HC Deb 11 June 1861 vol 163 c930

observed that, in the course of the debate on the Volunteer Corps Vote the other evening, he had made a statement on a matter of fact which he found was not quite exact, and wished to correct it. He had stated that at the time of the massacre at Manchester, in 1819, the price of corn was 42s. a quarter. What he intended to say was that at the beginning of that year the price of corn was much higher than at the time of the massacre; that in consequence of the change in the value of money caused by the Act, commonly known as "Peel's Bill," which passed in the spring of the year, prices began to decline, accompanied by great distress, agricultural and commercial—that this decline in prices generally continued, together with great distress, till in two or three years, the price of wheat had falled as low as 40s. or 42s. a quarter. The distress, therefore, was not owing to the Corn Laws, as asserted by the Member for Manchester, but to the change in the value of money, for great prosperity had existed for two years prior to "Peel's Bill," and again arose for a limited period subsequently owing to an illegitimate action on the currency in 1822–3. At the end of which time, namely, 1825, another commercial crisis took place, producing a general distress and discontent which produced the agitation for the Reform Bill in 1830.