Page images
PDF
EPUB

also for an Account of the sums expended he was averse to any interference with by the commissioners for reducing the the corn laws, and was one of those who National Debt, during the same period. thought such interference productive of His object in making this motion was, to more harm than good; and with respect bring under one view the manner in to Ireland, he doubted whether any limitawhich the funds had been raised for car- tion should be placed to the export of rying on the present war, both in taxes corn, as he conceived that country to be and by way of loan, which he thought pe- equal to supply more than it did at present culiarly desirable during the discussion to England. He deprecated the idea of which was likely to take place on those encouraging distillation from corn as a points, directly or indirectly, in conse- source of revenue, as it sometimes created quence of the Bill brought in last night. a pressure which was severely felt; and it He begged leare also to take that oppor. was the duty of government to sacrifice tunity of correcting a misrepresentation any small object of revenue to the comwhich had gone abroad of what had fallen forts of the people. The food of the poor from him last night, and which he was in Ireland being chiefly potatoes, the high induced to do, not from any importance price of corn only affected them when there that could be attached to his opinions, but was a failure of the crop of potatoes, which because the expressions ascribed to him was the only proof on the subject. In were of a nature to affect the public cre- such a case, he thought it the duty of godit. It had been stated that he said, the vernment to put a stop at once to distillaBank of England was unable to pay their tion. He was given to understand, that notes in specie. So far was be from hav- the consumption of grain in Dublin was ing made such an assertion, that his whole nearly double, in consequence of the disargument was, that he thought their abi- tillation from grain in that city-a perlity to meet their engagements made the mission by which industry was discouproposed enquiry useless. He always had raged, and immorality promoted. He thought that the Bank could pay in specie, must repeat, however, that there did not but the difficulty was as to the supplying exist the least reason to apprehend a the quantity of paper called for by the scarcity in Ireland, and that there was a country. He drew no comparison be redundancy of provisions in one part of the tween the funds of the Bank now, and in country sufficient to preserve the reasonathe year 1797, and he wished it to be un- ble price, and to supply any deficiency derstood that he was not disposed to draw that might partially exist. He concluded such a comparison. He begged pardon by moving, “ That there be laid before for occupying the attention of the House, this House, an account of the number of but thought the delicacy of the subject de gallons of Irish-made spirits on which manded some explanation.

duty was paid in Ireland, from the 5th The Accounts were accordingly ordered. day of January, 1811, to the latest period

to which the same can be made up; disDISTILLATION FROM GRAIN IN IRELAND.] tinguishing the districts, together with Mr. Maurice Fizgerald said, that before the amount of duty paid thereon." he made the motion with which he meant Mr. W. Pole said, that he bad no objecto conclude, he wished first to remove tion to grant the information required by from the minds of gentlemen any miscon- tbe hon. gentleman. In the general view ception, relative to the existence of any which the hon. gentleman bad taken of the insufficiency of a supply of corn in Ire subject, he perfectly agreed. He underland. It was not his wish to spread any stood the hon. gentleman to state, that he alarm of scarcity, and this he thought ne- did not think that there was any ground cessary to specify, because it too fre- for apprehending that there was a scarcity quently happened, that the discussion of a of grain in Ireland. He had taken every subject was a sufficient ground for alarm. means in his power to obtain the most acIt was true, that in some local districts curate information upon this subject, and some deficiency might be found to exist, he was convinced there was no danger of and, on that account, he thought it incum- scarcity. It was true that the prices of bent on the Irish government to direct grain were very different in different parts their attention to the subject, that if no of Ireland, but that variety of price did ground for apprehension was found to not arise from any deficiency of grain. exist, the public clamour or alarm might Very unpleasant circumstances had ocbe silenced. In another point of view, curred in different parts of Ireland, where

[ocr errors]

the people had endeavoured to prevent | cilitating that intercourse. But when he grain from being sent to the Dublin stated that the price of wheat was 168. a market, under a mistaken notion that it barrel more in London than it was in would cause a scarcity; but when a free Dublin, it was impossible to suppose that intercourse was opened between the dif- a great export to this country should not ferent parts of the kingdom, the result take place. Whether, if any serious was, that the markets were all supplied, scarcity were to take place in Ireland, it and the prices lowered. He was therefore might not be proper for government to warranted in saying, that even in the dis- take a review of the act to which he had tricts alluded to by the hon. gentleman, alluded, was another question; but certhere was

no reason to apprehend a tainly, under the present circumstances, scarcity. He agreed with the hon. gen. he for one would not consent to touch that tleman, that if there was any ground to ap- act. Gentlemen were not, perhaps, aware, prehend a scarcity, it would become the that in the last year, the import of grain daty of the Irish government to stop the into this country from Ireland was in the distilleries; but he knew, from informa- proportion of one to three of what Great tion upon which he could place the most Britain imported from the rest of the perfect reliance, that all the distillers in world; formerly the average of the proDublin, Cork, and Limerick, were now portion was only as one to ten. The imamply supplied with grain to carry on portation of grain into this country from their business to the fullest extent for ten Ireland was not only great, but it was weeks to come. The regular time at progressively increasing. The importawhich distillers coased to work was the 1st tion in the last four months was greater of June; last year they ceased on that day, than the whole importation of any one and he had no doubt that he could prevail preceding year, and the importation of the upon them to cease at the same period this last month was greater by one-fourth than year. As they had therefore already a the proportion of the four months. He sufficient supply of grain to carry them on did not think it necessary to take up more till within a few days of the time at which of the time of the House, as he did not they would naturally cease working, there mean to give any opposition to the hon. was no reason to apprehend that they gentleman's motion. If any case of would come into the market, and by their scarcity were to arise, the attention of the purchases increase the price of the article. Irish government would of course be most It should also be observed, that the grain closely directed to the subject. At prein the possession of the distillers was in sent he agreed with the hon. gentleman, soch a state, being either malted or kiln that there was no ground for any dried, or in some such state of process, prehension. The crop of potatoes, it was that it could not be made use of for the true, was rather scanty, but they were of purpose of food, even if the distilleries a good quality; and he was sure that, were stopped. He hoped, therefore, that from the steps which had been taken to the hon. gentleman would see, that the enable the farmers to carry their produce measure which he had suggested could to market without interruption, the prices not tend in any degree to afford any relief of grain in Ireland would not increase, and to the people of Ireland. The price of therefore that there would be no occasion grain had certainly risen in Ireland, but for the interposition of parliament. that was not owing to the distilleries, but Sir John Newport entirely agreed in the to the free intercourse in grain, which opinion, that there was nothing like a scarsubsisted between Great Britain and Ire city to be apprebended, and that where land, and the price in the former country any deficiency existed, it arose from the being so much greater than it was in the stoppage of the regular intercourse through latter, a very great export naturally took the country, by which alone plenty could place from Ireland. He most highly ap- be ensured. The farmer locked op his proved of the free intercourse in grain be-corn in his granaries, and the people de tween the two countries. No man at all feated their own objects. He believed acquainted with the state of Ireland, could that at all times there was a considerable shut his eyes to the astonishing improve advance on oats at this season of the year, ments which had taken place in the agri- particularly when the crop of potatoes culture of that country, in consequence of failed; and it was to be recollected that the act proposed by the right hion. baronet the lleries had laid in their stock, and opposite to him (sir John Newport) for fa. their demand ceased at this time. Above (VOL. XXII.)

(D)

such apa

AN

all things he entreated the House not to 1 in Great Britain. He thought that it was entertain any idea of fixing a maximum due to the poor manufacturers of Great almost under any contingent circum. Britain, who were now living on reduced stances; and he reminded them, that wages, and with an increased price of prowhen he introduced the Bill, for which he visions, to take measures for preventing the had been so undeservedly complimented unnecessary consumption of grain in the by the right hon. gentleman, be had cau- Irish distilleries. If this waste of grain tioned them against fixing a maximum, were stopped, our manufactures might be for it would operate as a permanent dis- sent out to pay for West India sugar, and couragement io the tillage farmer, and if the manufacturers might be restored te held over him, as a probable measure, their former wages. would, like the sword of Damocles, para- The motion was then agreed to. lyse all his exertions. Any limitation of the exports of corn would have the same

HOUSE OF LORDS. effect as a restriction, and he hoped the united kingdoms were fully able to furnish

Thursday, March 19. corn enough for their consumption, with. LORD BORINGDON'S MOTION FOR out any foreign aid. As to the prices of Address TO THE Prince REGENT, BESEECHcorn in the London market, it was to be ing His Royal HIGHNESS TO FORM AN observed,' that a considerable addition EFFICIENT ADMINISTRATION.] Lord Bomust be made to the price of the corn ex. ringdon observed, that it was rot unported from Ireland before it reached the usual, when a motion of great magnitude English market, and also that the quality was brought under the consideration of of corn grown in a moist soil (like ihat of the House, for the noble lord who intendIreland) was inferior; at all events, the ed to make it, to preface his speech by intercourse should not be meddled with, as dwelling on the purity of the motives by the evil complained of would correct itself. which he was actuated, and by declaring, There was a considerable exportation of that a strong sense of public duty impelled corn from Ireland to Portugal and Cadiz, him to offer himself to their lordships' nofor the use of the armies, and he would tice. On no occasion, by no individual, rather meddle with that than the regular he could justly say, were such expressions intercourse between the two countries, ever made use of with more entire sinceby which the farming interest would be rity, than by him who then had the hoalarmed, and that spirit repressed which nour of addressing the House. The moarose from the Bill of last session. He tion which he should have to submit to was sure the right hon. gentleman was not their lordships, originated entirely with inclined to take such a step, but as he had himself—it was not suggested by any thrown out a hint to that effect, he thought man, or set of men, either in that House it his duty to express his sentiments of or out of it; it had arisen from feelings the evils which were to be apprehended of a purely public nature, from an anxious from it.

wish to make an exertion which might Mr. W. Pole said, in explanation, that dispel the gloomy prospect that surroundthe right hon. baronet understood him in ed the country, and avert the occurrence a stronger sense than he intended-he of the worst calamity that could befal the merely meant to state in fairness, that the empire. He knew he had made use of a difference in price might make it a ques. bold expression. But the calamity he retion whether some limits should not be ferred to fully justified it—that calamity put to it.

was nothing less than the separation of the Mr. Marryatt said, that the consump- two sister countries--the dismemberment tion of grain in the Irish distilleries was of the empire. Of no less magnitude was prodigious, as besides the consumption of the evil which he fearfully contemplated that country, Ireland exported near á -and which, in his opinion, reasoning thousand puncheons of spirits a week. from cause to effect, the system pursued He thought that in determining this ques- at present, must necessarily produce tion, the price of corn in this country ought and, at a period far less remote than was, to be attended to as well as the price of in all probability, imagined by the genecorn in Ireland. It was evident that while rality of persons. It was under the strong there was a free intercourse of corn be- and serious apprehension of this calamity, tween the two countries, the price of it in whether that feeling were erroneous or Ireland must be affected by the price of it justly founded, that he earnestly solicited the indulgent attention of the House. On giving unprecedented encouragement and this occasion, it would not be necessary for effect to our paper currency,—to which him to carry their lordships back to the circumstance, in the existing situation commencement of the melancholy illness of the country, he certainly however was of the sovereign, who, for more than half not disposed to object. In the interior of a century, had swayed the sceptre of those the country there appeared a spirit of disrealıns; nor would it be necessary to do order and contempt of the law, bordering more than to advert to those amiable senti- on insurrection. At a time when we were ments, those refined principles of duty not only at war with a power whose doand affection, which, at the commence- minions were more extensive than those of ment of the restricted Regency, and Charlemagne, but also with every potenthroughout its duration, had induced his tate of Europe except those of the peninroyal highness the Prince Regent, to adopt sula, this was an appalling state of things; and pursue that course to which bis royal but the most appalling circumstance was, father was known to be attached. While that while almost the whole population of any hope remained of his Majesty's reco- the continent of Europe was united against very, it would have been extremely diffi. these islands, whose numbers were so cult for him to have acted differently. small in proportion, and notwithstanding But at length a new æra arrived, when, the general complexion of the times, one from the utter hopelessness of his Ma- fourth of our population was excluded jesty's restoration to health, the Prince from the pale of the constitution-excluded Regent could no longer be influenced by by various laws founded on causes and those considerations, which, prior to that principles wbich had long ceased to opee period, had so honourably operated on his rate,--laws which had relation only to the conduct; and could no longer be pre- peculiar circumstances of the age in which cluded from pursuing such a course as they were enacted, and the continuance of to him might seem best calculated to ad- which, till this day, was a scandal to the vance the interests of the country. Wbat nation, and a serious detriment to the powas the general situation of the country, litical power of the country. Such was at the beginning of the æra to which he the general outline of our situation, at the had adverted? What were the prospects period to which he referred. He was of their lordships and of the nation? And anxious, however, to be understood, as not what had overshadowed and overclouded stating any thing that might look like the those prospects? At that period, Java, the suggestions of passion, rather than sober last colonial possession of the enemy, had

He hoped no expression of his been wrested from him, and added to the would be so construed as to carry the apdominions of the British crown. Though pearance of giving way to dismay and a formidable navy had been prepared by despair. He was convinced on the cone France, the British navy had been every trary, that our resources, if properly mawhere triumphant : the enemy's ships naged, and called into action, were fully only quitted their ports to enter those of adequate to overcome all the difficulties Great Britain. The colonial power of the by which we were surrounded. It was, enemy had been literally annihilated all indeed, out of this conviction, that the over the globe. Portugal had been motion which he was about to submit to wrested from the military occupation of their lordships grew ; for, he was perthe French; and in the 10th year of the suaded, that, with an united people, and a war, and in the fourth year of its existence government, meriting and receiving their in the peninsula, not only had Portugal confidence, the empire was perfectly combeen defended, but our armies had on petent to avert every danger which every occasion, and those occasions had, threatened it; and that the energies and as their lordships knew, often occurred, resources of this island were equal, not covered themselves with glory in the ter- only to its own necessities, but to continue ritory of Spain. The operations of the the assistance at present imparted to its war in that quarter were conducted by allies and even, if it were found expeone of the first generals of the age, whose dient, to extend it still farther. But, he services were still at the disposal of his was no less certain, that, without such an country. What was the picture on the union among the people, without such a other hand ? Commercial distress all over confidence in the government, no results, the country,our manufacturers reduced beneficial to the interests of the empire, almost to a state of starvation--new laws, could be expected. It was under those circumstances, which he had just de- | that his royal highness the Prince Regent scribed, that, according to an authentic, had expressed bis wish that a government though not official document,* it appeared, should be formed on an extended and li

reason.

* The following is the Correspondence added most important acquisitions to her referred to in the course of this debate : empire. The national faith has been preLetter from his Royal Highness the served inviolate towards our allies; and if

character is strength, as applied to a naPrince Regent to the Duke of York,

tion, the encreased and encreasing reputaand Answer from Earl Grey and Lord

tion of his Majesty's arms will shew to the Grenville.

nations of the continent how much they My dearest Brother;

may still achieve when animated by a As the restrictions on the exercise of the glorious spirit of resistance to a foreign royal authority will shortly expire, when yoke. In the critical situation of the war I must make my arrangements for the fu- in the peninsula, I shall be most anxious ture administration of the powers with to avoid any measure which can lead my which I am invested, I think it right to allies to suppose that I mean to depart communicate to you those sentiments from the present system. Perseverance which I was withheld from expressing at alone can achieve the great object in quesan earlier period of the session, by my ear- tion; and I cannot with hold my appronest desire, that the expected motion on bation from those who have honourably the affairs of Ireland might undergo the distinguished themselves in support of it. deliberate discussion of parliament, un- I have no predilections to indulge--no remixed with any other consideration. sentments to gratify-no objects to attain,

I think it hardly necessary to call your but such as are common to the whole emrecollection to the recent circumstances pire. If such is the leading principle of under which I assumed the authority de- my conduct and I can appeal to the past legated to me by parliament.

At a mo

in evidence of what the future will be ment of unexampled difficulty and danger, flatter myself I shall meet with the supe I was called upon to make a selection of port of parliament, and of a candid and persons to whom I should entrust the func

enlightened nation. tions of the executive government.

Having made this communication of my My sense of duty to our royal father sentiments in this new and extraordinary solely decided that choice; and every crisis of our affairs, I cannot conclude private feeling gave way to considerations without expressing the gratification I wbich admitted of no doubt or hesitation should feel, if some of those persons with I trust I acted in that respect as the ge- whom the early habits of my public life nuine representative of the august person were formed, would strengthen my hands, whose functions I was appointed to dis- and constitute a part of my governments charge; and I have the satisfaction of With such support

, and aided by a via knowing, that such was the opinion of gorous and united administration, formed persons, for whose judgment and honoura. on the most liberal basis, I shall look withi ble principles I entertain the highest re- additional confidence to a prosperous issue spect.

of the most arduous contest in which In various instances, as you well know, Great Britain was ever engaged. You are where the law of the last session left me at authorised to communicate these sentifull liberty, I waved any personal gratifi- ments to lord Grey, who, I have no doubt; cation, in order that his Majesty might will make them known to lord Grenville. resume, on his restoration to health, every I am always, my dearest Frederick, power and prerogative belonging to his your affectionate Brother, crown. I certainly am the last person in

(Signed) GBORCE, P. R. the kingdom to whom it can be permitted Carlton House, Feb. 13, 1812. to despair of our royal father's recovery. A New Æra is now arrived, and I cannot immediately to Mr. Perceval.

P.S. I shall send a copy of this letter but reflect with satisfaction, on the events which have distinguished the short period

February 15, 1812. of my restricted regency. Instead of suf- Sir-We beg leave most humbly lo exfering in the loss of any of her possessions, press to your Royal Highness our dutiful by the gigantic force which has been em- acknowledgements for the gracious and ployed against them, Great Britain has condescending manner in which you have

« PreviousContinue »