HL Deb 23 March 1840 vol 52 c1311
Viscount Melbourne

presented a petition from Stayley-bridge, praying for a total repeal of the corn laws.

Lord Ashburton

wished to call the attention of the noble Viscount to the degree in which the corn question had been made the instrument of agitation. He need hardly dwell upon the importance of such a subject to the agricultural interest. There were many persons belonging to, and connected with, the agricultural classes of this country, who abstained from addressing petitions to Parliament, relying with confidence upon the declarations made in the last session by the noble Viscount at the head of her Majesty's Government. He (Lord Ashburton) now wished to know from the noble Viscount, whether he remained of the same opinion which he expressed last year upon this momentous subject.

Viscount Melbourne

replied, that he continued of the same opinion. He was against the total repeal of the corn laws, at the same time that he reserved to himself the power of agreeing to any modification of them which might meet his views of the real interests of the country. He repeated, that he remained of the same opinion which he had formerly expressed, and that the responsible advisers of the Crown would not, as a Government, propose any change.