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of that requisite, might be so easily retorted on them? Yet, surely, among those gentlemen many shades of offence must have existed; some might have been impelled to the measure, and others seduced; and surely no disadvantage could result to the service, by bringing them to trial. He allowed, that nothing could have been more conciliatory and accommodating, than the conduct of his Royal Highness the Commander in chief; but the House could easily conceive, how distressing any removal must be to a person who had embarked his fortune in the army, actuated perhaps by a desire of joining a particular corps. As to the circumstance of such a discretionary power existing in the navy, he conceived, that the officers of that service were previously tried for their offence; and, alluding to lord Cochrane's case, he said that a trial had taken place in a court of law. All now required was, that a trial should legally take place some where: this was the object of the noble lord's amendment, and he should give it his support.
Colonel Wood declared that if those of ficers of the Hussars had not been removed, a serious injustice would have been inflicted on the rest of the army. In addition to the case brought forward by his noble friend, of the officers dismissed by sir Robert Walpole, he would adduce one of a stronger nature, to prove the good effect of such a discretionary power. The case was that of the 85th regiment, five or six of whose officers had brought several charges against their commander, colonel Ross. One of those charges they had substantiated; but the court having reported that those officers were not actuated by a sense of public duty, they were in consequence of that report dismissed the service. Colonel Ross himself was some time after deprived of his commission for similar proceedings against the major of the regiment; but the other officers, who, though not actually engaged in the several prosecutions, had aided and abetted, were suffered to remain in the corps. Thus they continued for four or five years; but the same spirit of insubordination still appearing, the Commander in chief thought proper to remove them all, the regiment was re-officered from other corps, and distinguished itself by its gallant conduct both in Spain and in America. Col. Thornton was wounded at Bladensburgh, as were almost all the field-officers of the regiment. This cir(VOL. XXX. )
cumstance he stated as a proof of the advantage resulting from the exercise of this prerogative. With respect to the trial of incapacity, this could not take place previous to the purchase of the commission; and to elucidate this, the hon. member read the regulation subsisting in the army, relating to incapacity, in which it is stated, that every officer who has been two years in the army, should be capable of commanding a troop or company, and understand every cir cumstance connected with its internal economy; that every captain of two years standing, should be capable of fulfilling the duties of a field-officer; and every general of brigade, &c. must strictly inquire into, and make accurate reports of, the sufficiency of every officer under his command, for the purpose that those who are incapable may be prevented from rising higher in the service, or of being ultimately dismissed. This incapacity he conceived to be incapable of proof, or what would be more unfortunate, the proof requisite must be purchased by the lives of many gallant men, sacrificed not to their leader's cowardice, but to his insufficiency. The motion itself he conceived to be very ill-timed. We had now arrived at the conclusion of a war in which our army was no less distinguished by its discipline than its gallantry. Gallant our army ever had been; but before the regulations of the Commander-in-chief, it was very deficient in that other requisite of military efficiency.
Mr. Manners Sutton said, that admitting for the sake of argument those abuses to exist, which had been stated, it did not follow that the proposition of the noble lord was the only or the best remedy for them. With regard to the hardships complained of by the right hon. gentleman, sustained by those who purchased their commissions, in the first place he would observe, that there were a great many commissions in the army which were not purchased; and that those who did purchase them, made the purchase with a full knowledge of the conditions annexed to it. He apprehended the noble lord who brought forward the proposition, was not aware of the whole importance of the question; and that, if it were thought advisable to do any thing respecting it, Parliament ought to pass a distinct act, and not introduce it as a mere clause of the Mutiny Bill. The clause, as it now stood, either would not effect the desired (E)
alluded to the case of ensign Cowell, who was dismissed the service by the sentence of a court-martial, for not sending a message in an affair in which he supposed himself the aggressor. The hon. gentleman related the affair, by which it ap
object at all, or it would effect something far beyond that object; and required, therefore, great nicety in the wording, and many other clauses to explain and limit it. Supposing abuses to exist, a shorter and a more expedient way would be for Parliament, if it thought an indi-peared that Mr. Cowell went a little heated vidual to be greatly aggrieved, to address the Crown upon the subject, and to obtain the removal of those ministers who had so advised the Crown. To deprive the Crown of its prerogative of controlling the army, so far as the power of dismissing its officers went, would introduce as great an anomaly into the constitution as that which was pretended to exist in the present system. As the army could not exist without the power of Parliament, so it could not be put in motion without the power of the Crown; that was the counterpoise provided by the constitution; but that balance would be partly destroyed if the proposition of the noble lord were carried. He should therefore vote against it.
with wine to a theatre at Bourdeaux, and meeting Mr. Harvey, the paymaster of the regiment, from whom he thought he had received some slight, he behaved to him in something of a hostile manner. However, reflecting on his conduct, and perceiving that he had been wrong, he made a submission to Mr. Harvey. Yet though he acted with such real spirit, and with so much of what ever distinguished the man of true bravery and honour, from the bully or the coward, he was brought to a court-martial and dismissed. The sentence, the hon. gentleman said, was not only pernicious to military discipline, but at direct variance with the laws of the land. What, he asked, would have been Mr. Cowell's situation had he sent a message, and killed his antagonist, in an affair in which he conceived himself the aggressor? It was ever the sign of true magnanimity not to be afraid to make a concession for an injury; and only a want of real bravery would risk taking away the injured person's life rather than submit to confess a fault. The hon. gentleman concluded by repeating his wish that military duels should have some mark of disapprobation affixed to them.
Mr. Wynn thought, that as the Mutiny Bill provided many of the temporary regulations of the army, and as, under its provisions, courts-martial were held, it could not be improper to introduce into it a clause such as the noble lord had proposed. He could not agree with the right hon. gentleman, that the House could properly investigate the case of this lieutenant or that major in order to address the Crown in any particular instance of abuse. The course now proposed would be preferable. He should therefore sup-up to-morrow. port the clause.
The clause was negatived without a division.
Mr. Whitbread complained of the power which magistrates had of sending persons confessing themselves to be deserters to the dépôt at the Isle of Wight without any record; and said, that when the clause allowing such a power came to be read, he should move an amendment.
Lord Palmerston said, that this power was allowed, to prevent the collusion, which sometimes took place, when one informed against another for being a deserter, and received the reward, while the person informed against had never been in the army, and only shared the reward with the informer.
Mr. Wynn wished that there should be some mark of disapprobation affixed to duels in the army, especially as some courts-martial now promoted duels. He
The report was ordered to be brought
HOUSE OF COMMONS.
Wednesday, March 8.
EMIGRATION.] Mr. Horner begged to put a question to the right hon. gentleman over the way, which might be in some degree connected with the Corn Bill. Much had been said, in the course of the debates, of the danger of emigration by our artisans and mechanics; and an advertisement had been put into his hand, which, if correct, would imply that ministers had been aiding in promoting the departure of our manufacturers and others from this country. This advertisement was from a person who styled himself, in a Scotch newspaper, " government commissioner and general agent in Scotland;" and it stated that it was the intention of ministers to encourage settlers in the British provinces of North America, and that for
that purpose ships were ready in the Clyde | House-proved so clearly the insufficiency to take in passengers, &c. The hon. and of the present representation of the counlearned member wished to know whether try, as the number of petitions which had government had given any authority or been on this occasion submitted to parlia. instructions to the individual who had put ment, without producing any effect whatforth this advertisement?
The Chancellor of the Exchequer could not give any information with regard to the particular advertisement'; but he did certainly know, that it had been in the contemplation of the Secretary of State for the Colonial department to take measures to prevent emigration to the United States, and for that purpose to promote it to our own settlements in North America.
Mr. Horner gave notice that on an early day he would bring the subject under the consideration of the House.
PETITIONS RESPECTING THE CORN LAWS.] Numerous petitions were presented relating to the proposed alteration in the Corn Laws.
Mr. Baring rose for the purpose of presenting a petition, signed by between 5 and 6,000 inhabitants of the city of Carlisle and its immediate neighbourhood; a number which comprized, with very little exception, the whole of the grown population of the district he had mentioned. The prayer of the petition was similar to that which had been so frequently stated during the evening, namely, that no alteration should be made in the Corn Laws, The petitioners had, however, made remarks on a variety of other subjects; and they seemed to think, that the Board of Agriculture was a very great nuisance. They expressed their conviction, that the members of that board, by tampering with the Corn Laws, from time to time, had rather occasioned evil than good. The petition, though it did not absolutely pray for parliamentary reform, yet touched indirectly on that subject. The sentiments of the inhabitants of Carlisle were thus expressed: "Your petitioners," say they, "are satisfied, that any hope of success in restricting the importation of corn, must arise from the people not being fairly represented from the want of parliamentary reform." And they recommended to them, by "granting no more public money than was absolutely necessary, and by doing away the corn laws, to shew that they were really ready to support the interests of the people." He agreed with them in the view they had taken of the subject; for no argument-no fact that ever before had been submitted to that
Sir James Graham said, he had never heard of this petition, as his constituents at Carlisle had never favoured him with their opinions or intentions upon the subject. The whole population of that place was not much more than 9,000. With respect to the corn laws, he owned that he in part agreed with them. He had made it his business to inquire particularly into the subject during the course of the last 12 months; he had spoken to many persons connected with agriculture in most parts of the country; and this he would state to the House, that from the greatest proprietors of land downwards, he found they would be satisfied with an average price of 72s. the quarter, so as to have 80 or 85s. for the best wheat in the market. He had heard from the best surveyors, that if the average price was 72s. the best market wheat would be 80 or 85s.; and he was astonished that Parliament should think of fixing 80s. as the importation price. This was not only the language of honest surveyors throughout the country, but of the greatest landed proprietors, persons who possessed more landed property than most consumers. He was therefore astonished when he heard gentlemen in that House say that nothing less than 80s. the quarter would satisfy the agricultural interest. He was no less astonished to hear it asserted that rent was not material in this question; there could be no doubt that rent was very material. If the tythes were at a moderate compensation, and rents somewhat lowered, the farmer would undoubtedly be also able to lower the price of grain. Labour must fall, the taxes had been diminished, and would be diminished still more. And was corn alone to be kept up? The truth was, that corn had already fallen one-third in most parts of the country. If corn was to be kept up by a vote of the House of Commons, the price would fall so beavy on the manufacturing interest, that they would be driven out of the country. If they could find proper protection in Flanders, he had no doubt that they would leave this country; for it would be im possible for them to exist in it. It had been said that it was impossible to raise corn on the South Downs, Dartmoor, and some such places, without a great expense;
and that the farmer could not be remunerated for his trouble, unless he were secured by such an importation price as that in the present Bill. If the farmer of these districts could only raise three quarters of wheat at an expense of 181. it was a pity he should ever think of laying out so much money on such ground. No price could ever secure an adequate return to such extravagant speculations; and even 150s, a quarter could never produce any profit to the agriculturist. This was a measure which had been proposed, and supported in the House by those who were connected with land, and it ought not to be borne with. He knew well that wheat had been selling in the country at 58. a bushel, but this wheat was not fit to be eaten by man. Oats, too, had been selling at 12s. and 15s. a quarter; but they were not fit food for horses. All this arose from the badness of the season; and it would be most absurd to force that to be eaten by man which was not fit to be eaten by pigs. He could assert, that the best wheat was now selling at 80s. and had never been selling at less than 80s. in several parts of the country with which he was acquainted; and that the people, for the best wheat, were satisfied with that price. It had been said they ought not to be deterred by clamour from passing this Bill; he would not be deterred by clamour from doing what he conceived to be right, but neither would he pass a bill merely because there was a clamour against it. He implored the House only to delay passing this Bill for some time, and to inquire of honest surveyors and agriculturists, not those surveyors who were employed merely to raise rents, but those who decided fairly between landlord and tenant, what the protecting price ought to be. If they were to call some of the largest landholders in the country, they would find that they would be contented with much less than 80s. It was his own firm belief, that 72s. was quite sufficient; and he should never give his vote for more.
Mr. Fawcett said, that he had received letters from several landholders, stating that they had no desire to have the importation price fixed so high.
Sir J. Graham, in answer to a question by Mr. Cawthorne, stated, that wheat was selling at 10s. the bushel in Yorkshire and Cumberland.
Mr. Wortley Stuart said, he knew that it had been at 10s. the bushel, but that it had since fallen back. He had at one
| time thought that a lower average would have been sufficient; but having heard all the debates on the subject, he was satisfied that the price now proposed was not beyond what was necessary in order to give the farmer a fair profit. He knew that there were many who had their lands inclosed, and peculiarly calculated for the raising of wheat, who might be desirous that this measure should not pass; for if it did not pass, much land not so fit for the purpose of raising wheat must be left uncultivated, and then their good lands would procure an inordinate price. He was not at all surprised, therefore, that there were many great land-owners adverse to this measure. Now the state of the question appeared to him to be this: it was agreed on all hands that here was a party in distress, and the only question was as to the relief. On the one side was the great body of the agricultural interest; on the other many well-informed persons certainly, and also a great number of the lower orders, who were utterly unable to reason accurately on the subject. Who was to decide between them? The Legislature unquestionably. He had endeavoured to form the most correct opinion on the question, and should vote according to his conscience and the best of his understanding. Having once clearly ascertained what was his duty, he should be ashamed to shrink from it; and if he had represented the most populous place, he should decide exactly in the same way, and tell his constituents that they had no right to control his judgment and vote.
Mr. Calcraft said, that though the lower orders were not perhaps judges of all the minute details of a question of this kind, they knew, from experience, that whenever the subject of wheat, bread, or provisions was mentioned in that House, it had always the effect of raising the price. of them to the consumer. With regard to the inferior lands which had been alluded to by the hon. baronet, whatever was done by the House, it would be impossible to keep them in cultivation, unless a similar stimulus should be applied from time to time; and even this stimulus would be insufficient to keep them in cultivation to the amount wished. Nothing could be more impolitic than such a sys tem. Had they not seen other things raised to an immoderate height, by the number of acres which had been converted from pasture to arable? He said he had been highly pleased to hear the
hon. baronet express himself as he did, because he was a man of great experience, had a knowledge of all parts of the country, and was connected with some very great estates. The hon. baronet had fixed on the same sum as he himself had fixed After the statement which the House had done him the honour to listen to the other night, and which the right hon. gentleman (Mr. Huskisson) had not refuted in any part, he should trouble the House very shortly at present. It was monstrous to hear the arguments made use of in that House. Among the different burthens of poor-rates, taxes, and tythes, with which the farmer was loaded, no mention was made of rent as a burthen on the farmer. He would say that he had had conversations and held correspondence with farmers in different parts of the kingdom; and they all disclaimed that the present Bill was a cause of theirs. He wished the House to consider this subject more maturely, and not make such a respectable body of men as the agriculturists of this country, odious in the eyes of their fellow-citizens. It was the prayer of all of them that a measure of such great importance, might not be precipitated.
Mr. J. Graham said, he had not advised the withdrawing of land from cultivation; he had merely said, that if land was cultivated at 181. an acre, the cultivator never could he repaid. He had not said that the agriculturist ought not to be protected; agriculture and manufactures ought equally to be protected; but if a preference were necessary, it ought to be given to agriculture, as it was productive of more moral good.
Mr. Methuen wished the House to bear in mind that it had been admitted by an hon. member, that the present Bill had already raised the price.
had been made out to justify the interference of Parliament to this extent.
Mr. Baring hoped the inhabitants of all the petitioning towns would receive such support as had been given by the hon. member for Carlisle to their constituents. The hon. baronet, who was so well acquainted with the country, had told them, that if a committee of impartial and fair men were appointed, much less would be found requisite than 80s. a quarter. he had always argued from the partial report itself, that the price ought to be much less. An hon. gentleman whose displeasure he had formerly incurred, had even himself said that something less than SOs. would do. He had only to regret that those who thought 80s. too much, when there was a question for leaving out 80s. were generally in the majority.
Mr. Philips presented a petition from certain journeymen tailors, assembled at their house of call, the Peacock, in Claremarket, against any alteration in the Corn Laws;-which was ordered to lie on the table.
CORN BILL.] On the motion that the report of the committee on the Corn Bill, be now brought up,
Sir Gilbert Heathcote rose, and after stating that he was afraid to trust his feelings on this occasion, he proceeded to observe, that, when he witnessed such a multitude of petitions laid on the table of that House, and saw how little they were attended to by those who, no doubt, were desirous of being considered the representatives of the people, he could not help believing that the people had just reason to complain that they were not freely and fairly represented. Those who were enemies to parliamentary reform ought to mark the powerful engine, which, by their neglect, they placed in the hands of those who contended that the representation was not what it ought to be. person could suspect that he was hostile to the agricultural interest; but he could not forget the great services which the commercial interest had performed for the country; services by which the empire was enabled to make the effectual struggle which had been so gloriously termi
Mr. Alderman Atkins called the attention of House to the petitions which had been presented on the one side and the other, and expressed his wish, that the numbers on each side should be ascertained and stated. The petitions against the measure were not signed by the rabble who had committed those outrages which all must abhor, but by a vast number of intelligent people, perfectly competent to discriminate, and to form a correct judg-nated. The hon. baronet then proceeded ment on the question.
Mr. Shaw Lefevre stated, that wheat had been rising in Reading market for these four weeks past, and was now selling at 888. the quarter. He thought that no case
to animadvert on a speech delivered on a former evening by Mr. Yorke, at the delivery of which, he acknowledged he was not present. The right hon. gentleman, he observed, appeared all of a sudden te