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quiry, why did the House hear of it now Lord King contended, that the petitions
for the first time? During the six weeks praying for no alteration in the Corn laws,
that passed from the first meeting of par. formed no objection to inquiry, it being
liament, not one syllable had been drop- for the House to legislate, and it being of
ped on the subject, except by a noble lord course its duty, before legislating upon a
(Grenville), who at the recess had meno subject, to obtain the best information re-
tioned it as one of the questions neces specting it. The information at present
sary to be discussed. On the first day of before them was altogether insufficient;
their last assembling, a noble lord gave they had none as to the expense of grow-
notice that he would not propose the fur- ing wheat in Ireland, or as to what would be,
ther sitting of the committee; thus giving a fair protecting price for the Irish farmer.
room for noble lords to declare any inten- They had no satisfactory information upon
tion they might have of following up the many other important points ; and he
topic. But here again, not one syliable should, therefore, vote for the motion of
was said from the 19th of February to the bis noble friend.
13th of March. The noble chairman as Lord Mountjoy contended, that any
signed his reasons why further information delay in the measure would be of the
might be wanting. That referred to greatest injury to Ireland, where the
France. That information was now, how farmers would abstain from sowing wheat,
ever, fully given. The noble lord proceeded till they knew what would be the protec-
to state, that were the motion acceded to, tion they were to expect. His lordship
the House might go on examining wit. repeated the arguments so often urged
nesses till the dog.days, and after all, there respecting the advantage to be derived by
would be no end to the inquiry. The House this country from the circulation of her
had ample grounds to legislate upon al manufactures in Ireland. They had been
ready, and they must at any rate exercise told, that Ireland was a log round the neck
their own judgment in the last resort. of England; but if this was the case, what
The noble earl had suggested the possibi- had been the cause of it? He would an-
lity of the Irish underselling the English swer—the want of capital; and he would
farmer, and had stated this as a fit subject add, that the only means of furnishing
for farther inquiry: but was the House pre- capital to that country was to encourage
pared to make any such distinction? As her agriculture, and to enable her to bring
well might the House inquire into the her corn to this country. By this means
rates at which farmers in various parts of her prosperity would be insured, and in-
England, in Devonshire, Cornwall, and stead of becoming a burthen upon Eng-
Yorkshire, could raise their produce. The land, she would become one of her chief
question was, whether we were not rather supports. With these sentiments, he felt
to protect the supply from Ireland, than it his duty to vote in favour of the Bill,
from other countries which could either and against the motion of the noble earl.
give or withhold it, as it pleased their re The Earl of Lauderdale said, that con-
spective governments. No man enter- scious of the vital importance of the sub-
tained a higher respect for the petitioners ject now before the House, it had received
than he did : he wished that the people of from him the most anxious consideration;
this country should always think and and the result was, that he was more firmly
speak freely on the great interests of the fixed than ever in the opinions he had
nation, and should approach both Houses originally maintained. He admitted to
of Parliament with their sentiments. At his noble friend, that there were some
the same time he had to remark, that points on which sufficient inquiry had not
very few of the petitions asked for delay; taken place, namely, on the mode of tak-
they neither asked for, nor offered to pre-ing the averages of corn, and regulating
sent further evidence. They were for no the assize of bread.

These, however, change in the Corn laws. To please them, were topics by no means essentially conthe Bill now in its progress must at once nected with the Bill before the House ; be stopped. But would this meet the and he must say, in justice to the noble views of the noble mover, or of their lord-earl at ibe head of the committee last ships generally? He saw great inconve- year, that he never saw a chairman labour nience in the suspense, anxiety, and irri- so hard as he did to get evidence of all tation which any unnecessary delay would sorts. For himself, he only viewed the produce, and therefore should oppose the measure a protection to the British motion.

farmer, and therefore he did not care


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much about the precise importation price | were too apt to consider the present alone,
that might be fixed. In this view, think without looking forward to furore years.
ing that the price ought not to be lower There was only one way of enlightening
than 80s., he would have been prepared the lower orders on a subject of ihis kind,
to go as far as even 90 or 95., as being and that was' by making them experience
calculated more effecially to secure do- the beneficial effects of the law which the
mestic supply, and when the proper time Legislature should enact. It was a fre-
arrived he should be prepared to assign quenı argument in the moutbs of the ma.
his reasons for this opinion. In the mean nufacturers, that if we imported grain to
time he should advert to some parts of the the amount of a million, we exported
evidence before the committee, on which manufactures to a similar amount. There
his noble friend (earl Grey) had com never was a more unfounded opinion than
mented. It was true that Mr. Mant, one this. If by the protection of agriculture
of the persons examined, had given it as the whole of this corn was raised by our
his opinion that 72s. would repay the own farmers, would not this be preferable to
farmer; but this was on the supposition the manufacturer in every point of view ?
of the remoral of the income tax, and of It was impossible to enumerate the variety
the wages of labour being lowered. The of ways in which the prosperity of the
former of these conditions bad indeed agricultural classes created a demand for
taken place ; but were the petitioners, he manufactures.
would ask, prepared to consent to the Tne Earl of Darnley expressed his high
latterWould they not find it better to satisfaction at the speech of his noble
leave bread somewhat dear, with good friend who had jusī sat down, by the
wages, than cheap bread and no wages at strong arguments contained in which he
all? The latter of these alternatives, he was had been confirmed in opinions which he
sorry to say, was the situation of many of had lung entertained. At the same time
the agricultural labourers in his part of he was anxious that the House should
the country, where bread indeed was proceed with every possible degree of
cheap, but, from the want of employment, deliberation, and that they should not
they had no wages.

His noble friend move a step with the Bill, while it was had called upon the House to stop legis possible to say that a single piece of evilating on this subject, until the currencydence on the subject was wanting. By of the country had recovered its standard this course, he was convinced the landvalue. This, if listened to, he feared owners would be far from losers. Al. would entail an absolute prohibition on though he was satisfied, in his own the measure for years to come. It by no

mind, that the restrictive price of 80s. means followed, that if 80s. was fixed as would not raise the quartern loaf above the importation price, it would be also the 1s., yet he thought that, in a measure on minimum price of corn. This was contra. which so much agitation pervaded the dicted by the whole bistory of our corn public mind, further inquiry ought to laws; and during many years of the last iake place; and, therefore, he should century the average price had been only give his vote in favour of the motion. 35s., while if the importation price was Lord Grenville, in a luminous and elalikely to be the minimum price, it should borate speech, contended that the only have been as high as 60s. He would re safe line of conduct for the House to adopt peat, that the distress among the agricul- was to abstain from all legislative intertural labourers was extreme; and if agri- ference on the subject. If, he said, a just culture was not protected, they would light did not even yet pervade the counnaturally crowd into the towns, and thus, cils of the country upon it, he should de. by competition, lower the price of manu- plore it as a calamity. He conjured the facturing labour. His object was to afford House not to take any step without well such protection to home supply as would, understanding their ground. The facts upon an average of years, secure abun before them were sufficient to sbew the dance, for the supply was necessarily re consequences of proceeding upon any gulated by the demand. He was dis mistaken principle. The committee had posed to speak with every respect of the felt that the House would not discharge petitioners; but on questions of this sort, its duty vnless it resumed the inquiry he had seldom witnessed enlightened pro. before any alteration took place in the ceedings on the part of the great body of laws. He was of the same opinion. The the merchants and manufacturers. They first object of the inquiry ought to be into

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the capability of the country to supply · Yet, when all the ports of the world were the full quantity required for its subsist. to be shut againsi the British consumer,

The number of acres might be except Ireland, it then became the House extended to three times, or even thirty to consider that they had a duty to pertimes as many as were now sown with form as British subjects. He objected 10 corn, if sufficient capital could be em- the very imperfect and inaccurate stateployed in their cultivation. But the men's of ihe averages on which it must quantity of capital requisite to effect this be utterly unsafe to found a permanent object was a material consideration, as measure, and insisted that the market well as to ascertain at what price the corn price bore no regular proportion to the could be grown. Respecting the neces- standard price. That the Bill was meant sity of fixing the price at 80s., the evi to have the effect of raising the price of dence, so far from agreeing, had been corn was plain, else why uniformly put completely contradictory; yet the House this question to what price must coru was about to legislate on a subject which rise to give it protection? That it must was to be permanent, and to fix a price, also have the effect of keeping out of this calculated at a time when money was country the foreign corn 'which formerly greaily depreciated, while the Chancellor came to it, till it reached 80s. was equally of the Exchequer had declared that there clear. He should ask a question, which he was a prospect of the currency rising to was surprised had not been put in this ils former level in the very next year. report, Wbat had been the cause of ihe This was a most important reason for exceeding high price of grain for many going into the inquiry, and it was the years past? And if that question was anonly way in which the House could dis- swered—the difficulty of getting corn from charge its duty to the country. He was abroad - which he was sure it would be, unable to discover what other effect the that should certainly deier the House from measure could have than to raise the price proceeding farther. With regard to fo. of corn.

But another question was, what reign supply, he much doubted whether, effect it would have on the wages of the under any circumstances, France could Jabourer? The House should proceed to now supply this country with any consi. inquire what would be the effect of an derable quantity of corn, so long as that increase of the price of labour? If the law continued in force which prohibited price of bread increased, and the price the exportation of corn from that country of labour did not increase, what then when it was at 49s. the quarter. Upon the would be the condition of the labourer ? general question of dependence, the preThe wisest ibing, in his opinion, would be sent was not the time for entering ; but to abstain from legislating at all. He when that time did arrive, he should be would never assent to any doctrine which prepared to maintain the opinion, that a separated the manufacturing from the more pernicious maxim than the vain agricultural interests; and if there was any imagination that a commercial country one interest that could be more injured could keep itself wholly independent of by the measure than another, he would foreign supply, in other words, that we say that this was the body of land holders, should cut ourselves off from commercial on whom it would entail the greatest mis. intercourse with Europe to a certain ex, chief. It was, therefore, a matter that tent--never entered into the policy of any ought to be looked at and sifted to the state. There was another subject which very bottom. He would wish to propose had been altogether omitted in every disan inquiry into the causes which have cussion of the present measure, both in kept corn at the high prices at which it so another place, and in the opening speech long had been; and if it should appear of his noble friend : he alluded to the disowing to the difficulty of importing corn lilleries. Had they no connexion with the at any period from abroad, on what prin proposed measure and how would its opesiple could it be argued that this high ration affect the revenue, by increasing ihe price w uld not continue when importa. price of the raw material? Not a word iion wis prohibited ? Importation ought, had been said upon that subject, and yet on the other hand, to be entirely free from their lordships would be surprised to hear Ireland ; if not, where was the justice of the amount of revenue which was put to the Union ? Nothing could be more just hazard by legislating on it. He implored or important than the knitting together their lordships from every consideration, the interests of Great Britain and Ireland. in justice to themselves, in justice to their (VOL. XXX.)


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country, not to precipitate a question af- of all, and of the poor above all. What fecting the vital interests of the whole had been the course of the question now nation, whether agricultural, manufacture before them? It had occupied the attening, or commercial. . As yet they had the tion of Parliament for three years; and evidence only on one side, and ihey had during the last session the subject was reno evidence to prove what would be the newed ; but nothing was done respecting effect of the measure upon the manufac- lit, except a partial act of legislation, be turing classes of the community. For cause it was thought necessary that more himself he had no possible motive that inquiry should be instituted, and more could bias him in the judgment he had information oblained. That inquiry had formed. If he bad interests, they were in.) been gone into, and the result of it was terwoven with those of the agriculturists the mass of evidence now upon the tables of the country; if he had connexions that of both Houses of Parliament. One thing might influence him, they were to be was most certain, that whatever it might found among the landed proprietors ; nay, be thought necessary to do, should be if he looked higher, and had any public done without delay. If they meant to prejudices, he did not blush to say that legislate, they should legislate at once; but they also pointed the same way, for to the their pace ought neither to be quickened landed interest this country owed its pre nor retarded by the clamour out of doors. sent greatness among the nations of the The injury which the country was sustain. world. Yet, with all those feelings about ing from indecision and procrastination him, he most solemnly pronounced it as was great. Many estates could not be his opinion, that the intended measure sold, many farms could not be let, and would be an impolitic one; and he there many landlords who were disposed to fore again entreated their lordships to lower their rents, could not do so, till it pause, to inquire, to reflect, if they hoped was known decisively what course Parlia. to discharge their duty to themselves, and ment intended to pursue. Neither land to their country:

nor labour could stand upon its true footThe Earl of Liverpool said, that what. ling in the present uncertainty of this mea. ever differences might subsist between sure. The next question was, whether the himself and the noble baron who had just noble earl had laid any suíficient ground sat down, he would frankly confess ihat for inducing the House to demand further he had never heard a question discussed inquiry ; and after the most attentive conwith, more candour and fairness than the sideration which he had been able to give present had been, not only by that noble to the speech of that noble earl, he was baron, but also by the noble earl who decidedly of opinion that no such ground opened the question. The question they had been shewn. One of the arguments had to determine was, whether they had urged by the noble earl, was the contraor had not a sufficient body of evidence dictory evidence which had been given : before them to entertain the Bill that had but surely he could not suppose that by been brought up that day from the House continuing the inquiry he would be able to of Commons; and he should proceed very get rid of that contradiction in the tes. briefly to state his reasons for ihinking that timony. Such contradiction must inevithey had enough. Were the measure one tably exist. If a farmer were asked at which stood upon the narrow ground of what expense he could cultivate his farm, affording relief to a particular class of the his replies must depend upon the country community, he would not support it; not in which it might be situated, the nature from any want of feeling towards the suf- of the soil, and whether it happened to be ferings of any separate body of men, nor in a manufacturing or agricultural dis. from any indisposition to alleviate those trict. Upon the whole, he really did not sufferings, but because, from long expe. see how further inquiry could throw new perience, he had come to the conclusion light upon the subject. Upon the question that you cannot relieve one class of people of averages, he should merely say, that without injuring some other class more or those averages having been the existing less. Upon that subject there was a great ones for the last twenty years, it would be deal of mistaken legislation in our statute more expedient to legislate upon them books; but with regard to the present than to proceed to make any alieralion in measure, it was so far, from being one them. He had been at great pains to which looked only to the relief of a parti- examine that subject, and the result of all cular class, that it embraced the interests his investigations was, that he felt fully

persuaded they were not liable to any Protest On The RejectION OF EARL fraud or trick, as they were now taken. ir Grey's Motion.) The following Protest they altered the averages at the same time was entered upon the Journals : they altered the prices, they would not

" DissentiENT, be able fairly or fully to judge of the “ Because inquiry has been deemed effects of the present measure. Another necessary to afford this House full infor. question connected with the Bill was the mation respecting the state of the growth, assize; and undoubtedly as long as the the commerce, and the consumption of assize continued as at present, the people grain, and all laws relating thereto, preof this metropolis would eat their bread vious to the adoption of any new reguladearer than ihose who resided in parts lion on these subjects. which were beyond the operation of that “ Because, ibough a committee has been regulation. His opinion opon the subject appointed for the purpose of such inquiries, was, that under certain modifications it and has produced a voluminous Report, would be better to get rid of the assize containing much information respecting altogether, With respect to the petitions the matters referred to their consideration, which had been presented, he felt most it is acknowledged in that Report tb at the thoroughly disposed to pay every respect investigation is not complete, and it is anto them, as containing the wishes of a ticipated as the opinion of this House, that great portion of the people of this country; it will be proper to resume the inquiry be. but be was persuaded that accidental cir fore any alteration takes place in the laws cumstances alone had prevented their affecting the interests both of the growers lordships table from being loaded with and consumers of corn. petitions from Ireland, in support of the " Because, with the obvious deficiency measure; and he mentioned it only to of inforniation thus acknowledged in the impress upon their attention, that they had Report of the Committee itselt, and with 10 legislate for the population of the whole the strong doubts which so many persons empire. It was un:boubtedly a question of entertain as to the propriety of making great difficulty, and one which had created any change in the existing laws, we great difference of opinion; but he be cannot think it expedient to proceed 10 lieved, if the united kingdoms were can legislate upon a subject, which, of all vassed throughout, more would be found others, requires the fullest and most patient favourable ihan adverse to the measure. investigation, and in which the mischief It was the duty of Parliament to legislate of any error must be so extensive and dan. deliberately, and, having formed its opi. gerous. nion to proceed with that measure which (Signed,) AUGUSTUS FREDERICK. it might, in its wisdom, deem most expe

William FREDERICK. dient for the benefit of the whole empire.

STANHOPE. Their lordships divided on earl Grey's

Essex. motion.




S Present ... 81

Proxies ... 43 )

List of the Minority.


Monday, March 13. -


THE APPROACHES TO The House WERE Argyll Bulkeley


OCCUPIED BY A Military Force.)

orders of the day being read, for taking Wellesley

into further consideration the Minutes of Grenville

the Proceedings upon the matter of the Derby King

Complaint made upon Monday last, that Essex Calthorpe

the Approaches to the House were occuStanhope

pied by a Military Force; and for the Earl Spencer was obliged to leave tbe attendance of the High Bailiff of WestHouse before the division, on account of minster, and Magistrates, indisposition. The duke of Somerset

Tbe Chancelior of the Erchequer said, that paired off with lord Cassilis.

the object of the House in taking these

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