Page images
PDF
EPUB

of life, for the sake of enabling the pro- posed some particular measures on the
prietors and cultivators of land to main subject. He hoped the sense of his con-,
tain undiminished a splendid and luxurious stituents, expressed in a constitutional
style of living, unknown to their fathers, manner, would be attended to.
in which they were tempted to indulge Mr. Buring rose to present three Peti.
during the late war, so highly profitable to tions against the Corn Bill, from Mary-
them, and so calamitous to most of their | le-bonne parish, from Plymouth Dock,
fellow-subjects.

and from his constituents at Taunton; “ That it appears to your petitioners, the last of which had come just in time that the measure which is the object of to be thrown on the table and totally disthis Bill neither has been, nor can be regarded with the many others which had proved to be called for by any necessity; been presented. He hoped it was not that, on the contrary, the system of pro- necessary for any member of the House hibition is injudicious; and that whenever to disavow an intention of exciting tumult, the produce of all the land which can be as the noble lord (Castlereagh) had called cultivated at a moderate expense, is found on the opposers of the Corn Bill to do. insufficient for the support of a greatly He admitted that the Government was increased manufacturing population, it is justified in using all fair exertions to wiser to import, from countries where it suppress the disturbances, and he therein can be grown at a low price, the addis differed from the hon. baronet (sir tional quantity of corn required, which F. Burdett), who, whatever he might the spirit and industry of our merchants do with his vote, had thrown the weight would at all times obtain in exchange for of his argument into the scale with the manufactures exported, than to diminish supporters of the Bill. He thought the the national capital and increase the price bon. baronet wrong also as to the relation of bread, in attempting to force it from which he conceived to exist between the barren spots at home, by an enormously ministers and the country gentlemen. expensive mode of cultivation.

The ministers had been made a cat's-paw “ That the certain consequences of this by the country gentlemen, rather than prohibitory measure, if persevered in, will the country gentlemen by the ministers; be, as your petitioners conceive, consider. who would eat the chesnuts, he could able inconvenience to the middle orders of not decide. As to the unfortunate acci. society; great distress to the poorer and dent in Burlington-street, there was no more numerous classes; a most serious one, he believed, that would blame the injury to the manufactures and commerce right hon, mover for taking the most of the country; a great loss of national effectual means to defend his house; nor properly; a powerful inducement to emi-would any impulation be cast on him, gration; and eventually, though not imme. even if any of the persons employed to diately, a bar to the prosperity of the defend his property bad misbehaved themlanded interest itself. For these reasons, selves. Although he did not agree with the they are firmly persuaded that it is both hon. baronet in his notions of reform, he impolitic and unjust..

thought the measure, if carried, would be “ Your petitioners, therefore, humbly more efficacious towards producing a pray that the said Bill may not pass into reform in that House, than any speech law, and that the degree of freedom which which that hon. baronet bad made or the corn trade at present enjoys may not could niake. be diminished.

Mr. Brand said, that though a friend to “ And your petitioners shall ever pray.” a reform of the representation, he thought The Petition was ordered to lie on the that question had been most improperly table.

mixed up with the consideration of the General Gascoyne presented a Petition manner in which this country might best be from Liverpool against the Corn laws, supplied with provisions, both by the hon. signed by 43,000 persons. He stated | baronet, and by the hon. gentleman who that this petition bad been drawn up and spoke last. The hon. gentleman, indeed, signed without any meeting having been had mixed up with his speeches all that was held from the spontaneous feeling of the inconsistent, heterogeneous, and contrainhabitants. The opinion of the people dictory-every thing that could excite the of Liverpool had become decidedly hos- public mind, by imputing the most im. tile to any alteration in the Corn laws, proper motives to the supporters of the although formerly they had merely op- Bill; and he must be conscious, however

[ocr errors]

he lamented it, that the state of disturbance, on Wednesday. Being then on his legs, in which the metropolis was bad arisen he also begged to be informed, whether from such statements.

Government had received any intelligence Mr. Tierney rose to order, He was respecting the landing of Buonaparıé in convinced, from the well-known benevo- France. Jent disposition of his hon. friend, that he Lord Castlereagh replied, that he would had not any deliberate intention to cast endeavour to produce the treaty of Chauimproper imputations on individuals; but mont before Wednesday. As to the second he would perceive ibat it went to make a question, it was true that Government had member answerable for the consequence received information that Buonaparté bad which a conscientious support of his opi- landed in France. nions in the House might produce out of Mr. Whitbread hoped that the noble lord doors.

would produce the treaty on Monday: it Mr. Brand continued, that he thought contained many matters of importance to it most improper that the hon. gentleman the discussion. He hoped that it would (Mr. Baring) should have attributed im- turn out that the conduct of Great Britain proper motives to any individuals or class had been perfectly correct, and that our of individuals. The consequence had allies had been equally immaculate in the been, that members, that he himself was preservation of their plighted faith. not able, without personal inconvenience Lord Castlereagh did not think it right and danger, to attend his duty in that now to reply to any insinuations, if they House. It was impossible for him to were intended. The treaty might not be speak of the statements which he supposed ready before Monday, but at any rate the to have produced this, without irritation. substance was sufficiently kpown. He concurred with the hon: baronet in Mr. Whitbread remarked that he hoped what he had said respecting the represent the treaty would be forthcoming; the ation, except as to the language which House had voted supplies upon the faith the hon, baronet had used on the occasion; of the ratification of that convention. but he thought the subject quite irrelevant Lord Castlereagh observed, that it would to a question concerning the made of not be a greater stretch to argue upon promoting the agriculture of the country. the substance of the treaty than to'vole

Mr. Baring contended, that he was public money upon it. strictly in order, as to what he had said Mr. Tierney objected to the noble lord, respecting parliamentary reform; and he that he made a sort of favour of that repeated that the measure then before the which the House bad a right to demand ; House would injure the reputation of that it was the duty of every minister to lay a House with the people. They would lose treaty on which money was voted upon more by persevering in that measure than the table the moment it was ratified. He by any act that bad ever taken place demanded the treaty. since he had sat within those walls. He Lord Castlereagh said that he was not had never said, that there were persons aware that he had provoked language of who had not voted conscientiously; but that imperious kind. Ministers, without he maintained that this was a question being influenced, would pursue that course between landed proprietors and the great which had hitherto secured to them the body of the people.' (No! no!) Gentle approbation of the House and of the counmen might say “ No! no !” but he was try. Such terms did not become so sagapersuaded he was right, without following cious and experienced a member. He ihe supporters of the measure in all their would take measures to procure the treaty, agricultural trumpery.

but surely the substance ald answer The petitions were ordered to lie on the fully all the purposes of argument. table.

Mr. Whitbread complained of the con.

temptuous manner in which the noble TREATY OF CHAUMONT-LANDING OF lord thought fit to treat members. MiBUONAPARTE IN FRANCE.] Mr. Whitbread nisters had secured the vote of money, begged to know if a treaty, wbich was and now Parliament might obtain the not then ratified, and could not conse vouchers as they could. He contended quently be produced, but which had been that the confidence shewn by Parliament required from the noble lord as early as in voting the public money, demanded a July last, and several times since, would different return. The documentary evibe laid upon the table before the debate dence was absolutely necessary ; and he (VOL. XXX.)

(1)

[ocr errors]

was sorry that the noble lord required to ! He regarded the measure as one of the be urged, not only to give this piece of many attempts to support the defective information, but the whole esplanation state of the money system, and that it had regarding his important mission. He in- been proposed at the worst time that could quired what money had been paid under bave been chosen. He thought that even the treaty?

a regard to the public feeling should in. Lord Castlereagh replied, that no money duce the House to suspend the passing of had been paid under it.

tbe measure, even if the Bill did noi apMr. Whitread said that the intelligence pear to them impolitic and unjust. gave bim great satisfaction; and after a Mr. Wriberforce said the hon. gentleman few words from lord Castlereagb, the sub- who bad just sat down seemed to think, ject was dropped, on an understanding that all the danger and mischief were on ihat, if possible, ihe treaty should be laid one side only; but if those who bad upon the table.

argued in support of the Bill were correct Mr. Wilberforce wished to know whe- in their opinions, the measure was abso. ther the noble lord would give the House lotely recessary. There was a general some intimation of what bad passed at the impression, that the opening of oor ports Congress on the subject of the abolition freely for the importation of foreign corn of the slave trade?

would prevent agriculturists from supplyLord Castlereagh said that on Wednes. ing our home market, and would occasion day next, among other information, be a general decline and decrease of agriculshould state what had passed on that in- ture. If tbat were true, wbat could be teresting subject.

more serious, wbat more alarming? If it Mr. Ponsonby said that if, on Wednes- were true, it was necessary for the general day, it was intended to call for any opi- weal of the empire that the Legislature nion on the conduct of the noble lord, he, should adopt proper remedies before it for one, should not give any opinion with was too late. Gentlemen said, that every out documents having been laid before thing should be left to find its own level. him. He should lay in his claim, both He admitted this principle generally, but for time and authentic documents, before did they not see that in ihe present state of he could come to any decision on the circumstances it was in applicable? If the subject.

whole of Europe were under one gorern. Lord Castlereagh said be perfectly con ment,-if it were one great family-if all curred with the right hon. gentleman. were as much disposed to dispense happiWhat he should do on Wednesday was, to ness as they were often found inclined to give a general outline of the business at injure one another, be sbouid then say, let the Congress, and not to call for any de erery country produce that which the cision on his conduct.

nature of its soil and other circumstances

may render beneficial, and let it supply Corn BilL.) Mr. Robinson moved the other nations with its superabundance. order of the day for the third reading of Norbing would be more just than tbat the Corn B:I.

principle; but it was worthy of the most Mr. Protheroe said, that as in the course serious consideration, that those very coun. of the last two years, he had spoken at tries from which we might derive supplies, least nine times on the subjeci of the were countries which, at no great length corn laws, he thought it unnecessary to of time, might be united againsi ibis nation. Irespass on the time of the House now If that were the case, we bad sufficient in rising to move an amendment to the reasons for not trusting to their kindness, motion which bad just been made. He or good policy. As to baring been suplamented the popular commotions which plied by France at a particular period, be had taken place, panegyrised the general begged the house to remember, that that conduct of the right hon. gentleman n bo ! was not owing to the situation of our com. bad brought forward the measure, and (merce, but because the French emperor concluded by moving, That the Bill be read found it a productive source of revenue. a third time on that day six months. Bat would gentlemen put the happiness of

Mr. Fremantle seconded the amendment, 'so many millions upon an issue like that? and observed, that the Bill being founded | Would they trust to the tender mercies on arerages which were known to be fal. of France for supplies? Would they trust lacious, the operation of it could not be 10 any commercial interests whatever? eticciva in producing stability of price. No; there could not be any truth more

-

certain than this,-that a great country like were a sufficient price; but he saw most England, should be independent of foreign distinctly, that it would be better to go nations with regard to her supply for food. beyond what the consumers thought necesProvidence had given us the means of sary, in order to protect the growers. He satisfying all our wants, and we should be said, therefore, it would be with considerungrateful and undeserving, if we did not able apprehension he should stop at 768., if avail ourselves of its kindness. He was those persons more conversant with the astonished, therefore, to hear honourable subject than he was should persist in premembers argue, that we should depend on ferring 80s; though if we were guided the policy of foreign nations for our exist. by his own opinion, he should deem 76s. ence. Did the great commercial gentle sufficient. If, however, the lower price man, who had spoken so frequently on was likely to diminish the cultivation of that subject (Mr. Baring) suppose that land, he thought it might produce an France would not raise the price of corn, injury to the country that it would be when the demand for it was increased ? terrible to contemplate. On this head, If honourable gentlemen would consider one side was as much concerned as the that point, they would find that all the other,—the consumer as much as the reasoning was not confined to one side. grower; and if the alteration of one-fifth He would next say a few words as to the might tend, as had been represented, to policy of promoting the agriculture of the introduce a scarcity of corn, it should at all country ; and instead of speaking of the events be avoided. Having, therefore, coumtry gentlemen in the way which an come to this conclusion, he felt it his hon. member had done, he would say, that urgent, though painful duty, under the it was the pride and honour of this nation, present peculiar circumstances, to vote in that we had that race of men in the coun favour of the measure.

If he was in error try who fertilised the districts around them upon the subject, his error was at least an more than any other country in Europe. honest one, for he had used every faculty The manufacturing interests ought, no he possessed thoroughly to understand it: doubt, to be protected; and he was per and he was convinced that by passing the suaded, that he, who had sprung from a present Bill they would preserve from the commercial stock, and had so long repre- greatest degree of danger and ruin even sented a district where manufactures those very persons who imagined they flourished to a great extent, would never saw nothing but ruin and distress in it. be suspected of undervaluing commerce. Lord Barnard thought a protecting But he wished it to be remembered, that price should given to the grower, and no less than one hundred and fifty articles iherefore beartily concurred in the present were prohibited, for the purpose of favouring our own manufactures. The whole Mr. Smyth (of Cambridge) contended, would be injured in the end, and none that the agricultural interest ought not to more than the manufacturer. The agri. be denied that artificial protection which culturist must be paid somehow or other; parliament had given to every other intebut people would give up some things, rest in the country. He would have preespecially articles of luxury, for necessary ferred the price being fixed at 76s. instead food. Notwithstanding, therefore, all of 80s. ; but now that the question was, that had been said on behalf of the manu. whether 80s. should be preferred to 638. facturing interests, the House should con he felt it is duty to vote for 80s. by supsider the situation of the peasantry, who porting the Bill. could not attend to plead their own cause; Sir Henry Parnell corrected a misreprethey should consider them as calling on sentation which had been very prevalent the Parliament with ten thousand tongues, with regard to the measure which he had to protect them and their families. With 4 proposed upon this subject about two years respect to the restricting price, he had not ago, and insisted that that measure would heard one single argument to shew, that have been by no means so operative as the because the sum was fixed at 80s., the present, as his measure would have only price of corn must necessarily be raised to added 15s. per quarter to the existing im. that extent But that price would afford port price. This allegation the hon. a sufficient inducement to the agriculturist baronet sustained by describing the nature to improve bis lands, because he knew that of his plan, the rejection of which he the his expenses would be repaid by it. He more deplored, because if it had been should bave thought, however, that 76s. adopted the distress since prevailing

measure.

among the agricultural interests would | graceful proceedings. [A general cry of have been prevented, and most probably No, no!] He was glad to hear this denied. no turnults whatever would have occurred. If any of the opponents of the measure The hon, baronet observed, that as to per had any part in the outrages which had sonal interest be could have none what taken place, they had adopted the most ever upon this subject with any view to effectual mode of injuring the cause : or rent, all bis property being let out upon he rather thought, had made it a pretence long leases. He contended, that the Lord to obtain other objects. He remembered a Mayor was wrong in asserting, that bread time, when the cry of • No Popery' was would rise to 10d. if the present measure raised, as at present that of "No Corn was adopted. The very week after he had Bill! and he recollected a street, in made that assertion, he had been obliged which the mob exclaimed, • Throw us ont to declare, according to the regular re so many guineas, and we will not smash turns, that bread should be reduced one your windows.' He thought the same penny in the peck loaf, although the mea- motives actualed the present rabble. He sure was then under discussion in the did not oppose the principle of the meaHouse. This showed, that the assertion sure, but the price, which he thought was was unfounded.

fixed so high, as to press heavy on the Mr. Gore Langton conceived no prin- community. eiple more sound than this, that the Legis. Mr. Gooch said, that although he oplature should not unnecessarily interpose posed the proposition upon this subject in upon any occasion, and therefore thinking 1813, because he thought it unecessary the present measure quite unnecessary, from the very high price of wheat, be he felt it his duty to oppose it. But, in should support the present measure bedependently of this consideration, the cause the price of wheat was so very low, public opinion was so decidedly expressed and the consequent distress of the farmers against it, that he should consider himself so very severe. guilty of a serious dereliction of duty, and Mr. Round was anxious to treat the unworthy of being the representative of representations of the people, as conveyed the county of Somerset, if he did not enter through constitutional channels to ihat his protest against this most iniquitous and House, with all possible tenderness and abominable measure.

respect, yet could not prevail upon bim. Mr. C. Grant thought, that the measure self to surrender to temporary feeling, the was far from unnecessary. Those who de fixed and deliberate conviction of his own nied that it would lower the price of bread, judgment upon a question of great national only paid attention to its immediate and import. He shortly advocated the prin. instantaneous, and not its future effect. ciple of the Bill, as calculated to give A precarious ' market was always a dear effectual protection to the interests of one, whilst a secure market would always British agriculture; with confidence afbe a cheap one. The effect of the measure forded to the grower of grain, a most would be to maintain a medium price, important object of sound policy would be and in a short time would probably keep obtained. The rendering this country inthat price even below the medium. The dependent of foreigners in só material an reason that so many petitions had been article of its subsistence as bread corn, a presented against the Bill, was that manu- plentiful supply would be insured from facturers lived collected in towns, whilst our own resources, and cheapness must agriculturists were scattered over the coun. follow a plentiful supply. Such being his try, and had not so many opportunities of conscientious view of the subject, and conassembling. If the Bill should not pass, ceiving the measure (stript of the misagriculture would decline, and not only representation and misconception which those lands little apt to produce corn had gone forth respecting it) as tending would be thrown out of cultivation, but a to promote the real and permaneat inte. proper degree of expense and skill could rests of every class of the people; he not be bestowed on those of a more trusted the Legislature would continue the favourable kind.

calm exercise of its deliberative functions, Mr. Marryatt did not intend to have and persevere in the cause it deemed to once more introduced himself on the be right, for the benefit of the community House, had it not been for the appeal of at large. of the noble lord who associated the op Sir Gilbert Heathcote said, that in this posers of the Bill with the recent dis- last stage of this obnoxious Bill he felt

« PreviousContinue »