, on the other hand, "We are ready to standby protection; if protection can be enforced, we are the persons who ought to govern the country;" but if protection cannot be again enforced, it must be for persons who profess our opinions and doctrines to govern. But I say, it is most dangerous, as well as most unfair, for the hon. Gentlemen to start this subject in the way they have done; they are at at a loss, as it were, whether to take one side or the other with respect to the question of protection. Well, Sir, during the time in which this question would be under discussion, there would be, as I have said, the greatest uncertainty in all commercial transactions; there would be a complete change of that which we have seen; there would be a doubt hanging over the mind of every one as to the nature of the proposition which was to be made. Now, Sir, the hon. Gentleman says, fairly enough—I do not object to his statement—that I have neither inclination nor skill in the management of figures and statistical statements in this House. I own that, with regard to these questions, I am apt to consider the political and moral consequences of these changes fully as much as their economical and commercial bearing; and I always thought that it was a most dangerous position with regard to the corn laws, that those who directed discontent against the Parliament on that subject had it in their power to say—"Nearly the whole of the House of Lords, and a great portion of the House of Commons, is composed of men who themselves are landowners, who are interested in this question, and who are making you pay their incomes out of the exertions of your industry." Sir, that was at all times a very dangerous part of this question; but in future it would be multiplied tenfold, if, after the corn laws had been repealed, you were to attempt to reimpose them. The most wild Chartist would wish for no bet- ter topic on this subject than to say—"Look at your Parliament, look at your House of Lords, and look at your House of Commons; they are making a difference in the price of corn, which the noble Marquess the Member for Stamford stated tonight to amount to no less a figure than sixty millions—which another Gentleman stated amounted to fifty-five millions; they are making you pay this immense sum in order to add to their incomes by the imposition of duties which are opposed to the interests of the mass of the working people of the country." I do hope that Gentlemen will consider that dangerous aspect of the question, before this House again sets loose for public discussion a question of such great importance. Well, then, Sir, it is said, however, that land is burdened in an especial manner, and these burdens ought to receive compensation. Why, Sir, I remember when an hon. Friend of mine, now Chief Commissioner of the Ionian; Islands, year after year attempted to obtain a Select Committee, in order to consider what were the burdens on land, that those Gentlemen who most defended protection never could bear the notion of inquiry, and they came forward at once to beg that there might be no inquiry, and to stifle all attempt at investigation. And now it appears that, without investigation, we are to suppose that these great and unfair burdens are placed upon the land. Now, Sir, my opinion with respect to that question is in conformity with what is stated in Her Majesty's Speech, that the burdens on land are every year becoming less, owing to the prosperity of other classes of the community. We know very well that a century ago there was a land tax which amounted to two, or three, or four shillings in the pound, and that, too, was at a time when the rent of land altogether was not more than one-fourth of what it is at present; and when the hon. Gentleman says that upwards of two millions are now payable to the land tax, I say that two millions is now payable out of upwards of forty millions income derived from land, when formerly it was payable out of eight or ten millions, and that all this is a great diminution of the burden. But with respect to the local rates, there is a diminution of the burden going on by the very increase which is taking place with respect to other interests. With respect to houses, with respect to mines, with respect to canals, with respect to railroads, all these classes have been coming in and taking a large portion of those burdens of which formerly the greater part was paid by the land. We have heard it stated, I think, by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that only a few years ago land paid about 64 per cent of the whole burden, and that now it is paying no more than 44 per cent. Why, that is a very great change, and a great change in favour of the landed interest; and if you will allow these proceedings to go on—if you will allow men to invest their money in industrious enterprises—if you will allow them to acquire the fitting capital which belongs to those enterprises, you will be doing a much greater service to the land than if you were to attempt to interfere with the present state of the finances of the country by placing either the land tax or any other tax on the Consolidated Fund. Sir, the hon. Gentleman says that it is an easy thing for a person who is in opposition to say with regard to any particular burden which is to be removed from the classes of which he is the advocate, that it is an easy thing to say let that burden be transferred to the Consolidated Fund. No doubt it is an easy thing to say; possibly it may be no very difficult thing to do; but it is a very difficult thing to bear. Because this Consolidated Fund is not a treasure of which the right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer has charge, and from which any sum can be taken out, but it is composed of the tax upon tea, the tax upon sugar, the tax upon coffee, and the various taxes which affect the working classes of this country. Now, Sir, what has been the policy pursued since the year 1842? The policy pursued has been to apply the means which were derived from a surplus revenue to the diminution of those burdens which pressed upon the labour and the industry of the country. That was the policy which Sir Robert Peel, by virtue of the sum that he obtained from the income tax, introduced into the legislation of this country. Sir, we have proceeded, since we have been in office, upon the same principles, and have adopted measures of the same kind. I stated, I think, last year, that, with regard to sugar alone, 200,000 tons of sugar which this country used formerly to consume, could be obtained at five millions of money less than they were formerly obtained; while, from the introduction of the increased quantity of sugar, not so much as a million is lost to the revenue. My belief is that Parliament has adopted a wise course with respect to this kind of legislation. During the war, the pressure of that war, while large loans were made every year, compelled the Chancellor of the Exchequer to impose very heavy duties on articles of very general consumption by the people at large; but after so many years of peace it is wise to diminish these duties, and by diminishing them we not only obtain a large relief to the people, but we do not, in fact, injure the revenue. The House has heard it stated that after reducing by nearly ten millions the taxation, and imposing little more than five millions, that that balance of nearly five millions has been restored to the Exchequer by the in creased means and the increased energies of the industrious classes. Well then, Sir, I ask, what there is to induce this House to change that system? With regard to the revenue, as I have just shown, you have no reason to change it, because your revenue is found sufficient, and you have a surplus in the Exchequer. With regard to the poor-laws and the general employment of the poor, you find that employment is increased even in the agricultural counties, and that even this year it has been 10 per cent above the former year. In looking to crime I find in 1848 the number of persons committed was 30,349, that in 1849 it was 27,882, and in 1850 it was 26,793, showing a diminution from 1848 to 1850 of not less than 3,556 persons. Now, Sir, with respect to the state of the employment of the people. If, with respect to the finances—if, with respect to the state of crime, you have a great advantage, in what respect are you losers by the present system? Is it in the general state of the people—in the political tranquillity that prevails? No man, I think, who has considered the events of the last few years, will deny that the abrogation of the corn laws has tended most materially to the tranquillity of this country; and that those who might have been induced by examples of revolution in almost every country on the Continent to follow that example, have been induced to remain quiet, from seeing that the Legislature of the country was not indifferent to the welfare of the working classes of this country. I beg you not to reverse that lesson. Those great questions of government—those questions of absolute government, on the one hand, and of liberty on the other, are not yet settled; they may be settled in favour of one party or the other. We may see absolute government restored to its former palmy estate; we may see democratic revolution succeed; but, at all events, whatever may be the case, I should be most grieved if I thought that the great mass of the people of this country were induced by your restoration of the laws which enhance the price of food, to consider that by imitating the democracy of the Continent they could gain any advantage over that liberty and that prosperity which they are now deriving under the ancient institutions of their country. I hope, therefore, that this House will countenance no such restoration. Sir, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ripon alluded, in terms that became him, to the loss that we have sustained of a great statesman who began this course of legislation, and who himself carried the repeal of the corn laws. Without having ever had the advantage of being a friend of his, yet I hope I may be permitted to say to his friends that I am not indifferent to his fame. That last infirmity of noble minds belonged to him as it has belonged to others. He did wish that his name should be hallowed in the gratitude of his country; and I, for my part, should wish that, while I am consulting the present interest of this generation, I may be providing for his fame in future generations. That fame can only be sufficiently secured by the permanence of the policy to which his name has been attached, and which he was enabled to induce Parliament to adopt. For this reason, as well as for others, I should deeply lament the reversal of the policy which now for near ten years has been adopted by Parliament. I can assure the House that no consideration with respect to the position or fate of the Government affects me nearly so much as the fear that I shall have to see that policy reversed, and the contrary course again prevail. My belief is, that the whole of the farmers, and owners and occupiers of land in general, should not be induced to turn their attention from those improvements of the soil which they are now, to their great credit, pursuing, to a course which would only end in disappointment. I believe the minds of the country would be irritated against its institutions, and that it would be long indeed before we could see that tranquillity and content which we have now to boast of, and which even the mover of the proposition before the House has not ventured to deny. In the name, then, of the great interests of the country—in the name of the whole mass of the people—I ask the House not to consent to this Motion.


rose to reply, and said: I trust that the House will, in its indulgence, not think me unreasonable, if at the end of a protracted debate on a subject of acknowledged importance, I avail myself of the salutary privilege of a reply, in order to recall distinctly the Motion which has been made. The House will recollect that it is at the commencement of a new Session of Parliament, and that the Legislature and the people of England, in a most gracious Speech from the Throne, have been congratulated on the general prosperity of the country, and, at the same time, informed that Her Majesty still deplores the continued difficulties experienced by one—and that one an important—class of Her subjects, and this House, I think, will agree that it was not, after the reception of such a speech, unnatural or unreasonable that this House, representing the people, should take into consideration such a message—and should endeavour to inquire into the causes of that particular distress—and if possible indicate the measures required to relieve it. Sir, it was with this view that, believing that the suffering class—and the only suffering class, according to the Speech from the Throne, and according to the opinion of the Cabinet—was so suffering in consequence of a great and undue pressure of taxation—I took the liberty to bring this subject before the House; and the question before this House is, whether these difficulties and this distress are, or are not, occasioned by a great and undue weight of taxation on one class of the community—that class being the only one that is suffering, according to the Speech from the Throne and the statement of the Government. But, Sir, that is not the subject that has been debated this night. I endeavoured to secure a fair discussion of this important question by stating, and with a frankness which I do not regret, my sentiments on other subjects which some might think unconnected with it. I said the other night—and I repeat it now—that it was not my intention to make either a direct or an indirect attack on the new commercial system of the country. If, indeed, I really believed that that system popularly called protection was the only specific for agricultural distress, I would not come forward to propose a policy of protection with reference to the interests of one class alone. But irrespectively altogether of that consideration, I repeat that, after all that has occurred on this head, I do not think that this House is the scene where that great controversy can be settled. It must be settled out of doors, and by the conviction of the great majority of Her Majesty's subjects. Well, now, I ask the House whether I have proved my case or not—if I have shown that the agriculturists of this country—the owners and occupiers of land—bear a greater amount of taxation than other classes of the community. Have I established this important fact, that there exists in this country at this moment a financial system, framed in the days of protection, which that principle of protection could only justify, and which with the aid of protection could alone be tolerated? Have I shown you that, under these circumstances, the energies of the landed interest of this county were strained, and that they only bore the burden by the artificial aid that was afforded them. You have withdrawn that aid; and have I come forward on the part of that class which is suffering, and which is admitted to be suffering, in the Speech from the Throne, and the statements of the Government—have I come forward, I repeat, to ask you to restore the laws that have been abrogated? No; but I ask this—whether, in this the hour of your flushed prosperity, when all other classes are stated to be in a state of felicity, you cannot discover the cause of this anomalous adversity—if you cannot, in the spirit of political justice, which the Member for the West Riding despises, find for it the specific that will relieve it. Has any one upset any statement I have made? Has any one denied that two-thirds of the enormous revenue derived from your monstrous system of Excise is not raised from one single crop of the British farmer?—an amount equal to the revenue of the whole empire of Austria. But I am told by the hon. Gentlemen on the free-trade benches, that the consumer pays it! Oh that I should live to see so little regard for the interest of the consumer felt by the hon. Gentlemen on those benches! But can any one forget, that at the very moment when the production of the barley crop is thus checked, the Prime Minister tells us that the farmer must grow no more wheat. Why, what is the farmer to grow? Again, let me ask the House whether any one has controverted my statement with respect to local taxes. Was not the evidence of the Secretary to the Treasury, given before a Parliamentary Committee, conclusive on the subject? So highly was that evidence thought of by the Government, that they published it in the authoritative form of a pamphlet; and has it not, as far as reasoning is concerned, settled the question for ever? Has anyone said—"While we cannot deny the grievance, we will attempt some means to make a juster distribution of the burden?" No, not a promise. No hope has been held out—nothing but a boast of their prosperity—nothing but an appeal to their full coffers, and the simultaneous and insulting information that the fulness of their coffers is caused by our profits, which are taken from us. This is the entire case in its naked form. The House will then agree that what we are really going to decide upon is whether the farmers of England are unjustly taxed, and whether, in the present condition of the country, and with a full Exchequer, it is not the duty of the Minister to bring forward a measure to remedy that injustice; and more especially his duty when he has gone out of his way to advise the Sovereign to give the solemn assurance to the Country that the difficulties and distresses of the agricultural interest are not exaggerated, and when that distress is considered of so important and pressing a character as to be mentioned from the Throne at the assembling of Parliament. If the noble Lord had any confidence in the opinions which he has just now expressed across the table, he had no right to counsel the Queen to make that admission. What was the proposed object of that admission? Was it a compromise of distracted councils and conflicting cabinets? I cannot account for it in any other way. It is the most reasonable and the most honourable way in which it is to be accounted for. Perhaps the House will now permit me to make a few observations on the principal critics of the Motion which I have placed in the hands of Mr. Speaker. In the first place, I met my old antagonist the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The Chancellor of the Exchequer was unhappily absent from the discussion of last Session, and no one deplored the cause of that absence more than I did. The result of the discussion which took place on that occasion was not so successful for the right hon. Gentleman's cause as that of former discussions, and it is said, that the division of twenty-one somewhat retarded the convalescence of the right hon. Gentleman. Unfortunately, however, for him, he has been burning to repair the defeat of his Colleagues, and in order that he may regain his ground, he has this year made the speech which he would have made last year, had he been well enough to deliver it. I appeal to the House, whether the Chancellor of the Exchequer has met the case? Did he meet the question as I placed it? Did he not, on the contrary, do that which I warned him would enforce my proposition. I told him to beware of the reports of the Poor Law Commissioners; but no art or inducement upon my part could prevent him from seeking aid and relief from the union. The Chancellor of the Exchequer is an ablebodied labourer with good wages, not excessive, but ample; that is not the man you should find prowling about a workhouse. But whatever you do, no matter what arguments you adduce, no matter what case you make out, in the workhouse you are sure to find the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and there I will leave him. I come now to the right hon. Baronet the Member for Ripon, who, I regret, is still my antagonist. The right hon. Baronet put on his best armour tonight; but I think the navigation laws were not the most fortunate voyage. He says, he does not exactly understand the object of my Motion; and he refers very much to the state of France. He says that the land of France is going out of cultivation, in consequence of the lowness of prices. This admission is not very encouraging to hon. Gentlemen at this side of the House, or to the disciples of free trade. The account given by him of the state of France is somewhat perplexing. The number of fundholders in France has increased from 200,000 to 800,000, and yet the hoarding has increased. The land is going out of cultivation, and yet importations of corn and flour from France are arriving here by every steamer. But, says the right hon. Baronet, "How are our national establishments and the public faith to be maintained, if the assumed policy which some recommend is adopted?" But allow me to tell the right hon. Baronet, that no class is more interested in maintaining the national establishments and upholding the public faith than the owners and occupiers of land, and no class is more prepared to make every just sacrifice for so holy an object; but all I say is, don't let us contribute to that object more than our just quota. What they complain of is, that they contribute a greater proportion than other classes to the taxation of the country. That they may not do so any longer is the justice which they wish, and which the hon. Member for the West Riding contemns. The right hon. Baronet the Member for Ripon can see no means by which this justice can be obtained. He says, "What are you proposing? The repeal of the malt tax, Monstrous!" I did not propose the repeal of the malt tax, nor the repeal of the duty on tobacco, though I advised you to consider how you could relieve the grievance of those taxes; but the right hon. Baronet says, "Go to Lord Stanley; he will not sanction the repeal of the malt tax." But I remember a right hon. Gentleman who once did. A statesman, not less distinguished than Lord Stanley, who said that it was impossible to repeal the corn laws and maintain the malt tax. My right hon. critic was followed by another distinguished Member of this House, who said, in a laboured eulogium of the new commercial system, that it had "laid the foundation of a great social and economic revolution." A comfortable prospect, truly! I thought the age of transition had passed—but our prospect is a great social and economic revolution. I do not know whether this was communicated to him by "the American gentleman in private," who gave him that information respecting the state of the manufactures of Massachusetts; but from information which I have received, not "in private," the real state of the manufactories of Massachusetts does not agree with the statement made by the hon. Member for Liverpool. I should have thought that an hon. Member, representing a town like Liverpool, would have had such a knowledge of the American character, distinguished for its taste for humour, as would have taught him the danger of believing all that was said by "an American gentleman in private." "But," says the hon. Member, "the commercial world has been distressed." "Look at the commercial world distressed in 1847," said the hon. Member for Liverpool, and therefore said by authority, "but the commercial world did not come to the House of Commons to assist it." I should have been very much surprised if it had—for I was one of a Committee appointed to inquire into the general distress in the commercial world, in 1847, and we found out that there had been much unprincipled gambling on the part of the commercial world, and much over-speculation. I, for my part, taking a more charitable view, held that that commercial distress had been aggravated by our recent banking laws; but the Chancellor of the Exchequer divided the Committee against me. He said there should be no alteration of the banking laws, because the whole of the distress was occasioned by the unprincipled conduct of the commercial world. I should have been very much surprised, therefore, if the commercial world had come to the House of Commons after that for assistance. But what analogy is there between the losses of the commercial world in 1847, caused by long bills and over-speculation, and the difficulties and the depression of that important class, the owners and occupants of land, which you yourselves acknowledge are caused by your own legislation. "But the commercial world," says the hon. Member, "has since realised 50,000,000l.—an ample compensation for what they lost before by over-speculation." What an answer is that for the financial reformers! I trust we shall have no Motions for the repeal of taxes, nor for the benefit of the only class which is suffering, after such an enormous sum has been netted, according to the statement of so distinguished a representative of the commercial world as the Gentleman on my right. I approach now the oracle of the West Riding. The hon. Member (Mr. Cobden) rises and says that this is avowedly an attempt to obtain compensation for the repeal of the corn laws. The hon. Member is quite mistaken. It is a demand, as I said before, for that justice to which the owners and occupiers of land are entitled—but, if he likes, it is a demand for compensation—not for the repeal of the corn laws—but for that unjust taxation with which they are now burthened, and that is a very different state of the case. "The whole thing," says the hon. Member for the West Riding, "your whole statement is founded upon an assumption that at the time of the repeal of the corn laws, a certain price, by a sort of compact, was guaranteed to those interested in the land." A more unfounded accusation I never heard in my life. Night after night did my noble and lamented Friend, with myself and others, who followed in his wake, make every statement we felt authorised in making—offered every argument which occurred to our reason—to show to the House that, in consequence of the change in the law, an immense fall of prices would take place—a fall greater than any one ventured to predict, and the termination of which it was impossible to anticipate. How, then, can the hon. Member for the West Riding say, that, on our side, we entered into a compact that a certain price should be secured, when all the arguments our ingenuity could suggest were enunciated to prove that there must he a depression of price beyond that even which the most able statisticians could calculate? But were there not Gentlemen who did not sit on the Opposition benches who were very glib with their estimates—who, with the recklessness of audacious ignorance, favoured the world with exact statements of what would be the inevitable consequences of their legislative enterprise? Undoubtedly there were. And, strange to say, notwithstanding the loud asseverations of the hon. Member for the West Riding, I believe it will be found that he was the prime offender in that respect. What were the words that I heard about that time in one of the most memorable speeches made by the hon. Member for the West Riding in this House—a statement made and repeated in many other of his speeches. I have the extract here; but I will only read as much as will be a sufficient answer to the cool statement made to-night by the Member for the West Riding. This, mind you, is not a hasty, vague, or ill-considered opinion, for, says the hon. Member for the West Riding, "Without pretending to look into futurity, I know of no better test as to the future prices of corn in this country than that presented by the island of Jersey, taken for a number of years"—(the hon. Member, you see, was cautious, 'a number of years')—"the average price has been, from 1832 to 1841 inclusive, 48s. 4d. The average price in our own market is only 56s. I have taken some pains to consult those"—(the hon. Member for the West Riding, who accuses me of assuming that a certain price of wheat was to be secured by a kind of compact between the protectionists, as he calls us, and our opponents, although we always said that no person could dream of calculating what the price would be, the hon. Member for the West Riding in Parliament said)—"I have taken some pains to consult those who best understand the subject"—a man of research, you see—"and I find it to be their opinion that a constant demand from England will raise the level of European prices 2s. or 3s. per quarter, and we shall, therefore, have in this country, prices exceeding 50s." It is no part of my case to enter at all into prices, but I only do this to show of what stuff certain persons are made who accuse me of assumption—a vice no man in the House indulges in so liberally as the hon. Member for the West Riding himself. "What proof have you of distress?" asks the hon. Member for the West Riding. My answer to that is, Her Majesty's Speech. Certainly at an hour after midnight, on this, the last night of the debate, I need not enter into that question. I leave our sympathising Cabinet to afford the hon. Member for the West Riding all the information which authorised the insertion of that paragraph in the Royal Speech. "But," says the hon. Member for the West Riding, "the iron trade is suffering—shopkeepers are suffering—the cotton trade itself is not so well as we expected"—indeed I was almost afraid that in the hands of the hon. Member for the West Riding, "general prosperity" would have melted rapidly away. "They do not come here to complain, or to ask relief from this House; the only parties," says the hon. Member, using language which, I am sorry to say, has become Parliamentary, "the only parties (meaning persons)—who do this are the owners and occupiers of land." Well, but I want to know with what property and industry Parliament interferes as with that of the owners and occupiers of land? Let the House leave us alone. If the House of Commons interferes with our industry, restricts the cultivation of the soil, exposes us to an unfair competition, and loads our produce with an enormous and unjust taxation, is it too much that we should complain? I hear of "agricultural exemptions," but the best exemption would be exemption from the legislation of this House. But you, revelling in the consequences of your free intercourse, and your unrestricted commercial speculations, tell us who suffer in consequence of the laws of the country, that you will not consider, modify, or mitigate them. Then the hon. Member for the West Riding derided the proposition—(which I have not made)—of repealing the malt tax, because it is paid not by us, but by the consumer. A repeal of the malt tax, he says, can be no relief to the farmers. The hon. Member a year or two ago was of a different opinion. [Great cheering, amidst which Mr. Cobden made a gesture of denial.] You shake your head! Well, but on the 12th of January, 1849, did you not sympathise with the farmer? Why, I have got it here—"Cobden and the Malt Tax." "We sympathise with the farmers," says the right hon. Member for the West Riding, and the class on whom the hon. Gentleman bestows his sympathy is the same whose difficulties and distresses I have brought before the House of Commons, in consequence of the announcement of those difficulties and distresses in the most gracious Speech of Her Majesty. "We say with them," observes the hon. Member for the West Riding, in the published speech which I hold in my hand, "that we will not tolerate it [the malt tax]. As for protection for corn, we will not hear of it; but we will co-operate with them in getting rid of that obnoxious impost—the malt tax. We owe the farmers something, and we will endeavour to repay them in kind." The hon. Member recommends leases as a remedy for agricultural distress, and is exceedingly indignant because (as he represents) the suggestion was received with derision at this side of the House. But I beg leave to assure him, that he has erroneously interpreted our feelings. The abstract idea of a lease evokes no sentiment of derision from us. What excited our merriment was, that the hon. Member should be so unsophisticated as to suppose that a lease is a thing not in existence, and that, in point of fact, we at this side of the House hear of such a suggestion for the first time. This, I take leave most emphatically to assure him, is a mistake upon his part. What excited our derision, I have again to inform him, was not the abstract idea of a lease, but the amusing notion of the hon. Member's being clearly under the impression that, in alluding to a lease, he was uttering a suggestion which really bore the impress of originality. I have little to say on the speech of the First Minister of the Crown. I look on the First Minister as occupying upon this question a most unhappy position. I have for him all that sympathy which the hon. Member for the West Riding entertains for the occupiers of land. And when the noble Lord tells me, that my resolution is the most dangerous proposal that has ever been made, I beg leave to ask him, why he gave me such frank encouragement to make it, by the paragraph in Her Majesty's Speech? My resolution—the most dangerous proposal ever made—is the echo of that speech, and the logical consequence of the noble Lord's admission. My advice to my Friends around is, that they will not suffer themselves to be frightened by the latter part of the speech of the noble Lord. Its portentous intimations are nothing more than those formularies of rhetoric, which it has become too much the fashion to adopt on the Treasury bench and on some other benches beside. Sir, I will not believe that the people of this country—all classes, I mean, of the community—will think that a dangerous proposition which courts inquiry, and which only seeks, for its object, a fair adjustment of public burdens. I have too good an opinion of the sense and public spirit of the manufacturers themselves, to suppose that any great number of them will look on my proposition as one of the most dangerous that has ever been brought forward. I will do our prosperous fellow-subjects the justice to suppose, that if they believe that there is an undue pressure on the industry of any class of their fellow-subjects, especially on the industry of that virtuous and honourable class the farmers of England, they would be glad to see such injustice removed, and happy to take a part in its removal. All these attempts to invest a purely fiscal question with great political consequences, and to impart to it a rich political colouring, are mere happy pleasantries of the noble Lord's. He does not believe them himself, nor does he suppose that there is any one in this House who will believe them. This has been tried a little too much. I read this morning an awful, though anonymous, manifesto in the great organ of public opinion, which always makes me tremble: Olympian bolts, and yet I could not help fancying amid their rumbling terrors that I detected the plaintive treble of the Treasury bench. There we are told that the owners and occupiers of land are a very insignificant class, and that it would be well for them not to stir themselves, lest their insignificance may be revealed. I am not one of those who approve of those statistical calculations to which recourse is too frequently had, in order to demonstrate the comparative importance of the different classes in this country. Such calculations are sometimes not very accurate, and they are, I think, always injudicious, and may tend to mischief. To a general inquiry as to the intelligence, industry, and opulence of this country, I have no objection; but it is painful to me to see class arrayed against class by rival calculations of their relative importance. I will not suffer myself to be tempted into any such calculations; but I may be permitted, in general terms, to say of those who are connected with the agricultural interest, that in number, in property, in intelligence, in public virtue, and in private worth, they are inferior to no other class. More I might perhaps say, if I chose, since I have observed in the course of this debate, as I have remarked in the course of Other debates on this great question, that the existence of Ireland is (to use a word borrowed I suppose from the Pope) "ignored." The millions of a country which is entirely dependent on agriculture seem unworthy to be included in these statistical calculations. But undismayed by menaces from any quarter, I hope that there is so much spirit in the Gentlemen of the united kingdom, that they will not be daunted either by the mystical references of the noble Lord at the head of the Government, or by the less authoritative and more decided threats which may reach them from other quarters. I hope that hon. Members, if they believe that they would be doing their duty by supporting this Motion, will not be deterred from supporting it; and I seek for no man's vote unless it be dictated by a sense of duty. I hope, however, that the Gentlemen of the united kingdom will feel that it is their duty to take a more active part for the future in defending the interests of the tenantry. This is mainly a farmer's question. Nobody has met my argument on the subject of rent, which shows the fallacy of that barbarous slang by which it has been too long the custom to meet the appeals of reason. This, I repeat, is a farmer's question—the question of a class who are suffering severely—who have been long suffering—and whose sufferings are increasing. Prom motives which I can appreciate—from feelings of delicacy which I can entirely comprehend, the owners of land have not heretofore stood forward to vindicate as they ought to have done, the interests of the tenantry. I hope Sir, that this is the commencement of a new era. I hope that no man, whether an owner or an occupier of land, will hereafter be ashamed or afraid to ask from an English Parliament that justice to which every English subject is entitled.


said, he should support the Motion, although he believed protection ought not, and never would, be restored. The Government and its supporters all indulged in hopes; but as he know the tenant-farmers were in a great state of distress, and could not live on hope, he had felt it his duty to vote for the Motion.


amid cries of "Divide!" was understood to say he would support the Motion of the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 267; Noes 281: Majority 14.

List of the AYES.
Acland, Sir T. D. Cotton, hon. W. H. S.
Adderley, C. B. Cubitt, W.
Alcock, T. Currie, H.
Anson, Visct. Damer, hon. Col.
Arbuthnott, hon. H. Davies, D. A. S.
Archdall, Capt. M. Deedes, W.
Arkwright, G. Devereux, J. T.
Bagge, W. Dick, Q.
Bagot, hon. W. Disraeli, B.
Bailey, J. Dod, J. W.
Baillie, H. J. Dodd, G.
Baldock, E. H. Drax, J. S. W. S. E.
Baldwin, C. B. Drumlanrig, Visct.
Bankes, G. Drummond, H.
Baring, T. Duckworth, Sir J. T. B.
Barrington, Visct. Duncombe, hon. A.
Bateson, T. Duncombe, hon. O.
Bennet, P. Dundas, G.
Bentinck, Lord H. Dunne, Col.
Berkeley, hon. G. F. Du Pre, C. G.
Bernard, Visct. East, Sir J. B.
Best, J. Edwards, H.
Blackstone, W. S. Egerton, W. T.
Blakemore, R. Emlyn, Visct.
Blandford, Marq. of Euston, Earl of
Boldero, H. G. Evelyn, W. J.
Booker, T. W. Fagan, J.
Booth, Sir R. G. Farnham, E. B.
Bramston, T. W. Farrer, J.
Bremridge, R. Fellowes, E.
Brisco, M. Floyer, J.
Broadley, H. Forbes, W.
Broadwood, H. Forester, hon. G. C. W.
Brooke, Sir A. B. Fox, S. W. L.
Brown, H. Frewen, C. H.
Bruce, C. L. C. Fuller, A. E.
Bruen, Col. Galway, Visct.
Buck, L. W. Gaskell, J. M.
Buller, Sir J. Y. Goddard, A. L.
Bunbury, W. M. Gooch, E. S.
Burghley, Lord Goold, W.
Burrell, Sir C. M. Gordon, Adm.
Burroughes, H. N. Gore, W. R. O.
Cabbell, B. B. Grace, O. D. J.
Carew, W. H. P. Granby, Marq. of
Cayley, E. S. Grattan, H.
Chaplin, W. J. Greenall, G.
Chichester, Lord J. L. Grogan, E.
Christopher, R. A. Guernsey, Lord
Christy, S. Gwyn, H.
Clive, hon. R. H. Hale, R. B.
Clive, H. B. Halford, Sir H.
Cobbold, J. C. Hall, Col.
Cochrane, A. D. R W. B Halsey, T. P.
Cocks, T. S. Hamilton, G. A.
Codrington, Sir W. Hamilton, J. H.
Cole, hon. H. A. Hamilton, Lord C.
Coles, H. B. Harris, hon. Capt.
Colvile, C. R. Hayes, Sir E.
Compton, H. C. Heathcote, G. J.
Conolly, T. Heneage, G. H. W.
Corry, rt. hon. H. L. Heneage, E.
Henley, J. W. Peel, Col.
Herries, rt. hon. J. C. Pennant, hon. Col.
Hildyard, R. C. Pigot, Sir R.
Hildyard, T. B. T. Plowden, W. H. C.
Hill, Lord E. Plumptre, J. P.
Hodgson, W. N. Portal, M.
Hood, Sir A. Powell, Col.
Hope, H. T. Power, N.
Hope, A. Powlett, Lord W.
Hornby, J. Prime, R.
Hotham, Lord Pugh, B.
Hudson, G. Pusey, P.
Hughes, W. B. Reid, Col.
Inglis, Sir R. H. Rendlesham, Lord
Jocelyn, Visct. Renton, J. C.
Johnstone, Sir J. Repton, G. W. J.
Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H. Reynolds, J.
Jones, Capt. Richards, K.
Keating, R. Roche, E. B,
Keogh, W. Rufford, F.
Kerrison, Sir E. Rushout, Capt.
Knight, F. W. Sadleir, J.
Knightley, Sir C. Sandars, G.
Knox, Col. Scott, hon. F.
Lacy, H. C. Scully, F.
Lascelles, hon. E. Seaham, Visct.
Lawless, hon. C. Seymer, H. K.
Legh, G. C. Sibthorp, Col.
Lennard, T. B. Sidney, Ald.
Lennox, Lord H. G. Simeon, J.
Lindsay, hon. Col. Smyth, J. G.
Lockhart, W. Somerset, Capt.
Long, W. Sotheron, T. H. S.
Lopes, Sir R. Spooner, R.
Lowther, hon. Col. Stafford, A.
Lowther, H. Stanford, J. F.
Lygon, hon. Gen. Stanley, E.
Macnaghten, Sir E. Stanley, hon. E. H.
M'Cullagh, W. T. Stuart, H.
Meagher, T. Stuart, J.
Mandeville, Visct. Sturt, H. G.
Manners, Lord C. S. Sullivan, M.
Manners, Lord G. Taylor, T. E.
Manners, Lord J. Thesiger, Sir F.
March, Earl of Thompson, Ald.
Maunsell, T. P. Thornhill, G.
Maxwell, hon. J. P. Tollemache, J.
Meux, Sir H. Townley, R. G.
Miles, P. W. S. Trevor, hon. G. R.
Miles, W. Trollope, Sir J.
Monsell, W. Turner, G. J.
Moody, C. A. Tyrell, Sir J. T.
Moore, G. H. Verner, Sir W.
Morgan, O. Villiers, hon. F. W. C.
Mullings, J. R. Vyse, R. H. R. H.
Mundy, W, Waddington, D.
Muntz, G. F. Waddington, H. S.
Mure, Col. Walpole, S. H.
Naas, Lord Wegg-Prosser, F. R.
Napier, J. Welby, G. E.
Neeld, J. West, F. R.
Neeld, J. Wigram, L. T.
Newdegate, C. N. Williams, T. P.
Newport, Visct. Willoughby, Sir H.
Noel, hon. G. J. Wodehouse, E.
O'Brien, Sir L. Worcester, Marq. of
O'Brien, Sir T. Wynn, H. W. W.
O'Connor, F. Wynn, Sir W. W.
O'Flaherty, A. Yorke, hon. E. T.
Ossulston, Lord
Oswald, A. TELLERS.
Packe, C. W. Beresford, W.
Palmer, R. Mackenzie, W. F.
List of the NOES.
Abdy, Sir T. N. Duff, G. S.
Adair, H. E. Duke, Sir J.
Adair, R. A. S. Duncan, Visct.
Anderson, A. Duncan, G.
Anson, hon. Col. Duncuft, J,
Anstey, T. C. Dundas, Adm.
Armstrong, Sir A. Dundas, rt. hon. Sir D.
Bagshaw, J. Ebrington, Visct.
Baines, rt. hon. M. T. Ellice, rt. hon. E.
Baring, H. B. Ellice, E.
Baring, rt. hon. Sir F. T. Ellis, J.
Barnard, E. G. Elliot, hon. J. E.
Bass, M. T. Enfield, Visct.
Bell, J. Estcourt, J. B. B.
Bellew, R. M. Evans, Sir D. L.
Berkeley, Adm. Evans, J.
Berkeley, hon. H. F. Evans, W.
Berkeley, C. L. G. Ewart, W.
Bernal, R. Fagan, W.
Birch, Sir T. B. Fergus, J.
Blackall, S. W. Ferguson, Col.
Blake, M. J. Ferguson, Sir R. A.
Blewitt, R. J. Fitzroy, hon. H.
Bowles, Adm. Fitzwilliam, hon. G. W.
Boyd, J. Foley, J. H. H.
Boyle, hon. Col. Forster, M.
Brand, T. Fortescue, C.
Bright, J. Fortescue, hon. J. W.
Brocklehurst, J. Fox, R. M.
Brockman, E. D. Fox, W. J.
Brotherton, J. Freestun, Col.
Brown, W. Gibson, rt. hon. T. M.
Bruce, Lord E. Glyn, G. C.
Bulkeley, Sir R. B. W. Goulburn, rt. hon. H.
Bunbury, E. H. Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.
Busfeild, W. Greene, J.
Buxton, Sir E. N. Grenfell, C. W.
Calvert, F. Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.
Campbell, hon. W. F. Grey, R. W.
Cardwell, E. Grosvenor, Lord R.
Carter, J. B. Guest, Sir J.
Caulfield, J. M. Hall, Sir B.
Cavendish, hon. C. C. Hallyburton, Lord J. F.
Cavendish, hon. G. H. Hanmer, Sir J.
Cavendish. W. G. Hardcastle, J. A.
Childers, J. W. Harris, R.
Clay, J. Hastie, A.
Clay, Sir W. Hastie, A.
Clements, hon. C. S. Hatchell, rt. hon. J.
Clerk, rt. hon. Sir G. Hawes, B.
Clifford, H. M. Headlam, T. E.
Cobden, R. Heald, J.
Cockburn, Sir A. J. E. Heathcoat, J.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. Henry, A.
Collins, W. Herbert, rt. hon. S.
Copeland, Ald. Hervey, Lord A.
Cowan, C. Heywood, J.
Cowper, hon. W. F. Heyworth, L.
Craig, Sir W. G. Higgins, G. G. O.
Crowder, R. B. Hindley, C.
Currie, R. Hobhouse, rt. hon. Sir J.
Curteis, H. M. Hobhouse, T. B.
Dalrymple, Capt. Hodges, T. L.
Dashwood, Sir G. H. Hodges, T. T.
Dawson, hon. T. V. Hogg, Sir J. W.
Denison, E. Hollond, R.
D'Eyncourt, rt. hon. C. T. Horsman, E.
Divett, E. Howard, hon. C. W. G.
Douglas, Sir C. E. Howard, hon. J. K.
Douro, Marq. of Howard, hon. E. G. G.
Howard, P. H. Price, Sir R.
Hume, J. Rawdon, Col.
Humphery, Ald. Ricardo, O.
Hutchins, E. J. Rice, E. R.
Hutt, W. Rich, H.
Jackson, W. Robartes, T. J. A.
Jermyn, Earl Romilly, Col.
Kershaw, J. Romilly, Sir J.
Kildare, Marq. of Rumbold, C. E.
King, hon. P. J. L. Russell, Lord J.
Labouchere, rt. hon. H. Russell, F. C. H.
Langston, J. H. Salwey, Col.
Lascelles, hon. W. S. Sandars, J.
Lemon, Sir C. Scholefield, W.
Lewis, rt. hon. Sir T. F. Scrope, G. P.
Lewis, G. C. Seymour, H. D.
Littleton, hon. E. R. Seymour, Lord
Locke, J. Shafto, R. D.
Lockhart, A. E. Shelburne, Earl of
Loveden, P. Slaney, R. A.
Lushington, C. Smith, rt. hon. R. V.
Mackie, J. Smith, J. A.
Mackinnon, W. A. Smith, M. T.
M'Gregor, J. Smith, J. B.
M'Taggart, Sir J. Somers, J. P.
Magan, W. H. Somerville, rt. hon. Sir W.
Mahon, The O'Gorman Spearman, H. J.
Mangles, R. D. Stanley, hon. W. O.
Marshall, J. G. Stansfield, W. R. C.
Marshall, W. Stanton, W. H.
Martin, J. Staunton, Sir G. T.
Martin, C. W. Strickland, Sir G.
Masterman, J. Stuart, Lord D.
Matheson, A. Stuart, Lord J.
Matheson, J. Tancred, H. W.
Matheson, Col. Tenison, E. K.
Maule, rt. hon. F. Thicknesse, R. A.
Melgund, Visct. Thompson, Col.
Milner, W. M. E. Thornely, T.
Milton, Visct. Towneley, J.
Mitchell, T. A. Townshend, Capt.
Moffatt, G. Traill, G.
Molesworth, Sir W. Trelawny, J. S.
Morison, Sir W. Tufnell, rt. hon. H.
Morris, D. Vane, Lord H.
Mostyn, hon. E. M. L. Verney, Sir H.
Mowatt, F. Villiers, hon. C.
Mulgrave, Earl of Wakley, T.
Norreys, Lord Wall, C. B.
Norreys, Sir D. J. Walmsley, Sir J.
O'Connell, M. Walter, J.
O'Connell, M. J. Watkins, Col. L.
Ogle, S. C. H. Wawn, J. T.
Ord, W. Wellesley, Lord C.
Osborne, R. Westhead, J. P. B.
Owen, Sir J. Willcox, B. M.
Paget, Lord A. Williams, J.
Paget, Lord C. Williams, W.
Paget, Lord G. Williamson, Sir H.
Palmer, R. Wilson, J.
Palmerston, Visct. Wilson, M.
Parker, J. Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Pechell, Sir G. B. Wood, W. P.
Peel, Sir R. Wortley, rt. hon. J. S.
Peel, F. Wrightson, W. B.
Pelham, hon. D. A. Wyld, J.
Pendarves, E. W. W. Wyvill, M.
Perfect, R. Young, Sir J.
Peto, S. M.
Pigott, F. TELLERS.
Pilkington, J. Hayter, rt. hon. W. G.
Pinney, W. Hill, Lord M.
Power, Dr.
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