said, he would beg to ask the noble Duke (the Duke of Richmond) sitting on the cross benches, now that he had got the Report on the Wool Duty, and considering an appointment which had been recently made, whether he intended to make any Motion on the subject; as, if he did not, he (Lord Kinnaird) would take it for granted that the noble Duke was satisfied that the interest of the Wool-grower was not to suffer. He would also, referring to a statement which had been made by the noble Duke, beg to move for a return of the quantity of Salmon imported into the United Kingdom since the new Tariff. The noble Duke had stated the other night, that the rent of his salmon fisheries which were let, before the new Tariff for 8,000l. a-year had since the new Tariff been let for 2,000l. a-year less. It might be a question, perhaps, whether they were not let at too high a rent before, and independently of the Tariff, whether the rent might not have been reduced, for he believed that only 800 cwt. of foreign salmon had been brought into this country since the Tariff. He would, therefore, move for a return of the quantity of Salmon imported into the United Kingdom since it had been admitted at the ten shillings duty.
§ The Duke of Richmond
said, a more extraordinary course of proceeding than 133 that adopted by the noble Lord on this occasion had never been taken even by the noble Lord himself. First, the noble Lord had adverted to the Wool Duties, and asked what he meant to do on that subject? Why, every one knew what he had stated in answer to his noble Friend the Vice-President of the Board of Trade, when the subject was before the House. He, on that occasion, plainly stated what his intentions were. Why, then, did the noble Lord ask this question? He would not permit the noble Lord to deal with him by insinuation. " If" (said the noble Duke) "the noble Lord has a charge to make against me, let him make it, and make it against me like a man. But it is contrary to the practice of this House, and contrary to the practice of society, to proceed as the noble Lord has done. It is contrary to the practice of this House that the noble Lord should descend to make insinuations—" [Lord Kinnaird.—I did not mean—]The Duke of Richmond.—"I beg the noble Lord to hear me; he can reply afterwards. What does the noble Lord mean by alluding to a recent appointment? Does the noble Lord suppose, that I would suppress my opinion because an appointment was given to one of my family last week?—because a brother of mine has been made a Lord of the Treasury? Does the noble Lord believe that my mouth is to be gagged in this House, because my brother has accepted that office? I say that this is not an honourable or manly course of proceeding. I beg to say that no offer was made or was attempted to be made. I knew nothing whatever of the appointment of my brother to the Lordship of the Treasury until after he was offered the situation. He came to me and asked my advice, and my answer to him was, 'I think you had better remain as you are, in the command of your regiment. You are the best judge; but I would not take office, because I would not be bound to vote for all the measures of Government. My brother was differently disposed, and agreeing with Ministers more than I did, he accepted the appointment. But, without taking any credit to myself, I think it will hardly be supposed that I would suffer myself to be biassed by such a consideration as this, when it is known that I gave up office as a Cabinet Minister because I could not concur with my colleagues." With respect to the Wool Duties (continued the noble Duke), 134 he should say nothing further now, because he meant to speak regularly on the subject, when the third reading of the Customs' Bill was moved. He had seen the return relative to the importation of salmon, which had been alluded to by the noble Lord, from which it appeared that a very small quantity of salmon had been brought in under the new duty; but that did not satisfy him that a great deal more had not been brought in in another manner. The noble Lord said that, in his opinion, the fishery to which allusion had been made had been rented at too high a rate. He could only say he believed the rent was not too high, and he was sure his tenants would have continued to pay the rent had it not been for the Tariff. He made the agreement with them for the rent some years since, and good security had been given for its payment. The early fishing' paid better than the fishing later in the season, and it was the early fishing which was interfered with by the salmon imported from Holland. The foreign fish were certainly the largest, and people were attracted by their appearance; but when they tasted them they found out that they were not as good as the Scotch salmon. He could have no objection to the returns for which the noble Lord had moved, or any other. His opinion was, that all the alterations of the Tariff were injurious. He should not, however, be gagged in the expression of his opinions by the insinuations of an Anti-Corn Law Leaguer, or any other man.
said, that so far from meaning to insinuate that the noble Duke would suffer himself to be "gagged" by the appointment of his brother to office, he knew perfectly well that the noble Duke was far above any considerations of the kind. He only mentioned the appointment at the moment, as, considering the noble Duke to be the leader of the agricultural interest, it might be supposed as indicative of his approval of the Government measure.
§ The Duke of Richmond
I am not the leader of the agricultural party. I follow ray own opinion. I am very happy, however, when that party agrees me; but I do not think that the great body of agriculturists do agree with me on the subject of the Wool duties.
§ Subject dropped.