HC Deb 26 November 1852 vol 123 cc588-705

Order, read, for resuming adjourned Debate on Amendment proposed to Question [23rd November] "That it is the opinion of this House, that the improved condition of the Country, and particularly of the Industrious Classes, is mainly the result of recent Commercial Legislation, and especially of the Act of 1846, which established the free admission of Foreign Corn; and that that Act was a wise, just, and beneficial measure:"—(Mr. Charles Villiers:)—And which Amendment was to leave out from the word "Country," to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "and especially of the Industrious Classes, is mainly the result of recent Legislation, which has established the principle of unrestricted competition, has abolished Taxes imposed for the purposes of Protection, and has thereby diminished the cost and increased the abundance of the principle articles of the Food of the People," (Viscount Palmerston),—instead thereof.

Question again proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."

Debate resumed.


Sir, I desire very briefly to state to the House some considerations which have occurred to my mind in reference to the Resolution of my hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton (Mr. C. Villiers), the Amendment of the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton (Viscount Palmerston), and the conclusions to which I have come with respect to both Motions. I consider it peculiarly unfortunate for us that the discussion of a Resolution intended to be a simple affirmation of a principle of public policy should have been mixed up with party considerations. I, for one, absolve myself of all responsibility, if that result should take place. I think that although it is true, as the right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer says, that it is a mistake for either an individual or a Government to submit to insult, yet, on the other hand, it is not an uncommon stratagem, not an unusual Ministerial manoeuvre, to call Resolutions of this kind votes of want of confidence, in order that thereby a fair expression of the opinion of the House may not be taken; and in order that the Members, who are supporters of Government, may be deterred from expressing their genuine opinions on the question before the House. I am at a loss to understand why it was necessary to say that this Motion of my hon. Friend's was a vote of want of confidence. If ever there was a question on which the House was entitled to be quite unfettered by Governmental considerations it was this, because the Government had told the people in the very commencement that they placed their own opinions on the shelf, and that the country was to pronounce freely without any reference to the private opinions of the Government. If that be so, I ask why we are now to be prevented pronouncing freely our opinion of the policy and justice of our commercial legislation, because the Ministers may chance to put the construction of a vote of want of confidence on our proceedings, in order to influence in their own ranks the gentlemen who go by the name of Conservative Free Traders. I think that we should have had these Conservative Free Traders voting with the hon. Member for Wolverhampton had not the manoeuvre been resorted to of turning the Motion into a vote of want of confidence. Government had separated themselves entirely from this question. These opinions were not to inconvenience them in any way, and I think we are not dealt fairly with, when my hon. Friend submits his views in a temperate and proper Resolution, to have this extreme sensitiveness exhibited, and to be told that we are passing a deliberate insult on the Members of the Administration. I should suppose that the meaning of that word "insult" was connected with the intention of the person supposed to inflict it; and I say that if any intention of showing want of confidence be disavowed, any intention of wounding unnecessarily the feelings of hon. Gentlemen opposite, or of insult to the Government be repudiated, such considerations ought no longer to influence the votes of Members of this House. But I consider that my hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton would not have covered the whole ground, would not have pronounced fairly for the country, unless he had particularised the Corn Bill of 1846, and declared that measure to be both just and beneficial; and above all, I think he was bound to declare it to he a just measure, because in that term lay the whole question between the two parties. If we are to reason in the Resolutions which have been submitted to the House—and I submit that every one of these Resolutions, that of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle (Sir J. Graham), and also the Amendment of the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton (Viscount Pamerston) all give reasons why we should support recent commercial policy—if we are to give reasons, let us take care that we give proper reasons, that we may tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and do not leave support of this policy on a foundation that may slide from under us, or write on sand that verdict which should be graven on the rock. It is not sufficient to tell me that the repeal of the Corn Laws has cheapened provisions. It is not sufficient for me to rest my defence of this policy on the prosperity of the day. I remember well when my hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, in bringing forward his Motion years ago for the total repeal of the Corn Laws, founded that Motion upon the distress occasioned by them, he made but little progress. He was told that the distress might pass away, and that it was difficult to connect cause and effect in such a manner as to show the necessity of the great change he proposed. But when he took higher ground, and advocated the repeal of the Corn Laws on the broad principle of civil right, and justice, and on the ground that a man has a right to freedom of exchange, he then made progress, and got the support of the moral sentiment of the nation, and found that he was in the fair way of carrying his question. If you merely justify a policy on the ground of its cheapening provisions, and the prosperity it produces; and if at the same time you shrink from declaring that it is a just policy, who shall say that if from various causes provisions rise, or manufacturing or commercial distress comes on, we shall not be told that the time has arrived for the reconsideration of a policy which had been built on the cheapness of provisions, and the manufacturing prosperity it produced? Such a mode of dealing with a question would justify confiscation or repudiation. You might say of confiscation that it had benefited the parties in whose favour it had taken place, by their enjoying the property of those persons who had been robbed, or they might say the same of repudiation; and, therefore, I contend most emphatically that if we are afraid to say that this is a just and righteous policy, we had better say nothing at all about it. Now, the noble Lord, the Member for Tiverton tells us, with regard to the Motion of my hon. Friend, "There is hot one word in that Resolution to which I, for my own part, should not be ready implicitly to subscribe." And yet the noble Lord, it is said, is going to vote against it. I do not understand whether the noble Lord, after saying he subscribed to it "implicitly," is going to vote against that Motion, or whether he is going to vote against his own Amendment. I think the speech of the noble Lord is fatal to his own Amendment, and I will explain why. The object of the noble Lord, as stated in his speech, is not to force the convictions of hon. Members opposite. His words are— We are an assemblage of Gentlemen. We who are Gentlemen on this side ought to remember that we are dealing with Gentlemen on the other, and I, for one, cannot reconcile it to my feelings calling on an assemblage of English Gentlemen needlessly to express an opinion they do not entertain, or to recant opinions which may still be lingering in their minds. Why, that is an argument against proposing any Resolution, unless you have previously secured unanimity on the subject. But does the Amendment of the noble Lord regard with such extreme delicacy the feelings and convictions of hon. Gentlemen opposite? Nothing of the kind. The noble Lord was about to ask the hon. Member for Cambridgeshire (Mr. E. Ball) and North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate), the latter I believe being the Chairman of the Society for the Protection of British Agriculture, to state that the free admission of foreign corn prudently extended will enable the industry of the country—of course including the agricultural industry—better to bear its burthens than if that corn were kept out. The noble Lord considers he is exercising extreme delicacy towards Protectionist Gentlemen when he asks them to make this declaration, merely because he leaves out in his Resolution the words "just and wise;" as if it were no offence to ask these Gentlemen to make what they consider one erroneous statement. The evil commenced when you asked them to accept the other. Now, if I were a Protectionist like the hon. Member for Cambridgeshire or North Warwickshire, I should be more grieved to be obliged to state with such painful accuracy that letting in foreign corn had enabled agriculturists and others better to bear their burthens, than if I had been asked generally to admit that the alteration in the law had been wise, just, and beneficial. So that it appears to me that the noble Lord's Amendment, supported by his explanatory speech, is quite as offensive to Protectionist Gentlemen as the proposal of my hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton. But then it is said it is not so offensive to the Members of the Government. Well, if Members of the Government have no respect for their own convictions, I do not see why we should be so extremely delicate towards those Gentlemen. It has been said that we mixed nauseous ingredients with the Resolution, by putting in the words "just and wise;" but, so far as the Government is concerned, we have the consolation of knowing that any bitterness that may be produced on their palates, may, perhaps, be counteracted by the sweets of office. I affirm that the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton is not playing a generous or just part towards my hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton in coming here, when he himself agrees in every word of my hon. Friend's Resolution, to take the question out of his hands, and to appropriate to himself the position of arbitrating between different parties in the permanent settlement of this great question. ["Hear, hear!"] I say that my hon. Friend, who has fought this battle manfully and conscientiously, through good and evil report, is entitled to the honour of passing the final Resolution. And let me tell you that none of these Resolutions, with the names of Lord Palmerston and Mr. Disraeli attached, will have the weight with the country or with the world, that one bearing the name of my hon. Friend would have. To use a somewhat familiar illustration the world will say, "No article is genuine unless it has the name of Charles Pelham Villiers attached." That name has been so long connected with the question that the world will believe something short of free-trade has been passed by Parliament if his Motion is thrown over, and the House supports the noble Lord's Amendment. The Resolution of the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton reminds me of one of those mediations that one sometimes hears of in the Foreign Office, intended to settle disputes between belligerent parties, and which have been preceded by secret negotiation. I will take the liberty of quoting a passage from a work of the right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in which he commented in former times with much severity on the characters of public men. The work I allude to is the Runnymede Letters, in which he showed a far-seeing sagacity in predicting the future career of the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton. He said that justice had never been done to the noble Lord's talent, who had served seven Prime Ministers with equal fidelity. The author goes on addressing the noble Lord in these words—"You owe the Whigs great gratitude, my Lord, and therefore I think you will betray them." Sir, the proceedings of the noble Lord on this subject remind me forcibly of similar proceedings on the Militia question. But I cannot believe that the noble Lord, agreeing as he does with the words of the Resolution, implicitly subscribing to them, was justified, out of mere generosity to the Members of the Government, in doing what in him lay to prevent my hon. Friend having a majority in support of his Motion. But are we to shrink from asserting that the policy of free trade is just? Is no man to be permitted without giving offence to hon. Gentlemen opposite to assert that the repeal of the Corn Laws was founded on the principles of justice and wisdom? Will the supporters of the late Sir Robert Peel find any difficulty in asserting that the policy they themselves supported was founded on justice and wisdom? Do they not remember the last words of that great man when he resigned office in consequence of his commercial policy—"That the abundant food of the working people would be all the sweeter because it was no longer leavened with a sense of injustice?" The omission of the words "wise, just, and beneficial," is significant. If they had never appeared in the Resolution, the case would have stood in a different position. If this declaration were omitted from the Resolution adopted by the House, would not that omission cast a slur, not to be mistaken, on the policy of Sir Robert Peel, and give a sanction to the proceedings of those who caused the removal of Sir Robert Peel from office? Hon. Gentlemen who were formerly connected with that great statesman, and who are now sitting on this side of the House, may have their own views on the subject, but the world will think they have not done their duty to his memory, if through any maudlin sentimentality they refuse to place their votes upon record, that the policy he advocated was not a wrong, not a mischief, but was founded on eternal principles of justice. It is impossible we can regard the feelings of the Government on this occasion without sanctioning their conduct, and our course must be straightforward and business-like. Let those who really think that this policy has been unwise, unjust, and prejudicial, manfully say so; but let them who hold the contrary opinion as manfully declare that conviction, and not stultify themselves in the eyes of the country by listening to the gentlemanly fancies of the noble Member for Tiverton. I say the question of courtesy does not enter into the question at all. I make no complaint of any man who, thinking the policy of 1846 unjust and not founded in wisdom, votes against my hon.' Friend's Resolution. But it is absolutely necessary also on other grounds that we should have something said of the justice of this policy; for, after all, is it not the great question between the two parties? Is there not a distinction of principle separating the two parties in this House from each other? and is it wise, by an artificial arrangement of this sort, to pretend to the world that there is an unanimity which really does not exist? They had this distinct declaration of Lord Derby, given just before the general election:— He (the Earl of Derby) had by no means said he was prepared to abandon protection altogether, and to seek some other mode of relief. Not only had he not said that, and not only would he not say it, but that was the precise opposite of what he had said and of what he would say. What he said was, that whether opposed in that or in the other House, it was the purpose of the Government to seek to afford a just and equitable relief to those classes who, for the benefit of the community at large, had been the victims of the recent change in our legislation. And he believed that, on the part of the English people there was that sense of justice that they would consent to be deprived of a portion of the advantages they had enjoyed in order to reduce a portion of the burdens of those who were suffering unduly. Now, it is precisely by insisting upon the word "justice," in the Resolution to be adopted by the House, that we shall aim an effective blow at the policy contained in the words I have thus quoted. We contend that by repealing the Corn Laws, we did render to every man that which was his due, and that is the meaning of the word "just," and that whatever arrangements may hereafter be made as to the public taxes, they must not be undertaken with a foregone conclusion that some great wrong has been inflicted on the landed interest, or that they are entitled to make up for such supposed wrong by pressing on the enjoyments or advantages which other classes of the community have obtained. It is against that principle that we have directed our Resolution, and it is with that view we have inserted the word "just." We have attacked the principle of monopoly, and in doing so we believe that we have attacked a principle which is in itself sufficiently unjust; and if we shrank from the asser- tion of this broad ground, it is my opinion we shall not have done our duty. I think, therefore, my hon. Friend has done his duty in submitting his Motion as it is, in all its fulness, and in not shrinking from the responsibility of inserting and insisting upon the words which have been called in question. It should be recollected, too—when we are charged with being actuated by party feeling in this matter—that my hon. Friend (Mr. C. Viffiers) was never deterred by party considerations when his own political friends were in office from bringing forward, year after year, Motions embarrassing to the Government, rather than sacrifice a great principle. He is acting in the same way now—and I must say it is unjust to him, when he is pursuing a consistent and straightforward course, to charge him with having embarked in a factious opposition in pressing this Resolution. The argument, that as it is impossible to obtain a large majority for such a Motion, it is unwise to press it, has, it appears to me, very little weight. Do you suppose that the fact of a Government Amendment being moved, containing the adhesion of Ministers to the policy of free trade, with a view to defeat the Resolutions of my hon. Friend, does not indicate to the world that, so far as maintaining intact the past legislation is concerned, there is pretty nearly unanimity in the present House of Commons? No majority or divisions are necessary to show to the World that, at the present time the House of Commons is disposed to adhere to the policy of 1846. But we want to show to the World something more—we want to show that there is a large party in the House of Commons who believe that that policy was not found-ed on the low consideration of giving benefit to some at the expense of others, but on high principles of civil right, of reason, and of justice. I fear, if we shrink from our duty on this occasion, that the country will say "the House of Commons is somewhat rotten after all on the question of protection to the landed interest." The House of Commons has long laboured under that suspicion, and I caution hon. Gentlemen, that if an appearance of rottennesss be exhibited on this subject in this House, summoned as it has been on. free-trade principles, there is nothing that will so strengthen the cry for Parliamentary refornu For believe me, it is because the people think that the policy of free trade was "just and wise," that they have sup- ported it; and if you now decline to agree to these words in my hon. Friend's Resolution, they will say you have, after all, some covert intention of restoring, at some future time, that injurious system of monopoly under which they so long suffered—and there will be a loud and general expression of opinion in the country, "that our representation as it now exists is not a reflex of the popular view," and we must consequently turn our attention to the attainment of a large and searching measure of Parliamentary reform. As an advocate for such reform, and looking at the question in that light, I might not perhaps individually regret if my hon. Friend was placed in a minority—for I can conceive nothing so calculated to shake the confidence of the people in the present representative system as that this House should, thus quibbling about words, refuse to vote a declaration that a policy which has been attended with such singular advantages to the country is "wise and just." And what a monstrous anomaly is it, that the Government should tell us, "We are going to carry out a given policy which we admit has been attended with such advantages—but if the House should declare that that policy is just, wise, and beneficial,' we will resign." If the free admission of foreign corn is just now, it was so a few years ago; and if Ministers are honestly to carry out the policy on which that measure was founded, why are they ashamed of admitting that it was a "just, wise, and beneficial" policy? What do they mean? Do they want to have the opportunity of whispering against and assailing in secret the policy which they profess to be engaged in carrying out? Do they mean to carry it out, and say at the same time that it is "unwise and unjust?" If the Earl of Derby means, as he says he does, to carry out the principle of free trade honestly and fairly—as honestly as if he had been the original author of that policy—I should have thought he would have hailed such a Resolution as my hon. Friend has proposed as one eminently calculated to strengthen his hands, and to arm him with the most powerful argument against his adversaries, and by enabling him to say to them, "I do not act upon my own opinion—see here the House of Commons have resolved that the policy of free trade is just, wise, and beneficial;' I can hear of no objection against it, but must carry it out fully and fairly as I am pledged to do." I would call on my hon. Friends around me to stand by their own leader on this question—my hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton. The noble Lord the Member for Tiverton, and still less the right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer—neither the one nor the other has any right to come here and attempt to take the matter out of his hands. It is for the country and Parliament to pronounce their opinion; let my hon. Friend insist upon his Resolution; and let every honest freetrader vote for him, and I undertake to say their constituents will approve of their conduct.


said, that notwithstanding the taunts in which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Manchester had indulged, and notwithstanding the threat of Parliamentary reform with which he had just concluded, and which, in his (Mr. Gaskell's) opinion, was a better explanation of this Motion than any which had previously been given, he had yet to learn upon what grounds, so far as the assertion of any public principle was concerned, they were called upon to adopt the terms of the original Resolution in preference to those of the Amendment of the noble Lord (Viscount Palmerston). The real question they had to decide was, not whether unrestricted competition should be the rule of our commercial policy, for upon that point he apprehended that there was little difference of opinion, but whether the declaration of their intentions should be made in such a manner as to reflect upon the former conduct of a large minority in that House. If, indeed, there had been any doubt as to the intentions of the Government upon that subject, he could have understood the course which the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Villiers) was pursuing; but after the distinct assurances which had been given, after the repeated declarations which bad been made, both by the noble Earl at the head of the Government, in another place, and by his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer in that House, he owned it appeared to him that it was neither just nor generous to ask the House of Commons to affirm the Resolution of the hon. and learned Gentleman—a Resolution which only differed from the Amendment of the noble Lord in this: that it sought to affix a stigma on political opponents, and to brand with Parliamentary censure the line of conduct which they had pursued. It was true that the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton had disclaimed all party motives in bringing this question before the House; but the hon. and learned Gentleman and his friends had not thought it inconsistent with that disclaimer to inveigh in unmeasured language against the conduct of Her Majesty's Ministers. The hon. and learned Gentleman told them that the Earl of Derby had been tried by the constituencies of the country, and that he had been found wanting. Another hon. and learned Gentleman, the Member for the city of Oxford (Sir W. P. Wood)—and he (Mr. Gaskell) had been sorry to hear such an expression fall from him—had said that the Earl of Derby had no principles; and the hon. and gallant Member for Middlesex (Mr. B. Osborne) had called the advisers of the Crown a gang of political latitudinarians. Well, for Gentlemen who disclaimed party motives, this was tolerably strong language. But the hon. Member for Manchester (Mr. Bright) had gone still further, for he had charged the Government—and he (Mr. Gaskell) presumed also those independent Members of Parliament who intended to support the Government—with losing character with their friends in the country, and destroying their reputation for political morality. Now, upon that point, he (Mr. Gaskell) wished to make a few observations. His right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, had truly stated the other night, that the repeal of the corn laws had been mainly opposed upon two grounds: first, from the belief that it would be prejudicial to the interests of labour; and, secondly, upon the ground that it would inflict serious injury upon important classes: hut there had also been a third ground on which that repeal had been opposed, and which had not been mentioned in the course of this debate, and speaking only for himself, a humble Member of that House, but one whose political morality could, he thought, hardly be impeached, he might be allowed to say, that it was that third ground on which he had chiefly relied in the opposition which he had felt it to be his painful duty to offer to that measure. He had felt it to be a most painful duty, for it had severed his political connexion, with many personal friends for whom he entertained the sincerest respect and regard; and it had compelled him to vote in opposition to a Minister whose patriotism he had never* questioned, the purity of whose motives he had never doubted, whose commanding abilities and high character he had always held in admiration, and of whose personal kindness to himself he should ever cherish the remembrance. But the chief ground of his opposition had been this: he had felt that a power which had been conferred by the constituencies of England for one purpose, ought not to have been exercised for another—that a Government which had displaced that of the noble Lord the Member for London for its free-trade budget of 1841, ought not to have been the Government to propose a total repeal of the corn laws; and that a House of Commons which had been elected to uphold the system of protection, ought not to have consented to overturn it. He might have been wrong in his opinion: the measure might have been wise and beneficial; he would express no opinion about that: but he (Mr. Gaskell) must still maintain that it had not been just to the great Conservative party in this country, or to the constituencies of the Empire, to pass it under those circumstances and at that time. It appeared to him, however, that now the case was altogether different; and after the lapse of so many years, when two succeeding Parliaments had sanctioned the policy which had been then adopted, and when some at least of the apprehensions which had been entertained were found not to have been realised by the event, it was too much to say that those who declined to vote for the re-imposition of the corn laws were to be held guilty of political immorality. He concurred in the opinion which had been so well expressed by his hon. Friend the Member for the North Riding (Mr. Cayley), and by an hon. Baronet the Member for Hertfordshire (Sir Bulwer Lytton), at whose return to that House after so long an absence they must all rejoice, that as the new commercial system had been deliberately ratified by the people of England at the last general election, it was the duty of the Government and of Parliament to adhere to it. It could not be seriously contended that men were bound at all times and under all circumstances to give effect to the abstract opinions which they entertained. The hon. Gentleman over the way might laugh, but would any man of common sense either maintain such a proposition or act upon it? Had such been the practice of the party opposite? The noble Lord the Member for London had displaced the Government of Sir Robert Peel in 1835, by moving a Resolution which declared that no settlement of the Irish tithe question could be satisfactory which did not appropriate the surplus revenues of the Irish Church to secular purposes. Had the noble Lord acted upon that Resolution after his accession to power? No, he had refrained from doing so, and most wisely, because he knew that public opinion would have been opposed to him in such a course. But the noble Earl at the head of the Government had a better justification for his conduct now, than the noble Lord had had then, inasmuch as he had not acceded to power in consequence of any hostile Resolution which he had moved, but owing to the feuds and differences prevailing in the camp of his opponents. Then, said the hon. Gentleman the Member for Manchester (Mr. Bright) and others, how could they place any confidence in a Government whose supporters had made such extravagant declarations and expressed such conflicting opinions upon the hustings? Well, very possibly some of them might have done so; but was the noble Earl at the head of the Government the only man whose followers had done that? Why, there was hardly a single question, except that of our commercial policy, on which the Gentlemen opposite were agreed; and questions of organic change in the Constitution and of national defence were not so very unimportant, after all. If he (Mr. Gaskell) was wrong in this supposition, and if there was a majority on the benches opposite that was agreed in the maintenance of definite principles, and capable of harmonious action, let them bring the matter fairly to an issue, and move a vote of want of confidence in the Government. It was perfectly true that there were differences of opinion among Gentlemen sitting on that (the Ministerial) side of the House, on the subject of free trade. Some held that the Act of 1846 had been productive of almost unmixed benefit to the country; while others were of opinion that it had inflicted great hardship on a large and important class of the community. But no man was in any doubt as to the intentions of Her Majesty's Ministers on the subject; no man doubted their adherence to the policy to which the terms of their own Amendment pledged them. The real question before the House was between a Government which was prepared to carry out the commercial system which had received the deliberate sanction of Parliament and of the country, and was agreed upon other matters of high national importance; and a Government consisting of Gentlemen who might be agreed upon this question of commercial policy, but amongst whom, upon almost every other subject that could be named, there were irreconcilable, and vital, and endless differences.


Sir, I trust that the House will give me the opportunity of stating the course I intend to take upon this occasion, and of justifying that course by stating the reasons which, under circumstances of some difficulty, have induced me to come to the decision at which I have arrived. Let me first, however, assure the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down, and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Manchester, who spoke before him, that, in coming to that decision I had elements for forming my opinion totally irrespective of the effect which an adverse vote would have upon the fate of the Government. When threats are held out by a Ministry, that in the event of the carrying of a Motion to which they are opposed, they will vacate their seats, that is a consideration which must weigh strongly with all those Gentlemen who are professed followers of that Government; but with respect to Gentlemen who are independent of them, the duty lies upon them to consider, not whether the Government will go out or stay in, but whether they will be justified in going out or in staying in. Sir, this has been said to be a question of confidence in the Government. If it is I never saw a question so mystified, nor was bungling ever carried to such an extremity of perfection. Did any one ever before see a vote of want of confidence which terminates with an expression that the House is ready and willing to consider any measures which Her Majesty's Government intend to bring forward? Well, but how does the question now stand? It will be necessary for me to explain the view which I have taken, and the reasons which have led me to adopt it, by referring—though perhaps it may not be quite regular to do so—to the Amendment no longer upon the table of the House. The debate commenced by two Motions originally given notice of by the hon. Member for Wolverhampton (Mr. C. Villiers), and the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Between those two Motions I could not have one moment's hesitation. I saw, as it had been well said, a Resolution moved by a Gentleman who proposed this question to the House years ago, and who had struggled for it under great difficulties and in small minorities. I knew that he had fought his battle with singular skill and con- sistency, and not without much labour had brought it to a happy issue. During the whole time that he argued that question and they were warm times—I do not believe that he left a personal enemy upon either side of the House. Well, in opposition to a Motion made by the hon. and learned Gentleman, there was notice of an Amendment coming from a quarter which, upon this question, I own does not inspire me with confidence. After the speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton, the Chancellor of the Exchequer rose, and I confess that his speech, able as it was—impressive in manner—ingenious in argument—left in my mind, as it did in that of my learned Friend the Member for the city of Oxford, who spoke last night, a most painful impression. He set out by stating that he was going to give an account of the course which his party had taken since 1846, which should be studiously accurate and impartial. When I heard those two words I certainly did feel some little alarm at what might be coming; but I was certainly surprised at the singular incorrectness which distinguished that speech. There are many Gentlemen on the opposite side of the House with whom I have long lived in relations not only of private friendship but political co-operation; and although I am no longer by party connected with them, I do not hesitate to say that their political reputation as members of a class which forms the chief element of stability in this country, and whose public virtue entitles them to public respect, is most important. It was not then without pain that I heard a statement made—a course described—which was in my mind an imputation of the deepest dye upon the character of those Gentlemen. We all recollect the period that intervened between 1846 and 1852. Was the country quiet? Was there no agitation upon this question? At market tables—in theatres—at protection societies, one hundred in number, was everything said with a view to secure the stability of the policy of 1846? For my part, I acquit the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, as far as his own convictions are concerned, of the charge of having ever been a protectionist. I never for one moment thought he believed in the least degree in protection. I do not accuse him of having forgotten what he said or what he believed in those years. I only accuse him of having forgotten now what he then wished it to appear that he believed. I ask, then, hon. Gentlemen opposite, are they willing to thus stigmatise themselves? The noble Marquess opposite, the Member for Leicestershire (the Marquess of Granby)—a man of honour—a man professing opinions which, I think, under present circumstances, are unfortunate—what does he say? Did he not manfully stand up and say, "I repudiate the charge—I was a protectionist—I spoke for protection and I meant protection." The House might regret the course taken by the noble Marquess, but they could not but admire his consistency and his honour. But how will all this appear to the constituencies of the country? What will they think when they come to learn that a vast number of Gentlemen, holding very strong language upon the subject of protection—delaying the rearrangement of rents, which in some cases has become a necessity to the farmer, upon the plea that the Legislature would revise the system which established free trade—what will be their feelings when they hear that their object in agitating was not the restoration of protection, but to secure the stability of the Commercial policy of 1846? Well, the noble Marquess has repudiated this charge; and he, let me remind you, is an authority upon this subject; for there was a time when the leadership of that party was put in commission, and there was a triumvirate established, which consisted of the hon. Member for Stamford (Mr. Herries)—the Nestor of protection—the noble Marquess the Member for Leicestershire; and the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The noble Marquess is, therefore, entitled to speak with authority upon this subject. But what were the words used on the formation of that party? Gentlemen have read passages from the speeches of individual speakers; and if I read extracts from speeches made by hon. Gentlemen opposite, I wish to guard myself against the supposition that I am going to taunt them with a change of their opinions. I am the last man who would do so, for I am in no position to speak ill of converts—I had had myself to pass through that ordeal, to break up political friendships, and to sacrifice office—whatever that may have been worth—because my convictions had been entirely altered on this subject, and because I thought it was not for a man of honour, holding opinions diffeing from those which he held before to occupy a station of responsibility, and to shrink from attempting to give effect to those opinions upon a question on which immediate action was necessary. I have always felt that the great party opposite must give up the system of protection as merely a bubble, which but required to be full blown to burst. I expected them to give up protection. It is detrimental to the interests of the nation that a great party should he so allied to a principle which put them in a false position with the rest of the community, by advocating a system which gave them interests at variance with the interests of their other fellow-subjects. But when the history of a party comes to be correctly recorded, perhaps the principle upon which it was formed is more conclusive evidence of what were its intentions even than the course it may subsequently adopt, because events arise, men appear, circumstances occur, changes take place which serve to modify the course originally intended to be adhered to. I will therefore refer to the authority of Lord George Bentinck, who made a speech upon the occasion when first the party now sitting opposite were organised as a protectionist party. I find this statement in the speech of the noble Lord, and no man can accuse him either of disingenuousness, or of reserving his sentiments:— The great end of that party which owns for its leader Lord Stanley, is first to recover the protection we have lost; but, failing that, to seek compensation in relieving the agricultural interest from the peculiar burdens they bear… The first matter is the recovery of the protection to native industry which we have lost…You, the farmers of England, must do the work. You must not trust to your landlords. And if the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer be correct in his history, it was indeed necessary that the farmers should not trust their landlords. Was that opinion, as expressed by Lord George Bentinck, acquiesced in? I find another speaker upon that occasion making use of the following language:— But my hon. Friend has told you we are met here to-day not so much to moralise on the past, as to speculate upon the future. To his theme or plan every man of intelligence did respond. I know that what he states here he practises in another place; but I know and I trust that under other circumstances we shall retrace our steps. And that was the language of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He added a sentence almost applicable to the present time:— Where is the great agricultural interest which is the basis of the polity of England, and has been so for centuries? I cannot believe that this nation—and when I say this nation I mean all classes—with their primary intelligence, will be governed by words—will be degraded to a mere distinction between hocus and pocus. But have we any other authorities upon this subject? Have we any other evidence to guide us in determining what was the policy which animated the protectionist party from 1846 down almost to the present time? I find that in 1849 Lord Stanley spoke as follows:— I hear it said that free trade has been adopted, and that we must proceed in that course. Vestigia nulla retrorsum. From that doctrine I dissent. I will not consent to take it as a fait accompli that protection to native industry must be abandoned…Every day's experience convinces me that you must retrace the steps you have taken. You must make part of your revenue depend on a moderate import duty—you must return to the principle of protection. The same language was held in 1850; and in 1851, when a Government was attempted to be formed, it was always understood that the noble Earl did not succeed because he considered himself bound to re-establish a system of import duties. The noble Lord then said— I cannot, as an honest man, abandon the attempt to relieve the existing distress by retracing the false step which has been taken, and to remedy the wrong done by the imposition of a moderate duty upon corn."—[3 Hansard, cxiv. 1021.] Now I have not read these extracts to taunt lion. Gentlemen with a change in their opinions. It would not be open for me to do so, for my convictions on the subject of free trade have, like those of other men, undergone an alteration. I thought it was not my duty to hold one set of opinions and to act upon another. But to hold opinions and not attempt to give effect to them when I was in authority, and obliged by the circumstances of the time to legislate, I felt to be inconsistent with my character as a man of honour. Again, in 1849, I find that the hon. Member for Stamford, the President of the India Board (Mr. Hemes), made a proposition in a Committee of Ways and Means for a fixed duty on corn, and that the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer supported that Motion; and I may say that the right hon. Gentleman's speech upon that occasion applies with peculiar force to the present discussion. He said that— His own opinion was, that the suggestion which had been made that night was a politic suggestion, and would soon be a popular one. Its adoption might be mortifying to the vanity of individuals in that House. It might hurt and offend the self-love even of political parties. He deeply regretted that circumstances should have precipitated such a proposition, but considering that there was not even an imaginary balance in the Exchequer, they (the Protectionist Members) were bound to leave on record—and the best record in the world was a free discussion in that House—their opinions on the present state of the Exchequer, and the best means of replenishing it."—[3 Hansard, cvii. 776.] The Motion was brought forward, but the House did not divide upon it. Probably the same course was pursued then as in some other instances. The present Member for Liverpool (Mr. F. Mackenzie) may-have reported that their benches were thin, the library full, and the coffee-room empty; and seeing this, the right hon. Gentleman may have suggested that it will be dangerous to risk the stability of the policy of 1846. Mr. O'Connell carried on the agitation for a repeal of the Union for many years after the one Motion for that object which he brought forward in this House had been rejected; but I am sure that he would never have thought of saying that his object was to secure the stability of the Act of 1800. I now come to the question whether a Resolution was necessary under the circumstances of this case. The right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer says that the whole question was left to the decision of the country, and that the Government had announced their intention of being bound by that decision. Now, with respect to the necessity of a Resolution under such circumstances—the Government has challenged the opinion of the country. That challenge was given in a peculiar form, for which I am in no way responsible. The Government said that the question must go to the constituencies, and according as they decide we will decide. Well, the House met, and in Her Majesty's Speech there is a repetition—not of that challenge, but a singular question is asked, "If you think something which you don't, perhaps in that case you will do something which you won't." That language was felt by the House to be studiously ambiguous. When you want to avoid a division upon any great question, there are two ways of doing it. The one is to say nothing about it; and the other is, if you do say anything, say it in so ambiguous a manner that each party, reading it their own way, will rest content. That was the course taken by the Government upon the present occasion; and I confess frankly that I was extremely disappointed. I wished exceedingly to leave the matter peaceably at rest. I have no wish to find causes of quarrel with the present Government or any Government—the task of government in this country is quite difficult enough, without independent Members voluntering to throw more impediments in the way—but I did expect that the admission of the policy of 1846 would have been announced in words frank, plain, and intelligible. If there was any technical difficulty in putting words into the mouth of Her Majesty, in commendation or affirmation of any particular policy, where was the difficulty of inserting a plain, simple, and frank admission in the Address in answer? Failing in this admission, what could we do? What means had we of knowing what were the individual opinions of Members of Parliament who have been returned here to settle this question by the country? The right hon. Gentleman the President of the India Board tells us that the Member for Liverpool is a stanch Protectionist. We have as yet no means of knowing; so I take the right hon. Gentleman at his word. In order, however, that the opinions of hon. Gentlemen may be tested, this Resolution has been framed. I confess that this debate has not inspired me with any admiration of abstract resolutions in general, because I am more and more convinced, as the debate has gone on, that if men do not choose to be bound by words, it is impossible to bind them. Here, then, we have the Motion of the hon. and learned Member for Wolverhampton, to which the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer has moved an Amendment. With respect to the latter, I thought that the House ought not to accept it on account of its form and construction. It is not declaratory of the opinion of the House upon the question of free trade. It seemed more like a Resolution to test a divided Cabinet than anything else: with the duty and conscience of the Ministry the House have nothing to do. It is clearly not the duty of the House of Commons to lay down what is to be the business of the Executive. The House may intimate to the Government that such and such are their opinions; and if the Government bring forward measures in accordance with them, so much the better—if not, it is their own affair; but the Amendment of the Chancellor of the Exchequer states that "unrestricted competition" being accepted "after due deliberation" as the principle of our commercial system, the House is of opinion that it is the duty of the Government, and so forth. Now, that is not what we want to know. The House of Commons was dissolved to decide a great question. This Amendment states that there has been due deliberation. I am unaware that any deliberation in this Parliament has taken place upon this question yet. This Resolution ought to have been moved prior to the dissolution if it was proposed at all. But it is not our business to take the responsibility of deciding what measures the Executive should bring forward. If the Government thus delegate the question of what measures they are to bring forward to the constituencies of this country, I fear an inconvenient precedent may be set. I am aware that upon some questions of importance, previous Ministers may have done the same thing, in questions which were to close with the vote then come to; but in cases where constant legislation would be necessary, I do not say the principle of such a course is right, or that it is wrong—but I say that as a rule of action it is new; and although I give no opinion as to the effect it would have upon the reliance, in the opinion of the people, to be placed upon the morality of public men, still I say that I cannot see such a principle laid down without serious alarm. I therefore prefer the Resolution moved by my hon, and learned Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, to that moved by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I cannot refuse to give my hearty consent to the fact that the measures adopted by this House in 1846 were "wise, just, and beneficial." I apprehend that the Government, who are about to introduce and carry out measures founded upon those very principles, "firmly maintained, and prudently extended," must think so too. I doubt whether they can deny that those measures which they are about to carry out, which they are about to develop, are wise, just, and beneficial. I confess, however, that I do think it impolitic to put these words into a Resolution, the object of which is, as I conceive, to pledge the largest number of persons who are willing to adopt the principles of free trade, and so to allay the agitation, and at once put an end to all false hopes upon the subject. The hon. and learned Gentleman has entirely denied any intention of inserting those words in order to wound the feelings of hon. Gentlemen opposite; but as those words, as they stand, bear that appearance, I confess, in my opinion I think they do; and I think in these matters generosity is the best policy—not only the best as matter of policy, but the best as matter of feeling. The more you conduct your discussions on the system of regular warfare, the better it will be for all parties. If you once establish a principle that no quarter is to be given, who, I ask, will ever yield? The whole history of this country is full of instances of party warfare terminating in this way. As the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton (Viscount Palmerston) truly observed, our system is one of political propagandism—we are all anxious to make proselytes—and therefore we ought not to repel a man, or a body of men, when they come over to our side with hard words and terms of humiliation. I must say, for myself, that I should lament to see a system established by which, when a person, or a party, from the lapse of time or the occurrence of fresh circumstances, sees reason to doubt the accuracy of his former opinions, is anxious to retrace his steps, and to adopt sounder views—I should regret the establishment of a system by which such person would be subjected to personal humiliation, before he was accepted as a convert. I recollect an observation made by a witty contemporaneous writer, to the effect that all religious sects in free countries succeeded in making converts except the Jews; and he asked rather quaintly how it could he expected that any man would become a convert to a faith, the profession of which must begin with a surgical operation? And in the same way I must say I feel strongly—being anxious to bring over as many as I possibly can to the standard under which I fight—that I shall not succeed if I tell hon. Gentlemen who differed from me in former times, that their agreement in opinion with mo must be commenced by their doing penance—by putting on a white sheet and standing in the pillory for their former misdeeds. In all other respects the Resolution of the hon. Member for Wolverhampton has my hearty concurrence. It is my opinion, indeed, that it is in many respects not so strong as that which has been since moved. The words, as they were originally drawn by my right hon. Friend the Member for Carlisle (Sir James Graham), and moved by the noble Viscount the Member for Tiverton—those words omit everything that can be in any way offensive or distasteful to any hon. Gentleman—that is, provided he be a sincere convert to the principles of free trade—for they state that— It is the opinion of the House that the im proved condition of the country, especially of the industrious classes, is mainly the result of recent legislation, which has established the principle of unrestricted competition, has abolished taxes imposed for the purposes of protection— The words here, you see, are not minced—there is no leaving out of any words which are necessary for the strongest assertion of the principle— and has thereby diminished the cost and increased the abundance of the principal articles of the food of the people. That it is the opinion of this- House that this policy firmly maintained and"— what is still more— prudently extended, will best enable the industry of the country to bear its burdens, and will thereby most surely promote the welfare and contentment of the people. The House will observe that I am reading from the first notice of these Resolutions, and with the words omitted which have since been added, and to which, certainly, I attach very great importance—"without injury to any important interest". With regard to the repeal of the corn laws, I from the first held that per se to be an act of justice. I know I have been accused of holding too strong language upon that subject in this House; but I must say that the opinion which I held, and which I still retain, is this, that if any class is to receive by any means an addition to their income above the natural price of their commodities, it cannot be given in a way more offensive to the people of this country than by enhancing the price of wheat. I thought, therefore, that the repeal of the corn laws was only a restitution to the people of that which we, the landed interest, had been unjustly enjoying; and when Gentlemen talk of compensation, I say they have no claim for compensation. I do not by that mean to say that they have no claim to relief, if they as a class are more burdened than any other; but what I mean is this: I object to anything which has a tendency to substitute for protection something by which the same object may be attained by indirect means. Whether it be direct protection, or whether it be any enhancement of price by means of import duties, or whether it be fiscal protection in favour of any one class, it is all the same thing—it is inequality—it is favour—and, as such, it is hateful, and justly hateful, to the great mass of the people. Of the two Resolutions, then, I must say, that which has been last moved is in my mind the strongest. The right hon. Baronet the Secretary for the Colonies (Sir John Pakington) last night said that he could not vote for the Resolutions of the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, because, he said, how can I vote that no injustice has been done to the West Indian interest? Now, the words of the hon. and learned Gentleman's Resolution do not apply to sugar—they specify only the Act of 1846, in reference to the repeal of the corn laws.


I beg to say, that I did not argue the question with reference to sugar at all.


I am willing to submit to the correction of my right hon. Friend. I certainly thought he referred to sugar, and I was the more struck with his speech, and with the speeches of hon. Gentlemen opposite last night, because it appeared to me that there was a considerable difference between the speeches of last night and those of Tuesday. On Tuesday night they were all free-traders—not only for the future, but even retrospectively—in fact, they had never been anything else but freetraders. But it appears to me that they are now getting gradually back to their old position; and that as Tuesday night was devoted to satisfying the country, so last night was devoted to the endeavour to reconcile a party. I must say again, therefore, that the Resolution which was last moved is, in my mind, the stronger of the two, because the words embrace everything—there is no distinction made between sugar and anything else—it applies to all the articles which have been cheapened, and in that way it carries the principle of free trade farther than the other, and, therefore, I am better pleased with it. But then my right hon. Friend says some vindication is necessary to the memory of Sir Robert Peel, and he made a pointed appeal to some of us sitting on these benches, who had the good fortune to be his friends. Sir, I think the memory of Sir Robert Peel stands on a pedestal, from which no counter Motion, even if it could be carried in this House, could remove it. I knew Sir Robert Peel during my whole life almost—I admired him as a politician—I followed him as a leader—and I loved the man. He was a man, mind you, susceptible—proud, and justly proud, of the purity of his motives—jealous of his honour. I sat by him night by night on that bench when he was attacked by the foulest language, and accused of the meanest crimes. But Sir Robert Peel was a man of a generous nature—he was one who never rejoiced in the humiliation of an adversary; and he would have recollected this—that the humiliation, if humiliation it were, was an humiliation to be inflicted not only upon those who had assailed him, but also upon Gentlemen for whose character he had the warmest regard. I don't confound hon. Gentlemen opposite with those who calumniated Sir Robert Peel. I recollect even at the moment when party strife was embittered to the uttermost—when men's passions rose high—when great disappointment was felt at the course Sir Robert Peel had taken—even at that moment there were hon. Gentlemen opposite who continued a general support to his Government, and who never, when they opposed this very Bill, either threw a doubt upon his motives or assailed his integrity. I say, then, that the memory of Sir Robert Peel requires no vindication—his memory is embalmed in the grateful recollections of the people of this country; and I say, if ever retribution is wanted—for it is not words that humiliate, but deeds—if a man wants to see humiliation—which, God knows, is always a painful sight—he need but look there [pointing to the Treasury bench]. I give, then, on these grounds, my support to the Amendment of the noble Viscount; and in giving it, let me say that I give it as the last and crowning act of a great controversy. I rejoice with my whole heart I rejoice that to its wide words—its comprehensive terms—its completeness in every respect, a large majority of this House will give their assent. When we look back for the last few years—I think that, thankful as we are for the blessings we have enjoyed since 1846, we are too apt to forget the many evils which the same legislation has averted. At a time when all Europe was disturbed—when opinions subversive of all society were abroad—the contagion did not spread here. Even in a time of great commercial failures and of great mercantile distress, with a high price of bread to aggravate the sufferings of the people—then we had reason to be thankful—then you (the Government) had, above all, reason to be thankful for the legislation of 1846; for, if these laws had been then in existence, inflicting an injustice of which the people grievously complained—if the people had not been able to say—as, thank God, they could say—that "for the dearth, the gods, and not the patricians, made it"—then measures of a similar character would have been passed, but they would not have been passed alone. The country would have raised such a cry for reform, that even you, if you had sat upon those benches, would have been constrained to pass measures little short of universal suffrage. We do not consider enough the political as well as the social sufferings which have been averted by that measure. Sir, we have had a great warning—we have had a great escape. Let us know how to profit by the lesson; and in our future legislation, in which I trust there will be on that subject, at any rate if not more unanimity, still less of strife, let us never forget the danger which arises from attempting, in any shape or for any purpose, to give special favour or special exemption to any class or interest in this country.


said, it was impossible to rise in that debate, after the eloquent speech of the right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, without feeling that he was greatly in need of some portion of that which the hon. Gentleman the Member for Middlesex (Mr. Osborne) had called "audacity," or, to use a milder term, "modest assurance;" for he could not help seeing that on the other (the Opposition) side of the House there was arrayed all the talents of the House, with the exception of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He recollected a former occasion when the talents of the House were equally collected on one side of it:—but on that occasion they were on the side of the Government, whereas now they were unfortunately arrayed against it. But, notwithstanding the disadvantage of addressing such an assembly in such circumstances, he could not consent to be mystified and dragged through the dirt he did not know whither. He had a duty to perform to the constituents who had sent him to that House; or, rather, he should say, he had a duty to perform to those who had had no hand in sending him to that House—he meant the labourers of the district in which he resided. There was something due also to himself; and he must, for these reasons, endeavour to steer his way through the complicated mazes of the present debate as God should enable him. He was sorry to say that it seemed to him that the present was a more debate with respect to "the difference between Tweedledum and Tweedledee," or whether twice three or thrice two made six. Nevertheless, if there was so much importance to be attached to words, it became him and most other Gentlemen to take care, he thought, how they pinned their sleeves to another man's words. He felt no difficulty on the subject himself. More than twenty-five years ago he bad publicly advocated free trade in corn, at a time when hon. Gentlemen opposite were advocating a fixed duty, when Gentlemen on the Ministerial side of the House were advocating a sliding scale, and when the head of the Whig party in the House of Lords was declaring that any man who should seriously propose a repeal of the Corn Laws was a madman. Well, hon. Gentlemen opposite had first become mad, then Sir R. Peel and his friends followed, and now they were all pretty mad together. They had at length all arrived at very nearly a common agreement, and they must take care, that having arrived at a fixed conclusion, they did not suffer it to escape out of their hands. He, for one, thought that some such Motion as that which was now before them was absolutely necessary; and he thought that no weaker words than those which the hon. and learned Gentleman had moved were adapted to the occasion. If he had entertained any doubt on the subject before, what had taken place in the course of this debate would have been sufficient to convince him. He had never thought in the last Parliament that there was much wit or wisdom in hon. Members quoting Hansard against the Ministers, and he often wished that Hansard was at the bottom of the sea. He could not see how there should be any difficulty in a Gentleman confessing that he bad changed his opinions. He confessed that he was somewhat surprised to find the leaders of parties in that House rashly saying things in opposition which they became sorry for when they entered office. But still he could not see anything humiliating in a man's saying that better information had enabled him to form a better judgment than he had been able to form on inferior information. But when hon. Gentlemen on that (the Ministerial) side of the House talked of changing the policy and reversing the policy of the country, it seemed to him perfectly clear that they neither understood what was the former policy of the country nor what it was now. Some Gentlemen talked of the repeal of the corn laws as if it were the commencement of a policy. It was nothing of the kind. It was the apex of a policy; it was the keystone of an arch that settled a policy which began at the conclusion of the war, and which overset a policy which we had always maintained from the earliest times. He thought that, without being very prolix or pedantic, he could, with the leave of the House, set this matter so clearly before them as to be quite patent even to the bucolic mind of the veriest Boeotian Member of that House. Hon. Members need not be alarmed that he was going into any long historical narration, when he reminded them that, if the truth must be told, the Anglo-Saxon had always been a stupid fellow, and that, when the Normans came to this country, they found nobody in the land capable of mending or making their iron coats and breeches. Accordingly, they brought over foreign artificers with them to assist in these operations. Those artificers the dull Anglo-Saxons called "Smiths," and hence the reason why there are so many gentlemen who rejoiced in that patronymic at the present day. But these artificers would not remain unless they had an assurance that no foreign manufactured armour would be allowed to be brought into this country. The same thing happened with the dresses of the women, and the furniture of their houses. Nothing that the Anglo-Saxons produced was fit for those who had been brought up at the Courts of Toulouse and Castile. The consequence was that Flemish artificers were brought over, whose names also still survive amongst us. These artisans insisted upon and obtained a monopoly; and this was the uninterrupted policy of the country up to the end of the last century—varied occasionally by circumstances, but never on system, or to any great extent. The battle between protection and free-trade was really fought at the end of the war between the Orders in Council and the burning of English goods by Napoleon. Lord Brougham had never received full credit for the part he had taken in that struggle when a Member of the House of Commons. It was said that "Love laughed at locksmiths," and in like manner necessity laughed at customhouse officers, for it so happened, that although we did not grow a blade of flax ourselves, yet the Admiralty was never at any single moment without any quantity the Navy wanted, notwithstanding the decrees against its admission. The fact was, that the system of monopoly was shown to be absurd. It was a mere question of money, and nothing else. That system was at last put an end to. But this country had little credit in put- ting it down. When Louis XVIII. was restored, Baron Louis, the French Minister of Finance, offered to our Government a complete free trade with France at an ad valorem duty of 10 per cent on every article whatever. Mr. Huskisson alone saw the advantage of it; but not a single Member of the Government took his part. The manufacturers took alarm, and opposed him. Nevertheless, he persevered; and from that moment we had gone on relaxing our prohibitions, one after another, until we had now at last come to the only true, just, wise, and politic course of trade, which left everything to unrestricted competition. He wished to ask, when hon. Gentlemen talked of going back to protection, were they going back to the time of William the Conqueror, or were they not? for he must remind them that it was not the repeal of the corn laws which would reverse their policy. But it was said that the words of the Resolution of the hon. Member for Wolverhampton were offensive. Now, it so happened that that very day he had received a letter, enclosing one of the earliest declarations of the Manchester League; and it was but just to those gentlemen to say, that the identical words which they were now accused of introducing for the purpose of inflicting pain were in that document. The words were, "We, feeling solemnly convinced that a bread tax is unwise, impolitic, and unjust." He (Mr. Drummond) long ago endeavoured to persuade the agriculturists that they must no longer look for monopoly but for compensation—not for compensation in the way the word was used now—but that they must look for it by reductions in the cost of production. For that he had contended frequently in that House, and the right hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle told the farmers, years ago, that they had a right to insist upon that; and the hon. Member for the West Riding had said the same thing. But he confessed that it was getting more and more impossible to remedy these evils, because in many cases the evils had remedied themselves. Still, he thought it could not be doubted, that in the mode in which the corn laws were repealed, injustice was done to the farmers, who had taken their farms on leases, and he would be sorry, therefore, if the words in question, "just, wise, and beneficial," were insisted on, because they would prevent him, and there were many like him, who would be glad to go the whole length of the proposition otherwise, but who could not agree to a Resolution which was so subject to misrepresentation. An allusion had been made in the course of the debate to the conduct of the late Sir Robert Peel; and unquestionably nothing could be more disgraceful than the language which had been used towards that right hon. Gentleman in that House and out of it; for Sir Robert Peel had been accused of what he (Mr. Drummond) did not remember any other Minister being accused of since the days of Sir Robert Walpole—that he had devised a scheme of policy for the sake of putting money into his own pockets; and when that statement was contradicted and disproved, no apology was made, either in or out of the House. Great provocation had, no doubt, been given—a party had been overthrown—a party had been betrayed; and, in his own opinion, Sir Robert Peel had inflicted an indelible blow on that House, the effects of which they were then feeling. He said it not for the sake of the men now in office, but rather for the sake of those in opposition, that Sir Robert Peel had given a blow to public confidence in public men, which the present generation would never recover. That was the cause why the whole body of able men opposite were unable to unite for any good purpose, and unless they did unite, depend upon it their power would only be used for evil. If he were in a situation where he might give advice without being liable to the charge of officiousness, he would conjure hon. Gentlemen opposite not to be nice in their choice of a leader, but to get a leader somehow, if ever they hoped to be useful to their country or to the Crown.


said, he had been one of the earliest opponents of the Corn Laws, for in 1815 he had worked day after day, in his native town, during a whole fortnight, in obtaining signatures to petitions against the laws which were then enacted, and he had ever since opposed them, because he believed from his heart that the principle of Free Trade was a sound principle. He did not, however, intend to say that the repeal of the Corn Laws was altogether just. He knew that by such repeal injustice might be done to certain parties, but he also knew that while the Corn Laws remained, far greater injustice was done to those who could not remedy the evil, he meant to those who had no power with regard to the making of laws. He felt bound, therefore, to lend his assistance to those who could not help themselves. He had heard some very extraordinary observations made during this debate, which led him to think that hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House had exceedingly short memories. It appeared to him that hon. Gentlemen forgot that there had ever been any prosperity in this kingdom before the present time. They talked as if the present was the first time the country had ever been in a prosperous state. He was, unfortunately, old enough to remember many instances of prosperity, when this country had, indeed, been far more prosperous than it was now. He was willing to admit that the general state of the working classes was exceedingly satisfactory, and that within the last twelve months some improvement had occurred in the profits of their masters; but the prosperity of the present day bore no comparison with that of 1834, 1835, and 1836. The wages of a large portion of the artisans of this country were at that time 50 per cent higher than they were now. In 1817 and 1818, also, there was greater prosperity than now existed. In 1823, 1824, and 1825, the country was in a still more prosperous state, and it was well known that Mr. Robinson, now Earl of Ripon, the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, was nicknamed "Prosperity Robinson," because he made a speech upon the great prosperity of the country, which fell from under his feet in the course of the very next year. In 1834, 1835, and 1836, also, the great interests of the country were in a most prosperous condition; and 1843, 1844, and 1845 were acknowledged by the then Prime Minister, and by his supporters in that House, as the most prosperous years they had known. It must be remembered, also, that in those cases, prior to the repeal of the Corn Laws, they had not only greater but more continuous prosperity, than they had now. They had then three years, and as yet they had only two. He would ask the House—"Are you sure that the existing prosperity is going to continue?" He was examined in the year 1836 before a Parliamentary Committee, and he stated that within six months of that time there would be a general panic, because the balance of trade would then have turned against this country, and would lead to an export of the precious metals. The panic commenced within a week of the time he had fixed upon. Both the Resolutions before the House alleged that the present prosperous state of the country was mainly attributable to the repeal of the Corn Laws. Now, that was not his opinion. He recollected that in 1846, 1847, and 1848, after the repeal of the Corn Laws, not only was there no prosperity in the country, but a great many of those parties who had most zealously assisted in the repeal of the Corn Laws were so much afraid that he heard numbers of them say so great a mistake was never committed before. No one was more anxious than he was that Free Trade in corn, and, in fact, the principle of Free Trade, should be maintained; but he did not believe the prosperity of the country was mainly attributable to that system. He considered that the repeal of the Corn Laws was a very proper and sound measure, and he had assisted in promoting it, but he believed the great cause of the national prosperity was one far beyond the control of man. He believed the real cause of their prosperity was to be traced to the waggonloads, and he might almost say shiploads, of gold that were now almost daily brought into this country. He had heard an hon. Member on the other side say, "Why, what good does that do to the working classes?" He (Mr. Muntz) believed nothing ever did so much good to the working classes. The rate of discount was 1½ percent; the Bank had 22,000,000l. of gold in its coffers instead of 2,000,000l.; the circulation was 23,000,000l., instead of 17,000,000l. or 18,000,000l.; and this was the more gratifying because it was brought about naturally instead of artificially. Adam Smith stated that the discovery of the precious metals in the fifteenth century raised the price of all articles to four times their original value, and why should it not do the same now? With the exception of the term "mainly attributable," he had no objection to either of the Resolutions; but he thought it impolitic to introduce into such Resolutions words which might render it difficult for some hon. Gentlemen to swallow them. He knew very well that during the last thirteen Sessions of Parliament there had been very few men in that House who could dare to call one another names. Some remarks had been made as to what the people thought about these Resolutions and the couduct of Parliament. He would tell the House what the people thought about their conduct—the people were laughing at them. The people said, and with truth, "We are quite satisfied you can't re-enact the Corn Laws. We are satisfied the whole affair is settled, and we defy you to attempt it." Some people said, "What is to be done about the Government, for the old Tories are like a sucked orange—there is nothing left in them?" For his own part, he did not care who governed the country, so long as they governed well. He could only say that if the Government—he did not care who they might be—proposed good measures, which he believed were for the advantage of the country, they would have his support, and, if they did not, they should have his honest opposition. He would give his vote for the Amendment of the noble Member for Tiverton (Viscount Palmerston).


Sir, although I ventured to trespass on the House the other evening on the discussion which then arose, I hope I may be permitted to do so now for a short time in comment upon these Resolutions. I agree with the hon. Member who has just sat down, that it is impossible to approve of either Resolution; but I disagree with him so far, that I am unable to vote for either. My reasons are threefold. First, I cannot agree with the hon. Gentleman opposite that the prosperity of the country is as great now as it has been under a different, and as I think a wiser, commercial system. I admit prosperity exists, but I say it is not so great as it ought to be. In the second place, admitting prosperity, I say it is to be accounted for by other causes than those either of recent legislation or of unlimited competition. My third reason is this—supposing this prosperity to be owing to recent legislation, that this legislation is not stamped with the principle of unlimited competition. For these three reasons I find it impossible to consent to either Resolution. The hon. Member near me (Mr. Drummond) talked in a sneering way of making certain things clear to the "bucolic mind." I should be glad to know if any hon. Gentleman can enlighten the "bucolic mind" on what I am going to read. It is important for the questions which I shall put to be settled one way or other before the controversy comes to a conclusion. The facts which I shall presently refer to ought to be ascertained before we come to a decision. The questions I am going to put are these:—Colonel Torrens, in a recent statement, proved that the increase of population from 1831 to 1841 was 10 per cent. while the increase from 1841 to 1851 was only 1 per cent. Colonel Torrens also proved there was a commensurate extension of the agricultural interests in the previous years, and in the latter years a corresponding decline. Let these questions be settled before the House decides upon the Resolutions before it. Further, these assertions have been made and not contradicted, that there is a decrease in the production of wheat in Ireland and England of not less than 4,700,000 quarters; and I do think we ought to know whether this is the fact or not, and I hope Her Majesty's Government will make some arrangements, so as to be able to ascertain the truth of the assertion one way or other. We have tables for Ireland which we know show a decrease in wheat of 2,000,000 quarters and upward; and so far as we can get at the English production, we have reason to believe there is also a great decrease; but there are no tables to show it. It is of great importance to have the question fairly settled. I think no man will say there is no danger of war between this country and a foreign Power. I hope sincerely there is no danger of such a kind; but the House has wisely decided that we shall be prepared for such a contingency. We have called out the militia—a measure which the House would never have sanctioned had it thought there was no danger, and that they were not likely to be called upon to defend our shores. The hon. Member for Manchester the other evening alluded to myself as being a subscriber to the translation of a speech by M. Thiers. I was in great hopes the hon. Member was going to make some quotation from that able speech; but not having done so, if he will allow me, I will do so instead. M. Thiers says, speaking of the repeal of the corn laws— I do not hesitate, notwithstanding the glorious and just fame of Sir Robert Peel, to say that there was in the measure to which he has attached his name a temerity which, in some respects, must be considered as an imprudence. England at this time is obliged to take from abroad one-third part of her consumption of wheat, namely, 30,000,000 of hectolitres. These supplies being conveyed by vessels of 200 to 300 tons, require from 8,000 to 10,000 vessels. It is true that the same vessels make the voyage several times, which reduce the number to 2,000 to 3,000 vessels plying constantly on the seas. England has said, I am mistress of the seas.' It is true, that if we look into the history of the present century, we find that while victory, for a time at least, accompanied us constantly on the Continent; at sea, on the contrary, in spite of the heroism of our men, everything was misfortune. I know that in her last struggle with us England conquered; but it is also known of what formidable navigators Napoleon foresaw the future destiny when abandoning Louisiana to the United States, he said to M. Marbois, 'I may, perhaps, be conquered, but I prepare my revenge.' I know well what will happen; at the present time in England they are turning much land into pasture; they will hasten to grow corn again on this land, but at what price? they provide bread for the English people at pre- sent at a very low price; I do not deny it; but suppose a war. Although England should remain mistress of the field of battle, the charge for insurance alone will raise the price of bread in time of war, just as it raises the price of sugar. Then that nation will see in a few days bread doubled, and perhaps, trebled, in price; whatever they may say, this is a future which no prudent nation ought to defy. Now, this was the opinion of a Frenchman—not of an English landlord who wishes to raise his rent and have a protecting duty on corn for his own immediate purposes—and, therefore, entitled to some weight. We must also remember, that in the great man whose remains we lately conveyed with be much honour to their resting-place, we lost more than an army. I beg the House to consider that it is necessary to have some information as to the assertion of the diminished quantity of wheat, as to price, and as to land going out of cultivation. It appears from Colonel Torrens' abstract that the increase of real property between 1815 and 1843 has been 58 per cent, while from 1843 to 1850 it has only been 10 per cent. That personal property from 1815 to 1843 increased 37 per cent, but actually declined 5 per cent between 1843 and 1850; that our exports from 1831 to 1841 had increased 35 per cent; but from 1841 to 1851 only 23 per cent; and that our imports of raw materials, and the consumption of wool had not increased nearly so much in the latter period as in the former. I do not ask the House whether, considering all the improvements which have taken place—considering the energy and enterprise which have been elicited—considering the advantages we now have in the inventions of machinery—in the inventions for bringing out the wonderful power of steam by land and by sea—I say, considering all these circumstances, and all the advances of the age in inventions and science, am I not entitled to ask if we are not, in point of fact, in a stationary state, rather than in that state of progress we are entitled to expect? I will now proceed to my second reason why I cannot support the Resolutions. I admit the prosperity of the working classes; but I am anxious for truth, and the whole truth, to be shown to the House. I cannot accept the speech of the mover of the Resolution as stating the whole truth. That hon. Gentleman, in his very able speech, argued the question as though the basis of the wages of labour remained the same. He taunted Lord Derby for venturing to say that the wages of labour had declined with the price of food. He went on to tell the House of the advantages the people had derived from the cheapness of food, always supposing wages to be the same. He took the price of corn at 70s. at one time, and at the other time 48s., and argued that the labouring classes had benefited by the difference. I do not think it was quite fair putting the price at 70s., for that is an extraordinary and exceptional price, and not naturally the result of the corn laws. But take the price as the hon. Member stated it, and I will show that the labourers of Cambridgeshire and Leicestershire are not better, nor so well, off by recent legislation as they were before. I think the hon. Member said the result of legislation had been to cheapen the principal articles of consumption to the poor man to the extent of putting into his pocket 2l. 10s. yearly. The hon. Gentleman enumerated four principal articles which entered mainly into the food of the poor man—such as bread, sugar, coffee, and tea. Now, wages in Cambridgeshire, since free trade, had been reduced from l1s. to 9s.; in Leicestershire, from 12s. to 10s.—that is, a reduction of 2s. per week has been made in wages, which amounts to 5l. 4s. in the year. I do not ask the House, in taking the hon. Member's own calculation of the saving to the labouring man, and my statement of the reduction in wages, to say whether they think that the reduction in other articles has been sufficiently great to make the labouring man better off now than before. In Cambridgeshire they say they are a little better off, but in Leicestershire they are not so well off. This brings me to another point, to which I beg to call the attention of the hon. Member for the West Riding. It is said that, in endeavouring to meet foreign competition, manufacturers have been obliged to produce articles so worthless that they do not last half so long as those formerly produced when they enjoyed protection. If you visit the labourers' cottages the complaint of the wives now is, that cotton gowns were cheaper, but they lasted so short a time that they gained nothing by cheapness. I call the attention of the hon. Member for the West Riding to the fact, in the hope the manufacturers will meet competition by other measures than that of reducing the value and quality of their articles. I admit fully that the labouring classes generally are better off than they were; but I say they owe that advantage, not mainly to the cheapness of food, but to other circumstances. In all sciences there is nothing so difficult to discover as the true causes of special effects, and in politics especially this is more than commonly the case, because of the party heat and passions of those who discuss these questions. I ask the House to hear with me while I endeavour to discover the source of the prosperity of the working classes. The hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Muntz) has spoken of the vast supply of precious metals which has poured into this country. I take that to be one of the causes of prosperity. In five years 85,000,00l. has been added to the currency of the world, which was before estimated to amount to about 450,000,000l. Thus 21 per cent has been added to the total currency of the world. Adam Smith says that an increase of 20 per cent in any article will reduce its price 50 per cent, and yet the hon. Gentlemen opposite say the late increase of the precious metals has had no effect on the price of money and other articles. Let us consider what was the amount of specie in the Bank of England for the last nine months:—

On January 2nd it was £17,000,000
On March 27th 19,000,000
On June 26th 21,000,000
On September 26th 21,000,000
On November 13th 20,000,000
You will perceive that in September it was 21.000.000l., whereas on November 13th it was 20,000,000l. Now, during this period there was imported into this country 4,000,000,000l. of gold and silver by the West India steamers, 2,500,000l. from America, and 5,000,000l. from Australia, making a total, in six months, of no less than 11,000,000l. of gold imported into this country; and yet we find there was no material increase of specie in the Bank of England all that time, clearly showing that gold had gone out of the country to pay for articles imported—and showing that if it bad not been for the large importation of gold you would have had a return again of the panic and misery of 1847—and this has taken place under the operations of your boasted free-trade measures. I am therefore entitled to say, had it not been for the opportune discovery of gold, your free-trade measures must have proved a decided failure. I come now to the emigration, as the second great cause of prosperity. There have been for five years no less than 312,000 persons who have annually left their homes, left this country, for a country in which their labour is protected. The hon. Member for Manchester denied that fact; but can any one suppose that this large emigration has not benefited the labourer, by rendering the competition for labour less severe, and by making fewer the number of hands wanting labour: and can any one suppose, that if it were not for emigration, that wages would have kept up as they have done? Let the House still further recollect, that in addition to the relief of pressure on the labour market, by the number of persons who have emigrated, each emigrant lays out a considerable sum of money on his outfit. The third-class emigrants' outfit is calculated to be not less than 5l. 10s. The fact is, the emigrant spends the hard earnings of a life in a single week. Multiply the sum of 5l. 10s. by the number of emigrants, and you will find that near 2,000,000l. sterling has been spent on the outfit of emigrants alone. Then look at the loss this country is sustaining by emigration. We are told, and told truly, that the people emigrating are not of the lower classes; but that many of the wealthier classes are leaving the country. It is no very high estimate to say that each spends 40l. out of the country. That would amount to 12,500,000l. taken away from the country; which, capitalised, would show a sum of 374,000,000l. withdrawn from this country. The prosperity which exists I place to gold and to emigration. I believe these are the main causes of the present prosperity—speaking generally—of the industrious classes. The quotations made by the hon. Member for Manchester, who included one of mine among other hustings speeches which he cited, place me in a very intelligible position, though my language might not have been very Parliamentary: "He would ride the horse Protection so long as he was fit to go out with, but when not fit he would take the beast of burden as far as it would carry him." I am obliged to the hon. Member for quoting the passage, and shall not disavow it. I have endeavoured to explain the reasons why I cannot vote for either of the Resolutions proposed. I agree with an hon. Gentleman opposite who spoke this evening in thinking that the whole thing is a hocus-pocus. The Resolution is the hocus, and the Amendment the pocus. I have now endeavoured to explain to the House the course I feel it my duty to take on the present occasion, I shall vote against the Resolution of the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, and I shall also vote against the Motion of the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton.


said, he begged the attention of the House while be explained the reasons for the course he felt himself imperatively called upon to pursue on the present occasion. It appeared to him that the course which an independent Member must take on the present occasion was one of very considerable difficulty. It appeared to him extremely difficult to pursue any course in a manner at once satisfactory to his own conscience, satisfactory to the public who were much interested in this question, and satisfactory also to his position in that House, where friendly associations, if not party ties, more or less surrounded every man. With respect to the different propositions now submitted to them, he should be ready, and he should be most anxious, to accept the Amendment moved by the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton (Viscount Palmerston), as affording to the principle they were so anxious to secure all the security that could be given to it by a Resolution of that House. But the case unfortunately was not submitted to the House in a manner that would allow him to express his free opinion with respect to the vote he was about to give on the abstract merits-of the question. The Amendment did not present itself to him in the shape of an abstract Motion, to which he could say aye or no; but it was preceded by a Resolution which embarrassed extremely the course he had to pursue. He was anxious that the hon. Gentleman (Mr. C. Villiers) who had brought forward the original Resolution should feel himself justified even now in withdrawing it from the notice of the House. He would earnestly entreat him, in order to secure the unanimity which it was so important for them to arrive at, if it could be consistent with his sense of duty to the public, to withdraw that Resolution, which could only act as a bone of contention between parties who had one common object in view. But he could only ask himself what course he was to pursue, so as to place his own character in a satisfactory light to those who had sent him to that House? The only distinction that existed between the Resolution and the Amendment consisted in the three words which asserted the policy of Sir Robert Peel to have been "just, wise, and beneficial." Before be addressed himself to the reasons that induced him to give his support to that proposition, he would state his reasons for thinking that one or two extraneous matters had been introduced into this discussion which were hardly worthy of the occasion on which they had been brought forward. It had been stated by some hon. Gentlemen opposite that the present vote was one of want of confidence. As far as he was concerned, most unequivocally and most decidedly be entertained no such opinion, and he thought the Ministry arrogated to themselves a position they were not entitled to hold, when they assumed that a Resolution under any circumstances, in the present conjuncture, could be brought in the shape of want of confidence. Votes of wont of confidence were directed against Administrations whose policy was well recognised, and whose principles were intelligible. If Parliament disapproved of their policy, after placing them in repeated minorities, it was usual to proceed to record a vote of want of confidence. But when they looked at the manner in which the present Government had arrived at office, and at those admissions which the right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer had most carefully, studiously, and diligently made, that they held no principles at all, that the Government was formed on no principle, and that it assumed the functions of the Executive to bow to the dictates of the Legislature, then he said this Government was not justified in arrogating such a high position as to talk of votes of want of confidence. When it was inconvenient to discuss abstract propositions, it was convenient to distract attention by such an assertion; but be begged to tell them, and he believed he expressed the feelings of the majority on that side of the House, there was no such feeling in the course he was about to take. It was said that the words to which the Government objected were hurtful to the feelings of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite. He would not wilfully do anything to hurt the feelings of any man in or out of the House; but it appeared to him they should lower the dignity of the cause they were advocating if they were guided by considerations of what feelings they might or might not hurt. He must say it came with an ill grace from hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite to be so susceptible of their own feelings, when it was remembered how little the feelings of at least one party in that House had been consulted during the last six years. These were extraneous matters. The question was simply whether they would maintain that the policy of Sir Robert Peel was wise, just, and beneficial. He had only one prominent duty to perform, for which he had heen sent to that House, and that was, to endeavour to render that policy as secure and unshakeable as any Resolutions of that House could make it. And although he had listened with great delight to the eloquent appeal of the right hon. Member for South Wiltshire (Mr. S. Herbert), who said that the memory of Sir Robert Peel required no better tribute than the adhesion of a majority to his policy, he (Captain Fitzroy) felt that it was a matter of personal consideration, and, having enjoyed the confidence of that great man, he should be wanting in respect to his memory—if the hon. Member for Wolverhampton should persist in his Resolution—if he (Captain Fitzroy) should shrink from asserting by his vote that his policy was just, wise, and beneficial. The question he had to ask himself was, is this policy-just, wise, and beneficial? If it be so, as you—the Government—have decided by the adoption of it, why should he shrink from declaring it to be so? He was induced to vote for the Motion of the hon. Member for Wolverhampton by one other consideration, which he thought ought to have some weight with other hon. Members. The public out of doors could not attempt to follow Members within doors in all those tedious windings, intricate mazes, and subtle distinctions, which were, by some means or other, devised in order to prevent a clear, intelligible Resolution being placed on the books of the House, declaring aye or no in favour of the proposition. The public would look with great doubt, embarrassment, and difficulty on the course of proceeding with reference to the Resolutions. There was first the Motion of the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, which was applicable to the great majority of Free Traders; next, the Amendment proposed by the Government, who, certainly, in their character of Free Traders, could not expect that the public would have much confidence in them; and then that Amendment was withdrawn for the purpose of substituting another, which had been purposely framed by the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton; and at the present moment the result was that the people out of doors were fairly and completely puzzled. Under these circumstances, the most natural course for the public to take, with the view of forming a correct judgment on the merits of the several Resolutions, was to ask who the men were who proposed them. They would say, "Show us the authors of the Resolutions, and we will tell you as to the sincerity of their intentions." He could not forget the last few words of Sir Robert Peel, when he made his last appearance on the benches opposite—those memorable words, which had been or were to be inscribed on the pedestal that was erected to his memory by the grateful working classes of Britain—he could not forget that memorable occasion, at once of triumph and disaster, when foreign nations saw the most popular and powerful Minister in England for years hurled from his seat by a combination of the very men who were now pretending to cavil at the combination of different sections on the Opposition side of the House—he could not forget that moment when Sir Robert Peel attributed to the hon. Member for the West Riding (Mr. Cobden) the real authorship and the real conduct of the Free-Trade policy. He stated in unequivocal terms that its success was mainly owing to the "unadorned eloquence" of that hon. Member. [Laughter.] Hon. Gentlemen opposite might disapprove of that observation, but of this he was sure, that they would always support the justice of the sentiment— Palmam qui meruit ferat. He was convinced that no man in the House would rob any one of the political justice which was due to him. Seeing, then, that the right hon. Gentleman, under whose leadership he (Captain Fitzroy) had placed himself up to the last moment of his public life, gave the hon. Member for the West Riding the full credit for having been the successful originator of the policy, he could not but think that the public would view with suspicion the conduct of hon. Members on those (the Opposition) benches, if they refused to support a Resolution which was introduced by those who had been the earliest, and were now the successful advocates of that policy, and gave their votes in favour of an Amendment which, at all events, had been brought forward by far more recent and supicious converts to Free Trade. It was upon those grounds, and because he felt he owed a debt of gratitude to the distinguished man whose policy he now defended, and in order that his conduct might appear before the public without chance of misconstruction or mistake, that he intended most decidedly to give his vote in favour of the proposition of the hon. Member for Wolverhampton.


said, that notwithstanding the sneers that had been cast by hon. Members opposite on protection, he was anxious, indeed the more anxious on that account, as a Protectionist Member, to declare his adhesion to its principles, and to add, that nothing he had heard (and what had one not heard since Parliament had met?) had changed his convictions; and further, that it was his belief that, unless circumstances apart from free trade prevented it, before many years passed the probability was, that the working classes themselves would, in self-defence, demand an import duty on corn, and that there would be a still more clamorous party for the same—he meant hon. Gentlemen opposite, who now represented the manufacturing interest. He rose principally to record that sentiment. He would not, however, for one moment be supposed to have a lurking wish that any import duty upon corn, either directly or indirectly, should be attempted. An appeal had been made to the country, and the verdict had been most decided; and he would simply ask, whether the country Gentlemen could have met their defeat with better feeling? There had been no question raised as to the manner in which that verdict had been obtained; but it might have been. There had been no counter-charge of farmers deluded; but there might have been. There had been a quiet submission to a victory gained. Why, then, insult them by those three words, so properly designated "odious?" for there was, to use the phraseology of hon. Gentlemen opposite, "no more odious dose for an honest country gentleman to swallow than a sentiment not his own." Hon. Gentlemen opposite forgot, or seemed to forget, the difference between an agreement as to what was the opinion of the country, and in adopting that opinion as one's own. Though an ultra-Protectionist—one who had sacrificed comfort, and even private friendship, to its principle—he, for one, fully acquiesced in the opinion that the country at large adopted the other principle of free trade, and that it would be madness to oppose it; and that, the question once settled, it was the duty of every man in that House to carry out that principle. Why should more be required? He must, then, decidedly oppose the Resolution of the hon. Member for Wolverhampton. Nor could he have supported the Amendment of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, nor could he its substitute, though he believed, without loss of honour, principle, or even the slightest consistency, he should be able fully to support Her Majesty's Ministers; but, as his own experience, and that was very considerable, in a densely-populated neighbourhood, told him that the prosperity, which was great, was not mainly attributable to free trade, he could not subscribe to those words. He did not deny that free trade was an adjunct now, but, till other circumstances arose, it was a dead letter. He did not speak of a district, he spoke of a division of a county; and what held good for a part, held good for the whole; so that he was bold to say that one of the counties of England—Cornwall—did not owe its now rampant prosperity mainly to free trade. If he was wrong, let the Members of the Western division on the opposite side set him right. It could not be denied that in 1850 (say this time two years) the Act of 1846 was in full force, and that corn was cheaper than at present. If, then, he stated that about two years since there was want of employment in Cornwall, both as regarded its mines and its agriculture, and if he showed that poverty existed then, and that it continued to exist till circumstances foreign to free trade came into play, he should make out his case—namely, that free trade had not mainly contributed to the great prosperity that existed. Now, what had brought about the change as regarded the agriculturists? A few years since, when there was great distress, emigration commenced, and the accounts had been so favourable that thousands—many of their ablest and steadiest labourers—had quitted our shores, and the consequence had been, that these men, whom the farmers would hardly look at, were now in request, and not only in request, but at advanced wages. Cheap bread was a great adjunct to their comfort, but not the main cause of it. Again, as to the miner. Two years since, many were unemployed, and the wages very low. The price of metal was at 90l per ton; foreign mines were pouring their ores into England, and their metals into our foreign markets—suddenly there was a discovery of gold, and he alluded especially to Australia; the copper mines there were deserted. There was no Australian copper to compete with our copper, but Australian gold to enhance its value. Metal was now 130l. per ton; higher by far than for twenty years. Miners were in request; wages were very high. Cheap bread was an adjunct to their comfort, but not the main cause of it. Had he not, then, made out his case? Still free trade, it was acknowledged, must now be the principle; and since hon. Gentlemen opposite had all they wished for, and more than they ex- pected, and since, as he hoped, they would have all the assistance from his side of the House in furthering their views, he trusted they would not only not oppose, hut generously and humanely assist in carrying out such measures of the Government as might relieve the agricultural classes, whose patience under their sufferings made them the more worthy of every consideration.


said, he wished as a new Member to state the reasons which induced him to vote for the original Motion of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton (Mr. C. Villiers), rather than for the Amendment of the noble Lord (Viscount Palmerston). The main ground on which that Amendment was recommended to the consideration of the Free Trade party was, that it was highly desirable that any Motion embodying the sanction of the House to the Free Trade principle should not be defeated, or be carried merely by a small majority. With regard to the possibility of a defeat, that did not fill him with any serious apprehensions; on the contrary, he thought that such an event would be attended with one or two very compensating results. It would put the Free Traders completely on the alert, and prevent them from being lulled into a state of false security, and prepare them to meet their opponents at future elections. Supposing the Motion should be carried by a small majority, he certainly should be sorry for it; but there was one thing which he should be still more sorry for, and that was, to see the Motion carried by a sham majority. And this led him to ask what was the true object of the Motion? The right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Wiltshire (Mr. S. Herbert), had laid it down that the object of the Resolution was to obtain as large a majority as possible. With all submission to the right hon. Gentleman, he (Mr. Blackett) was of opinion that the true object of the Resolution was to enable the people of this country to ascertain who were true Free Traders, and who were insincere professors of that policy. He must believe the evidence of his own eyes and ears, and he could not, even by the utmost stretch of courtesy, conceive it possible that men could be equally sincere in the advocacy of two directly opposite propositions. At the election for North Northumberland, to which the right hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle (Sir J. Graham) had last night referred, the noble Lords who were elected —though they did not profess themselves willing to restore a duty on corn—yet they succeeded in creating an impression that the establishment of Free Trade in the abstract would be the special object of their hostility. Yet, now they had the right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer recommending this system to their favourable consideration under the gentle alias of "unrestricted competition." The noble Lords in question attributed the prosperity of the country to the same causes as those referred to by the noble Lord the Member for North Leicestershire (the Marquess of Granby), and they had certainly created an impression among the farmers that they would, if returned to Parliament, attempt to modify, and, if possible, to cripple that very system of Free Trade which the Amendment now before the House called on the Government to develop to its fullest extent. He believed that the noble Lords he bad alluded to were Protectionists at heart, and, therefore, he called upon the Free Traders to look about for some more stringent test than was to be found in so vague a Resolution as that proposed by the noble Lord (Viscount Palmerston). The three odious epithets, as they had been called, were only capable of being accepted by a true Free Trader. It was that circumstance which recommended those three epithets to his mind, and, therefore, he should cordially support the Resolution of the hon. Member for Wolverhampton.


said, he would not detain the House long. He was anxious, however, to express fairly and freely what his opinions were. First of all, he begged to avow that he was still a Protectionist. He was ready to vote for any proposition for the reimposition of a duty on foreign corn, and to put a duty on all foreign articles imported into this country which interfered with the industry of the people. As to the Resolutions just now before them, he could only say he looked with great caution and with great suspicion on everything which emanated from either one side of the House or from the other. Cautus enim metuit foveam lupus, accipiterque Suspectos laqueos. He had found it the best course always to see well and consider before he gave his assent to any proposition, and, above all, to look well to the motives of the man who made it. He never liked to leap in the dark. The position in which the House was placed was like that of certain criminals who were buried at the meeting of three crossroads. He had no wish to he buried in any crossroad, but wanted to take a straightforward, plain, honest course. The hon. Member for Wolverhampton (Mr. C. Villiers) had ever been consistent, and had always pursued an honourable course; but, when he called on him (Col. Sibthorp) to say the measure of 1846 was "wise, just, and beneficial," he must at once tell the hon. Member he did not consider that measure was worthy of his sanction or support. It was painful to wound the feelings of any one, and he could have wished that there had been less allusion made in the course of that debate to a great statesman now no more. He had had the honour of enjoying that statesman's friendship, and, he might say, his hospitality, and at one time he thought Sir Robert Peel was the only man who could really save the country; but the measure of 1846 had completely changed his (Col. Sibthorp's) opinion on that point. He denied the prosperity these measures were said to have produced. Let them go to the farmer, the tradesman, the labourer, and ask each of them what he had been and what he was now, and they would soon find out the truth. Why, half of the farmers were on the parish. And then they talked of emigration as a means of improving the country! Did any one ever hear of improving a country by sending the people out of it? When all classes had been injured, by these free-trade measures, as they were called, and when nothing else could be done to ruin them, they had got up the Great Exhibition. Talk about the good effects of that display! He affirmed that one effect of it was that there never was more disease in the metropolis than ever since. The noble Lord's Resolution was a trap to catch the unwary, but he had not been caught in it yet. He believed the day would come when those who advocated the cause of Free Trade would admit with sorrow that they never were more mistaken in their lives. For himself he should walk out of the House, for he would not vote for either of their Resolutions. He would not do anything to place his countrymen in the power of those whom he looked on as plunderers and robbers from the beginning, and who would first rob us of our trade and of our independence, and then rob us of our honour—males and females. In the meantime he would wait patiently, and see what the wonderful promised measures of Her Majesty's Government were; he would look before he leaped.


said, he had no wish to press himself on the attention and patience of the House after so long a debate, but as the representative of a very large constituency (Norwich), who were deeply interested in the matter in question, he felt that he should not be doing his duty if he did not, though a new Member, give to the House some of those reasons which induced him to support the Resolutions, characterised, as he understood, by the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer as odious, insulting, and factious. If he could for a moment believe that the Resolutions were brought forward in a factious spirit, with any intention of embarrassing a new Government in a new House of Commons, with any intention of depriving Ministers of that full and fair hearing which was the birthright of Englishmen, he would never give them his support. But it had been satisfactorily shown by those who supported these Resolutions that they were not advocating the cause of a party, but of a policy, not seeking to strike at the stability of a Cabinet, but to consolidate the broad foundation of the commercial prosperity of an empire. He thought it had been triumphantly established by hon. Members on his side of the House, that these Resolutions were, like the policy of 1846 itself, wise, just, and beneficial; and it had been proved with equal success on the other side of the House, that some such Resolutions as these were necessary to the peace of the country, and to the reputation of the House for consistency. He did not consider that this was a question of confidence or no confidence in Ministers, and he regretted that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had thought fit to view it in this light. He believed that the House had a duty to perform, which was paramount to all considerations of party politics, which would cast into the shade of insignificance the destinies of a Ministry, or even, if it must be so, the untimely fate of an embryo policy. It was well known that delusive hopes were cherished by large numbers of the agricultural population of the country—hopes that Parliament was going to do something for them to relieve them from the necessity of depending for success, like the rest of the world, solely on their own energies and their own resources. These delusions were diligently propagated by the hundred Protection societies, whose continued existence and activity were attested by Mr. Paul Foskett; they were aggravated by the hustings speeches of hon. Gentlemen opposite, by the oracular declarations of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and by the words which he had put into the Speech from the Throne. It was the duty of this House to dispel these false and fatal de-lnsions, to terminate the war of classes, the antagonism between the commercial and territorial interests of the country, and to affirm the great principle of its future legislation in terms which no farmer should misunderstand, and no farmers' friend should mystify. He did wish that the Resolution could have been so framed as to answer this great end, and yet be pleasing to all sides of the House. But he found from the debate that this was impossible, and therefore, without any factious motive, not wishing to do what might be odious to hon. Gentlemen opposite, and least of all wishing to wound the feelings or insult the consciences of others, he found himself compelled to vote with the hon. and learned Member for Wolverhampton.


Sir, I presume that the House, which has now been debating for several nights a question mainly turning on the use of words, must be anxious that the discussion should draw to a close. I am the more ready to promise not to occupy long the attention of the House, because I have already, almost unwarrantably, trespassed on the indulgence of the House—strictly within the rules, still in a manner I should blame, if I had not thought it called for by the peculiar circumstances. The hon. Member for East Cornwall (Mr. Kendall) has made an observation, on which I would wish to say one word, He says nothing is so painful to a man as to have to swallow the opinions of others. But I must also tell him there is something not very agreeable in having your own words, on which a Motion has been founded, suddenly brought up and forced upon you when you least expect it. A great deal has been said in the course of the debate to young Members, and to "old stagers." I am afraid I must class myself in the latter category, and, speaking to those young Members, I must give them one piece of advice, the result of my recent experience. Every one knows there is nothing so foolish as to write a book or a pamphlet, but it is still more foolish to put on paper the words of a Motion for which you are not responsible, and which you do not mean to move yourself. What is still worse, is to try to frame a Motion, which shall please everybody; it generally ends in satisfying no one; and perhaps the predicament in which I stand this evening may be a warning to others for the future. I wish to state to the House that the result of this discussion has been very painful to me. I framed the original Amendment. With parental fondness I regretted the loss of important words, which were left out of it; and many arguments urged in its support have been of the most repulsive character. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, complaining of the epithets in the original Motion, namely, that the repeal of the Corn Law of 1842 was a "wise, just, and beneficial" measure, designated these epithets as odious. Now, if any epithets are to be applied to that measure, in my humble judgment the English language supplies none so apposite as those in the original Motion. But the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Colonies went the length of saying that he demurred to the poposition that the measure was wise, just, or beneficial, when, to my astonishment, I find in the Amendment, to which I am given to understand the Government are parties, and which we are now discussing, the words— That the improved condition of the country, and especially of the industrious classes, is mainly the result of recent legislation, which has established the principle of unrestricted competition, has abolished taxes imposed for the purposes of protection, and has thereby diminished the cost and increased the abundance of the principal articles of food of the people. Am I wrong? Did I not understand the right hon. Gentleman to make some reservation last night with respect to sugar? [Sir JOHN PAKINGTON made an observation which was inaudible in the gallery.] Is not sugar part of the food of the people? Is not the principle of unrestricted competition embodied in the descending scale of duties, in progress of being carried out in the case of foreign and British-grown sugar? I do not wish to refer to speeches made at elections; but the right hon. Baronet did, on the hustings, refer very roughly to what I had said as to Government having risen to power by the ladder of protection, and then having thrown it down, when they had risen to the "giddy height," being content to remain in power by discarding the principle by the aid of which they had obtained it. The right hon. Baronet then gave that statement an unqualified denial; and he further added, that with respect to the sugar question he retained all the opinions he had ever expressed. He declared that he believed the West India Colonies had been ruined, and had been most unjustly treated by the removal of protective duties, and that he retained that opinion as strongly as ever. The House would remember what took place in June last. The descending scale of duties was about to come into operation on the 1st of July, and the right hon. Baronet stated he had changed no opinions on that subject, and that it was only his inability, arising from his being in a hopeless minority, which restrained him from making the attempt to restore those duties. Now, if he retains his opinnion, why does he not avow his intention to adhere to his policy, and to do that which he believes to be just? How can he vote for the Amendment of the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton (Viscount Palmerston) if he sincerely retains his opinions? It has been said by an able writer, in an interesting work, that sugar is a charm to youth, that it soothes old age, but that in political matters it has a dangerous tendency, and is apt to produce disaster. I also remember that in the work from which I am now quoting—a work of political biography, there is a most graphic description of what took place with reference to this very question of the West Indian Colonies. It appears that the West Indian interest did not take a very decided part in resisting in 1846 the repeal of the Corn Laws, and a proposition was made to the late Lord George Bentinck, that in consequence of their having failed to aid the Protectionist Opposition, he should be a party to no longer supporting the protection which the West Indies enjoyed. What said the noble Lord in reply? With a signal shake of the head, with a flash of that beaming eye, and with a curl of that scornful lip, he made these observations: He said, "No! we exist only by our principles; we are not Privy Councillors, but we are honest men; we must stand by our principles, and we must protect the West Indian interest." Now, Sir, observe, the Gentlemen opposite are Privy Councillors, and they have abandoned the principle of protection. But I do not draw the inference—I should be unjust in the extreme if I did—I am not prepared to say that this change of opinion on the part of right hon. And hon. Gentlemen, those I see on the Treasury bench, is to be regarded as a dishonest change. I remember the speech of the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton, an admirable speech, on the second reading of the Bill for the repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846, in which, in his own most powerful manner, and with the utmost succinctness and brevity, he stated the whole case, as it appeared to me, in favour of free trade, with extraordinary clearness and great eloquence. I dissented, certainly, from one passage in the noble Lord's speech, in which he advocated a fixed duty on corn; but there was a passage in it which bears on the point to which I was referring, and which I will take the liberty of repeating to the House. I will not answer for the exact words, but this is the substance of his remarks: The noble Lord said (and long experience had made him wise), "if the force of circumstances should ever place those Gentlemen," including Lord George Bentinck and those who acted most strenuously with him, "on the Treasury bench, I am satisfied that six months will not elapse before their opinions will undergo great change and modification." Something was said about fever, and the noble Lord added, "There are certain climates which are specifics for certain diseases. Take any Protectionist; let the fever, or the type of it which besets him, be as malignant and inflammatory as you please; place him in Downing-street, and I will undertake to say that there will be a speedy and permanent cure." [See 3 Hansard, lxxxvi. 255.] I remember when the late Mr. Porter, whose loss I most sincerely deplore, was at the Board of Trade, it was always said that his accounts were cooked and prepared. Hon. Gentlemen opposite could hardly believe it possible that our exports had increased to 70,000,000l., our imports to 100,000,000l. Sugar has been mentioned, and, with regard to that article, they thought it hardly possible that while the duty was diminished by 100 per cent, the quantity imported should have increased by one-third; that the retail price should have fallen one-half, and that all this time the revenue from sugar should not be decreased, but augmented. All these thing's then seemed incredible to hon. Gentlemen opposite, but now there is my right hon. Friend the Member for the county of Oxford (Mr. Henley) at the Board of Trade. He is a man whom I know to be very capable of sifting facts and figures, while as President of the Board he is responsible for these documents, and I am certain that he has verified the facts which were before shown by the Returns, and that he believes fully what he authenticates by his signature as to the state of the country, and what is asserted in this Resolution, which affirms broadly and openly the principle of free trade, as opposed to protection. There is another point upon which I desire to make an observation or two. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer commented last night, rather unadvisedly as I thought, upon the use of the word "compensation," imputed to him, and said that he was not aware that anywhere, except at hustings or elections, that word had ever been used by him; that, probably, we might find it by hunting among election speeches, but that in the House no such term could be adduced as having fallen from him. We might look at the right hon. Gentleman's speech at Aylesbury, but, without being disposed to go word-catching at this time of night, and at this period of the debate, I may express my surprise when I heard, in that able speech made last evening by the hon. Member for Middlesex (Mr. B. Osborne), without ranging through the pages of Hansard, this passage, attributed to the right hon. Gentleman, who, as I thought, most unequivocally denied the use of the word "compensation." On the 14th of May, 1850, the right hon. Gentleman, I believe, seconded a Motion made by Mr. Grantley Berkeley for an alteration in the Corn Laws, and said upon that occasion:— I ask you to protect the rights and interests of labour generally; in the first place by allowing no free imports from countries which meet you with countervailing duties; and, in the second place, with respect to agricultural produce,"—to do what?—"to compensate the soil for the burdens from which other classes are free, by an equivalent daty." [3 Hansard, cxi. 86.] Now, Sir, a good deal has been said about bowing to public opinion. I would first of all observe, that I do not think the repeal of the corn laws was carried by "bowing." In the next place, with reference to the use of strong language, those who supported that repeal were not always treated with exemplary courtesy in Parliament, nor were the expressions used with reference to those persons exactly such as we generally use in the society of gentlemen. The hon. Member for the West Riding (Mr. Cobden) on a former occasion has referred to what he called the Christian forbearance of the friends and colleagues of the late Sir Robert Peel, and expressed somewhat his surprise that they had been so moderate in their language, so forbearing in their retaliation. Now, Sir, I said last night, and I said truly, that in framing these Resolutions I had endeavoured to do so in the spirit and in the temper in which I believe my right hon. Friend, had he been now alive, would, under present circumstances, have framed them. And, Sir, the term used by the hon. Member for the West Riding was a happy one. He used the term "Christian forbearance." Now, I knew my right hon. Friend well. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Wiltshire (Mr. S. Herbert) has paid to him this evening a well-deserved and eloquent tribute. Amidst all his characteristics, I should say the Christian temper and forgiveness of my right hon. Friend was that which most distinguished him. I say, also, that he always considered what, under circumstances of public emergency, it was politic to do in reference to the good of the country, and the maintenance of the cause, which he espoused. The hon. Member for West Surrey (Mr. Drummond) referred, in the course of this evening, to ancient history, as far back as the Anglo-Saxon period. I do not wish to incur the charge of pedantry by going back to a part of history still more ancient, but there is a passage in Roman history, I believe it is recorded by Livy, and commented on by Machiavelli as a masterpiece of policy, which I think is worth adducing now. I refer to that passage relative to the furcoe caudince, where portions of the Roman army suffered great disgrace at the hands of the Samnites, and where the question was, how they were to be treated. The first advice given was that they should be liberated. That was said not to be an expedient course; and then the question was asked, "Shall we take a middle course?" The answer was, "Exterminate them; there is no middle course of safety with reference to those who are Roman citizens." So I say with reference to this question. It is in vain to attempt with prudence in a contest like this to brand your antagonists; if you seek for security to the country, for the blessing of peace, and for the settlement of this question, you must settle it on equal terms. I do not accuse hon. Gentlemen opposite of anything unworthy in the course they now deem it their duty to take. I do not wish to stigmatize them by seeking their consent to that which their honour refuses to accept. I think it is enough to sustain this great cause by the use of words which cover all the principles for which I have contended, and for which I am ready still to contend when the measures of the Government are brought forward. There is no man in any part of the House more ready to reject the doctrine of compensation said to be due to the landed interest, and any measure of that description founded upon that claim will be resisted by me to the utmost of my power; but I have a feeling that to call upon hon. Gentlemen opposite now to declare that the repeal of the corn laws in 1846, which they so strenuously resisted, is in the abstract just, is not exactly the course we ought to take, and I am not surprised, on the whole, that they reject the original Resolution. I, for one, shall not depart from the words which I admit are verbatim et literatim what I myself prepared. It is painful for me to vote against the proposition of the hon. Member for Wolverhampton (Mr. C. Villiers), and those Gentlemen with whom on principle in this matter I entirely agree; but I should think myself unworthy of the confidence of my fellow-countrymen if I hesitated to state that which I really feel, and which I am prepared sincerely to abide by.


said: I was not going to enter into any discussion about the comparative merits of Protection and Free-trade, for it appeared to me that the only question before the House was, which of two Resolutions we should adopt—that of the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, or that of the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton. That as one of the new Members, or, to use the noble Lord's expression, one of the greenhorns who had lately alighted on the benches of this House, I claimed one privilege—not that of being listened to with indulgence, for that I felt sure would be accorded to me—but that of reading the Resolutions in their plain and natural sense—in the sense in which 999 men in every 1000 out of the House would understand them. If I interpreted the Resolution of the hon. Member for Wolverhampton by the meanings affixed to it by different speakers, the more one listened the less one understood. In one speaker's mouth it assumed the shape of a vote of confidence, or the contrary, in the Government; in another, that of a tribute to the memory of Sir Robert Peel; in another, that of fixing the great seal on the charter of free industry, until at last it appeared to become one vast allegory, according to the definition given of allegory by the late Mr. Thomas Hood, "putting one thing to stand for another that was not it, like a Member of Parliament standing for a county." As I had to select between the two Resolutions, I felt that with regard to one of them, that of the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, it seemed to put Members like myself somewhat in the situation of the character in Sheridan's play of the Rivals, who, when he is saying and doing nothing, is suddenly thus addressed by another gentleman: "With regard to that matter, Captain, I must beg leave to differ in opinion with you." To which the rejoinder is, "Upon my word, then, you must be a subtle disputant, because I happened just then to be expressing no opinion at all." The conversation then proceeds, "That's no reason, for, give me leave to tell you, a man may think an untruth as well as speak one." "Very true, Sir; but if a man never utters his thoughts, I should think they might stand a chance of escaping controversy." My present position may be described in a similar vein of interrogatory and answer. You are going to reimpose a tax on the bread of the people. I answer that I am not going to do any such thing. I say that the Act of 1846 was wise, just, and beneficial. What do you say to that? I reply that I have nothing to say on the subject, for I do not see that my opinion on what is passed can be of particular consequence to any one. Here, then, a contest is forced on me which I cannot decline, and I shall vote for the Resolution of the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton, because it recognises two kinds of protection, neither of which need alarm the sensitive ears of the hon. Members for Manchester and the West Riding—protection of fame that is part from being made the subject of debate, and protection of the private opinions of Members from unauthorised inquisition.


Sir, I now entertain the hope, from the appearance of the House, that there exists a strong desire to bring this discussion to a close tonight; and I am sure that the exhausted state of the debate would well justify us in not prolonging it so as to extend it into another week. But, Sir, I have borne too large a part in these discussions, and I have been too frequently referred to in the course of this debate, not to ask the indulgence of the House whilst I make some brief observations on the state of the question now under our consideration. My hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton (Mr. C. Villiers), in a speech remarkable for its great ability, but which was necessarily confined very much to the questions on which he had to treat—those questions of economical and commercial policy which have been for so many years under the consideration of Parliament—moved certain Resolutions, the first of which went to affirm the benefits which recent legislation had conferred upon this country, and especially upon the industrious classes; the second, that the extension of Free Trade, as opposed to Protection, would be the best mode of enabling the property and the industry of the country to bear the burdens to which it was exposed; and the third, that the House would be ready to take into their consideration any measures which Her Majesty's Ministers might lay on the table on these subjects. Now, Sir, if there had been anything of a party character in the speech of my hon. Friend, the right hon. Gentleman opposite the Chancellor of the Exchequer might have been justified in saying that the object of my hon. Friend's Motion was to displace the Government, and make the matter entirely a party question. But my hon. Friend gave no opportunity for any remark of that sort. His impartiality was rather the subject of comment. He said that the two Governments, past and present, had such a family likeness to each other, that he did not much care whether the Government of the day was formed from Gentlemen on this side of the House, or from Gentlemen on the other side—certainly no very strong party declaration on the part of a person who has been said to have brought forward his Resolutions solely from party motives, and with a view to the displacing of the Government. However, Sir, the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer chose to consider the question in that light, and instead of making any answer to the statements of my hon. Friend, instead of controverting any of his arguments, he entered into statements as to the conduct of the party of which he has been the leader for the last few years, and declared that it would be dishonourable for them to accept the Resolution of my hon. Friend. Now, Sir, as the right hon. Gentleman has chosen to bring that question before the House—although it was not before the House formally—I shall not refrain from making a few observations on his statements. But I think it is due to the question itself that I should state my view of the Resolutions now under consideration.

Before my hon. Friend had proposed these Resolutions, I understood they had been assented to by most of the hon. Gentlemen who have taken the load on the great question of Free Trade. I understand, also, that my hon. Friend, acting as I think it was his duty to do, in order to conciliate all parties, had consulted various Members of this House; amongst others, the hon. Member for the West Riding (Mr. Cobden), and the hon. Member for Manchester (Mr. Bright), who had a right to be consulted; also the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton (Viscount Palmerston), the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Gladstone), and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carlisle (Sir J. Graham). As I understand, without professing to know their individual sentiments, my hon. Friend had the full concurrence of those hon. Members. However, my right hon. Friend the Member for Carlisle made a statement last night, with respect to another form of Resolution, of which evidently the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton had heard, and of which, "for the sake of greater accuracy," he had obtained a copy. The noble Lord, in the speech which he addressed to the House, regretted that Gentlemen on the other side of the House could not agree to the Resolutions before them, and stated various grounds for changes of opinion, and observed that the House had nothing to do with the private opinions of public men, in which remark I cannot say that I concur with him, and the noble Lord concluded by proposing certain Resolutions which appeared to please hon. Gentlemen opposite, to give them immense relief, and which seemed to be a plaster for their wounded honour. Those Resolutions, whilst relieving the minds of hon. Gentlemen opposite, caused a great division amongst hon. Members on this side of the House, who had before been united. Such being the state of the question, I have to consider what course I ought to pursue; and in the first place I must declare that both sets of Resolutions are exceedingly well framed, that both seem to me to go generally to the same object. Each is divided into three parts. Each affirms in the first place the benefits which our commercial legislation, during the last few years has conferred upon the country and upon the working classes—each affirms that it is necessary to maintain and to pursue that policy—and the last Resolution affirms that the House will be ready to take into its consideration the measures that may he brought before it. Therefore, Sir, it would appear to me that the Resolutions which were first proposed by a Member of this House, in whom all those who value free-trade principles could confide, are entitled to precedence, and it would ill become my sense of duty to give a vote which would set aside those Resolutions. That, Sir, is the question which you will have to put at the end of this long discussion, for you will have to ask the House whether the words proposed to be left out shall stand part of the question, or, in other terms, whether those words are to be at once rejected, and not put to the House as the main question for consideration.

Now, Sir, I own I should have been disposed to say that if the Resolutions proposed by the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton, drawn by my right hon. Friend the Member for Carlisle, had been proposed in the first place, and the Resolutions of my hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton had been moved as an Amendment, I should have pursued the same course which I am now taking. I should have voted for the Resolutions of the noble Lord standing part of the question, and against the Resolutions moved as an Amendment. They appear to me to be very nearly the same. I do not mean to say that they are the same in the views of hon. Gentlemen opposite. But as they both coincide and concur with my sentiments, I think it my duty to prefer that which was first proposed to the House. But, it is said, there are words in the Resolution of my hon. Friend which give offence to hon. Gentlemen opposite, and that, being an assembly of Gentlemen, we ought not to ask them to concur in that which is offensive to their feelings and degrading to their honour. I certainly do not wish any Gentleman to agree to that which he thinks contrary to his honour. I am only speaking of my own sentiments and views, and I certainly could not ask hon. Members to concur in Resolutions to which they attribute that effect. But I do not see why I should make my vote depend upon their feelings. But let me ask what is it that gives this great offence, because I own it does appear to me that they are more sensitive than the case naturally calls for. The words objected to are that the repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846 was "wise, just, and beneficial." Well, as I stated last night, hon. Gentleman have no hesitation in declaring that that policy which rendered corn cheap—which provided for the admission of foreign corn, and thereby made the food of the people abundant and cheap, as the noble Lord declares in his Resolution—they have no hesitation in saying that Parliament was "wise" in enacting the law, but they will not say that the Act was a "wise Act." That seems to me to be a very remarkable refinement. Then with respect to the word "beneficial." You have no hesitation in declaring, according to the Resolutions of the noble Lord for which you are all going to vote, that the improved condition of the country, and especially of the working classes, is owing to recent legislation, and also that that policy should be further pursued. When Gentlemen admit that great benefits have flowed from that policy—that the food of the people has been improved thereby, and that great benefits have been conferred on the whole body of the people—I do not see why they should deny that that policy has been beneficial. I do not see why they should say, "Here is a measure which Parliament in its wisdom has enacted, and which has conferred great benefits on the people, but yet we will never say it is either wise or beneficial." The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Colonies has no objection to admit the wisdom of Parliament, or the benefits that have flowed from the measure; but as to saying it is "wise and beneficial," he declares that he will oppose the expression, and that nothing shall make him consent to it. I consider this to be another very fine scruple, and it reminds me of a remark made by Lord Plunkett with reference to one of the scruples of Lord Brougham, when he said it was rather more fit for a novel, to be called The Delicate Distress, than for that House. But now there is one word which is more difficult still for hon. Gentlemen opposite to agree to, and that is the word "just." Well, but I do not see why that word "just" should be such a stumbling-block in the way of hon. Gentlemen opposite. I have always considered the Corn Laws as laws not imposed for the benefit of any particular class, or to be continued on that ground; but as being, in the first place, in harmony with the general policy of the country, which was the protection of native industry—the protection amongst other producers, of the producers of corn. And in the next place, understood the question to be one of public policy, and that it was considered desirable to raise within ourselves, within our own soil, sufficient food for the sustenance of the people. These were the great public reasons for the maintenance of the Corn Laws. But the moment Parliament decided that it was not wise to keep up the system of Protection—that it was not wise to diminish the food of our own people, and make the food dear in order to obtain the advantage of having it all produced within ourselves—from the moment such a declaration was made, these laws ceased to be just, because they could only be considered just when justified on the ground of the public welfare. So soon as Parliament declared that they were not for the public welfare—that none but a certain class, such as the owners of land, could profit by them, and that the great body of the nation were not benefited by them—the laws at once ceased to be just, and were stamped with the mark of injustice. Now, willing as I should be to see a Resolution to which the whole body of the Free Traders in the House will assent, yet I own I cannot say that the objections stated by hon. Gentlemen opposite are so reasonable that I ought to alter my vote, and refuse to vote for the Motion of my hon. Friend on account of the difficulties which have been raised.

There is, however, another reason why it may be said some injustice was attached to the repeal of the Corn Laws, and that is that the repeal was so sudden. It has been said that the sudden repeal acted unjustly, and that a great body of the most deserving class were thereby exposed to great hardships. But if that be so, I do not see that I am at all to blame in that respect, because, as the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer reminded me last night, I had in the year 1841, and in the year 1840, proposed an 8s. duty, in order that the change might be more gradual. And even in 1845 I still proposed a fixed duty with a similar view. But hon. Gentlemen opposite would never listen to such a change as that. And although I repeatedly told, amongst other persons, the present Prime Minister, Lord Derby, that if he would not consent to such change he would find himself at last deprived of all Protection, he still went on obstinately refusing any such change. The change occurred as I had predicted. It swept away the whole of the Corn Laws; and Lord Derby, who treated me as the greatest enemy of the farmers in 1845, and said that 8s. was no Protection at all, endeavoured in 1851—but endeavoured in vain—to get some Member of the House to propose a duty of no more than 5s. I mention these facts because I was placed at that time in very painful circumstances. I was held up in 1841 as the great enemy of the farmers, as wishing to destroy their prospects and their interest, and every effort was made to render me odious in their eyes. I felt this very much. My family had always been connected with the land, and I could not but feel it painful to be held up to odium on this account. Certainly it is some satisfaction to me now to see that the very measure for which they held me up to odium is a boon which they own to be unattainable, and which they would be very glad to secure.

Having said thus much with regard to the past advice which I ventured to give them, I will venture to say a few words with respect to a question which has been raised during the last few days, which is likely to become of very great importance, and upon which, I fear, we have had the signal of a fresh struggle held out by the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer—I mean the question of what he will not call "compensation," but which I believe he calls "relief," to the landed interest. Sir, I am afraid I shall be as little believed by the landed interest and by the farmers when I speak upon this subject as when I said that the Corn Laws would probably be repealed, and that an 8s. duty would be more than the farmers could get. But, Sir, it is certainly my opinion that it would not he wise for the landed interest to ask for any special relief, or any special benefit, whether it be called compensation or relief. In the first place, lot the House observe that the landed interest, the owners and occupiers of laud, and the labourers upon that land, form a great part of the property and population of this country, and that it is by no means a matter of indifference to them when you relieve the inhabitants of the country at large from any species of taxation upon industry or property. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in his calculations, used to reckon the property of the landed interest at about one-third of the whole property of the country. It does not much signify what the proportion is, but taking it at one-third, you will observe that if you have a reduction of 12,000,000l. of taxation, 4,000,000l. of that relief is given to the landed interest. If you have, as no doubt you have had within the last ten years, 7,000,000l. of taxes remitted over the amount imposed, more than 2,000,000l. of the taxes so remitted have gone to the landed interest. And that is a remission of taxation of which no man can complain. That is a just and fair advantage, which they, being a part of the property and population of the country, highly deserve. They enjoy, with the rest of the community, that great benefit. The cost of production is rendered less, their whole industry is made more productive, and not a single manufacturer or merchant will say a word against their receiving that benefit. But if you say you will give a special relief to the landed interest, and if you say that that special relief is to be given by the two Houses of Parliament, which consist in a great measure, if not mainly, of persons who are owners of the land, you at once set up the landed interest as an object of suspicion and of envy—you are making the other classes of the country think that you are not acting fairly by the country at large, but that you show a favour and preference to one particular body. From my birth I have been connected with the great agricultural proprietors, and I trust, for the sake of the landed interest, that the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer will not in his approaching statement ask for some special favour for them, whether he calls it compensation or otherwise; but if you can remit taxes—if you can confer a benefit on the people of this country—make it large and general, but do not make it special and particular.

With respect to these conflicting Resolutions, I will take this opportunity of observing that I do not agree in the view which I understand to have been taken by the hon. Member for the West Riding (Mr. Cobden), that the word "just" shuts out all question of compensation to the landed interest for the losses which they may have sustained. I think it would certainly bar any positive claim—it would bar their saying "we are losers of so much, and are entitled to so much." But it never would prevent a Minister from saying "the landed interest are in a state of difficulty and distress, and I propose to you to give relief to that interest." Long before the Corn Laws were touched, I remember Chancellors of the Exchequer coming down and proposing considerable relief to the agricultural interest without reference to their having suffered losses in consequence of the Corn Laws. Nothing would be easier than to give that turn to any proposal. Although the insertion of the word "just" may seem to shut out the claim of compensation, I do not see that it effectually does so, and I do not see that there is any difference between the two sets of Resolutions on that special ground. An hon. Gentleman has adverted to the advice which we, as Ministers of the Crown, gave to the Sovereign with respect to the insertion of certain words in the Speech from the Throne last year; and it has always been represented that that Speech described the agriculturists as in a state of distress, and that Her Majesty had called the attention of Parliament to the distresses of the agricultural interest. Now, I must ask the House to listen to the terms of that Speech, and it will then see that the meaning has not been exactly represented, and that omissions have been made of very great importance. The following are the words in the Speech which Her Majesty was pleased to deliver at the opening of the Session of Parliament in 1851:— The State of the Commerce and Manufactures of the United Kingdom has been such as to afford general Employment to the Labouring Classes. I have to lament, however, the Difficulties which are still felt by that important Body among My People who are Owners and Occupiers of Land. But it is My confident Hope that the prosperous Condition of other Classes of My Subjects will have a favourable Effect in diminishing those Difficulties, and promoting the Interests of Agriculture. Now, Sir, these words were especially meant to show that the Government did not propose any particular relief for agriculture, but that it was the belief of the Government of the day that agriculture would recover from its difficulties, owing to the prosperous state of the commerce and manufactures of England; and I believe that that expectation has been completely fulfilled. My belief is that the in-creased consumption which has followed from your commercial legislation has been such that, with respect to many articles. of farm produce, a very sufficient, not to say a high price is obtained, and, above all, that the value of the article of land has been lately very considerably enhanced, and is now of very great value in the market. A statement was made the other day by the hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland, which showed that in Scotland the value of land had greatly improved; and only the other day an estate in Northamptonshire was sold for forty years' purchase. My belief is, that the agricultural interest is not to be taken for a distressed interest; and on that ground I shall object to any special relief on the ground pointed out.

Having stated my views with respect to these Resolutions—having stated the course which I took when I was a Minister of the Crown—I will now refer for a few moments to the speech made by the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in answer to the Motion of my hon. Friend (Mr. C. Villiers). The argument of the right hon. Gentleman went to show that he, and the party with whom he acts, had since the year 1846 never attempted the restoration of Protection, but that they had endeavoured to alleviate the burdens, to mitigate the distresses of certain classes whose interests it is alleged have suffered from recent legislation, without disturbing the settlement then come to. Now, Sir, that argument was very ingeniously carried out, and the right hon. Gentleman's quotations were very apposite; but the great defect was that the argument was wanting in truth. By picking out a speech made by one Member, and a statement made by another, by pointing out the conduct which he himself had pursued at various times, he seemed to afford something like a proof that the conduct of his party had been such as he described it to have been. But it is necessary to look to other facts, and some of those facts were stated last night by the hon. Member for Middlesex (Mr. B. Osborne) in a manner not very agreeable, I believe, to hon. Gentlemen opposite. There are abundance of facts all around us. Supposing every volume of Hansard to be burnt, there would remain in our memories sufficient to prove that the Protectionist party have been trying, since 1846, to restore Protection, and destroy the system of commercial policy established by Sir Robert Peel. The Duke of Richmond, a man of the highest integrity, always said, "Turn out the Ministry, get a dissolution of Parliament, and you farmers will have Protection back again." I cannot be so much surprised as my hon. Friend that the noble Duke has not lately appeared in his former prominent position. His position is a very embarrassing one. I have no doubt he made that promise to the farmers in the as- surance that the Earl of Derby would fulfil it; and it must be a great mortification to him to find that he has unintentionally been the means of deceiving a great body of his fellow-countrymen. But beyond what passed at these meetings, the Protectionist speeches made during the elections showed that many hon. Gentlemen opposite were fully persuaded that they could restore Protection. What did the hon. Member for Dorsetshire (Mr. K. Seymer) say? He said that the Protectionists were divided into three classes. The first class is composed of those who think that protection can never be restored; the second of those who imagine that it may be restored in time; and the third of those who would re-establish it at once. With respect to the two latter I have nothing to say; but with regard to the first, those namely who think that protection never can be restored, I must say that it was not very candid of them to tell the farmers of this country that if their friends should be placed in power they would at once see high prices restored. Well, but the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, had made out a technical case for himself, and that case is, I think, not a very pleasant one for the right hon. Gentleman. But granting the case as it has been stated by the right hon. Gentleman—granting that he has a character like that which has been given to a predecessor of his, and one of the ablest and wittiest of his predecessors, Charles Townsend I mean, of whom Mr. Burke said, that he was infinitely above having an opinion—giving the right hon. Gentleman credit for being like his predecessor in that respect, why then you must come to the conclusion that without thinking Protection could be restored, and being rather in favour of Free Trade, he has allowed this great party, the great party of the farmers of the country, to believe that he would restore Protection, when he never believed in or expected anything of the kind. I must say, Sir, I think that some part of the House—those who are called the Members of the Manchester school—may be described as interested parties, in fact they have been called the farmers' enemies, but it appears to me that there are other persons more entitled to that character, and I think the farmers have this owing to them, that they should know the truth, and that they should know the opinion which eminent men in this country equally entertain; and I think that if the right hon. Gentleman has known all this, that it would he impossible to restore Protection, and that benefits to the land must be sought elsewhere, I think it was due to that body to tell them so, for without doubt the farmers of this country are as respectable and worthy as any body of men in the Kingdom. I do not believe that upon these economical matters they have reasoned the matter to the foundations, though they may have gone through Adam Smith, or some of his disciples; and I think that if the right hon. Gentleman and his friends had placed the case fairly before the farmers, and told them that the question had been settled by the House of Commons, the controversy would have been at an end long ago. I remember, with regard to the Roman Catholic question, when the Duke of Wellington and Sir Robert Peel proposed the settlement of that question—I remember meeting a farmer and asking him his opinion. He said—"My opinion would certainly be against the Roman Catholics, but I see all the great men in Parliament are for them, and therefore I give up my opinion to theirs." Why, upon this question of Protection, I believe that if a fair statement had been made to them—not with the view of exciting discontent at recent legislation—but if the truth had been fairly told them, we need not have waited until to-night for the settlement of this question, but at least four years ago that question would have been finally settled by the general assent and concurrence of the nation.

I must own, Sir, that what I must call double dealing has been carried on up to the results of the recent elections. Now, it has been said that the Earl of Derby has acted very fairly, that he put before the country this question, "Are you for Free Trade or are you for Protection? I shall be ready to bring forward protective measures if the decision of the country is in favour of them; but otherwise I shall assent to the Free Trade policy, which has of late been adopted." Sir, I certainly do not wish to say anything harsh of Lord Derby, for independently of other considerations, in judging of Lord Derby one should look to what his previous conduct had been with respect to office. I cannot but recall to mind, in speaking of the conduct of that noble Lord, that when I was his Colleague in the Administration of Earl Grey, he left that Cabinet because he could not concur in the measures that were then proposed. Again, in 1845, he left the Cabinet of Sir Robert Peel, because he would not give his assent to the repeal of the Corn Laws; and last year, when he wished to propose some duties on corn, and found that he could not make a Ministry upon that principle, he abandoned the attempt, and gave up what must have been the highest object of his ambition. Now, then, I say that with regard to the man, one ought not to judge prematurely or upon partial grounds that he has departed from that character and that honour which becomes a great public man in a high station. But I must say that the theory upon which he seems to have gone was a theory utterly impracticable with the working of the Constitution, and with this Parliament; that if he had been the Sovereign of this country, or if he had been an absolute Sovereign in any country, he might have said, "Let the people decide, and let them tell their Representatives their own views with respect to commercial policy;" but in this country, as the head of a party, it was inevitable that those who were joined with him should take part on one side or the other in the elections, and thus we have had a most extraordinary spectacle, and a most extraordinary result, because we had Gentlemen going into the towns and saying, "We are against any tax on bread; we could not bear a return to the Corn Laws, and we support Lord Derby," and other Gentlemen going into the counties and saying that the greatest mischief had been done by the repeal of the Corn Laws, and that they were for Protection, and therefore that they supported Lord Derby, the Administration all the while helping both, and taking care to provide them with the best means of securing their election. They said to Mr. A. in the town, "You must take care that you are for a large loaf, and that you will never hear of Protection;" while at the same time they said to Mr. B. in the county, "You are to take Protection for your motto, and you must declare for a restoration of the Corn Laws." I will not detain the House at this time of night, but instances of that conduct have been given over and over again. They were stated by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Edinburgh (Mr. Macaulay), in the speech which he made at Edinburgh, and he goes through the different places and the different professions that were made at them. Why, Sir, I believe, indeed, there was one case of a Gentleman who stood in a county on Protection principles; and failing in that, he stood for a town on Free Trade principles: this gentleman showed a different side of his face to each constituency. Well, hut what was the result? Why, the result has been that we have seen it stated by a Gentleman who still remains on the side of Protection, that in many places a Protectionist candidate would have succeeded had it not been that the Government supported the Free Trade candidate. That is the statement made by a Protectionist, not by a Member of the Government, but by one associated with them. And then comes the noble Lord at the head of the Government, and he makes, as I understand him, this statement. I certainly do not wish to misrepresent him, though I think he has often misrepresented me, but I should on that account be only the more anxious not to treat him in the same way. But, as I understand him, he says—"This country has decided in favour of its present commercial policy; that being the case I am ready to adopt it, and to support and carry measures in consonance with the Free Trade policy; but I still believe that there is great danger in that policy, and that—but God grant I may be wrong!—great calamities may ensue from its course." Well, that is a new position for a Minister of this country. When Sir Robert Peel dissolved Parliament in 1834 he announced what his principles were in what was called the Tamworth manifesto. He stated the principles by which he meant to abide. The integrity of the Irish Church was one thing by which he meant to abide. He did abide by it; and when he was defeated in this House, by a Motion made by me, he gave up office. Again, when Lord Melbourne proposed his measures in 1841, he said—"I propose certain duties on corn, sugar, and timber." The result of the elections was unfavourable to him; the House of Commons came to a vote against him, and he at once retired. But you have now a provision for a perpetual Ministry. That has been the case hitherto, according to the constitution of this country. Ministers have had certain opinions, certain views, certain principles; and if they found that they were thwarted in those principles, when they thought that they ought to be carried into effect, they no longer remained in office. But as I understand the statement of the present Prime Minister, the case stands thus:—"If the country approve of Protection, I will carry Protection measures; but if the country approve of Free Trade, then I will bring forward Free Trade measures; but if I am right, and Free Trade produces great calamities, then I turn Protectionist again." And thus the same Minister may be a Protectionist, then a Free-trader, and then again a Protectionist. That would be a new thing in the history of this country; and, giving the noble Lord the utmost credit for thinking that this course is consistent with integrity, and that he can reconcile it to his own sense of duty, I must still say that it is an example full of novelty and danger.

But then the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer has adopted this policy. Now, he has shown to the House that while he was connected with the cause of Protection, he did not faithfully serve the cause of Protection. I say, therefore, now that he has espoused the cause of Free Trade, let us take care that he is not as faithless to the cause of Free Trade as he has been to that of Protection. When we observed—which the most of us have done—that in the course of his speeches, when he sat on this side of the House, he never boldly put forth opinions on that question, as the noble Lord the Member for North Leicestershire (the Marquess of Granby) did—that he never, in fact, fought with any earnestness the cause of Protection, it was very satisfactory to us to find that the cause was not urged with more sincerity and with more zeal. It was an advantage to the cause of Free Trade that it was not so urged; but it will be quite a different thing if the cause of Free Trade is in his hands; and it will he a great loss to the cause which we prize if it is not properly represented by the Government, and if the principle is not fairly carried out—if any measures are proposed consistent with Free Trade, or extending Free Trade, but not prudently extending it—according to one of the Resolutions before the House—by which Free Trade measures might become odious and unpopular. Therefore I think it is our duty to watch the cause, and to take care that in his Free Trade policy the right hon. Gentleman does that which is best for the cause. When Sir Robert Peel came down in 1846, and said, "I have changed my opinions, and I will render that homage to the cause to declare that I will no longer be guided by the professions of 1842," every one on this side of Parliament, whether moderate or extreme, at once gave full credit to his de- claration. We believed, and we were justified by the event, that he had embraced completely that system of commercial policy which is now connected for ever with his name, and that we should have his earnest support. The only advice I had to give my friends in the struggle of 1846, and which I gave both to the Members of the House of Commons and of the House of Lords, with whom I was particularly connected, was to give their full support to Sir Robert Peel in that great struggle. I felt quite sure that he would conduct it in the most honest, able, and prudent manner to the end which he had in view. But I have no such confidence in the professions of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I think the comparison made by the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Muntz) was not a very eloquent or refined one, but it may be quite true that there may be great advantage to the country from having new measures from new men. I will be ready to hear those measures proposed which the Government mean to propose, and I should have been sorry if the Motion to-night had interrupted their being brought forward; but I do think we are bound to watch most closely those measures, for the whole course of this debate has shown that there are among us men who are still Protectionists at heart, and who, if there should be any reverse in trade—any evils following over-speculation, or any temporary distress that the state of the currency might produce—would be ready at once to say that all the Free-Trade measures had failed, and begin to agitate again for a return to Protection. We must watch these movements. The battle is not concluded, and it is our duty to take care that this great cause is not injured. I say, therefore, that it is our duty to watch the proceedings of the Government.


Sir, there are some observations in the speech of the noble Lord who has just sat down which induce me to make a few remarks before this debate is brought to a close. The noble Lord's observations are in many respects similar to the Resolution before the House; for in the first place, they divide themselves into three heads; in the second, they are both of a retrospective and prospective character. The points to which the noble Lord particularly refers are—first, retrospectively the conduct of himself and of his friends, and also of his opponents, on the subject of the corn laws; in the second place, prospectively some meditations of his own as to the Budget which the Chancellor of the Exchequer is likely to propose; in the third place—and it is very much for this reason that I rise to speak—some observations on the conduct of Lord Derby, which, if I understand the noble Lord rightly, he considers to be in some respects unconstitutional. Be it remembered, that the only subject of discussion which at present is really before the House is, whether we shall adopt the Resolutions of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton, or whether we shall accede to the Amendment proposed by the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton; and seeing that there is no point of difference between them except a few epithets, I say that the only question in debate is, whether we are prepared to affirm that the measure of 1846 was, strictly speaking, and in all respects, a wise and just measure. There were two remarks made by the noble Lord which countenance me in the view I take of that question, and which strengthen me in saying, that I, for one, can never acquiesce in the words of the Resolution as applicable to that measure. The noble Lord stated, and stated truly, that the opponents of the repeal of the corn laws took three grounds for their opposition: first, that it was impolitic for a great country like this to depend upon foreign nations for a large supply of food; secondly, that the corn laws, as they stood, were in harmony with the general policy of the country on subjects of trade and finance, which was to protect native industry; and, thirdly, that the change proposed to be made was too sudden and precipitate. Now, I came into this House in the year 1846, just when that question was first introduced. I was one of those who voted against Sir Robert Peel on that question; but I think I may say in passing, that I never uttered a word, and I am sure I never entertained a thought, which was in any degree harsh or unkind either to that right hon. Gentleman or to any of his friends. On the contrary, I deprecated then the destruction of the Conservative party, and from that time to this, I, for one, have wished to see it restored. But with regard to the measure itself, I do think, if we must express our opinions upon it, that the three grounds which the noble Lord has mentioned were grounds which justified me—I did not speak in the debate—in giving a silent vote against its adoption. And the last two grounds especially do enti- tle me now to say that I cannot subscribe to the description of that measure, as, strictly speaking, just, and wise; for if the corn laws were in accordance with the general policy of this country at the time when they were changed; and if all advantages were taken away from those who had hitherto enjoyed advantages in the shape of protection, without removing any of the restrictions or impediments which existed to the cultivation of the soil—although I am prepared to admit, and do admit most fully, that that measure has proved beneficial to the great majority of the people of this country by increasing their comforts and improving their condition, yet wisdom and justice, in my opinion, can never be predicated of any measure, unless it be equally beneficial to every class of the community. I do not wish to raise a corn-law discussion, but I wish to state the reasons freely why I cannot agree with the hon. and learned Member for Wolverhampton in the exact proposition which he has submitted to the House. I think, strictly speaking, that the measure of 1846 was not just. I think it was too sudden and precipitate, inasmuch as that particular interest which had been protected up to that period had not sufficient time to prepare itself for the altered circumstances in which it was placed, And will the advocates of free trade in this House allow me to tell them that, in taking this line of argument, I am only taking a line of argument which Adam Smith himself laid down in his great book, The Wealth of Nations, saying, if I recollect aright the passage to which I am referring, that where, by high duties, you have protected any particular industry of the country so as to induce the employment of a great number of people or a great amount of capital and labour in that particular branch of industry (I believe those are his words), "humanity suggests that in restoring free trade you ought to do it by slow gradations, and with much reserve and circumspection." Sir, as I said before I do not wish to raise controversy in this debate; but I wish in giving this vote to guard against its being urged in reproach against me hereafter that I concealed my views on this point. These are the grounds on which I think the measure of 1846 was not strictly just or strictly wise. Now, with reference to the second topic to which the noble Lord has alluded, I cannot forbear to make some remarks. The noble Lord, taking up an expression which fell from the right hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle (Sir James Graham), has assumed in his speech, that we are going to give, what he calls, as he understands it, compensation to the land; and he has made a very strong and powerful argument against that supposed compensation preparatory to the Budget which he imagines is about to be submitted to the House. Now, the noble Lord cannot fad to remember that if there is any one thing since the commencement of the Session for which he has found fault with Her Majesty's Government more than another, it is for inserting, or recommending to be inserted, in the Royal Speech, a hypothetical paragraph. Well, he will permit me to say that he has made an hypothesis with regard to the forthcoming Budget, which, when he hears that Budget, he will see was perfectly unfounded. He has made for us an hypothetical Budget. I am not, of course, at liberty to enter now into the measures which my right hon. Friend will much better explain at the proper time; but I can assure the noble Lord that they will be strictly based upon the Resolutions which we had intended to propose to the Amendment of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton—namely, that we ought to adhere unreservedly to the policy introduced by the Act of 1846—the policy of free trade, as you call it, and of unrestricted competition as we call it—then I will say, as we more properly call it—that we would adhere to that policy fully and fairly, and that the measures which we mean to introduce shall not interfere or be inconsistent with that policy. Now, the other point to which the noble Lord adverted is the point upon which I own that I feel the strongest. I thank the noble Lord, however, for the fair and honourable manner in which he spoke at the commencement of his observations with reference to the noble Earl at the head of the Government. I have during the last nine months seen much of that noble Earl, and I believe that no Minister ever lived who was actuated by purer or higher motives; and I am sure that he would scorn to act in any other way but that which honesty and the precepts of our constitution prescribe for a constitutional Minister. But the noble Lord opposite seems to imagine that the noble Earl has assumed office, and that we have undertaken the responsibilities of Government, under the pretence that we were a party formed upon one set of prin- ciples which we have now renounced, and that, having renounced those principles, we have no longer a right to sit where we are. Sir, allow me to remind the noble Lord that the question of commercial freedom is not the only, or by any means the most important, question which constituted the bond of union between. Gentlemen on this side of the House. I must also remind the noble Lord that we did not come into office by any Motion of our own. In vindication of myself I hope I may say a few plain words, if they are only the plain truth. We came into office, first of all, because the noble Lord had not the confidence of his supporters to that extent that he thought he could carry on with credit to himself the Government of the country; secondly, because the noble Lord himself recommended that Lord Derby should be sent for by the Queen; and, thirdly, because Lord Derby and his followers were, I believe, at that time and now, in point of numbers, the only party which was likely to obtain the confidence of Parliament and of the country. ["Hear!"] If that be not so, bring it to the test. We can only sit here according to the doctrines and principles of the constitution. Unless we enjoy the confidence of the country, as represented in this House, we cannot hold our offices a day longer—we do not desire to hold our offices a day longer. And I must say, and I say it with regret, that I wish the criminations and recriminations which I have heard in the course of this debate, as to Gentlemen on this side of the House only seeking and retaining office for the emoluments which belong to it, and as to Gentlemen on the other side of the House only aiming at office from the same motives—I utterly disbelieve that the great majority of public men in this country are guided by any-such mean or unworthy motives. Sure I am that I can say for you (the Opposition) on your side, that I will not think that you are actuated by such feelings; and I hope I may claim equal credit for my friends at least, if not for myself, when I say the same thing on their behalf—they seek office for a higher reason. I believe it is an object of noble and honourable ambition to desire to have the power to carry into effect those principles which you yourselves believe to be best for the country; and all I would say of the noble Earl at the head of the Government is, that I am perfectly confident that he would not hold office a single moment longer than he thought he could act consistently with that principle. The noble Lord, who appeared to me to be alluding in his own mind to the circumstances adverted to by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wiltshire (Mr. Sidney Herbert), argues that no person who holds opinions which he is not prepared to carry into effect, ought to continue in office when he has the opportunity at least to propose the adoption of them. Sir, I take leave to say that neither the abandonment of opinions on conviction, nor the retention of opinions which are no longer practicable to be carried out, are disqualifications for holding office. If it were so, I know no man in this House, and no set of men can I conceive of, who will be able to hold office for any length of time. I do not say it in the way of reproach; but as for the abandonment of opinions with reference to this very question of the corn laws, we know that many Gentlemen opposite have abandoned their own views—we know that the noble Lord himself once told us he was in favour of a fixed duty of 8s. We also know that the right hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle once said that the corn laws were so important to this country that if they were repealed, he thought this country would be the last country which he should wish to inhabit. [Sir JAMES GRAHAM was understood to dissent.] The right hon. Baronet will forgive me, but I can show him a passage in one of his own speeches, where he says, if the corn laws were repealed, he should concur in thinking with his noble Friend (Lord Ashburton) that this country is the last which he should wish to inhabit. And again, the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton (Viscount Palmerston) declared himself to he in favour of the imposition of a 5s. duty, if practicable; and I, for one, would not object to shelter myself under the shield of that noble Lord, and to say, as far as I understand this question, that I was always sorry that a 5s. duty was not proposed in 1846, just in the same way as we retained an equivalent ad valorem duty on every other article. Then there is my right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Gladstone). He candidly told us on the first night of the Session that when he first entered Parliament the traditions of his party induced him to support the corn laws, and he has candidly admitted that he afterwards became, from sincere conviction, an advocate for their repeal. Therefore, I say that the mere abandonment of opinion on conviction is no disqualification for office. I have no doubt that I shall be expected to say something about changing opinions, and still "retaining" office, though it is not intended to carry those opinions into practical effect. Now, I do not say it sarcastically, but no doubt the noble Lord (Lord John Russell) is now of the same opinion as he was when he proposed the Appropriation Clause; but I should think him very unwise if he attempted to turn us out of office to-morrow, by advocating that abstract proposition. Again, I have no doubt that the right hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle, and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford, retain the opinions which they so manfully and so ably advocated in the discussion of the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill; but would they do wisely to attempt to reopen that question in case they should come into power? Sir, I hold that a greater constitutional doctrine ought to be observed with reference to these questions than has yet been stated in this debate, and it is, that constitutional doctrine which makes me say that I would have equally adhered to the repeal of the corn laws, no matter what I might have thought in the year 1846. The doctrine is, that when a question of great importance has been long and anxiously discussed in the country and in Parliament, and has at length been settled after that discussion upon duo deliberation, it is the duty of every statesmen, of every person who pretends to be a statesman, to adhere to that settlement; since the danger of renewing the agitation of such questions is so great that any advantage you can expect to derive from it, never will compensate for the evils and inconvenience which that agitation, when so renewed, must necessarily bring along with it. Therefore, I say that I am prepared to adhere to the abrogation of the corn laws on the same grounds as the stoutest Protestant would adhere to the Emancipation Act, and on the same grounds as the highest Tory would now adhere to the Reform Bill of 1832. Sir, I have no more to say. I rose principally to vindicate, not as I feel bound, but as I feel pleased to do, the character of my noble Friend at the head of the Government; and I will only add, that it is not merely on principles of Protection by which we were united, but we have, and always have had, a higher policy to carry out, namely, that Conservative policy which has always formed our bond of union; and until this House, until Parliament and the country, refuse us their confidence, so long we shall feel ourselves bound to continue to discharge our duties here as Ministers of the Crown; and in the discharge of these duties we shall endeavour, as I have said, to uphold and maintain those Conservative principles which bind us to each other; for by maintaining them we firmly believe we shall best consult the welfare and happiness of the whole country.


Sir, on this, probably the very last occasion upon which the controversy between Protection and Free Trade may ever be heard in this House, I shall not perhaps be considered presumptuous if I offer a few remarks. The present circumstances of the discussion bring strongly to my memory the last solemn occasion on which this question was treated—I mean during the discussion of the Bill of Sir Robert Peel in 1846—I remember quite well, that the cause of the greatest concern and uneasiness that I then felt, was the course taken by the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton (Viscount Pahnerston) upon that occasion. It is no secret that in that Parliament a very large majority of the House of Commons were in their hearts unfavourable to the total repeal of the Corn Laws. Probably it will not be too much to say that two-thirds of that House were by conviction, if not by interest, opposed to that measure; and I might probably say that not twenty Members of the House of Peers were earnestly in favour of the measure which they passed. Now, that which gave me most concern in this House at that time—so deeply interested as I was in the passing of that measure—was the fear lest there should be found a sufficient number of the leading statesmen of that day on either side or both sides of this House, who would be willing to carry on the business of the country, and maintain a fixed duty on corn; for I am sure that it only required such an organisation of official men to defeat, with the support which a majority of the House would have been ready to tender the proposition of Sir Robert Peel, and to have carried a Motion for a fixed duty. Under those circumstances, I confess that when I heard the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton, at the conclusion of an able speech, declare that he was still, even then, in favour of a fixed duty, that declaration gave me—and the feeling is now vividly in my mind—it gave me more anxiety than any other incident which had occurred during the discussion. Now, Sir, the noble Lord's political course since that time has been the subject of grave controversy in this House. I was one of six Members on this side of the House who refused to vote for the Motion of the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield (Mr. Roebuck) two years ago, in approbation of the noble Lord's foreign policy; and I confess that my opinion of the noble Lord with relation to his foreign policy was very much founded on his course of conduct at home. I had been accustomed to hear Lord Aberdeen stigmatised as the advocate of despotism abroad, and the noble Lord (Viscount Palmerston) held up as the supporter of freedom; but when I remembered that Lord Aberdeen gave his instant adhesion to the total repeal of the Corn Laws, and only regretted that it was not immediate, I confess that I never for a moment fell into the delusion which so largely prevailed amongst liberal politicians as to the despotic tendency of his foreign policy. I mention this because it should not be supposed by the Members of this House, and particularly by the juveniles, who have so often been appealed to, that they should follow the noble Lord (Viscount Palmerston), as a liberal leader on this occasion, and go into the lobby with him in support of the Amendment that he has moved upon the Motion of my hon. Friend (Mr. C. Villiers). For what has been the course pursued by the noble Lord on this occasion? When he arose, with that blandness which characterises him, to suggest—barely to suggest—the alternative of his Amendment, we were led to suppose that the noble Lord, who still sits on our side of the House, desired to offer his proposition as a friendly suggestion to the supporters of the original Motion, and that he was prepared, unless his friends on our side accepted his mediation, and were anxious for his intervention—everybody, I say, in that case supposed that then the noble Lord would have withdrawn his Amendment. But it appears, that although the noble Lord must be well aware that nine-tenths of those on our side of the House, and all those with whom he has been politically connected, with the most trifling individual exceptions, would vote with my hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, yet the noble Lord has pressed his Amendment into the service of the Protectionist Government; and if this division should result unfavourably to the Free Trade cause, the country will understand that the noble Lord is the author of our disaster. Now, I don't complain of the terms of the noble Lord's Amendments per se, as the noble Lord has now offered them to the House—I don't complain of them so much, because they do not go to the full extent of the avowal of Free Trade principles. What I object to in the noble Lord is, that when Free Trade is perfectly safe—for nobody believes that it can be endangered by any direct reversal—you could as soon pull the stars down from the firmament as put one farthing of duty on a quarter of corn—what I object to, I say, is, that the noble Lord by his Amendment has taken the only course that can leave the door open to an indemnity to the owners of land. ["No, no!"] I say, Yes, yes; because the Resolution, as it was framed by my hon. Friend (Mr. C. Villiers), was specially intended, if adopted by the House, to bar—as far as a vote of this House could bar—any claim to compensation. But by refusing to acknowledge that the principle of Free Trade in 1846 was "wise and just"—by expunging the word "property" in the affirmative contained in my hon. Friend's Resolution, that Free Trade has enabled property the better to bear its burdens—the noble Lord has just opened the door for the question of compensation. Now, I do not deny what has been said on the other side, that it is perfectly competent for any hon. Member who chooses to bring forward a proposition to grant compensation to the landed interest, whatever the decision of the House to-night may be: nay, I go further—I admit that if the majority of this House should decide that there shall he no compensation, still if there be a Member of this House who thinks otherwise, it is his bounden duty to advocate his convictions, and, if necessary, submit them in the shape of a Motion. But what we wanted on this occasion—on the first assembling of the new Parliament for this special purpose was this, to affirm by a vote of this House that a majority of the House as now constituted were of opinion that the repeal of the Corn Laws was a just measure; and that there exists no right or title to compensation for that measure on the part of the landed interest. Now the noble Lord has prevented us from taking that issue. And on what grounds has this been advocated? The noble Lord has not said a word in opposition to my hon. Friend's Motion. On the contrary, he said that he approved of it, and would vote for it if necessary. He has not entered the lists in opposition to the arguments of the other side to show my hon. Friend that he is wrong, and that we ought not to go into the same lobby with him. That, I think, is the way in which a really earnest advocate of a cause would proceed; and he would not have brought forward a Resolution hostile to the views of his friends merely to accommodate the views of their opponents. He would rather have stated his own opinions and principles; and being such a master of argument, why had he not tried if he could not bring over hon. Gentlemen opposite to his own views? Now, what he would ask was, their objection to the word "just." I heard the noble Lord's reference to Gentlemen on the other side who are not Free Traders at all. ["Hear, hear!"] If I am to judge by the cheers on the other side, there are a great proportion of Gentlemen opposite who still profess themselves Protectionists. I am not, I believe, misrepresenting them. If that be the case, we do not expect them to vote for either of these Resolutions. You will be just as inconsistent, you will just as much betray your principles, if you vote for the noble Lord's Motion, as if you vote for that of my hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton. Nay, more; if there be a man who is still convinced that Free Trade is injurious to the country, and that Protection is a sound principle, that man betrays himself, his conscience, and his country if he votes in favour of Free Trade. Well, but the noble Lord's Resolution affirms Free Trade to the full extent of that of my hon. Friend.

And now with regard to the question of the justice of this Resolution. The right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary, who has just sat down, says, he cannot affirm that the measure of 1846 was a just measure, because he is not prepared to say that it was a measure which affected favourably the whole community. But that is not the whole case. The question is, whether the law as it existed was a just law towards the great body of the people, or whether it was a law which, whilst it was intended to serve a small fraction of the community, did not inflict enormous and grievous injury on the great mass of the people. And if we can show that the law operated with great injury to the mass of the people, why we have a right, in their behoof, and in their interest, to the abolition of the law. And we have a right to measure the injury it occasioned by the extent of injury which you tell us you are now suffering by its abolition, because the monopoly is the measure of the injury inflicted on the rest of the community. Then, instead of your coming for compensation, why, we should have the best possible claim for restitution. Hon. Gentlemen who talk of this Corn Law at present forget altogether the history of its origin, and the manner in which it worked during the time of its existence in its greatest severity. That law was an exception to all other laws in its origin in 1815; it was passed in this House, as many hon. Members may recollect, when there was such a vehement spirit of protest against it on the part of the great mass of the people of this country that you had to surround the Houses of Parliament with armed troops. How did that law work? Have you forgotten the years 1817, 1818, and 1819? During those three years the average price of corn was 84s. in this country. I will trouble you with but one quotation, and that a short one, relative to the effect of your legislation at that time; it is from a work that treats of that most neglected part of the history of our country, that of the last half century. Mr. Wilkes, in his Half Century, said— In January, 1817, wheat was 52s. a quarter; in May, 76s.; and in the autumn, 103s. Bankruptcies among the tenant-farmers, and disturbances among their labourers, kept pace with this ascent. Incendiary fires nightly blazed; threshing-machines were destroyed; rude demands for a fixed price of bread and meat were more rudely enforced; houses and shops were pillaged; and at length encounters with the military ensued. Thirty-four unhappy men were sentenced to death, which five of them suffered. In September a body of Staffordshire colliers, thrown out of work, set out for London, intending, in their ignorant simplicity, personally to petition the Prince Regent, and present him with a waggon of coals, which they drew along with them. Later in the year the iron-workers of Merthyr assembled, to the number of 10,000 or 12,000, and put out the furnaces that yielded them only partial employment. In the counties of Leicester and Nottingham the Luddite insurrection broke out with greater violence and cunning than before. Not only were factories and houses invaded, but incursions made into adjacent villages by evidently organised parties. As the winter advanced, distress became more general and severe, though large benevolent efforts had been made to arrest its progress. In those unhappy times political disturbances followed, as they always do, in the train of distress and starvation. The period from 1817 to 1820 marks the most disgraceful era of our legislation; restrictive laws were passed to keep down the people whom your injustice urged to insurrection. During that time there were the Spa Fields riots, the Cato Street conspiracy, the outbreaks of the blanketeers, and in conclusion the Manchester massacre in 1819, which led to a reaction of the public mind that has been going on up to this time. I very much doubt whether the great political changes which have taken place in this country, as well as the suffering and disasters they caused, may not be traced in their first spring to the enactment of the Corn Laws in 1815. Those laws put a prohibitive duty on corn until it reached the price of 80s. in this country. What was the state of the country when I entered this House in 1841? You had whole districts in Lancashire and Yorkshire given over to desolation; in Stockport a large proportion of the houses were empty, the workhouses were filled with paupers, the manufactures of the district reduced to the worst state, until the people, driven by a kind of instinct, abandoned their workshops and mills, and stood with folded arms by the roadside in mute despair. I say that these sufferings and miseries are now, by the light of our present experience, clearly traceable to the operation of the Corn Laws as effect follows cause, because in those times of distress, if you look at the prices of wheat in Prussia, Austria, Germany, and America, and compare them with the prices that existed here, where the price was sustained by artificial means, you will find the disparity caused by a prohibitive duty, and which shows if the barriers had been broken down, and the obnoxious law abolished, you would have had those millions of quarters of wheat flowing in for the benefit of the unhappy population of this country, which now come in with such perfect tranquillity and serenity. The effect of this system upon the public health is shown in the Registrar General's Reports. What was its effect on the criminal statistics? Why, you had in 1836, when wheat was as low as 39s. 5d. a quarter, 20,984 commitments in England and Wales; but in 1842, when the price was 64s., there were 31,309 commitments; and in 1850, when the price had gone back to 40s. 3d., the commitments were 26,813; showing, in the first six years, an increase of 50 per cent in times of high prices of corn, and that when the price again fell, although the population had been increasing from 1842 to 1850, yet the number of commitments had di- minished almost by 5,000 in six years. Is not this evidence? Is it not clear as daylight that you have had a system of laws in this country, which has been producing all the calamities that, as Christian men, you are bound to try to avert? Having discovered this, having brought ourselves to the conviction of the injurious tendency of those laws, I say, ought we to mince matters here? Ought we now to be occupied with a midnight discussion whether we shall brand those laws as unjust and unwise?

I have often wondered how little many of us in this House know of what is going on out of doors. Whilst you have been discussing whether this odious epithet of "just" shall be applied to the repeal of the Corn Law, all the communications I am receiving are complaining that we are too quiet, and that we do not assert our principles with sufficient vigour. Now, I think there is some ground for this. I think we have allowed hon. Gentlemen opposite to assume the tone of persons labouring under a grievance—of persons who are trampled upon—and we, the Free Traders, have been accused of striking our opponents when they were down. Now I do not see any symptoms of your being down. I have seen a very good spirit' manifested in this House—I have seen a considerable amount of self-possession and confidence—and I have found not a little intolerance towards those who have been Free Traders, and consistent Free Traders. And I must say I saw with feelings very much akin to disgust the way in which a portion of the House on the other side treated the son of the great and illustrious man to whom the country owed the benefit of the repeal of those laws in 1846. I do not see that you are down, or that you are in very great danger of being trampled on. Now, I complain of hon. Gentlemen opposite, not that they have behaved badly to the Free Traders, but that they have behaved badly towards those who have sent them here. You make a complaint against the Free Traders, and you make it a ground of claiming compensation, that injury has been done to the farming interest. Well, now, I complain of the landlords of this country—I complain that you have been the authors of all the mischief to the land that you say has been worked by the repeal of the Corn Laws. For six years you have kept alive this delusion about protection in the agricultural mind throughout the country. Those six years have been a transition state for the farmers, and we Free Traders all admitted that the change from a pernicious and absurd system to one that should be just and beneficial must be attended with a transition state, in which the farmer would probably have to endure a considerable amount of suffering. There must be a transition of suffering—it is the penalty you pay for having done wrong. Still I think that the burden of this transition ought not to be thrown exclusively on the farmers' shoulders. But what has been the effect of the agitation which has been studiously maintained during the past six years? It has been to make the tenantry sufferers to an extent they never calculated upon. I will not say you have done it designedly, but if you had desired to throw the burden exclusively on the tenantry of the country, you could not have taken a more effectual course for this purpose. By sending down agitators, by sending down such men as the hon. Gentleman the Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate)—to whom I must say I cannot return the compliment he paid me when he told me that I was a successful demagogue—but by sending down such men to figure on the platforms of county halls at agricultural meetings, you have done your little best to keep alive the delusion in the farmers' minds, and I say you have been the very worst enemies of the farmers. The hon. Member for Cambridgeshire (Mr. E. Ball)—the only tenant-farmer we have amongst us—and I should like to give him a little advice, if he will allow me, for keeping bad company does not improve one's virtue, and this metropolis is a dangerous place, especially for tenant-farmers—the hon. Gentleman tells us that during the last six years he has been nearly ruined, and that that has been the fate of tenant-farmers generally. Well, what have the agents of the landlords been about amongst the tenant-farmers during this time? They tell the farmers, "Do not talk about rents, do not talk about clearing away hedge-rows, or diminishing game; do not talk of improving your covenants, all that is nothing to the matter, you must have back Protection; there are Mr. Newdegate and the Central Society, and a hundred district Protection Societies—only trust to them, and you will get back Protection."["Oh, oh!"] Those oh's tell me I am hitting hard—that I am near the marrow. There is the hon. and gallant Member for Lincoln (Col. Sibthorp)—[Col. SIBTHORP: Hear, hear!]—who, I believe, cheers me, and who, I must say, deserves every tribute for his consistency, although, unfortunately, he has been consistently wrong. I read the hon. and gallant Colonel's address to the electors of Lincoln, and the proceedings at the Lincoln election, and I have remarked his conduct both out of doors and in this House, and I must say he has been a uniformly consistent Protectionist. But I believe that has not been the course of hon. Gentlemen around him. What I complain of is, that if they have principles they do not show themselves worthy to maintain them. They come into this House and say, "We are in favour of Protection as a principle," and they persuade the tenant-farmers that they have confidence in their cause, and that it is the cause of justice. And then how do they act here? They say there is a majority against us, and we will bow to it—we will be Free Traders—we will be Free Traders if we can call in the diplomacy of the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton. ["Oh, oh!"] It is necesary you should hear this—I tell you the farmers will read it, and therefore you need not attempt to interrupt me—even these interruptions will redound to your discredit. You say, we are in a minority, and we will bow to the majority. Now, did the Free Traders act so? When I came into Parliament, in 1841, as Member for Stockport, the first thing I encountered here was my predecessor as Member for the West Biding of Yorkshire (Mr. Stuart Wortley), representing the largest constituency in the Kingdom, appearing to move an Amendment to the Address, declaring a want of confidence in Her Majesty's Ministers for having proposed a modified system of Free Trade. And what did the hon. Gentleman say? He said, "I appear here, bearing no inconsiderable part of the answer to that message which Her Majesty has sent to the country." I was sitting by my hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton (Mr. C. Villiers) at the time, and could not help exclaiming, "It is enough to make one's heart sink into one's shoes to hear such things—to find the West Riding of Yorkshire sending up a Member to advocate Protection." But what did we do? Did we bow to the majority of ninety-one which turned out the Government? No; we set to work with redoubled energy, and in a few years, by means of that energy, we gained the support of the West Riding, and made our way to the convictions and hearts of those great statesmen who proposed and carried the repeal of the Corn Laws. I say to hon. Gentlemen opposite, if you believe that your cause is just, then you are hound to pursue it consistently; but if you do not believe in its justice, then cease to hold it out as just to the country. I say you want the confidence and courage of your countrymen if you have a just cause, and refuse to act in your belief of its justice, if you bow to an adverse majority and abandon your principles. If you retain your convictions, you cannot vote for the Motion of my hon. Friend—and you cannot in fairness or decency vote for the Amendment of the noble Lord (Viscount Palmerston). If you retain your convictions, act upon them with boldness, with frankness, and with honesty, and if your cause be just you will regain the ground you have lost, and make your principles triumph.

The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer has been much, and I think deservedly, censured for the course he has taken upon this question. I think it impossible for any one to speak in language too strong of the insult—I cannot call it by any other word—which has been offered to our reason, our common sense, our moral feeling, by the language held by that right hon. Gentleman within the last forty-eight hours. He has attempted to make it appear that he has not been leading or encouraging a party which has been keeping up this most mischievous delusion out of doors—he has been trying to make us believe that he discouraged rather than encouraged it. Why, I have my pocket full of extracts, not one of which I will read, because to do so would be a great insult to our memory, although they would show what degree of credit is to be attached to the right hon. Gentleman's account of these proceedings. The right hon. Gentleman has told the noble Member for North Leicestershire (the Marquess of Granby) that he has measures of relief to the agricultural interest to propose; and as if to show to what a climax of assertion and counter-assertion we have come, the right hon. Home Secretary has got up and assured the House that we must not expect any such measures. I call on hon. Members to recollect that the question really at issue to-night is the question of compensation. The right hon. Gentleman has told us too clearly his intention of compensating the landlords, to leave any doubt that he really entertains that purpose, and our division to-night will be between those who vote for Free Trade, barring all claim to compensation, and those who vote for Free Trade, leaving compensation an open question. How the friends of the late Sir Robert Peel can go into the lobby with the Protectionist party and vote against the proposition that their own measure of 1846 was a just, and a wise, and a beneficial measure, passes my comprehension. I should have thought that of all things, that which would have been most gratifying to right hon. Gentlemen would have been to see a record on our Votes giving the sanction of this House in these very terms to the great act of legislation to which they were parties. I can only say for myself, that believing that measure was wise and just—believing, from the simple facts that I have given you, that it was a measure really calculated to put an end to sedition, conspiracy, rebellion, and every calamity that can befall a population—I shall vote for the Motion of my hon. Friend (Mr. C. Villiera), and in doing so I beg most emphatically to state that this question is not settled. It cannot be settled until we have the other problem solved—I mean whether those who have been deprived of the right of making free with our bread baskets should afterwards be compensated by being allowed to put their fingers into our pockets.


said, that it was not his intention, at that late hour, long to delay the House from the division for which hon. Members were impatient; but he, for one, felt that the tone and temper of the speech they had just heard, made it impossible to go to a division without at least some attempt at a reply. He did not recognise—humble a Member as he was, and perhaps it was fitting that an humble Member of that House should tell him so—that tone of superiority which the hon. Member for the West Riding of Yorkshire had thought proper to assume. He could not acknowledge anything in the position, in the political conduct, in the station, nor in the intellect—he boldly repeated it, in the intellect of the hon. Member which authorised him to assume that superiority over him. The hon. Member had assumed the tone and manner of a dictator to the House. He (Mr. Butt) did not need the explanation afforded by that tone and manner to understand the real object of the Resolution before the House. It was to affirm free trade that the original words were insisted on—it was not for the purpose of pledging the House to maintain it —this would be done by the Amendment of the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton—but it was for the purpose of recording a personal triumph of the Member for the West Riding, and humiliating every party and every section in that House at the feet of himself and those associates who called themselves the Manchester School. This, he repeated, was the real object of the original Resolution. It had, indeed, been openly avowed. The intention of moving that Resolution had been first announced to the country at a public dinner at Manchester; and what then was stated as its object? The hon. Member for the West Riding there declared that when Parliament met, they would compel Ministers to recant, and not merely to recant, but to recant with humiliation. "If they continue Ministers," he said, "they must cease to sneer at the Manchester School—they must sit at the feet of the Manchester School to learn their lesson." These were the terms proposed—to sit at the feet of the Manchester School. To compel them to do go was the object of the Resolution. The hon. Member had appealed to the friends of Sir Robert Peel. He (Mr. Butt) would venture on a similar appeal. He asked of the House, would they accept this as the condition of British statesmanship? He asked of the associates of Grey—of those who remembered Canning—of those who had sat at the feet of Peel—were these to be the future terms of British statesmanship? For what other purpose were the words that were objected to insisted on? From whom did they come? They had very candidly stated to them the history of the arrangement—he would not say correction—of the Resolution, in the interesting revelation made last night by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle. The revelation was drawn up by that right hon. Baronet. If there was a man in that House more interested than another in upholding and defending the policy of 1846, that man was the right hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle. He proposed the Resolution without these words, which now they were told were necessary to vindicate that policy. By him the Resolution was transmitted to the immediate friends of the late Sir Robert Peel. They did not think it necessary to suggest the declaration which now, indeed, they were told was necessary as an act of justice to the memory of that statesman. It was only when the Resolution was under the revision of the hon. Member for the West Riding and his associates—those who had avowed their object in passing it to be the humiliation of Her Majesty's Ministers—it was then, and then only, that these words were inserted. Was not he (Mr. Butt) justified in saying that this object was not to uphold the policy of free trade—not to do justice to the memory of Sir Robert Peel—but to carry out the proud boast of Manchester, and humiliate all parties at their feet? "But," said the hon. Member for the West Riding, "these words are necessary to close the question of compensation to the agricultural interest." No one asked for compensation in the ordinary sense of the word. ["Oh, oh!"] They might quibble about words; but that which they did ask was this: That if it could be shown that agriculture, in consideration of protection, had been made subject to peculiar burdens, that with the ceasing of the protection the peculiar burdens should also cease; and now they were asked to prejudge this question, to decide it by an abstract Resolution, without knowing what was to be proposed, without hearing the reasons by which it was to be supported, and they were asked to do this upon the very evening on which, if their proceedings had not been thus factiously interrupted, they would be at this very instant considering this question not on any abstract Resolution, but in the form of direct and tangible proposals. He (Mr. Butt) refused to bind himself until he heard the proposals that were to be made; neither could he forget the language that had been held out of doors by those who now asked of Parliament to pledge themselves against considering the claims of the agricultural interest. The hon. Member for the West Riding had warned them that he and his associates had hitherto been moderate in their agitation, but that if any party dared to attempt any new adjustment of the public burdens, their next agitation might he one against the privileges of the aristocracy. He would not be deterred by that threat. Might he be permitted to remind the House that the hon. Member for Manchester had complained that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had described that party as a Jacobin club, and had asked the right hon. Gentleman for a definition of a Jacobin club. He (Mr. Butt) thought he could supply him with one. A Jacobin club was an association that passed their resolutions outside the walls of Parliament, and then attempted to force them on Parliament by an appeal, not to their reason, but to their fears; a Jacobin club was a body of men that presumed to tell the Legislature that unless their dictation was submitted to there should be a war upon the institutions of the State. He would not be deterred by such threats from considering the just claims of any class for relief. He refused to pledge himself by any abstract Resolution against the consideration of such claims. If he did so, he would, in his judgment, betray his duty as an independent Member of that House; he would betray especially his duty to that country with which he was more immediately connected. They had the authority of Sir Robert Peel that Ireland was entitled to some relief for the injury she had suffered from the repeal of the corn laws. He would not by an abstract Resolution forego that claim. He would not fling away the promise of Her Majesty's gracious Speech that a liberal and generous policy should be adopted for Ireland. If he closed the door against the question of compensation, as it was termed, he would do both. He must still trespass for a few minutes on the patience of the House. He, like his noble Friend the Member for Leicestershire, was placed in the difficulty of not being able to support either of the propositions before the House. He could not vote for the Resolution of the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton, because he did not believe in the statements it contained. He would not at this stage of the debate attempt to argue the question; but he could not vote for a Resolution which asserted that the policy of free trade had benefited the country. But while he was prepared to record his vote against the Amendment, he could vote with a clear and safe conscience that the words for which it was substituted should be left out. He believed that these words were intended to humiliate the Ministry—to give a triumph to a particular party; and, furthermore, to close up by an abstract Resolution practical questions, which it was their duty to consider calmly and dispassionately. He must add, that while he retained his opinions upon the great question of protection and free trade as a sincere Protectionist, unshaken in his conviction, he yet could not refuse to give to Her Majesty's Ministers a general although an independent support. That support he was ready cordially and sincerely to accede to them. If he wanted anything to confirm him in such a course, let him say that he could find it in the proceedings of that debate, in the belief that they were the barriers against the presence in Her Majesty's councils of those who adopted the opinions and the tone of the hon. Member for the West Riding.


Sir, I had no intention of taking any part in this debate after the admirable speech of my right hon. Friend the Member for South Wiltshire (Mr. S. Herbert); after the observations which I thought were justly made by the noble Lord the Member for the City of London (Lord John Russell) on the speech of the right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer; and, lastly, let me add with greater satisfaction still, after the soothing effect and the fair and moderate tone of the speech of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department. I am content entirely to pass by that portion of the discussion which has related to the antecedent conduct of the Gentlemen who now hold the reins of power; but I heard from the lips of the hon. Gentleman the Member for the West Riding (Mr. Cobden) an appeal to the Friends of the late Sir Robert Peel, and an expression of astonishment on his part at the course which they intended to pursue, and of his incapacity to understand how it was possible that they could consent, upon a question of Free Trade, to be found voting in the same lobby with the party of Protectionists. That appeal it was quite impossible that I should consent on this occasion to hear in silence. The reasons why upon this occasion the Friends of the late Sir Robert Peel will be found voting in favour of the Amendment of my noble Friend the Member for Tiverton (Viscount Palmerston), which is likewise supported by Her Majesty's Government and their followers, is because they believe that vote to be dictated by a regard to the principles of justice. I am quite certain that the hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton (Mr. C. Villiers), when he proceeded to frame this Motion, did not intend in any manner to embitter party warfare, or to introduce into the usages of our conflicts what might hereafter be a precedent for greater severity and greater exasperation than those by which they have been commonly attended. It would appear from the explanation we have heard to-night that the object of the words to which objection is, I think not unjustly, taken, is simply to preclude the consideration of the question of what has been called compensation.

Now, I really must deny—I must meet broadly, with the expression of an entirely opposite opinion, the declaration of the hon. Member for the West Riding—that the point on which we are to divide in opposite lobbies to-night is, according as we are convinced, on the one hand, that the subject of compensation for the repeal of the Corn Laws may be admitted, or, on the other hand, are convinced that no such subject should be entertained. I say that, from no rational construction of these words, is it possible to deduce such a conclusion. You rely apon the fact that you find there the statement that the repeal of the Corn Laws was just. Why, surely it is perfectly possible that that or any other great measure might be just, and might be imperatively required by the principles of justice, and yet from its operation there might collaterally arise claims for relief and compensation such as it would be impossible to resist. It may be just to abolish a sinecure, but it may likewise be just to afford compensation to the holder. It was just to emancipate the negro slaves in the West Indies, but Parliament likewise deemed it just to give compensation to those who had been their masters. Do not understand that I am now expressing an opinion that these doctrines are applicable to this case. I am simply arguing that the words on which you rely are totally unequal to bear the sense that the hon. Gentleman the Member for the West Riding has sought to put upon them. I speak with unfeigned deference with regard to any opinion of that hon. Gentleman on the question of Free Trade. I do not forget or undervalue the services which he has rendered to that cause. Agree you may in his general politics, or you may not; complain you may, if you think you have cause, of the mode and the force with which, in the freedom of debate, he commonly states his opinions in this House; but it is impossible for us to deny that those benefits of which we are now acknowledging the existence are in no small part at any rate due to labours in which he has borne so prominent a share.

Therefore, Sir, it is from no wish or idea to depreciate the praise which he has so fairly earned, that I venture most decidedly to differ from the course which he recommended on that occasion. The distinction which may be fairly taken, as it appears to me is this, the right hon. Secretary of State for the Home Department has told us that he does not think it was wise in 1846, or that it was just— taking the words with reference to the then position of public affairs—for the House to sanction the repeal of the Corn Laws; but if I understood the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Home Department aright, he thinks that the repeal, if it be just and wise, should be maintained. Then what is the difference between us? It is this, that we are united—I don't speak of those who, like the hon. and learned Gentleman who last addressed the House, will support by their votes the policy which he has so candidly approved—but that all of us, I say, who are combined in voting for the Resolution of my noble Friend the Member for Tiverton are agreed in the opinion that we must now not submit as a matter of necessity, and as a choice of evils, to support the policy of Free Trade, but that we will adopt that policy as a system—that we are now resolved to adopt it, not from a mere sense of submission to an iron yoke, but because we believe its maintenance to be both "wise, just, and beneficial." Then, Sir, if this be so, the difference between us is, that those who support the Motion of my hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton insist that now, in the end of the year 1852, we shall travel back to 1846, and that we shall revive and renew the circumstances that then existed—that we, who now agree, shall, although we now agree, go back and oppose those with whom we once differed, and this for the purpose of preventing a united and overpowering expression of opinion in defence of the system of Free Trade. Such, Sir, I say is the public policy of the case; and I venture to put it with great confidence to the hon. Gentleman that in his Resolution he has taken steps and adopted a form of language which, so far as my knowledge goes, is entirely without Parliamentary precedent. It is a matter of the highest importance, as it appears to me, that we should not be responsible for giving in our own persons, our own conduct, and our own words, any example that can hereafter be quoted as a precedent and as a warrant for conduct that has usually been observed in political warfare in this country. I don't mean to say that there is no precedent for passing a Resolution similar in spirit to this; but I do intend to put it to this House, that there is no case in which this House has adopted such a Resolution as that of the hon. Member for Wolverhampton. I will advert, if the House will permit me, to an instance in point. It is not one that has been mentioned in the course of this debate, but it bears much more closely on the subject as an example of the view which the House of Commons has taken, of matters of this kind, than some that have been adverted to. It refers to what is popularly known as the Appropriation Clause. I refer to it without the slightest intention or desire to revive one thought of bitterness that may be connected with it. The noble Lord the Member for the City of London, who in the course of his long and distinguished career has often been the champion of causes in their infancy and weakness which he has soon brought to manhood and to victory, can well afford to have an allusion made to one of the rare cases in which his efforts have been baffled, and that by a majority of Members in this House. But he will well remember that after he had ejected Sir Robert Peel from office, in 1835, after he had constructed his Government, mainly with reference to that broad difference of parties which was developed by what is called the Appropriation Clause, he fought the battle manfully for several years, and endeavoured to induce Parliament to adopt the views which he had embodied in an abstract Resolution. In 1838 the noble Lord was obliged to give way. He stated that no Tithe Bill could conduce to the welfare of Ireland in which there was not some provision made for the religious education of the people. My hon. Friend the Member for Devonshire made a Motion in a spirit approximating to this. The hon. Baronet met the noble Lord by proposing that before the House proceeded to contradict by its acts its solemn declaration, it should rescind the Resolution it had passed. But the noble Lord the Member for the City of London said, "You have gained your purpose, the legislation is to be in your sense, but do not ask this House to disturb the Act of 1835." The noble Lord, who was then Secretary for Ireland, than whom a man of purer honour does not exist, rallied his friends round the Government, saying, "You are not content with having reversed our course, but you now ask us to adopt your own words." That appeal was successful, and the Resolution of the hon. Baronet was rejected. But I am not sorry the Government was successful, and that we failed in consequence. I trust now, Sir, notwithstanding an extraordinary prolongation of the contest which we are now closing, that a similar spirit of moderation and forbearance still predominates in this House. And I will take leave to tell the hon. Gentleman the Member for the West Riding that there is no force in his appeal to me, when he quotes the name of Sir Robert Peel, not because that name is not venerated and appreciated in my eyes, but because I am convinced, that in giving the vote we are about to give in favour of the Resolution of my noble Friend the Member for Tiverton, we are taking the course which would have been the course of Sir Robert Peel himself.

Sir, it is our honour and our pride to be his followers; and, I say, if we are his followers, let us imitate him in that magnanimity which was one of the most distinguishing characteristics of the man. When Sir Robert Peel severed a political connexion of thirty-five years' standing, he knew and felt the price he was paying for the performance of his duty. It was no small matter, Sir, in an advanced stage of life like his, to break up, and to break up for ever, too, its habits and its associations. He looked, indeed, for his revenge; but for what revenge did he look? He did not seek for a vindication through the medium of any stinging speeches or Motions made or carried in favour of his policy, if they bore a sense of pain or degradation to the minds of honourable men. His vindication was this: He knew the wisdom of his measures would secure their acceptance; he knew those who opposed them from erroneous opinions would acknowledge them after competent experience; he looked to see them established in the esteem and in the judgment of the country; he looked to see them govern by sure degrees the policy of every nation in the civilised world; he knew he would have his reward, first of all, in the enormous good that he was the instrument, in the hands of Providence, of effecting; and, secondly, in the reputation which he knew would be his own appropriate desert. And as to that aristocracy whose purposes he might feel he was then somewhat violently thwarting, I am convinced that, with a prophetic eye, he anticipated the day when every man who reviled him—if they were men, as he believed them to be, of honest judgment and intention, though perhaps using towards him opprobrious language, never so ill-deserved—that they were men who would in the course of time see that he never rendered them so great and solid a service as when, with the whole power of the Government, he proposed to Parliament the repeal of the Corn Laws. His belief was that their cause was a great and sacred cause; that the aristocracy of England were elements in its political and social system with which the welfare of the country was inseparably bound up; and to him it was a noble object of ambition to redeem such a cause from associations with a policy originally adopted in a state of imperfect knowledge and with erroneous view, but which, when the clear light of the day was poured upon it, should be found, in the daily experience, and in the light and view of the thinking portion of the community, to bear the character of much that was sordid and much that was false. He anticipated, Sir, I am convinced, those bloodless and those painless rewards which it would have been honourable and delightful to him, had it pleased God to spare his own life, which will be delightful and honourable to the hon. Member for Bury (Mr. P. Peel), and all who are entitled to claim kindred with that great man, and which are delightful to us who have had the privilege of combating by his side, and who are now, as fondly as ever attached to his memory. This is the vindication to which he looked, and seeing we are now celebrating the obsequies of this obnoxious policy, and are now seeking to adopt a declaration admitted on all hands to be perfectly clear in its assertion of the principle of Free Trade, if we still cherish the desire to trample on those who have fought manfully, and been defeated fairly, let us endeavour to put it away from ourselves, to rejoice in the great public good that has been achieved, and let us take courage, from the attainment of that good, for the performance of public duty in future.


said, he claimed the indulgence of the House for a few moments while he alluded to a matter somewhat personal. He assured the House that he thoroughly reciprocated the spirit of the eloquent speech which had just proceeded from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford, and that he rose in that spirit to address them. When the hon. Member for the West Riding (Mr. Cobden) said yesterday that if any measures of relief to the agricultural interest were attempted to be introduced into that House, he would excite another agitation out of doors as virulent as the one which he had carried on with respect to the repeal of the Corn Laws, he (Mr. Newdegate) remarked that the hon. Member was a successful demagogue, with a good will to become an autocrat. That expression seemed to have irritated the hon. Member. It was made by himself under feelings of excitement, and he thought that it might be considered scarcely Parliamentary. He begged, therefore, to retract the expression as unparliamentary. But he put it to the House, whether the language of that hon. Member, not only in that House but out of it, with respect to those who were opposed to him in political opinions, but whose convictions were as honest as his own, were not calculated to raise feelings of honest indignation in the breast of every honest man to whom they were applied? The hon. Gentleman had charged those on that side of the House as being guilty of deluding the farmers; but he (Mr. Newdegate had always honestly striven in the cause which he believed to be the cause of justice, and he would not sit down quietly under the charge of deception, for he could prove by documents, if it were necessary, that no sooner did he think the prospect of reverting to the former system of commercial policy doubtful of attainment, than he warned the protection societies of the fact. One great good which would be obtained by the settlement of this question would be, that it would deprive the hon. Member for the West Riding of a theme which he incessantly used to set class against class. He (Mr. Newdegate) should vote against both Resolutions, because they deliberately reflected upon conduct of which he himself was not ashamed. He had deluded and betrayed no man: he had never betrayed the late Sir Robert Peel; for when that right hon. Baronet signed the requisition to himself as a candidate for the representation of North Warwickshire, in 1843, he told that right hon. Baronet that if he introduced measures to restrict the currency, and to repeal the corn laws, he would place him in opposition to his Government. There was no man in the United Kingdom who had so little reason to be surprised at his conduct, in 1846, as had the late Sir Robert Peel, He must express his thanks to the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton for the course which he had taken; and he assured the noble Lord, that, could he (Mr. Newdegate) have voted for any Free Trade Motion, he would have voted for his. As a Gentleman, the noble Lord had been desirous of conciliating the feelings of Gentlemen; he had acted in that manly, straightforward spirit which had always characterised his conduct in that House. When the Amendment of the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton was put, he (Mr. Newdegate), for the reasons he had already given, should leave the House without voting upon it; but nothing should prevent his voting against the Resolution of the hon. Member for Wolverhampton.


said, that in rising to reply, he should detain the House for only a few moments in the exercise of the privilege which attached to him as the mover of the Resolution then before the House; but some. remarks had been made in the course of the debate with respect to the Motion he had brought forward, which, for the sake of his own character, required he should say something. He believed and hoped that it was the last time that he should ever have to make a Motion on the same subject—certainly he thought he should not appear again in the same position, which was that of representing different sections in the House who did not exactly agree together. He was indeed afraid he had not been well selected for the purpose. He had been chosen for a reason which had been stated in the course of the debate, and by which he felt himself much flattered. He should never have thought of saying so much for himself, but it had been said that he had been a consistent advocate of the great policy of Free Trade for a long time, and that in advocating that measure his purpose had always been single. It had been said of him, indeed, that he was one among the few whose conduct had not been tainted with any sinister purpose in the matter. Now, if he deserved that character still, he feared that it had rather disqualified him from being the mover upon this occasion, for he had kept the purpose of the Motion simply in view, while it seemed that other objects should have been considered. He could not say that he had come forward against his will; on the contrary, he had done so readily and consistently with the course which he had received the credit of having hitherto pursued on the question; but he had done so at the request of others, whose purpose and feelings he believed were identical with his own, being a majority of that House; and, under these circumstances, he had proposed a Resolution which certainly embodied his own feelings, which he believed embodied the opinions of a majority of that House, and, what was of more importance, of a majority of the people of this country; and though he told the House last night that he had not the credit of being the author of the Resolution, he certainly had a great deal to do with it, and he was prepared to take the whole responsibility of it, for he was not at all ashamed of it. It was not determined upon without a great deal of consideration, and many persons were consulted about it. An hon. Friend of his behind him reminded him of the proverb that "too many cooks spoil the broth." That was sometimes the case, and was, perhaps, so in this instance. But he wished to tell the House the truth upon this subject, though very strong observations had been made upon the terms of this Resolution by some hon. Gentlemen who were more practised as politicians than himself. He had been charged by them with bringing forward a Motion without Parliamentary precedent, which was ungenerous in its character, and which seemed to have the object of wounding the feelings of hon. Gentlemen opposite; charges which, whether owing to his simplicity and folly he knew not, but which he regarded as serious imputations cast upon himself. Now, the Resolution was agreed to before the Amendment was proposed; and if a Resolution was so objectionable in its character and object, it must have been equally so when it was first proposed, and could not be affected by any Amendment subsequently moved; and yet the House must learn that, whether he referred to the noble Lord who moved the Amendment, or to the right hon. Gentleman who represented the University of Oxford, who had so eloquently addressed the House, or to other Gentlemen on this side who had spoken against his Resolution, and were going to vote against it, they had all approved of the terms of the Resolution, and most of them had been consulted before it was proposed, and some of them thought they were quite unexceptionable. [Mr. GLADSTONE expressed dissent.] The right hon. Gentleman expresses his dissent. The right hon. Member did not say that there was no Amendment that he would not have preferred, or that he would not have been satisfied with, instead of the Resolution; but he saw this Resolution, and he saw nothing in it itself that he considered unworthy of his support; and he intended to support it, if the Amendment had not been moved. That was, therefore, quite consistent with the idea that his (Mr. Villiers') Motion was unexceptionable. Well, then, with regard to the noble Member for Tiverton—one of the most experienced Members of that House—if there had been anything ungentlemanlike or unparliamentary in the Resolution, would surely have taken exception to it; but the ungenteel words were submitted to the noble Lord, who did not object to them. He (Mr. C. Villiers) understood that the terms which were offensive to hon. Gentlemen opposite were the words "wise and just." Well, the noble Lord, who was kind enough to give him his advice upon the matter, let those words pass—saw no objection to them whatever. The noble Lord, indeed, so far as he (Mr. C. Villiers) remembered, pointed out something else that he considered objectionable in the Resolution as it was originally drawn, and, feeling the weight of the noble Lord's opinion, from his wisdom and experience—though it was rather troublesome to do so—made the alteration that met the views of the noble Lord. He did not mean to say that the noble Lord's Amendment might not be more expedient or better worded than his own, though, in fact, he could not distinguish very much the difference between them. It had been said that night, indeed, that the noble Lord's Resolution was stronger than his own, and other persons who spoke against the words of this Resolution had seen and approved of them before they were proposed; he asked, then, of the House with what justice the charges were brought against him, that he had proposed what was without precedent and full of danger, expressly to insult hon. Gentlemen opposite? He had done nothing, in fact, but in conformity with the request made to him, prepared a Resolution which, as nearly as possible, represented the opinion of the country—an opinion which was admitted to exist even by the Government themselves. "There is an overwhelming majority," said the First Minister of the Crown in another place, whose statement was reechoed by his Colleagues in that House, "in favour of Free Trade;" that there was no chance of getting a majority in that House against a Free-Trade policy; and it was admitted by the hon. Member for West Surrey (Mr. Drummond)—and, indeed, on all sides—that there was a necessity for some such Motion as he had proposed, which might reflect the opinion of the country. He (Mr. C. Villiers) had farther only proposed to declare what was admitted in the Queen's Speech, that the condition of the country, and particularly of the industrious classes, was improved, and that that improvement was the result of recent commercial legislation, and particularly of the Act of 1846, which established the free admission of foreign corn, and which, therefore, as he said, was a wise, just, and beneficial measure. That was all he had proposed, and it was for that these heavy charges had been brought against him. But what was really the distinction between his Resolution and the Amendment before the House? for that was what they were going to vote upon. The Amendment states that it is the opinion of the House that the improved condition of the country, and particularly of the industrious classes —"is mainly the result of recent legislation, which has established the principle of unrestricted competition, has abolished taxes imposed for the purpose of protection, and has thereby diminished the price and increased the abundance of the principal articles of the food of the people. Now, the great difference between the two sides of the House, taking, for instance, the opinion of the hon. Member for Cambridgeshire (Mr. E. Ball), was, that Free Trade had produced no such effects. If there were a bonâ fide Amendment to that effect, he should think it perfectly fair, and could understand it. But let the country fully understand what it was that the House was now going to divide upon. It was not a question between Protection and Free Trade; whether the condition of the people had been improved by the recent change in the policy of the country or not; but whether that which was acknowledged by all to have improved the condition of the people was a wise, just, and beneficial measure. That was the point upon which every hon. Member who voted against the Resolution would express his opinion. Every one who would vote in favour of the Resolution would state by his vote that the Act which had improved the condition of the people was a wise, just, and beneficial measure; while all who voted against it would declare that they admitted the fact that the condition of the people had been improved, but that the measure which improved their condition was not a wise, just, and beneficial measure. And that brought one to the consideration of why there was to be this difference between people who agreed upon the essential point in question? Why, it had been pretty well surmised already; but if it was intended to be kept secret, better care should have been taken to have kept down the hon. Member for Youghal, as well as other Members who had informed them what was the inconvenience of calling the Act of 1846 wise? Why did the hon. Gentlemen opposite allow the hon. and learned Member for Youghal (Mr. Butt) and some other Members, to speak, for they had disclosed the secret? they had shown what stood in the way of declaring the Act of 1846 to be just and beneficial. Why, there was something behind the curtain. They had heard something of projects of compensation; but if the Act that set free the trade in food, and enabled the people to be happy and contented, and had been attended with no evil, was a wise and just Act, where was the title in anybody to be compensated for it? The fact was that a substitute for Protection was intended and expected. "Trust us," hon. Gentlemen opposite said to their constituents, "we have done you some good before at the expense of the community, and we will do so again. We can't continue the old story of Protection, but rely upon us; we never deceived you; trust us, and we will find you a substitute for Protection." Hon. Gentlemen opposite had all gone round to their constituents, and had said what they were obliged to say—"We can't restore Protection, but believe us to be your friends, and we will give you something as good;" and the only reason for which it was sought to exclude the words, "just and beneficial" from the Resolution was, because they might preclude some substitute for Protection which would be exclusively for the advantage of the landed interest. The hon. Member for West Surrey, for whom he entertained the sincerest respect, had admitted very candidly that such a Resolution as he (Mr. C. Villiers) had proposed was required, and that the terms employed in the Resolution were precisely those that the occasion required. He had, moreover, generously, in the midst of all this most unworthy imputation of motive, referred to those very terms that were employed this evening, as those which the earnest advocates of free trade contended for as the result of the repeal of the corn laws ten years ago, and when the present adherents of free trade were its most vehement opponents. That hon. Gentleman could not vote for his Resolution, because he had some constituents who had suffered in the cause of what had been for the general good, and they would hardly be reconciled to his voting for that measure as 'just' by which they had lost. If other hon. Gentlemen had spoken as candidly, there might have been some reason for striking out any words in the Resolution that might have been misunderstood. He had used the word 'just' for the simple purpose for which he had stated; and would not that hon. Gentleman admit, that if he might be misunderstood if he voted for the Resolution, that he (Mr. Villiers) might be misrepresented also if he withdrew the word 'just' then, which he had been in the habit for ten years past of applying to the same measure? If he withdrew the words, would not the natural inference be that he agreed in the assertion which had been made by two Ministers of the Crown, that the measure of 1846 was "unjust?" If he consented to withdraw, them, would it not imply that they had committed an error, when one hon. Member after another on the opposite side avowed that they did not consider the measure just, that Protection should be retained, and that it was no advantage to have the repeal of the Corn Laws? The right hon. Baronet the Member for Droitwich (Sir J. Pakington), and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Midhurst (Mr. Walpole), two Ministers of the Crown, had avowed that they did not think the repeal of the Corn Laws was just in principle, and he could not expect them to assent to his Resolution. He owned when he proposed the Resolution he did not expect that any person on the opposite side would think it was wise or just, because the Government did not come forward as converts—they submitted to a necessity. If any Members of the Government said they were converts, the case would be different, but they said they were not converts; they only bowed and submitted to necessity. There would be a reason for considering the feelings of hon. Gentlemen if they were converts; but as they were not converts, the argument of the noble Lord (Viscount Palmerston), and the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone), that they should consider their feelings and be tender with them, utterly failed. He had never thought of proposing a Resolution to please those who were opposed to him, and he had never heard that doctrine preached before to-night. He thought if this regard was to be paid to their opponents' feelings, more attention should be given by hon. Gentlemen who gave this advice, as to what they said themselves; and he must say he was astonished to hear the speech of his right hon. Friend the Member for South Wiltshire; he thought that his right hon. Friend had said much more that was offensive in his speech to Gentlemen opposite, than he bad by any terms he bad used in his Resolution. He (Mr. C. Villiers) should not like to say so much; he did not think he ever said the things that his right hon. Friend had said. Nor was he very consistent in what he did say; for he first laboured to show how extremely unjust a Corn Law must be—saying that if there was one class who ought to be less favoured than another, it was the landowners, who had so many advantages besides, and that there could be no justice in a law that had so favoured them. He said, if ever there was an act of wisdom of the Legislature, or if ever there was a law that, from its timely enactment, had saved them from great calamity, it was the Act of 1846 that repealed the Corn Law. He regarded it as having saved the country from Revolution in 1848. In short, according to his view, it was the justest measure that ever was passed, and, under the circumstances, the wisest; but, added the right hon. Gentleman, let us remember the rules of regular warfare, let us be kind, let us not call that measure wise and just, which is eminently so, let us forbear to those who would have resisted its enactment, who never showed forbearance, and who are not yet converted; let us pass the Amendment of the noble Lord (Viscount Palmerston), which avoids giving this righteous act its proper designation. He (Mr. C. Villiers) was perfectly willing to listen to any argument that would be advanced to change any course that he had adopted; but he asked anybody to place himself in his position, and, referring to the long experience he had had in connexion with this question, the invariable manner in which he had called for the repeal of the Corn Laws, in the name of justice and wisdom, say whether there was anything in these inconsistent remonstrances of Gentlemen who proposed to abandon him at the last moment—to induce him, by implication, to declare that the repeal of the Corn Law was unwise and unjust? He proposed nothing new, and he was asked to change his Motion, really, not to meet the scruples of honest converts, but to satisfy the convenience of helpless adherents to the old law, who wanted to substitute for protection something equally favourable to their friends. It was now avowedly to these ulterior views that he was now called upon to withdraw his Resolution. He could give no account of such a proceeding to those who had confidence in his integrity in this matter: this Amendment was quite unintelligible to the people—they were straightforward, they were satisfied with Free Trade—they had pronounced the measure to be wise and just. They asked their representatives in the House of Commons to declare their opinion. He could not understand an argument that had been used against the Resolution, that it was interruption to the business of the House, and unfair to the Government. That argument could not have any weight with those who had originated the Amendment, for they had principally recommended that some Resolution should be moved. He asked, then, the real friends of free trade to consider the motives that actuated him (Mr. Villiers) in proposing the Resolution, the reasons he assigned for adhering to it, and to support him. He had the greatest respect for the memory of the late Sir Robert Peel, but must candidly say that it was from no feeling of sentiment that he had proposed those words, "wise and just," or with any reference to the memory of that most eminent man, but he had introduced them because the wisdom and justice of the measure had been shown by the result. He had no other object but to frame the Resolution in such a way as to establish a comparison between Free Trade and the former policy that prevailed, and he was utterly incapable of explaining why any honest freetrader should differ with him.


Sir, I am quite aware that I have no right to present myself to the House again on this question, but as my hon. Friend (Mr. C. Villiers) mentioned a circumstance which occurred between himself and me, perhaps the House will indulge me for a few moments. It is perfectly true, as my hon. Friend stated, that one evening, towards the end of the night, he showed me, at the end of that bench, a draught of the Resolution he was about to propose. I considered that he showed it to me for the purpose of seeing whether it was framed in such a manner as that I could vote for for it. I pointed out a part of it to which I could not agree. I argued with him at some length, and that passage did not appear in the Resolu- tion as proposed. The Resolution was laid on the table. Immediately notice was given of an Amendment on the part of the Government. I then wrote to my hon. Friend. I think I said I presumed the objection of the Government was founded on a particular part of his Resolution. I stated I was sorry to see that the Motion which was intended to lead to a solemn affirmation by Parliament of a great principle of domestic policy was about to degenerate into a mere ordinary party struggle, and I entreated my hon. Friend to endeavour, by communication with the Government, to frame some form of words which might be accepted, if not unanimously, by a large majority of the House. My hon. Friend (and he will excuse me if I am obliged to go into our private conversation afterwards, but it is absolutely necessary) said that he would see me afterwards in the House. I saw him, and we talked over the matter; and, without stating the particular conversation, it is sufficient to say that what he told me left the impression on my mind that my hon. Friend was not the master of his own conduct, and that he was in the hands of other persons. It is, therefore, not fair in my hon. Friend to lead the House to suppose that, by not objecting to that part of his Resolution which led to the Amendment, I made no objection till I moved the Resolution. I wrote that note. He is perfectly at liberty to make what use he pleases of it, to show it to whom he likes, and to read it wherever he pleases.


Sir, I am about to request the indulgence of the House for a purpose similar to that of my noble Friend, and I shall have to ask for even more forbearance. If we are to be put into a glass beehive, with reference to the whole proceedings connected with the formation of this Resolution, I can only say that there is not a word I have spoken or written which is not entirely in the hands of the House. I have thought it prudent to carry the correspondence in my pocket since these explanations. All I shall now say is this, that, being aware of the numerous misunderstandings which arise in the course of such communications, I thought it but just to declare that my hon. Friend (Mr. C. Villiers) was actuated by upright and single-hearted motives in the whole of his proceedings. But with respect to the charge which he has thought proper to make against me, I meet it by stating, without going into detail, that I believe the Motion was put on the table of the House at Twelve o'clock on Wednesday, the 17th of November; and on Tuesday, the 16th of November, at Six o'clock, I wrote a note to the hon. Gentleman, and immediately despatched it to the address from which he had written to me, demurring to the terms of this Resolution in the precise part to which I objected to-night, on the ground that they would prevent from voting with him many men who, though originally opponents to corn law repeal, had since honourably and sincerely acquiesced in it.


said, that not a single word had fallen from the noble Lord (Viscount Palmerston) which did not completely confirm all that he (Mr. C. Villiers) had himself stated. For what he had said was, that the noble Lord had seen the Resolution containing the terms which had since been considered so objectionable, and that those terms were not at that time objected to by the noble Lord; and what he (Mr. C. Villiers) had now argued was, that if those terms were objectionable at one time they were so at another. With regard to what the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) had said, he (Mr. C. Villiers) would merely say, that the right hon. Gentleman stated that he had been informed that the right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer considered that the exceptionable words had been inserted in the Resolution expressly for the purpose of preventing hon. Gentlemen on the Ministerial benches from concurring in the vote, and his (Mr. C. Villiers') reply to the right hon. Gentleman was, that no such intention had influenced him in inserting those words.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."

The House divided:—Ayes 256; Noes 336: Majority 80.

List of the AYES.
Adair, H. E. Berkeley, hon. H. F.
Aglionby, H. A. Berkeley, hon. C. F.
Alcock, T. Berkeley, C. L. G.
Anderson, Sir J. Bethell, R.
Anson, hon. Gen. Biddulph, R. M.
Armstrong, R. B. Biggs, W.
Atherton, W. Blackett, J. F. B.
Baines, rt. hon. M. T. Bonham-Carter, J.
Ball, J. Bouverie, hon. E. P.
Baring, rt. hon. Sir F.T. Bowyer, G.
Barnes, T. Boyle, hon. Col.
Bass, M. T. Brady, J.
Bell, J. Brand, hon. H. B. W.
Bellew, Capt. Bright, J.
Brockman, E. D. Grace, O. D. J.
Brotherton, J. Greene, J.
Brown, H. Gregson, S.
Brown, W. Greville, Col. F.
Browne, V. Grosvenor, Lord R.
Bulkeley, Sir R. B. W. Hadfield, G.
Butler, C. S. Hall, Sir B.
Byng, hon. G. H. C. Hanmer, Sir J.
Carter, S. Hastie, A.
Caulfield, Col. J. M. Hastie, A.
Cavendish, hon. C. C. Hayter, rt. hon. W. G.
Cavendish, hon. G. Headlam, T. E.
Challis, Ald. Henchy, D. O.
Chambers, M. Heywood, J.
Chambers, T. Higgins, G. G. O.
Chaplin, W. J. Hindley, C.
Cheetham, J. Howard, hon. C. W. G.
Clay, J. Howard, Lord E.
Clifford, H. M. Hutt, W.
Cobden, R. Ingham, R.
Cockburn, Sir A. J. E. Jackson, W.
Coffin, W. Keating, R.
Collier, R. P. Keating, H. S.
Corbally, M. E. Kennedy, T.
Cowan, C. Keogh, W.
Cowper, hon. W. F. Kershaw, J.
Craufurd, E. H. J. King, hon. P. J. L.
Crook, J. Kingscote, R. N. F.
Crossley, F. Kinnaird, hon. A. F.
Crowder, R. B. Labouchere, rt. hon. H
Currie, R. Langston, J. H.
Dalrymple, J. Langton, W. H. G.
Dashwood, Sir G. H. Laslett, W.
Davie, Sir H. R. F. Lawless, hon. C.
Denison, J. E. Lawley, hon. F. C.
Devereux, J. T. Layard, A. H.
Divett, E. Locke, J.
Duff, G. S. Lowe, R.
Duff, J. Lucas, F.
Duffy, C. G. Macaulay, rt. hon. T. B.
Duke, Sir J. Mackinnon, W. A.
Duncan, G. M'Cann, J.
Duncombe, T. M'Gregor, J.
Dundas, F. McTaggart, Sir J.
Dunlop, A. M. Magan, W. H.
Dunne, M. Maguire, J. F.
Eccles, W. Mangles, R. D.
Ellice, rt. hon. E. Meagher, T.
Ellice, E. Marshall, W.
Elliott, hon. J. E. Martin, J.
Esmonde, J. Massey, W. N.
Evans, Sir De L. Maule, hon. Col.
Evans, W. Miall, E.
Ewart, W. Mitchell, T. A.
Fagan, W. Milligan, R.
Fergus, J. Mills, A.
Ferguson, Col. Milner, W. M. E.
Ferguson, J. Milton, Visct.
Fitzgerald, J. D. Moffatt, G.
Fitzgerald, Sir J. F. Molesworth, Sir W.
Fitzroy, hon. H. Monck, Visct.
Fitzwilliam, hon. G. W. Moncreiff, J.
Foley, J. H. H. Monsell, W.
Forster, C. Moore, G. H.
Fortescue, C. Moreton, Lord
Fox, R. M. Mostyn, hon. E. M. L.
French, F. Mulgrave, Earl of
Gardner, R. Murphy, F. S.
Geach, C. Norreys, Sir D. J.
Glyn, G. C. O'Brien, C.
Goderich, Visct. O'Brien, P.
Goodman, Sir G. O'Brien, Sir T.
Gower, hon. F. L, O'Connell, M.
O'Flaherty, A. Smith, J. B.
Oliveira, B. Smith, M. T.
Osborne, R. Smith, rt. hon. R. V.
Otway, A. J. Stanley, hon. W. 0.
Paget, Lord A. Stansfield, W. R. C.
Paget, Lord G. Stapleton, J.
Pechell, Sir G. B. Strickland, Sir G.
Peel, F. Strutt, rt. hon. E.
Pellatt, A. Stuart, Lord D.
Phillimore, J. G. Swift, R.
Phinn, T. Tancred, H. W.
Pigott, F. Thicknesse, R. A.
Pilkington, J. Thomson, G.
Pollard, U. W. Thornely, T.
Ponsonby, hon. A. G. J. Tomline, G.
Portman. hon. W. H. B. Towneley, C.
Potter, R. Townshend, Capt.
Power, N. Tufnell, rt. hon. H.
Price, Sir R. Tynte, Col. C. J. K.
Price, W. P. Vivian, J. H.
Ricardo, J. L. Vivian, H. H.
Ricardo, O. Wall, C. B.
Rich, H. Walmsley, Sir J.
Robartes, T. J. A. Walter, J.
Roche, E. B. Warner, E.
Russell, Lord J. Wells, W.
Russell, F. C. H. Whatman, J.
Sadleir, J. Whitbread, S.
Sadleir, J. Wilkinson, W. A.
Scholefield, W. Willcox, B. M.
Scobell, Capt. Williams, W.
Scrope, G. P. Wilson, J.
Scully, F. Wilson, M.
Scully, V. Winnington, Sir T. E.
Seymour, Lord Wise, J. A.
Seymour, H. D. Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Seymour, W. D. Wood, Sir W. P.
Shafto, R. D. Wrightson, W. B.
Shee, W. Wyvill, M.
Shelburne, Earl of
Shelley, Sir J. V. TELLERS.
Sheridan, R. B. Villiers, C. P.
Smith, J. A. Gibson, T. M.
List of the NOES.
Acland, Sir T. D. Bernard, Visct.
A'Court, C. H. W. Blair, Col.
Adderley, C. B. Blandford, Marq. of
Annesley, Earl of Boldero, Col.
Anson, Visct. Booker, T. W.
Arbuthnott, hon. Gen. Bramston, T. W.
Archdall, Capt. M. Bremridge, R.
Arkwright, G. Brisco, M.
Astell, J. H. Brocklehurst, J.
Bagge, W. Brooke, Lord
Bailey, Sir J. Brooke, Sir A. B.
Bailey, C. Bruce, Lord E.
Baird, J. Bruce, C. L. C.
Ball, E. Buck, L. W.
Baldock, E. H. Buller, Sir J. Y.
Bankes, rt. hon. G. Burghley, Lord
Baring, H. B. Burrell, Sir C. M.
Baring, hon. F. Burroughes, H. N.
Barrington, Visct. Butt, G. M.
Barrow, W. H. Butt, I.
Beaumont, W. B. Cabbell, B. B.
Beckett, W. Cairns, H. M.
Benbow, J. Campbell, Sir A. I.
Bennett, P. Carnac, Sir J. R.
Bentinck, Lord H. Cayley, E. S.
Bentinck, G. P. Chandos, Marq. of
Beresford, rt. hon. W. Chelsea, Visct.
Berkeley, Sir G. Child, S.
Cholmondeley, Lord H. Greenall, G.
Christopher, rt. hn. R. A. Grogan,E.
Christy, S. Guernsey, Lord
Clay, Sir W. Gwyn, H.
Clinton, Lord C. P. Hale, R. B.
Clinton, Lord R. Halford, Sir H.
Clive, hon. R. H. Hall, Col.
Clive, R. Halsey, T. P.
Cobbett, J. M. Hamilton, Lord C.
Cobbold, J. C. Hamilton, G. A.
Cocks, T. S. Hamilton, J. H.
Codrington, Sir W. Hanbury, hon. S. B.
Coles, H. B. Harcourt, G. G.
Colvile, C. R. Harcourt, Col.
Compton, H. C. Hardinge, hon. C. S.
Conolly, T. Hawkins, W. W.
Coote, Sir C. H. Hayes, Sir E.
Corry, rt. hon. H. L. Heathcote, Sir G. J.
Cotton, hon. W. H. S. Heathcote, G. N.
Cubitt, Ald. Heneage, G. H. W.
Davies, D. A. S. Heneage,. G. F.
Deedes, W. Henley, rt. hon. J. W.
Denison, E. Herbert, rt. hon. S.
Dering, Sir E. Herbert, Sir T.
Disraeli, rt. hon. B. Hervey, Lord A.
Dod, J. W. Hildyard, R. C.
Dodd, G. Hill, Lord A. E.
Drax, J. S. W. S. E. Hogg, Sir J. W.
Drumlanrig, Visct. Hope, Sir J.
Drummond, H. Horsfall, T. B.
Du Cane, C. Hudson, G.
Duckworth, Sir J. T.B. Hughes, W. B.
Duncombe, hon. W. E. Hume, W. F.
Dunne, Col. Inglis, Sir R. H.
Du Pre, C. G. Irton, S.
East, Sir J. B. Jermyn, Earl
Egerton, Sir P. Jocelyn, Visct.
Egerton, E. C. Johnstone,. J.
Euston, Earl of Johnstone, Sir J.
Evelyn, W. J. Johnstone, hon. H. B.
Farnham, E. B. Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H.
Farrer, J. Jones, Capt.
Fellowes, E. Jones, D.
Ferguson, Sir R. Kelly, Sir F.
Filmer, Sir E. Kendall, N.
Fitzgerald, W. R. S. Kerrison, E. C.
Floyer, J. King, J. K.
Follett, B. S. Kirk, W.
Forbes, W. Knatehbull, W. F.
Forester, rt. hon. Col. Knight, F. W.
Forster, Sir G. M. Knightley, R.
Franklyn, G. W. Knox, Col.
Fraser, Sir W. A. Knox, hon. W. S.
Freestun, Col. Laeon, Sir E.
Freshfleld, J. W. Laffan, R. M.
Frewen, C. H. Laing, S.
Fuller, A. E. Langton, W. H. P. G.
Gallwey, Sir W. P. Lascelles, hon. E.
Galway, Visct. Legh, G. C.
Gaskell, J. M. Lemon, Sir C.
George, J. Lennox, Lord A. F.
Gilpin, Col. Lennox, Lord H. G.
Gipps, H. P. Leslie, C. P.
Gladstone, rt. hon. W. Lewis, rt. hon. Sir T. F.
Gladstone, Capt. Lewisham, Visct,
Goddard, A. L. Liddell, H. G.
Goold, W. Lindsay, hon. Col.
Gordon, Adm. Lockhart, A. E.
Goulbura, rt. hon. H. Lockhart, W.
Graham, rt. hon. Sir J. Lopes, Sir R.
Graham, Lord M. W. Lovaine, Lord
Granby, Marq. of Lowther, hon. Col.
Greaves, E. Lowther, Capt.
Luce, T. Sawle, C. B. G.
Lygon, hon. Gen. Scott, hon. F.
Lytton, Sir G. E. L. B. Seaham, Visct.
Macartney, G. Seymer, H. K.
Macaulay, K. Sibthorp, Col.
Mackie, J. Smijth, Sir W.
MaeGregor, J. Smith, Sir F.
Maddock, Sir T. H. Smith, W. M.
Malins, R. Smyth, J. G.
Mandeville, Visct. Smollett, A.
Manners, Lord G. Somerset, Capt.
Manners, Lord J. Sotheron, T. H. S.
March, Earl of Spooner, R.
Mare, C. J. Stafford, A.
Masterman, J. Stanhope, J. B.
Maunsell, T. P. Stanley, Lord
Maxwell, hon. J. P. Stephenson, R.
Meux, Sir H. Stirling, W.
Michell, W. Stuart, H.
Miles, W. Sturt, H. G.
Miller, T. J. Sullivan, M.
Mills, A. Sutton, J. H. M.
Milnes, R. M. Taylor, Col.
Montgomery, H. L. Taylor, H.
Montgomery, Sir G. Thesiger, Sir F.
Moody, C. A. Thompson, Ald.
Moore, R. S. Tollemache, J.
Morgan, O. Trollope, rt. hon. Sir J.
Morgan, C. R. Tudway, R. C.
Mullings, J. R. Turner, C.
Mundy, W. Tyler, Sir G.
Muntz, G. F. Tyrell, Sir J. T.
Mure, Col. Vance, J.
Murrougb, J. P. Vane, Lord H.
Naas, Lord Vansittart, G. H.
Napier, rt. hon. J. Verner, Sir W.
Neeld, J. Vernon, G. E. H.
Neeld, J. Villiers, hon. F.
Newark, Visct, Vivian, J. E.
Newdegate, C. N. Vyvyan, Sir R. R.
Newport, Visct. Vyse. R. H. R. H.
Noel, hon. G. J. Waddington, D. H.
North, Col. Waddington, H. S.
Ossulston, Lord Walcott, Adm.
Owen, Sir J. Walpole, rt. hon. S. H.
Packe, C. W. Walsh, Sir J. B.
Pakenham, Capt. Welby, Sir G. E.
Pakington, rt.hon.Sir J. Wellesley, Lord C.
Palmer, R. West, F. R.
Palmerston, Visct. Whiteside, J.
Parker, R. T. Whitmore, H.
Peacocke, G. M. W. Wickham, H. W.
Peel, Sir R. Wigram, L. T.
Peel, Col, Williams, T. P.
Percy, hon. J. W. Willoughby, Sir H.
Phillipps, J. H. Wodehouse, E.
Pigot, Sir R. Worcester, Marq. of
Pinney, W. Wortley, rt. hon. J. S.
Portal, M. Wyndham, Gen.
Powlett, Lord W. Wyndham, W.
Prime, R. Wynn, H. W. W.
Pugh, D. Wynn, Sir W. W.
Repton, G. W. J. Wvnne, W. W. E.
Robertson, P. F. Torke, hon. E. T.
Rolt, P. Young, Sir J.
Rumbold, C. E.
Rushont, Capt. TELLERS.
Russell, F. W. Mackenzie, W. F.
Sandars, G. Bateson, T.

Words added:—Main Question put, as amended— That it is the opinion of this House, that the improved condition of the Country, and especially of the Industrious Classes, is mainly the result of recent Legislation, which has established the principle of unrestricted competition, has abolished Taxes imposed for the purposes of Protection, and has thereby diminished the cost and increased the abundance of the principal articles of the Food of the People.

The House divided:—Ayes 468; Noes 53: Majority 415.

List of the AYES.
Acland, Sir T.D. Bruce, Lord E.
A'Court, C. H. W. Bruce, C. L. C.
Adair, H. E. Bulkeley, Sir R. B. W.
Adderley, C. B. Burrell, Sir C. M.
Aglionby, H. A. Burroughes, H. N.
Alcock, T. Butler, C. S.
Anderson, Sir J. Butt, G. M.
Annesley, Earl of Byng, hon. G. H. C.
Anson, hon. Gen. Cabbell, B. B.
Anson, Visct. Cairns, H. M.
Arkwright, G. Carnac, Sir J. R.
Armstrong, R. B. Carter, S.
Astell, J. H. Caulfield, Col. J. M.
Atherton, W. Cavendish, hon. C. C.
Bailey, Sir J. Cavendish, hon. G.
Bailey, C. Cayley, E. S.
Baines, rt. hon. M. T. Challis, Ald.
Baird, J. Chambers, M.
Ball, J. Chambers, T.
Baldock, E. H. Chandos, Marq. of
Bankes, rt. hon. G. Chaplin, W. J.
Baring, H. B. Cheetham, J.
Baring, rt. hon. Sir F.T. Chelsea, Visct.
Barnes, T. Child, S.
Barrington, Visct. Cholmondeley, Lord H.
Bass, M. T. Christopher, rt. hn. R. A.
Bateson, T. Christy, S.
Beaumont, W. B. Clay, Sir W.
Beckett, W. Clinton, Lord C. P.
Bell, J. Clinton, Lord R.
Bellew, Capt. Clive, hon. R. H.
Benbow, J. Clive, R.
Bennet, P. Cobbett, J. M.
Beresford, rt. hon. W. Cobbold, J. C.
Berkeley, hon. H. F. Cobden, R.
Berkeley, hon. C. F. Cockburn, Sir A.J. E.
Berkeley, C. L. G. Cocks, T. S.
Berkeley, Sir G. Coffin, W.
Bernard, Visct. Collier, R. P.
Bethell, R. Colvile, C. R.
Biddulph, R. M. Compton, H. C.
Biggs, W. Conolly, T.
Blackett, J. F. B. Coote, Sir C. H.
Blair, Col. Corbally, M. E.
Blandford, Marq. of Corry, rt. hon. H. L.
Boldero, H. G. Cotton, hon. W. H. S.
Bonham-Cartor, J. Cowan, C.
Bowyer, G. Cowper, hon. W. F.
Brady, J. Crook, J.
Bramston, T. W. Crossley, F.
Bright, J. Crowder, R. B.
Brisco, M. Cubitt, Ald.
Brocklehurst, J. Currie, R.
Brockman, E. D. Dalrymple, J.
Brooke, Sir A. B. Dashwood, Sir G. H.
Brotherton, J. Davie, Sir H. R. F.
Brown, H. Davies, D. A. S.
Brown, W. Denison, E.
Browne, V, Denison, J. E.
Dering, Sir E. Hale, R. B.
Devereux, J. T. Halford, Sir H.
Disraeli, rt. hon. B. Hall, Sir B.
Divett, E. Hall, Col.
Dodd, G. Halsey, T. P.
Drumlanrig, Visct. Hamilton, Lord C.
Drummond, H. Hamilton, G. A.
Du Cane, C. Hamilton, J. H.
Duckworth, Sir J.T. B. Hanmer, Sir J.
Duff, G. S. Harcourt, G. G.
Duff, J. Harcourt, Col.
Duffy, C. G. Hardinge, hon. C.S.
Duke, Sir J. Hastie, A.
Duncan, G. Hastie, A.
Dundas, F. Hawkins, W. W.
Dunne, M. Hayes, Sir E.
East, Sir J. B. Headlam, T. E.
Egerton, E. C. Henchy, D. O.
Ellice, rt. hon. E. Heneage, G. H. W.
Elliot, hon. J. E. Henley, rt. hon. J. W.
Esmonde, J. Herbert, rt. hon. S.
Euston, Earl of Herbert, Sir T.
Evans, Sir Do L. Hervey, Lord A.
Evans, W. Heywood, J.
Evelvn, W. J. Higgins, G.G. O.
Ewart, W. Hill, Lord A. E.
Fagan, W. Hindely, C.
Farrer, J. Hogg, Sir J. W.
Fergus, J. Hope, Sir J.
Ferguson, Col. Horsfall, T. B.
Ferguson, Sir R. Howard, hon. C. W. G.
Ferguson, J. Howard, Lord E.
Fitzgerald, J. D. Hudson, G.
Fitzgerald, Sir J. F. Hughes, W. B.
Fitzgerald, W. R. S. Hume, W. F.
Foley, J. H. H. Hutt, W.
Follett, B. S. Ingham, R.
Forester, rt. hon. Col. Inglis, Sir R. H.
Forster, C. Irton, S.
Forstor, Sir G. M. Jackson, W.
Fortescue, C. Jermyn, Earl
Fox, R. M. Jocelyn, Visct.
Franklyn, G. W. Johnstone, J.
Fraser, Sir W. A. Johnstone, Sir J.
Freestun, Col. Johnstone, hon. H. B.
French, F. Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H.
Freshfield, J. W. Jones, Capt.
Fuller, A. E. Jones, D.
Gallwey, Sir W. P. Keating, R.
Galway, Visct. Keating, H. S.
Gardner, R. Kennedy, T.
Gaskell, J. M. Keogh, W.
Geach, C. Kerrison, E. C.
George, J. Kershaw, J.
Gibson, rt. hon. T.M. King, hon. P. J. L.
Gipps, H. P. Kingscote, R. N. F.
Gladstone, rt. hon. W. Kinnaird, hon. A. F.
Gladstone, Capt. Kirk, W.
Glyn, G. C. Knight, F. W.
Goderich, Visct. Knox, Col.
Goodman, Sir G. Knox, hon. W. S.
Gordon, Adm. Labouchere, rt. hon. H.
Goulburn, rt. hon. H. Lacon, Sir E.
Gower, hon. F. L. Laffan, R. M.
Grace, O. D. J. Laing, S.
Graham, rt. hon. Sir J. Langton, W. H. G.
Graham, Lord M. W. Langton, W. H. P. G.
Greaves, E. Lascelles, hon. E.
Greenall, G. Lawless, hon. C.
Greene, J. Lawley, hon. F. C.
Gregson, S. Layard, A. H.
Greville, Col. F. Legh, G. C.
Hadfield, G. Lennox, Lord H. G.
Lewis, rt. hon. Sir T. F. Owen, Sir J.
Lewisham, Visct. Paget, Lord A.
Liddell, H. G. Paget, Lord G.
Lindsay, hon. Col. Pakenham, Capt.
Locke, J. Pakington, rt. hn. Sir J.
Lockhart, A. E. Parker, R. T.
Lockhart, W. Peacocke, G. M. W.
Lovaine, Lord Pechell, Sir G. B.
Lucas, F. Peel, Sir R.
Luce, T. Peel, F.
Lygon, hon. Gen. Peel, Col.
Lytton, Sir G. E. L. B. Pellatt, A.
Macaulay, rt. hon. T.B. Percy, hon. J. W.
Macaulay, K. Phillips, J. H.
Mackenzie, W. F. Phillimore, J. G.
Mackie, J. Phinn, T.
Mackinnon, W. A. Pigott, F.
M'Cann, J. Pilkington, J.
M'Gregor, J. Pinney, W.
M'Taggart, Sir J. Pollard-Urquhart, W.
Magan, W. H. Ponsonby, hon. A. G. J.
Maguire, J. F. Portman, hon. W. H. B.
Mandeville, Visct. Potter, R.
Mangles, R. D. Power, N.
Manners, Lord G. Powlett, Lord W.
Manners, Lord J. Price, Sir R.
Mare, C. J. Price, W. P.
Meagher, T. Pugh, D.
Marshall, W. Ricardo, J. L.
Martin, J. Ricardo, O.
Massey, W. N. Rich, H.
Masterman, J. Robartes, T. J. A.
Maule, hon. Col. Robertson, P. F.
Meux, Sir H. Roche, E. B.
Miall, E. Rolt, P.
Michell, W. Rumbold, C. E.
Mitchell, T. A. Russell, Lord J.
Miller, T. J. Russell, F. C. H.
Milligan, R. Russell, F. W.
Mills, A. Sadleir, J.
Mills, T. Sadleir, J.
Milner, W. M. E. Sandars, G.
Milnes, R. M. Sawle, C. B. G.
Milton, Visct. Scholefield, W.
Moffatt, G. Scobell, Capt.
Malesworth, Sir W. Scrope, G. P.
Monck, Visct. Scully, F.
Monsell, W. Scully, V.
Montgomery, H. L. Seaham, Visct.
Montgomery, Sir G. Seymer, H. K.
Moody, C. A. Seymour, Lord
Moore, G. H. Seymour, H. D.
Moore, R. S. Seymour, W. D.
Moreton, Lord Shafto, R. D.
Morgan, C. R. Shee, W.
Mostyn, hon. E. M. L. Shelburne, Earl of
Mulgrave, Earl of Shelley, Sir J. V.
Mullings, J. R. Sheridan, R. B.
Mundy, W. Smith, J. A.
Muntz, G. F. Smith, J. B.
Mure, Col. Smith, M. T.
Murphy, F. S. Smith, Sir F.
Murrough, J. P. Smyth, J. G.
Naas, Lord Smollett, A.
Napier, rt. hon. J. Sotheron, T. H. S.
Newport, Visct. Stafford, A.
Norreys, Sir D. J. Stafford, Marq. of
O'Brien, C. Stanley, Lord
O'Brien, P. Stanley, hon. W. O.
O'Brien, Sir T. Stansfield, W. R. C.
O'Connell, M. Stapleton, J.
Oliveira, B. Stirling, W.
Otway, A. J. Strickland, Sir G.
Strutt. rt. hon. E. Walmsley, Sir J.
Stuart, Lord D. Walpole, rt. hon. S. H.
Stuart, H. Walsh, Sir J. B.
Sturt, H. G. Walter, J.
Sullivan, M. Warner, E.
Sutton, J. H. M. Wellesley, Lord C.
Swift, R. West, F. R.
Tancred, H. W. Whatman, J.
Taylor, H. Whitbread, S.
Thesiger, Sir F. Whiteside, J.
Thicknesse, R. A. Whitmore, H.
Thomson, G. Wickham, H. W.
Thornely, T. Wilkinson, W. A.
Towneley, C. Williams, W.
Trollope, rt. hon. Sir J. Willoughby, Sir H.
Tufnell, rt. hon. H. Wilson, J.
Turner, C. Wilson, M.
Tynte, Col. C. J. K. Winnington, Sir T. E.
Tyrell, Sir J. T. Wise, J. A.
Vane, Lord H. Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Verner, Sir W. Wood, Sir W. P.
Vernon, G. E. H. Wortley, rt. hon. J. S.
Villiers, hon. C. P. Wrightson, W. B.
Villiers, hon. F. Wyndham, Gen.
Vivian, J. E. Wyndham, W.
Vivian, J. H. Wynn, H. W.
Vivian, H. H. Wyvill, M.
Vyvyan, Sir R. R.
Waddington, D. TELLERS.
Waddington, H. S. Young, Sir J.
Wall, C. B. Palmerston, Visct.
List of the NOES.
Archdall, Capt. M. Newdegate, C. N.
Bagge, W. Noel, hon. G. J.
Ball, E. North, Col.
Baring, hon. F. Packe, C. W.
Barrow, W. H. Palmer, R.
Bentinck, G. P. Portal, M.
Booker, T. W. Prime, R.
Brooke, Lord Scott, hon. F.
Butt, I. Sibthorp, Col.
Campbell, Sir A. I. Smith, W. M.
Codrington, Sir W. Somerset, Capt.
Coles, H. B. Spooner, R.
Dod, J. W. Stanhope, J. B.
Egerton, Sir P. Stephenson, R.
Fellowes, E. Talbot, C. R. M.
Filmer, Sir E. Thompson, Ald.
Goddard, A. L. Tollemache, J.
Heneage, G. F. Tudway, R. C.
Kendall, N. Tyler, Sir G.
King, J. K. Vansittart, G. H.
Knatchbull, W. F. Vyse, R.H. R. H.
Knightley, R. Williams, T. P.
Leslie, C. P. Worcester, Marq. of
MacGregor, J. Wynne, W. W. E.
Malins, R. Yorke, hon. E. T.
Maxwell, hon. J. P. TELLERS.
Miles, W. Granby, Marq. of
Morgan, O. Frewen, C. H.

Resolved— That it is the opinion of this House, that this Policy, firmly maintained and prudently extended, will, without inflicting injury on any important Interest, best enable the Industry of the Country to bear its burthens, and will thereby most surely promote the welfare and contentment of the People.

Resolved— That this House will he ready to take into consideration any measures, consistent with these principles, which, in pursuance of Her Majesty's gracious Speech and Recommendation, may be laid before it.

The House adjourned at Two o'clock till Monday next.