HL Deb 06 December 1852 vol 123 cc920-2

, who had a Motion on the notice-paper relating to the recording of Votes in Committee, said he felt he ought to make some explanation and apology to the House for not immediately postponing that Motion until another day, seeing that there was a Motion upon the paper immediately following his, having reference to the commercial legislation of the country. If he had expected that there was to be either a general acquiescence or a general debate upon the subject of what he might now describe as the glorious termination of an experiment which had been going on for six years in regard to our commercial legislation, he should immediately have taken the course of postponing his Motion to another day. That did not appear, however, to be the case. The noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Derby) had decided on taking a different course; he had declined either to agree in the words of the Resolution which was moved by his Colleagues in the other House, or to the form of words adopted by those same Colleagues, and a great majority of their supporters, in that House; and he had proposed words, as it appeared to him (Earl Granville), totally unmeaning as a declaration from a House which, by its repeated votes upon the corn laws, the sugar duties, and the repeal of the navigation laws, had given its fullest sanction to the existing legislation on those subjects. His noble Friend (the Marquess of Clanricarde), who had been one of the earliest and most consistent supporters of free trade—having, perhaps, a desire to have unanimity in that House, and also to show a spirit of conciliation to the furthest possible extent; and influenced, perhaps, by a feeling that those words, although they had little meaning in themselves, obtained some value from a former declaration of the noble Earl (the Earl of Derby) bound the House firmly and unreservedly to the commercial system which had been established—had consented to adopt those words, and had also concurred in deprecating any great discussion on that question. The House appeared also to come to a sort of understanding, although a hurried one, that there should not, at all events, be any division on the subject; and there was also a general impression that no very great discussion would take place. This being the position of the question, and as it assumed an aspect of such little importance, he was unwilling to withdraw from the orders a question, the consideration and settlement of which would prove of great utility in adding to the value and credit of their Lordships' Committees. But the slightest intimation from either side of the House would induce him to deviate from that determination, and postpone it to a future day.


said, he understood his noble Friend (Earl Granville) to say that he would either withdraw his Motion, or postpone it till a future occasion, if he was given to understand that some debate would arise on the Resolution in the paper respecting the commercial legislation of the county. His noble Friend had also alluded to an understanding which he supposed to have taken place in their Lordships' House on a former occasion with regard to that Resolution. He (the Earl of Radnor) begged to say he was no party to that understanding, and he did not feel himself bound by it. It was now some years since he had been in that House, and a few days ago he should have said there was no chance of his putting his foot inside its walls again; but when he saw the terms of the Resolution that was proposed to be moved by his noble Friend, so entirely subversive did they appear to him (the Earl of Radnor), of the principles which had been sanctioned by their Lordships' House, and exactly contrary to the understanding given out by Her Majesty's Government on the subject of free trade or unrestricted competition, that he had come up to town to take his seat in their Lordships' House that day, for the purpose of moving an Amendment. Since he had come into the House, he had been given to understand that another noble Lord had given notice of his intention to move an Amendment, in order that the matter should be discussed. He could assure his noble Friend (Earl Granville) that whatever power he possessed should be exercised in securing an ample discussion of the Resolution.


said, after what had fallen from the noble Earl, he did not think he should be justified in pressing on his Motion; and he should, therefore, postpone it until to-morrow.

Back to