§ On the Order of the Day for the Third Reading of this Bill being moved,
§ The DUKE of RICHMOND
moved that it be read a third time that day six months. He wished to ask the noble Lord at the head of the Board of Trade whether, during the short period which was expected to intervene before the resignation of the Government, he could receive a deputation from the Spitalfields weavers? On a for- 960 mer occasion, the House was aware when these parties attended at the Board of Trade they had not the good fortune to see the noble Lord, who was ill in bed, and therefore could not attend. The deputation was therefore received by the Vice President of the Board of Trade; and the circumstance had never been communicated to the noble Lord. The deputation certainly left the Board of Trade under the impression that they had made out a case which would entitle them to favourable consideration. The official answer, he believed, was that their case would be considered. He understood that they asked precisely the same concession as that made to the Coventry ribbon manufacturers. He wished to know whether the noble Earl would receive a deputation from the Spitalfields weavers, and whether if their case should turn out to be the same as that of the Coventry ribbon manufacturers, he would think it right to propose, or at all events to support, a Bill to place the former in the same situation as the latter? He asked the Government whether they ought not to embrace this opportunity of rectifying a mistake; and he was the more anxious on this point because an impression prevailed amongst large bodies in this country that justice was entirely lost sight of.
The EARL of DALHOUSIE
said, the noble Duke was perfectly accurate in stating that he had been prevented by illness from being present when the Spitalfields deputation attended at the Board of Trade. Indeed, he had never heard a syllable about that deputation until it was mentioned the other night in that House. He wished, however, to vindicate his right hon. Friend the Vice President of the Board of Trade from the charges which had been made against him. The noble Duke was altogether in error in assuming that the fact of the Spitalfields deputation not having been communicated to him (Earl Dalhousie) was equivalent to a denial of justice. These parties, on the contrary, had the advantage of communicating with the officer of the Government whose opinion was of far more consequence than that of the President of the Board of Trade, and who, after all, would have to determine the question—namely, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, acting with the Lords of the Treasury. The case of these parties was placed before the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who declined to accede to their request. They had not, therefore, been left without a hearing; and under these cir- 961 cumstances he felt that he should be only mocking them if he proposed to receive a deputation for the purpose of hearing their case.
wished to know whether, when the Chancellor of the Exchequer declined to accede to the request of these parties, he was aware that a precisely similar request, made under precisely similar circumstances, had been granted to the Coventry ribbon manufacturers?
The EARL of DALHOUSIE
The Chancellor of the Exchequer was aware of the circumstance, and for this reason—that the Coventry weavers, after leaving the Board of Trade, waited on him as the officer whose duty it was finally to examine into these matters.
§ The DUKE of RICHMOND
said, he wished to observe that the demand made by the Spitalfields weavers could not be opposed to the principle of free trade; because a similar demand had been granted to the Coventry weavers, after having been supported by the hon. Member for Coventry, who was known to be a very decided free trader.
§ On Question, "That 'now' stand part of the Motion," resolved in the affirmative.
§ Bill read 3a. accordingly, and passed.
§ House adjourned.
§ The following Protests against the Third Reading of the Bill to Amend the Laws relating to the Importation of Corn were entered on the Journals:—
§ (No. 1.)
- 1. Because the repeal of the Corn Laws will greatly increase the dependence of this country npon foreign countries for its supply of food, and will thereby expose it to dangers against which former statesmen have thought it essential to take legislative precautions.
- 2. Because there is no security nor probability that other nations will take similar steps; and this country will, therefore, not only be exposed to the risks of failure of supply consequent on a state of war, but will also be exclusively subject to an unlimited influx of corn in times of abundance, and to sudden checks whenever short crops shall reduce the ordinary supply from the exporting countries, or their Governments shall deem it necessary to take precautionary measures for their own protection, thus causing rapid and
962 disastrous fluctuations in the markets of this country.
- 3. Because under a system of protection the agriculture of this country has more than kept pace with the increasing demand of its increasing population; and because it is to be apprehended that the removal of protection may throw some lands out of cultivation, and check in others the progress of improvement which has led to this satisfactory result.
- 4. Because it is unjust to withdraw protection from the landed interest of this country, while that interest remains subject to exclusive burdens imposed for purposes of general, and not of special advantage.
- 5. Because the loss to be sustained by the repeal of the Corn Laws will fall most heavily on the least wealthy portion of the landed proprietors, will press immediately and severely on the tenant-farmers, and through them, with ruinous consequences, on the agricultural labourers.
- 6. Because indirectly, but not less certainly, injurious consequences will result to the manufacturing interest, and especially to the artisans and mechanics, from competition with the agricultural labourers thrown out of employment, but principally from the loss of the home market, caused by the inability of the producers of grain, and those dependent on them, to consume manufactured goods to the same extent as heretofore.
- 7. Because the same cause will produce similar evil results to the tradesmen, retail dealers, and others in country towns, not themselves engaged in agricultural pursuits, but mainly dependent for their subsistence on their dealings with those who are so engaged.
- 8. Because the effect of a repeal of the Corn Laws will be especially injurious to Ireland, by lowering the value of her principal exports, and by still further reducing the demand for labour, the want of which is among the principal evils of her social condition.
- 9. Because a free trade in corn will cause a large and unnecessary diminution of annual income, thus impairing the revenue of the country, at the same time that it cripples the resources of those classes on whom the weight of local taxation now mainly falls.
- 10. Because a general reduction of prices, consequent on reduction of the price of corn, will tend unduly to raise the monied interest at the expense of all others, and to aggravate the pressure of the national burdens.
- 11. Because the removal of differential duties in favour of Canadian corn is at variance with the legislative encouragement held out to that Colony by Parliament, on the faith of which the colonists have laid out large sums upon the improvement of their internal navigation; and because the removal of protection will divert the traffic of the interior from the St. Lawrence and the British ports of Montreal and Quebee, to the foreign port of New York; thus throwing out of employment a large amount of British shipping, severing the commercial interests of Canada from those of the parent country, and connecting those interests most intimately with the United States of America.
- 12. Because the adoption of a similar system with regard to other articles of commerce will tend to sever the strongest bond of union between this country and her Colonies, will deprive the British merchant of that which is now his most certain market, and sap the foundation of that colonial system, to which, commercially and politically, this country owes much of its present greatness.
|LUCAN||LOVELL AND HOLLAND|
|SKELMERSDALE||COLVILLE OF CULROSS|
|RUTLAND||H. GLOUCESTER AND BRISTOL|
|OXFORD AND MORTIMER||TEMPLEMORE|
|H. EXETER||VAUX OF HARROWDEN|
|BUCKINGHAM AND CHANDOS||CARNARVON|
§ (No. 2.)
§ Because the Bill for repealing the Corn Laws is not accompanied, as in justice it ought to have been, by the following measures, viz.:—
- 1. The entire and immediate repeal of all the taxes which fall directly upon land—the land tax, the malt tax, and the hop duty.
- 2. The equalization of all the rates of which the occupiers of land bear at present an unfair and
964 undue proportion—the poor rates, the highway rates, and the county rates.
- 3. An alteration of the Tithe Commutation Act, which can no longer be just or applicable.
- 4. A legislative enactment authorizing all persons who hold leases of land for unexpired terms of years to surrender them on giving six months' notice before any of the usual days of payment.
- 5. A legislative enactment directing the payment stipulated in every contract to be reduced according to the proportion which the average price of wheat at the time of making such payment bears to its average price at the time that such contract was formed, so that such payment may be of the same value as was originally intended and agreed to by the parties.
- 6. A legislative enactment authorizing the cultivation of tobacco and the preparation of sugar from beetroot and other vegetables, and exempting the said tobacco and sugar from the payment of any duty.
- 7. The entire and immediate repeal of those taxes which are imposed upon articles of general consumption, of the Excise duty on soap, and of the Customs duties on sugar and coffee, the produce of British Colonies, and on those sorts of tea and tobacco which are used by the labouring classes.
- RICHMOND, for the first six reasons.
- PENSHURST, for the third reason.
- BEAUFORT, for the first three reasons.
- MANSFIELD, for the first three reasons.
- SELKIRK, for the second reason
- GRANTLEY, for the second reason.
- BRODERICK, for the first three reasons.
- CROFTON, for the first two and sixth.
- DE FRESNE, for the first two and sixth.
- CLANCARTY, for the first two and sixth.