HL Deb 26 January 1846 vol 83 cc164-5

, in presenting petitions from several places, praying for the continuance of protection to agriculture, said: In presenting these petitions to your Lordships, and in stating my intention to support their prayer to the utmost of my power, I beg to say that these petitioners express their hope and trust that your Lordships will not consent to any alteration of the present Corn Law; and that, at all events, happen what may, your Lordships will not consent to any alteration without an appeal to the constituencies of the country, that it may be seen whether their opinions on this important question have undergone any change. I, as one of those who cannot conscientiously give my vote in violation of the compact made with the agricultural interest in the year 1842, and as one who cannot look without serious alarm upon the abandonment of the principle of protection, would call upon your Lordships to pause and hesitate before you teach those persons in every part of Her Majesty's extensive dominions who have been peaceable, quiet, and orderly, that to be unobtrusive is to be defenceless; and that systems which have been tested and approved by the experience of ages are to be abandoned in consequence of combination, intimidation, and the manifestation of party rancour. Till I find your Lordships giving your assent to any measure for altering the Corn Laws, I shall feel that it is impossible you can suffer yourselves to be intimidated by the Anti-Corn-Law League and their hired advocates and emissaries. I may add that, in presenting these petitions to your Lordships, I can answer for the respectability of a great many of the persons by whom they are signed.