« PreviousContinue »
42,000 persons; one from Leicester to the His lordship characterized the measure as same effect, signed by 8,000; one to the a bribe given to the landed interest to insame effect, from Northallerton, signed by duce them to acquiesce in the mainthe whole population of the place; one tenance of war establishments in a time of from Sunderland, and a great number of peace; and considered it as most unjust petitions to the same effect from various to the other classes of the community, parts of Scotland and England. He had that the land holders should thus have sebesides several which he could not present cured to them in a time of peace the in consequence of the determination which high prices which they had obtained the House had just come to with respect during a period of war. to petitions.
The Earlof Westmoreland said, he wished, Earl Stanhope had a variety of petitions as Nero did of the Romans, that England to present against the Bill; the number of had but one head, or that all its heads, signatures to the petitions which he had and those of London especially, could presented, and was now to present, amount- have been present at the former discus. ed to about 300,000. There were two sions of the question. They would have from the county of Wilts, both of them found all the argument on one side; for together signed by 25,000 persons, and to his mind, nothing in conviction could one from Beverley, in Yorkshire. These be more conclusive than the speech of petitions were powerfully bitter, but such the noble earl (Liverpool) beside him. as ought to be received. He had also one He disapproved of the language that called from Dalkeith, which would not do, in Ireland a foreign country, or placed her consequence of their lordships decision ; on the same footing with the Continent as one from Hungerford, which would do to our protection. The effect of the system an admirable petition from Stirling, which of protection was remarkable in that would do; one from Falkirk, containing country. Forty years ago, she was unexcellent arguments, which for the above speakably wretched; corn bounties were reason their lordships could not hear, and introduced, and they made her one great a great number of others.
agricultural country. The opinion of All these petitions were laid on the noble lords seemed to be, that such a ditable, with the exception of about ten minution in the price of corn should take or twelve, which were not received on place, as would throw about a third part account of the objection already stated.
of the land out of cultivation. The pro-, The Marquis of Buckingham put it to duce of that third was about 12 millions the candour of the noble earl whether he of quarters; now where were we to get ought to persist in moving the third read such a quantity? The value of those 12 ing of the Corn Bill till those petitioners millions would be about 30 millions sterwhose petitions were refused, on account ling: we had never in the worst of times of the objection taken in point of form, been forced to buy more than 3 millions' should have an opportunity of coming worth in the year. But supposing we forward in a more formal manner. It could find the corn, how were we to bring could not be supposed that petitioners it home? We might reckon that 3 quarters could have been accurately acquainted occupied a ton of freightage. Here we with forms of which their lordships them- must use 4 millions of tonnage. ' Now the selves did not seem to have been well greatest quantity of tonnage that had ever aware.
entered ihe British ports in a year was The Earl of Liverpool saw no reason for not more than 3 millions and a half. delay. The petition from the Stafford- The Earl of Buckinghamshire also argued shire potteries had been already published, in support of the Bill, contending for its and the nature object of the rest must necessity, with a view to the encouragement also be very well known.
of agriculture, in order that we might in
sure a steady supply within ourselves, and Corn Bill.] On the order of the day animadverted upon the language used by for the third reading of the Corn Bill, his noble friend (the marquis of Bucking,
The Marquis of Buckingham protested ham), which he considered as calculated against the Bill, against its principle, the to misguide the public mind. mode of carrying it into practice, and The Marquis of Buckingham, in explaagainst the precipitation with which it nation, disclaimed any intention of mishad been hurried through the House in guiding the public mind. defiance of the petitions of the people. The Earl of Buckinghamshire denied any intention of throwing blame upon his people in Ireland, and many in this noble friend's motives.
country, employed in agricultural occuThe Earl of Carlisle objected to the Bill, pations, could not be collected, though as being calculated to excite great dis- decidedly in favour of the Bill.
It was content, without any advantage being of little importance to their lordships, shewn that could be derived from it. whose rents were in general so moderate,
Earl Stanhope said, he could not belp that the fall in the price of corn could not laughing at the noble Premier's ideas of lower them, whether the Bill passed or British superiority as arising from fuel, no; but it was of great importance to the credit, and machinery. When the work-labourer that the price of bread should man ran away to foreign countries, he be steady. carried off his money; so much for per- Lord Grenoille thought, the effects of manent capital : as to fuel, he should tell the Bill would be precisely contrary to the noble Premier, that there might be the predictions of his noble friend (the machinery worked without fuel. The earl of Harrowby), and he took that last noble prime might stare at this; but opportunity of opposing it, and of renewthough he (earl Stanhope) would give ing his entreaties to their lordships to way to him where he had his official pause, to consider, and inquire, before they papers beside him, he would tell that passed the Bill. The effect was to raise noble prime that as to machinery and such a tax on the community to support the like matters, the noble prime was not fit to rents and the profits of the farmers. It tie the latchets of his shoes. Conceiving was thus an act of injustice; and it was an this Bill to be grossly injurious to the act of impolicy, inasmuch as it caused loss poorer classes, he felt it his duty to move, to the country, by diverting capital from ihat it be rejected.
its proper channel. Even if he were so Lord Redesdale defended the Bill, con sanguine as to the future good effects of tending that it was for the advantage of the Bill, he did not think that the present all classes of the community to encourage was the proper time for trying a perilous the growth of corn; taking the import experiment, and of submitting to present at one-fortieth part of the consumption, evil for the sake of future and contingent thirty-nine parts must be provided for good. within ourselves. The land holders be- The Earl of Liverpool said, that the only sides, whose rents instead of increasing charge he could bring against himself had really diminished, though there was was, that he had not urged the passing of a nominal rise, ought to be maintained in such a Bill as that before the House in their relative scale in society.
the last session of parliament. Much evil Lord King considered the argument of would thus have been avoided. If the the noble lord regarding the landholders Bill produced evil, it might be repealed; to be speaking out upon the subject, and but the evils which might be produced by sbewing the real nature of the Bill. The neglecting to pass it would be irreparable. measure was to operate by a monopoly, If one quarter of the wheat land of the and must have the effect of raising the kingdom was thrown out of cultivation, no price of wheat.
foreign supply could possibly make up The Earl of Harrowby contended, that the deficiency in the quantity of food. the Bill would operate to the real ad- The Earl of Lauderdale denied, that any advantage of the consumer, including of precipitation had been shown by the supcourse the whole of the poorer class; and porters of the Bill. He thought the argu. that even if the effect was to raise the ments of the opposers of the Bill went price of grain during the next year, the entirely on the unfounded supposition, ultimate result would be to render it that the corn trade was a free trade, and cheaper, and produce a full supply at a that the price of provisions would be raised moderate rate.
by the Bill; both of which assumptions The Earl of Darnley warmly supported he thought entirely false, because, from the Bill, and contended, that the measure the excessive laxation of this country, a would not be more beneficial to the agri bounty was at present paid, in effect, to culturist than to the manufacturer. It foreign corn-growers. was not to be wondered at that the table The House then divided on earl Stan. was loaded with petitions from the manu- hope's motion, that the Bill be rejected : facturers, who were crowded in great contents, 21; Not-contents, 128. The towns, while the feeling of six millions of Bili was then read a third time, and passed.
List of the Peers who voted for the Rejection it; and to confine the consumer of corn
enhance the price at which we purchase of the Corn Bill.
to the produce of his own country, is to
VISCOUNT, refuse to ourselves the benefit of that proSussex Torrington
vision which providence itself has made Gloucester
for equalizing to man the variations of Somerset King
season and of climate,
« 4. But whatever may be the future Douglas Grenville
consequences of this law, at some distant Dynevor
and uncertain period, we see, with pain, Carlisle Wellesley
that these hopes must be purchased at the Essex
expense of a great and present evil. To Stanhope
Duke of Devonshire compel the consumer to purchase corn Warwick
Earl Spencer dearer at home than it might be imported Fortescue Marq. of Blandford
from abroad, is the immediate practical Grey
effect of this law. In this way alone can PROTEST AGAINST The Corn Bill.] On
it operate. Its present protection, ils prothe third reading of the Bill it was moved,
mised extension of agriculture must result " that this Bill be rejected;” which mo- (if at all) from the profits which it creates tion having, on a division, been negatived, ficial level. These future benefits are the
by keeping up the price of corn to an arti. the following Protest was entered :
consequences expected, but as we confi“ Dissentient,
dently believe erroneously expected, from “ 1. Because we are adverse in prin- giving a bounty to the grower of corn, by ciple to all new restraints on commerce. a tax levied on its consumer. We think it certain that public prosperity “ 5. Because we think that the adoption is best promoted, by leaving uncontrouled of any permanent law, for such a purpose, the free current of national industry; and required the fullest and most laborious inwe wish rather, by well.considered steps, vestigation. Nor would it have been to bring back our commercial legislation sufficient for our satisfaction could we to the straight and simple line of wisdom, have been convinced of the general policy than to increase the deviation, by subject of so hazardous an experiment. A still ing additional and extensive branches of further inquiry would have been necessarythe public interest to fresh systems of to persuade us that the present moment artificial and injurious restriction. was fit for its adoption. In such an in
“ 2. Because we think that the great quiry we must have had the means of practical rule, of leaving all commerce satisfying ourselves what its immediate unfettered, applies more peculiarly, and operation will be as connected with the on still stronger grounds of justice as well various and pressing circumstances of as of policy, to the corn trade than to any public difficuliy and distress with which other. Irresistible indeed must be that the country is now surrounded; with the necessity which could, in our judgment, state of our circulation and currency; of authorize the Legislature to tamper with our agriculture and manufactures; of our the sustenance of the people, and to im- internal and external commerce; and pede the free purchase and sale of that above all with the condition and reward article, on which depends the existence of of the industrious and labouring classes of so large a portion of the community. our community.
** 3. Because we think that the expecta- « On all these particulars, as they retions of ultimate benefit from this measure spect this question, we think that Parliaare founded on a delusive theory. We ment is almost wholly uninformed; on cannot persuade ourselves that this law all we see reason for ihe utmost anxiety will ever contribute to produce plenty, and alarm from the operation of this law. cheapness, or steadiness of price. Lastly, Because if we could approve long as it operates at all, its effects must of the principle and purpose of this law, be the opposite of these. Monopoly is we think that no sufficient foundation bas the parent of scarcity, of dearness, and of been laid for its details. The evidence beuncertainty. To cut off any of the sources fore us, unsatisfactory and imperfect as it of supply can only tend to lessen its is, seems to us rather to disprove than to abundance ; to close against ourselves the support the propriety of the high price cheapest market for any commodity, must adopted as the standard of importation, and the fallacious mode by which that the world. However, there was no lack price is to be ascertained.
of British ministers at Vienna. The noble “ And on all these grounds we are lord was placed there, as it were, in the anxious to record our dissent from a mea- bosom of his family, surrounded by those sure so precipitate in its course, and, as persons in whom he could confide, not we fear, so injurious in its consequences. only from their talents, but from their
AUGUSTUS FREDERICK (d. of Sussex), being nearly connected with him. The William FREDERICK (d. of Gloucester), noble lord, however, had cast a slur on GRENVILLE,
those persons, inasmuch as he called in WELLESLEY,
the duke of Wellinglon from Paris to Essex,
conclude those negociations which he had TORRINGTON,
left unfinished. If it was necessary that DUTTON (marquis of Douglas),
the duke of Wellington should have been CHANDOS BUCKINGHAM,
sent to Paris from the extraordinary situa. MONTPORT,
tion of affairs in France, he should not KING,
bave been removed from his post there CARLISLE.
under any consideration : and though, if we consider the events which have so
entirely changed the face of affairs beHOUSE OF COMMONS.
tween the time when I gave my notice Monday, March 20.
and the moment in which I am now speakAddreSS RESPECTING THE CONGRESS AT ing, we may rejoice that the duke of Vienna.] Mr. Whitbread rose, in pursuance Wellington was removed from Paris; yet of his notice, and said :-The noble lord in confining ourselves to the subject before the blue ribbon (lord Castlereagh), who is us, it was most extraordinary that he more particularly the object of universal alone should have been thought fit to un.. attention, has, during the fifteen months ravel that part of the negociations which which have last passed, run a great and the noble lord opposite had not concluded. brilliant career. He was selected by his Instead of such an important part of the Majesty's government as the person most arrangements being left by him, (as we fit to conduct the affairs of this country must conclude from this circumstance, abroad-10 contend, if to contend was they were left unsettled), we had exnecessary, for its interests; and being thus pected that the noble lord would display selected by his political friends, no one to this House all the great acts of the of his political opponents was found to European Congress; that he would be cavil at that choice. But there was no able triumphantly to announce that all the one of his high situations which I should great principles which the allies, when have so much envied him, as that, when advancing upon Paris, announced 10 Euas a commoner, he returned from his last rope, had been carried into complete great mission, to the Commons of the execution; that their promises had been United Kingdom, to lay before us the fully accomplished ; and that they were, proceedings of the Congress at which he in deed, as well as in word, the liberators assisted, to explain doubts, to disperse of the Continent. For my own part, I had those calumnies which he complains have firmly hoped that he would, on bis return been cast upon himself as the representa- from Vienna, as he did on his return from tive of Great Britain, and the continental Paris, enter this House with the treaty in Powers our allies; and thus deserve and his band, signed by all the Powers of receive again the undivided approbation Europe. But being frustrated in this with which he was once before hailed in hope, it remains for me, as an individual this House. But it must occur to every member of parliament, at the request of one, that after the noble lord had accepted the noble lord, to call for that explanation a second time the great task of settling which, without some questions, he would the relations of this country with foreign not be able to give, and to inform him of powers, be ought not to have returned the charges which have been made on leaving that task upperformed : if it was the government of this country in his necessary that the noble lord should go absence. to the Congress at Vienna, he should not The hon. gentleman proceeded to say have returned without baving finished the that these charges could not be said to great work, without being able to explain be personal to the noble lord, because it to the satisfaction of the country and that noble lord had always been regarded merely as the representative of our Go- was not answered; but to shew that the vernment, and he should repeat them to questions which he (Mr. W.) and his show that they were not brought merely political friends had put, during the abto take advantage of his absence. It had sence of the noble lord, were not for the been said, that pending no negociation purpose of attacking a defenceless admihad so many questions been put as during nistration, but in the hope that those the progress of the Congress of Vienna. papers would be contradicted, which, if In answer to this he should observe, that true, proved that a system of spoliation during the negociations at Chatillon and and rapine was carried on, which would those at Paris, no inquiry bad been made leave the seeds of war in every state ; on that side of the House: he and others that the great Powers had grossly nego had remained satisfied till the noble lord lected their duty, and put themselves on a bad returned-they would have remained level with the man whom they bad wisely satisfied also during the Congress at and magnanimously combined to overVienna, if nothing had transpired of the throw; or if the papers in question were negociations there, or if only vague ru- admitted to raise their voices in that mours, discredited by the manner in House, and unite their protests against which they were stated, had found their the concurrence of this country in the 'way into the public prints. But when measures to which these publications reofficial documents, at variance with good ferred. faith and against plighted treaties, had The noble lord had said, that there had been published with the appearance of been propagated gross calumnies against authority, it was impossible that they this country and the allied Powers. He should shut their eyes; and when they would now have an opportunity of shewsaw that, without waiting for the termina ing that the honour of the allies had not tion of the Congress, armies took posses- been implicated, that there had been no sion of independent states, and proceeded breach of faith, in those acts which now to make partitions, it was impossible that appeared injurious both to their honour and they should shut their ears to the general their good faith. He hoped if he stumbled, cry of bitter lamentation, disappointment, in the course of his statement, on any and despair throughout Europe; and it paper having no foundation in truth, the became their duty to call on the ministers noble lord would give some indication of present at the time, to know whether the that circumstance, that he might not unreports spread, as to the conduct of the necessarily take up the time of the House. allied powers, were well founded. The The noble lord would not deny, in the first noble lord bad probably heard how bis place, the declarations of the allies in right hon. colleagues had been harassed their advance upon France, in which they during his absence; and they might have professed themselves the saviours of Eucomplained of the ulter ignorance in rope, and the defenders of indepeudent which they were left by him, which dis- states; and promised that a general paci. abled them from cutting a better figure: fication should shew that they had not but he did not know whether they had forgot in prosperity the lesson which they · informed the noble lord of the threats had learned in adversity, especially the they had thrown out, that when the noble Declaration at Frankfort in December lord returned, all the political opponents 1813, the Manifesto on tlie rupture of the of the Administration should have reason negociation at Chatillon, and the proclato remember and regret the attacks they mations of the various generals. "Never had made. One very active member of did any men occupy a position so grand the Administration (Mr. Wellesley Pole) as the allied Sovereigns at Montmartre had also promised, that if they would before Paris! they shewed a moderation wait till the noble lord returned, they in victory which obtained the praise of all should have, singulatim et literatim, every men; and had They there died, they thing which had passed respecting Saxony, would have died at the very pinnacle of Genoa, and Poland; but soon after, he human glory. What had their subsequent had begged that all that he had said conduct proved, but that they had formight go for nothing. It was not his wish gotten all the lessons which should have that the noble lord should be bound by made so deep an impression on them, and the declaration of his colleague, or that that they wished to tread in the steps of the right hon. gentleman should resign the conqueror whom they had destroyed, his seat in the Cabinet, because his pledge and, unless the papers which he should