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for every heart and head in the country | tary reform, the public peace was in no dewas interested in the subject. He should greedisturbed. But had a fermenteven prebe glad, then, to hear from ministers any vailed, would any gentleman state that as reason why in decency such a measure a reason for precipitating the measure should be precipitated. According to the that produced the ferment? Could any language of the Chancellor of the Ex- man decently state such a reason for chequer, it was truly unworthy of the enacting any measure without due delibedignity of the House to allow its decision ration? The burry of this measure was, to be affected by the petitions of corporate in fact, a great cause of the uneasiness out bodies, or to pay any deference to fur of doors : such, indeed, was the anxiety gowns or gold chains : but he differed created by this hurry-such the appremost materially from that right hon. gen. hension out of doors, that sufficient iime tleman; and he thought the extreme inte would not be allowed for considering the rest and anxiety which the public mani. subject, that not unfrequently half a fested upon this occasion, was entitled to pamphlet was advertised through the the most deliberate consideration. Surely country, promising the other half if it ministers could not pretend to burry the could be brought out in time before the bill in consequence of any of those riots, Bill was passed. But the advocates of this which were a disgrace to our police; and measure seemed resolved to prevent the really with such a measure as the evi- fulfilment of these promises, and were dence of the magistrates at the bar de- literally running a race with all the scribed, it would be matter of surprise if printers' devils of the country. That this the peace were not disturbed. These riots measure had had plenty of discussion in he deplored and deprecated, and the more that House, he was ready to admit; but he so because such riots were always calcu. denied that the country had had a suffilated to injure the object the rioters pro- cient opportunity of considering it, and fessed to regard. Indeed, if an artful con
therefore he should propose to postpone triver wished to promote a measure of this the further consideration of the report nature, he could scarcely hit upon a better until the first Monday after the Easter expedient than a riot. He had, however, recess. If, however, he should fail in his no suspicion of such an expedient on this motion, and the measure should still be occasion, for he was quite sure that the hurried, it would not be his fault if the right hon. gentleman who brought forward Bill had not that title annexed to it which this measure had not contrived the sacri. it deserved. The hon. member adverted fice of his own windows. But all these to the difference of opinion as to the riots were attributable solely to the gross amount of the import price, which was neglect of the home police; for if it were evinced among the meeting at lord Livernot such neglect, how could Westminster- pool's, and which difference also prevailed hall bave become a scene for discussion in that House. This difference was indeed between the Attorney-General and the such, that if gentlemen would vote only as mob? There were, it was notorious, no they spoke, without as well as within the riots in the city, the police of which was House, a decisive majority would appear superior to that of Westminster. In the against 80s. But some gentlemen seemed to city, from which a petition so numerously act on this question as members of a politisigned was laid on the table of that House, cal party were sometimes understood to the people proceeded with the utmost tranargue, namely, let us go without our quillity. In Manchester and Liverpool, also, friends, and not split bands to divide our the public peace was in no degree disturbed. party.' It was evident, he thought, that But notwithstanding the public anxiety ibis must be an importing country. For which prevailed in all the populous towns the last twenty years we had imported from which petitions had been presented, corn; and if our manufactures did not deno disturbance had occurred. Indeed, the cline, we should continue to import it. public meetings upon this subject were • But,' said some agriculturists, who supgenerally remarkable for a degree of order ported the measure, let us have the monoand decorum, which might be held out as an poly of the home market, and we will supexample to much more exalted assemblies, ply you with sufficient corn.' But to those in which more order and regularity was to be gentlemen he would answer, that they expected. Even at the Westminster meet with that monopoly could not affora to ing yesterday, although an attempt was, supply the market at less than double made to couple the measure with parliamen. the price; that is at 80s. while corn was
to be had elsewhere at 40s. As to the he was at loss to know what the hon. gen. capacity, however, of those gentlemen to tleman had seen in his public life to warsupply the home market, he must be allow- rant him in supposing he could act with ed to doubt it. For he could not belp pre- such duplicity, or what right he had to ferring experience and evidence to con- suppose ibat he would condescend to lend jecture and speculation; and hence he was himself to such a line of conduct. led to conclude, that we should continue to Mr. Baring said, that he did not mean import corn. Having that prospect then lo apply the observations personally, before us, he considered the present mea- What he had stated in the way of argusure as peculiarly objectionable, and, set- ment was, that an opinion generally preting aside the question as to the interest of vailed, that it would have been preferable our manufacturers altogether, he would to have imposed a duiy. He did not mean put it to gentlemen, whether, if the case of to imply that the right hon. gentleman, any third country were under considera with such a conviction on his mind, bad tion, it would preclude that country from nevertheless proposed the probibition, buying food from any other nation, al. from any desire to obtain popularity; though it could obtain that food at half but he certainly did state that ministers the price that it could afford to grow it? had abandoned their duty in advocating a As to the case of Ireland, he thought that prohibition, because they thought a duly question disposed of by the admission on would have been unpopular. the other side. For the Irish being free Mr. Robinson replied, that his reason for from poor-rates and other burthens to calling upon the hon. gentleman for an which the agriculturists of this country explanation, was because he bad affirmed were subject, of course that price which that they, his Majesty's Government, had would afford protection to the latter must abandoned what they knew to be the amply secure the former. The Irish better course, and had adopted another, growers were therefore quite safe; which from motives, the mere suspicion of which gave him the utmost satisfaction, feeling, was degrading to them. If, however, the as he did, a lively solicitude for the in-hon. gentleman denied such an applicaterests of that country. The hon. gentle. tion of his words, there was of course an man then repeated bis former arguments end of the matter ; but for his own sake, against the measure and its precipitancy; he could not permit it to pass without and denied that those who thought with notice. him were at all exposed to the conse- Mr. Baring repeated, that he had no quence of being inditterent to the agricul. such intention, and especially that he had tural embarrassments of the country, al. no thought of personally alluding to the though they would not support a perma- right hon. gentleman. He had made the nent measure, wbich, in their opinion, observation, because not only bimself, but could be obviated with full effect by one several sensible persons with whom he had of a temporary operation. He concluded conversed, were of opinion that a duty with moving, That the further consideration would have been the better mode of proof the report be postponed until the first ceeding. Monday after the Easter recess.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer said, Mr. Robinson rose to observe, that he that when he heard the conduct of that had already suffered so much from the House charged with indecent precipitaconsequences of misconception and mis- tion in prosecuting the present measure, representation, that he was the less inclined he felt it his duty to repel that charge in to allow any opportunity to pass when the most distinct and positive manner. he was so assailed, without meeting it as Every member must know, on the conhe conceived he was entitled to do. With trary, that few questions had ondergone this feeling, therefore, he desired to know, so much deliberation; and as no change what the hon. gentleman meant when he had been suggested of the plan originally asserted that he had, for the sake of catch brought forward by his right hon. friend, ing at popularity, consented to sacrifice, he did not see the necessity for delay; in the choice of the present measure, what and he trusted the House would not suffer he knew was for the best interests of the itself to be taunted, by the imputation of country? He did not believe an import precipitancy or cowardice, into a dereduty would be preferable to a prohibitory liction of its duty in bringing the measure price; on the contrary, he had expressed to a conclusion. Whatever suspicion himself quite of a different opinion; and might be thrown upon himself, he would not pretend to the apathy of being insen- dear to them as those of the country they sible to the danger of protraction. He happened to represent in that House. He would not disguise his apprehension, that agreed with the bon. member that to pass any unnecessary delay might only tend a corn law was a 'tough job;' and it to disturb the peace of the metropolis ; in ought to be so. In an evil hour, about his opinion, there would be more real forty years ago, they had departed from cowardice in giving way to the threatening that system under which the country had riots which existed, and in transferring found prosperity for above half a century; the legislative functions from their con he hoped, however, they would return to stitutional guardians, the King, the Lords, it again as soon as possible, and having and Commons, to an outrageous mob. returned, adhere to it. (Hear!) With regard to what had fallen from the Sir James Shaw said, that the observahon. gentleman, the Chancellor of the tions which had fallen from the right hon. Exchequer said, he had certainly been of gentleman, respecting furred gowns and opinion last session, that a duty would be golden chains, called for some reply from preferable to a protecting price; but he him, and he hoped the House would inhad since seen reason 10 alter his opinion, dulge bim for a very few moments. He and having already stated the grounds of could not help complaining of the right that change, he should not think it neces. hon. gentleman for his personal allusions ; sary to imitate the conduct of the hon. but in the statement which he (sir James) gentleman, and repeat his speech for the had made, and had made after consulting sixth time. As to the petitions which had with persons better acquainted with the been presented, no member of that House subject ihan himself, he conceived that he felt more disposed to listen to them with was only discharging his duly. Since respect than he did; but, at the same time, that time he had conversed with other in. he apprehended they were not to consider dividuals, by whom his statements had the opinions of furred gowns and golden been completely confirmed. chains, as authoritative upon a subject Sir J. Newport vindicated the conduct like the present. It would become those of the Irish members upon the present magistrates to open their Egyptian-ball question, and contended that the English again, to call together their thousands manufacturer had no right to complain and tens of thousands of petitioners, to that Ireland was driving ihem to extremitell them that they bad, upon their infor- ties, while they commanded the monopoly mation, petitioned Parliament without any of the Irish market; and all that Ireland just cause, to confess that their arithmetic required in return was, to have ber agriwas false, that their arguments wäre un- cultural interest preferred before those sound, that their conclusions were erro- of Poland and France. He deprecated neous, and that they had better re-con- the idea that the measure before them sider the subject well before they peti should be considered as a divided one betioned again, or not petition at all. One tween the two countries, when, in fact, it common error had run through the whole comprehended the interests of the whole of the discussions upon the present subject, empire. that of confounding the protecting with
Mr. Stuart Wortley said, that he consithe remunerating price, which were not dered 76s. a sufficient protection to the necessarily or naturally the same, as had farmer; but to obtain that for him, it was been proved by the experience of half a necessary to adopt one nominally higher, century. With regard to steadiness of and that, therefore, he voted for 80s. He price, there was nothing more certain to denied that there was any intention on the secure that, than a source of supply which part of the supporters of the Bill to keep we could always command; and as far as up the rents; on the contrary, he was human wisdom could secure any thing, it convinced that the ultimate effect of the appeared to him that the present system Bill would be the reduction of the rents. was calculated to secure for us such a re- Nor was there any just ground for the gular and steady supply. He begged to charge of precipitation, for the measure express his most positive denial of any had been in contemplation for a considething like a combination on the part of rable time, and had undergone the delibethe Irisb members for the support of in- rate consideration of committees of both terests peculiarly Irish; for he was con
Houses of Parliament. With all due revinced that the interests of England, which spect for the petitioners on this subject, comprehended the welfare of all, were as he conceived tbat those petitioners were
one party in the country, and the House For the amendment
40 bad therefore to determine between the Against it
220 two parties who had appealed to them for
Majority ............... 174 justice.
On the re-admission of strangers into Mr. W. Smith stated, that his reason for the gallery, voting for the postponement was, because Mr. Western, cheered by the whole he did not wish to see the House pledged House, was strongly insisting on the proagainst the common sentiment of the peo. priety of calling out the military, when ple. If it was discovered that the acting the civil power was not sufficiently strong upon a confessedly uncertain opinion pro- to repress the multitude out of doors, who duced tumult, it would be wiser not to wished to influence the proceedings of the push the matter to extremity at once, but House by their violence. to wait and see the effect of further delibe- Lord Castlereagh thought wbat the hon. ration and delay.
gentleman had just uttered must be in The House then divided on Mr. Baring's unison with the feelings of every man in amendment.
that House, and with those of every man For the amendment
57 out of it who knew how to value the Bri. Against it .....
206 tish constitution, and the blessings which Majority ............. -149 he enjoyed in this free and happy country. The Speaker informed the House that If the legislators of Great Britain might the next stage of the business was to de- not debate on those measures which 10 cide whether the price of 80s. which had them appeared to demand their considerabeen pamed in the committee should be tion, without being threatened in their peragreed to.
sons and injured in their property, the Mr. Calcraft reminded gentlemen that liberties of Englishmen were gone. And all who were not prepared to say that as if the persons concerned in the tumults out high a price as 80s. was necessary, whe- of doors thought their representatives in ther they thought 72s. or 74s. or 76s. or parliament so lost to themselves, and so even 78s. the proper limit, were bound to forgetful of their duty to the community, negative by their vote the present ques. as to suffer these disgraceful riots to have tion.
any influence on their conduct; if they The House again divided :
thought their outrages would incline them For the price of 80s.
184 to the smallest relaxation of their dutyAgainst it
78 they little knew what those who sat in Majority
-106 | that House felt they owed to their own The other parts of the report relating to character, and to the interests of those the inferior grains came under discus- who sent them there. He hoped by their sion ; after which, the Bill, with amend- conduct that night, they would teach the ments, was ordered to be engrossed. ignorant and infatuated persons (for such The Chancellor of the Exchequer, then he trusted they were) with whom these moved that the Bill should be read a third diorders originated, that they knew their time on Friday next.
duty, and were not to be deterred from Mr. Baring said, that he must take the performing it by clamour nor by outrage. sense of the House upon this question, He, however, was anxious that that which although after so long a discussion he did had occurred should not be exaggerated. not think it necessary to adduce any fur- Some houses had certainly been attacked; ther arguments. He considered that the and this, in a city so large as London, Bill was hurried through the House with might be easily effected by a few wicked indecent precipitation, and must enter his men, proceeding from one place to anprotest against it. He moved as an other; but it was right to state, that the amendment, that the Bill be read a third metropolis generally had not been thrown time on Friday se'nnight.
into a state of clamour or disaffection. Sir Gilbert Heathcote seconded this The police had not been negligent; but no amendment. The right hon. gentlemen police could prevent such attacks from on the other side of the House were much being made in different parts of the town mistaken, if they supposed that the passing under circumstances like the present. It in a burry a Bill so repugnant to the feels would be false mercy not to take the ings of the people could have the effect of most effectual means to check such outallaying those feelings.
rages; the hon. gentleman might be as. The House divided :
sured, the Executive felt this to be their duty; but a desire to forbear as long as ture, but in the present circumstances possible from proceeding to extremities, something more than a mere assurance was, he was certain, that line of conduct was required. He called upon Mr. Hiley which would best secure the confidence of Addington to state what the Secretary of ihe House. The Executive would firmly State had done upon this subject, that his stand by the Legislature, and make every conduct at least might stand justified to exertion the emergency of the case might Parliament. demand to protect them, and with them Mr. Addington expressed himself obthe laws and liberties of the country. liged to the hon. member for giving him
Mr. Whilbread folly concurred in many this opportunity of statiog what steps the of the sentiments that had fallen from the Secretary of State for the Home depart. noble lord, and was equally persuaded ment had taken to secure the tranquillity that all attempts to compel members to of the metropolis. He was sure, that vote in opposition to their consciences merely to state the outlines of the various would be fruitless. On the contrary, it measures of precaution and protection was known that in some cases the effect would be sufficient. The first step was was directly the reverse, for several mem. taken as early as Monday last ; indeed, bers had voted in favour of the Bill, be- on the evening before, they had been comcause such means had been resorted to in menced, but on Monday last lord Side order to influence their conduct. What the mouth bad sent a letter to the lord mayor, noble lord had said respecting lenity, par- pointing out the necessity of paying a ticularly as applied to the police, how. strict attention to the preservation of the ever, was very distinct from negligence. peace of the city. Afterwards ten magisFrom what passed on the former night trates were appointed to different districts, upon this point, the majority of members that had been previously arranged. must be convinced that effectual steps had Sir C. Burrell spoke to order : be thought not, been taken; and Mr. Whitbread such a disclosure of the steps taken by scrupled not to say, that those to whom Government likely to defeat the very the public peace had been entrusted, had object in view. not done their duty. On a former night, Mr. Wynn observed, that the statement he had suggested a distinct inquiry into might be contrary to discretion, but could the conduct of the High Bailiff of West- not be contrary to order. Of the prominster, and of the magistrates whose priety of making the statement the right presence had been required; but the sug- hon. gentleman was to judge. gestion was over-ruled. How necessary Mr. Yorke observed, that there was, in it was, subsequent proceedings of the truth, no question before the House, and riotous mob had shewn. He did not mean recommended the reading of the other to assert that the police of the metropolis orders of the day. generally had neglected its duty; but it The Speaker admitted that there was no was to the Secretary of State for the Home regular question ; but suggested, that on department that the House and the coun. important occasions like the present the try must look for security; and he hoped ordinary regularity of proceeding was the right hon. gentleman opposite would dispensed with. be able to give satisfactory information, Mr. Addington said, he was only about first, as to what measures of precaution, to state the outline of the proceedings of and next, as to what measures of preven. the Executive Government, in pursuance, tion had been resorted to, and what safety as he understood, of the wish of the House. the metropolis was to hope for in future, If it were their pleasure, he was quite should these outrages be continued. Al. willing to proceed with his statement; though it was true, as the noble lord had (Cries of No, no,' from all sides,) at least said, that the danger was not exceedingly it might be some satisfaction if he assured great, yet the fact was known, that so the House upon his own responsibility, as negligent had the police been in the dis. far as it was of value, and he pledged charge of its duty, that the populace who himself to prove the fact incontestably, had on the previous night attacked the that every possible measure of precaution house of a right hon. genileman, had been and prevention had been resorted to; that able in the broad noon-day to renew and no means had been omitted, and no expeprosecute that attack. The noble lord dient left untried. had assured the House that the Executive Mr. Ponsonby rose, but, from the great Government would stand by the Legisla- confusion prevailing in the House, could