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ing the obligations which they were under his opinion might lead to. Mr. Crabtree to the diligence and ability of the noble stated from 70s. to 75s. as sufficient; Mr. lords by whom the inquiry was conducted, Mant and another gentleman thought 75s. it was impossible not to perceive that the and 72s. were ample protection. With questions and examinations had ofien been this evidence, that 75s. or 72s. would be a influenced by a partial view of the subo sufficient protection, he would ask them ject; and that, if the witnesses had been on what ground they adopted 80s. as a more accurately examined, many of them protection ? Many of those witnesses who who appeared at first view favourable to had been examined, and whose evidence the measure would in reality have apo had been represented as favourable to the peared adverse to it. There was evidence Bill, would, if further examined, afford a before the House of Commons supporting contradiction of this. He alluded in par. the opinion that much less than 80s. was ticular to one gentleman, Mr. Wakefield, sufficient.
very eminent in his line, who had great Mr. Driver, the first witness examined experience and great knowledge, both by the committee of the House of Com- with respect to this country and to Iremons, stated, that in his opinion 5l. per land, and who had been represented as quarter was absolutely necessary to pro- stating 80s. to be a proper protecting price tect the farmer against the foreign grower to the farmer. He believed he might state
that there should be an absolute prohi. from authority, that Mr. Wakefield's opi-
argument as applicable to England, with grower. But, then, what became of the respect to Ireland, the case was still protection to English agriculture, the poor stronger. But though they were urged lands, which would be ihrown out of culto this measure as much for the sake of tivation, and the numerous other mischiefs Ireland as of England, and though the which were to follow tlre want of this greatest number of petitions praying for protection? [Hear, hear!) This effect some relief were from that country, yet would be infallibly produced, and all the he would say that there was not one tiitle advantages which they promised them. of evidence before their lordships to shew selves from this measure would be deat what rate grain could be grown and feated, unless at the same time that they sold by the Irish agriculturist. In the protected the English farmer against the House of Commons some evidence had foreign grower, they also repealed the been obtained on that subject, but it was beneficial law of 1806, by which corn was contradictory. Mr. Wakefield said he allowed to be imported from Ireland into thought 70s. sufficient : another gentle this country. All he said that they ought man said 64s. The general result, how to ascertain was, whether these effects ever, of the evidence before the House of were likely to follow or not. They ought Commons respecting Ireland was, that to inquire whether the English farmer grain could be grown at a much less price should be supported or left open to the in that country ihan in England. And as competition which he had here stated. far as his information went, from the state He conceived that he had already made of labour and the comparative low taxa out a strong case for this inquiry, by tion in Ireland, corn, under a moderate rent, showing, first, that there was no satissaccould be grown at a much less rate than any tory evidence that 80s. was required for of the sums which had been stated. Look. England; in the next place, that there ing, therefore, at Ireland, in particular, he was no evidence to show that this sum was would say that there was no evidence that requisite for Ireland, but that on the conany protection was required for that coun. trary there were strong reasons for pretry; but if some protection was necessary suming that a much cheaper price would for the safety of the English farmer, what be suficient for that country; and, lasıly, would be the effect produced by this that England and Ireland together were measure? It must produce one of iwo proceeding to enact a law by which the effects. By tixing the protecting price at English farmer would be exposed to those 80s. it would have the effect of keeping very evils which it was the intention of up the price to the consumer to that sum, this measure to remove. Before they could and would thus give the grower a greater fix the price at 80s. it was necessary not remuneration than was necessary, and only to know whether this sum was requiwould thus keep up the rents of the land- site for Ireland, but also al wbat rate curn holders of Ireland at the expense of the could be imported from foreign countries. people of England; or it would have this Here, also, ibe information of which the other effect-as grain was grown in Ire. House was io possession was defective. land much cheaper than it could be grown When their lordships committee were in England, they would be enabling the sitting, the only importation into this Irish grower to undersell the English farmer country came from the Baltic; and the in the market of England, which would whole tendency of the evidence before render the present measure an insufficient that committee was to shew that corn protection to the English farmer. Would could not be imported from the Baltic, any man say that any of these effects without a loss, under 75s. One person, were of so unimportant a nature that it was Mr. Solly, stated, that it could not be imnot necessary to inquire into them before ported much under 80s., but in general the coming to a determination? The Irish witnesses agreed that it could not be imgrower would be able very much to un ported under 758. If, therefore, the evidersell the English grower, and with the dence went to shew that 758. or 72s. was a number of Irish absentee landlords, resi- sufficient protecting price to the English dent in England, to whom remittances landholder, as far as ihe foreign importer must be made, and with the interest on was concerned, there was no evidence to their public debt due in England, the shew that the public interest could be in Irish grower would be under the inevitable any wise affected. But it was now found necessity of bringing his corn' to England, that the Baltic was not the only place and would thus undersell the English from wbich corn might be imported. By
the happy termination of bostilities with partly from an expectation of the foreign France, which situation of things, he merchants that an advance would have trusted, was not likely to be endangered taken place in Great Britain. Here, then, by any recent events in that country, there was evidence that the importation and he hoped that it at least would not be arose from a decrease in the demand in endangered by any injudicious interfe. Spain and Portugal, since the cessation of rence on the part of this country, if any hostilities. Mr. John Barandon stated, struggle should take place in France,-be that the importation was on account of markets of Great Britain, were at length | the high prices expected in this country, accessible to Holland, the Netherlands, and ihe high dury which they thought and France. Whether it was thought that would be imposed. England could not permanently obtain The noble earl proceeded to observe, any supply of corn from these countries, that upon this point there was no satisfacor that ihey waited for further information tory information as to the price at which on this subject, he knew not; but the fact grain could be imported, and thai therewas, that with regard to the supplies from fore it was peculiarly incumbent upon these countries, ibey had no information ibe House to call for information upon this whatever; and they were ignorant both bra ch of the subjecu betore they proas to the capacity they possessed of proceeded 10 legislale. He was aware he ducing more corn than was necessary for should be told, as it had already been their own consumption, and as to the said, that the insportation of grain 10 a price at which corn could be imported considerable extent from France, together from them into England. He knew that with the price, was a matter of notoriely. he should be told, that all examination on Still, however, much information upon the the subject was unnecessary, from the subject was required, particularly if, as notoriely of the fact, that importation had there was reason to believe, a large importaken place to a considerable extent from tation had taken place upon the specula. these countries, and that such importation tion of some measure regarding the Corn had produced a great effect on the home laws passing through Parliament. If this market-a notoriety which precluded the were the case; tben it would be found that necessity of any inquiry. He anticipated the avowed or intimated intention of Parthis statement, as one which the noble liament had been the chief cause of the lord opposite was likely to make. But to importation, against the effects of which it this he would answer, that no noble lord was the object of it is very measure to seek ought, from the importation of one parti- protection. Upon another important point colar year, to conclude that the same also they were greaily in want of inforthing would happen in all future years. nation; he alluded in the effect of the The importation of that year might be present mode of taking the averages. It produced by a thousand temporary cir was on all hands admirted, that the precumstances which were not likely to con sent system of ascertaining the averages tinue. In fact, they had some sort of was extremely erroneous. evidence, to shew, that such a state of was struck of the twelve maritime districts; things as did exist last year arose from and one small district in South Wales, peculiar circumstances, which could not where perhaps not more than 100 quarters be supposed to continue. He alluded to of wheat were sold, might regulate the the two witnesses called on this point-- average of the vast supply for the conMr. Samuel Scott and Mr. Barandon. Mr. sumption of this great metropolis. No inScott told them, that in the present rela- formation whatever was before them as to tive state of the home market and the the effect which this mode of striking the continental markets, it was impossible that averages would have upon the
price under any considerable importation of grain the present Bill Were they sure that could take place. He allowed that some they were really legislating for a price of wheat had arrived that year, but not in 76s, or for 80s. ? They bad no data what. considerable quantity; and he accounted ever before them to lead them one way or for it partly from disappointment of the the other to any certain conclusion; all holders of wheat on the continent, who was doubt, hesitation, and contradiction. had principally intended their adventures It had been said that the effect of the meafor the Spanish and Portuguese markets, sure would be to raise the quarter loaf to which markets had fallen in a greater pro.
1s. 4d. This had been controverted; and portion than the markets in England, and he was ready to admit, that supposing the
actual price to be 80s. the quartern loaf, did not mean to object to the general ought not to be more than 1s. But what principle of extending protection to agriwas the fact? At the present price of 60s. culture; that was equally just as applied the quartern loaf was 1s. and therefore at to agriculture as to the woollen trade, the 80s. one third more, the price of the coal trade, and other branches of comquartern loaf must be 18. 4d. He admitted merce. The question was, what protec. ihat this arose from the mode of setting tion was required by the actual circumthe assize of bread ; but did not this form stances of the case? He was aware that an important subject of inquiry, in ordet agricultural distress existed to a great ex. that they might ascertain the details of tent; he knew that in his own neighbourthe manufacture of flour, and the manner bood it existed to a considerable extent. of setting the assize They might thus The pressure on the farmer of course exconfer an important benefit upon the con. tended in an aggravated degree to the sumers, by lowering the price of bread, labourer. Still, however, it should be rewhich would tend at once to allay the po. collected what the price of wheat was for pular ferment. But to do this they must a few years previous to 1813, and even in institute an inquiry, without which they that year, although a year of great plenty, could not legislate with any advantage or the price of wheat was 120s. It was im. satisfaction. Another assertion had been possible, therefore, to suppose that so made and denied, that the import price much distress would have arisen in a short would be the minimum price in the market, time from a fall in the price of wheat, unand that wheat would never be sold at a less arising from that general derangement less rate. He did not mean 10 assert that of interests which resulted from the effects such must necessarily be the effect of the of a long and expensive war. All these measure; but the House had no informa- therefore formed strong and essential tion to enable them to legislate upon the grounds for inquiry, in order that they subject with any certainty, as to what might ascertain with correctness what they would be the actual effect upon the price were actually doing, and what was, in of wheat. He had looked into the tables, fact, required to be done. All parties comparing them with the averages for would be satisfied if a case was properly several years back, and he had found that made out. The ports were
now shut the market price of wheat had been often against importation, and would remain so below the import price, but sometimes for three months' to come; no inconvemuch above it, and that there was fre- nience therefore could arise from delay. quently a very considerable difference be- His lordship concluded by moving " to tween the average price and the real institute a further inquiry relative to the price. Upon these points the House was state of the growth, commerce, and condestitute of information, and this formed sumption of grain, and the state of the an essential ground for going into the in-laws relating ihereto.". quiry which he intended to propose. They The Earl of Derby declared his convicdid not know whether the import price tion, that the petitions of his fellow-submight be the marimum or the minimum jects were always entitled to the most price in the market, or what effect the serious consideration. This opinion be measure would have on the market price. had held through life, and he was the less How, then, could they legislate i
likely to abandon it on such an occasion, There was still apother point applicable when the table was crowded with them. to this subject of the greatest importance, He had presented many himself, with the he alluded to the state of the circulation. prayers of which, unfortunately, he could Would it be contended that 80s. now, not agree; but as they were all dictated particularly after the sanguine prospect by the most honourable and conscientious held out by the Chancellor of the Exche- | motives, they should be attended to. He quer, of the resumption of cash-payments would even go so far as to say, that, as in the next year, was the same as 80s. | long as there was a single man in the would be when a regular and healthy cire country who wished to petition, Parliaculation was restored? This, then, was a ment ought to pause. He therefore repoint on which the House required infor- commended to their lordships to agree to mation, and without which they could not the motion. It was impossible for them, safely proceed to legislate. In thus de- even if they could pass the Bill to-night tailing the grounds on wbich he thought and obtain the Regent's assent to-morrow, further inquiry necessary, he certainly to prevent the discussions which they
might be anxious to avoid. These dis- | to produce.] The earl of Limerick then cussions would arise upon motions for the proceeded, and observed, that of the six repeal, and in other shapes that could not million of which the population of Ireland be evaded. He agreed most cordially consisted, four million were engaged in in his noble friend's motion; and if the agriculture. By the importations from discussion on the Bill itself should alter France, this numerous class of persons his opinion, no false shame should prevent were greatly distressed; was it not, therehim from retracting the opinion which he fore, an object of the greatest importance now held.
to give protection to this numerous class The Earl of Hardwicke defended the of persons, which could only be effected committee, and explained its proceedings. by the present Bill? The first inquiry in which it was occupied, Earl Spencer observed, that the question was to ascertain the price at which grain was, whether they would legislate with their could be imported. The want of commu- eyes open or their eyes shut? His noble nication with the continent prevented the friend called for inquiry; there were many evidence from being so perfect on that most essential points upon which they head as could be wished. With respect to were either utterly ignorant or deficiently the commerce of corn from the Baltic, it informed; surely, therefore, they were pewas complete ; but there was a deficiency culiarly called upon to agree to his noble in the intelligence regarding France, Hol. friend's motion, that they might legislate land, and the Netherlands, from wbich with due information, and with a knowsuch an immense supply had recently ledge of all the bearings of the subject. taken place. There was another head of Viscount Mountjoy urged the interests inquiry relative to the manufacture of of Ireland as being deeply involved in the flour from grain, and of bread from flour. present measure; the agriculture there, The committee had a difficulty on that from which this country derived so essensubject; and in former times it was found tial a supply, standing greatly in need of impossible to combine it with the general protection.' Delay would be to their insubject. His lordship then entered into a terests highly injurious, as there were a detail of correspondence between the great number of farmers at the present committee and several petitioners; from moment who refrained from sowing the which it appeared, that the committee had ground until they should be secure of taken every means to collect evidence protection against foreign importation, either for or against the measure.
under a fair protecting price. Lord St. John said, that if the present Viscount Sidmouth conceived the motion motion had been made at a former period, to found itself on two things the neceshe would have agreed to it, but be thought sity of having more information, and the proposition now came too late. respect for the rank and number of the
Viscount Bulkeley supported the motion, petitioners, which was supposed to be without pledging himself as to his future involved in the delay of the measure. As opinion.
to information, he was surprised to hear The Earl of Limerick observed, that the that now called for. There was, in fact, noble mover seemed to consider Ireland no one subject in the whole range of polias if it was a foreign country, and not en- tical economy on which our information titled to the protection of the British Le had been so full, nay so voluminous. It gislature. [His lordship was proceeding had been the subject of twenty years. A to observe upon what he conceived lord great number of volumes, and some of Grey to have stated, when the noble earl them of great excellence, bad been writrose to explain as to the hypothesis he ten on the question. To 1794, the subject
ad put with respect to the effect of the had been discussed. Again in 1804, again measure. The Earl of Limerick spoke to in 1806, it had come under revision : two order, conceiving the noble earl was re- committees of the House of Commons had plying: Earl Grey again rose and ex- investigated it; it was now examined by plained, that he had alluded to the effect a committee of their own. There was no which in one way or the other, with re- ground for the idea that the committee gard to Ireland or England, either giving had proceeded on er parte evidence. the Irish farmer an undue profit, or to the They had examined the question diliIrish landlord a greater rent, or enabling genily in its various bearings, and their the Irish grower to undersell the English opinion was pronounced with all obvious farmer, which the measure was calculated impartiality. “As to the motion for in