HL Deb 16 June 1828 vol 19 cc1366-7

The following Protest was entered on the Journals: Dissentient.—Because the bill, imposing high and most unreasonable duties on the importation of foreign corn, is most impolitic, if intended as a source of revenue, inasmuch as taxes laid upon the necessaries of life increase the cost of labour, diminish the profit of capital, and are the immediate cause of general decay and impoverishment. It is most unjust, if intended to enhance the price of corn for the advantage of individuals, inasmuch as a monopoly for that purpose is opposed to the first principles of legislation, and invades the rights of the community at large. 2nd. Because it is an abuse of the legislative, power, held in trust for the pub- lic good, to enact laws calculated to promote the private advantage of any one particular order. The use of law is to secure equally to all, the fruits of their labour and industry; the abuse of law is to take away, either directly, by unnecessary or unequal taxation, an undue proportion of the produce of the labour of the community; or, indirectly, to compass the same end by odious and destructive monopolies, conferring exclusive privileges to one order at the expense of all other classes of the community. If the landowners have an undoubted right to the property they possess, and to the absolute disposal of the produce of that land, the people of the country have not less an undoubted right to obtain their supply of food either from the home-grower or from any other who can afford it at the cheapest rate. 3rd. Because the present bill affords no expectation of establishing a final settlement of the Corn-laws, so desirable and necessary for the country, after suffering the evil of monopoly, fluctuation, and uncertainty, for a period of thirteen years; but utterly hopeless, until the proposed laws shall be consonant to sound policy, common right, and equal justice. 4th. Because a varying scale of duties has the effect of making the importation of corn irregular, on account of the apprehension of unfavourable, or the expectation of favourable, opportunities; whereas a moderate fixed duty would encourage a large investment of capital in the corn trade, and thereby afford the best security which the nature of the commodity allows, of obtaining steady prices, no less desirable to the consumer than to the producer of grain. (Signed) "KING.