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MR. WHITBREAD.-An intention having been announced in several Papers of publishing a Collection of that Gentleman's Speeches in Parliament, as a companion to a similar collection of the Speeches of Mr. Fox,' the Public are respectfully informed that the only correct Reports of Mr. Whitbread's Speeches, are contained in THE PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES now publishing under the superintendence of Mr. T. C. Hansard, Mr. W. having, for some Years, been in the habit of communicating for the use of that Work, corrected Reports of his Speeches, often wholly in Manuscript, sometimes by correcting the Editor's compilation, and at others, the Proofs as going through the Press. Mr. Hansard is therefore determined, as well in justice to the memory of that distinguished statesman and orator, as for the security of his own property, to resist, by every means afforded for the protection of Literary Property, any attempts to publish the Reports of such Speeches as are given in the above Parliamentary Work. It may also be important to state, that Mr. W. a short time before his lamented death, found leisure, amidst his numerous important avocations, to correct, for The PARLIAMENTARY HISTORY, (the Work which brings the Legislative History of our Country down to 1803, when the Publication of the "Parliamentary Debates" commenced,) all his Speeches which had been given in other collections previous to that date.
During the Third Session of the Fifth Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, appointed to meet at Westminster, the Eighth Day of November 1814, in the Fifty-fifth Year of the Reign of His Majesty King GEORGE the Third. [Sess. 1814/15.
HOUSE OF LORDS. Monday, March 6, 1815. PETITIONS RESPECTING THE CORN LAWS.] Earl Stanhope said, he had a great number of petitions numerously signed, to present to their lordships against any alteration in the Corn Laws. One of these, he said, was signed by between 9 and 10,000 persons; a second was signed by about the same number; another by between 7 and 8000, and so forward: all were signed in a very short space of time. Would that House of Parliament, in which they were emphatically told the other night, they should attend to the wishes of the people of Scotland, in the case of the Trial by Jury, refuse to attend to the wishes of the people of England, so generally and unequivocally expressed? He hoped the House would keep in that sentiment, and attend to the wishes of persons cut of doors, on a subject to which, he trusted, their lordships would feel it their dety to pay particular attention, and one that interested the individuals deeply. He cordially agreed in the opinion expressed by some, and these not merely distressed laborious persons, but persons in a most respectable line, that the change proposed to be made, would make their present bad condition much worse, that they might be said to fall out of the frying pan into the fire.' On this subject, he should wish their lordships would take into serious consideration those principles which he had laid down, and in the con. scious confidence of support given to their lordships last year for new-modelling the system with respect to those engaged (VOL. XXX.)
in pursuits of agriculture. He did not believe a system so calculated to augment in every way the direct taxes of that nature and description could have been devised; it was in fact taxing the people upon compound interest. If their lordships would proceed rightly in so important a case, they would go into a consideration of the principles on which the revenue ought to be raised, and to record those principles. These were his sentiments upon points which he trusted their lordships would, ere it might be too late, take into their earnest consideration.—His lordship then presented petitions from Whitechapel, from St. Botolph, from the Towerhamlets, from Chatham, signed, as he observed, by a great number of true men of Kent, as were two other petitions from Rochester and Deptford, also in the county of Kent, and from several other places; in all about ten petitions.-The petitions were laid on the table.
The Earl of Derby presented a petition from Great and Little Bolton, in the county palatine of Lancaster, also against the Corn Bill. His lordship observed, that, though from his connexion with that place, he felt it his duty to present their petition for the consideration of parlia ment, he by no means agreed in the prayer which it contained. Thinking, as he did, that the measure now in its progress was calculated to prove advatageous to the country, he should give it his support, whatever unpopularity it might expose him to. He was sure that the measure was not pregnant with the evils apprehended from its operation. If he thought it was, he would be one of the
on the table. His lordship then presented petitions to the same effect from the parish of St. Leonard's, Shoreditch, signed by about 18,000 persons in two days; from Wapping, from Plymouth, from Trowbridge, and several places in the county of Sussex; in all about twelve petitions.
The Earl of Darnley addressed the House at some length upon the general subject under consideration, which he seemed to think was still much misconceived and misrepresented. He adverted to some farther information that would be necessary to illustrate certain points he had advanced in discussion on a former evening, and for which he intended to move. He would again beg leave to enter bis protest against the use of any language, in or out of the House, which might, from mistaken zeal, tend in any degree to irritate those feelings which were already much misled on the subject. It was fortunate, after what he had observed against the first part of a statement, that the necessary effect of the measure to the consumer would be, to advance the average price of corn to 80s., that he could refer to an important fact, which was so far decisive upon the subject, which was, that the price of the best wheat that day at Marklane, had fallen 5s. per quarter. This, he trusted, would have its due effect upon the public mind, which was misled on more than one point connected with the subject. Of these were the asserted facts, that the quartern loaf would rise, were the price at 80s., to 16d. or 18d. On this head, he had advanced that, in his opinion, the quartern loaf, under any fair operation, ought not to exceed 1s. To bring this part of the subject more fully before the House, he would move for accounts of the average price of wheaten flour, and the average price of the quartern loaf, during the last ten years; which he doubted not would shew that under no fair operation, he price being at 80s. that of the quartern loaf hereafter would exceed a shilling. There was one other point to which he would claim the attention of their lordships, namely, to a false assertion which had been made, including a gross absurdity
that the object of those who advocated the pending measure, was to raise the price of corn permanently, so as to make the subsistence of the people dearer hereafter. He, for one, would declare in the face of their lordships and the country, that if he thought or believed that this or any other measure would have such a permanent
The Duke of Susser stated, that he had a petition to present to their lordships, praying also, that no alteration may be made in the corn laws. In presenting it, however, he wished to be understood as giving no opinion whatever upon the subject. When it should be under discussion, he would attend to what might be said upon both sides of the question, and draw his conclusions therefrom, according to the best of his judgment. At the same time, he would take this opportunity of saying, that from his present view of the subject, there appeared to him to be necessity for farther investigation, and he must deprecate any thing like an attempt to hurry a question through the House of such primary consequence. He should act upon the principle he had referred to, and would pledge himself no further. His Royal Highness then presented the petition, which was from certain inhabitants of the town and neighbourhood of Hammersmith.
Lord Grenville said, he had likewise 'several petitions to present to the same effect, and those so numerously and respectably signed by landholders, as well as others, that he trusted their lordships would be fully convinced of the extreme impropriety of precipitation and hurry, in dealing with a question in which so great a proportion of the population of the country took so deep an interest. The first petition which he begged leave to present to their lordships was from the merchants, manufacturers, cotton spinners, and others in and about the town of Manchester, signed by 52,000 persons. Considering the great respectability and number of those by whom this petition was signed, he thought it would be proper to move that the petition be read at length. The petition was accordingly read, and stated the mischiefs which, in the opinion of the petitioners, would result from a perseverance in the proposed alteration in the corn laws, by raising the price of provisions in general, sending skilful workmen out of the country to France, the United States of America, &c. and ultimately proving highly injurious even to the owners of land. The petition was laid
effect, he would not support it. On the contrary, he in his conscience believed the effect would be ultimately very different. He would repeat, that if he thought it would have the injurious effects alluded to, he certainly would not vote for the measure. The noble earl concluded by moving for accounts to the effect above stated, which were ordered to be laid before the House accordingly.
HELLESTON ELECTION BILL.] Lord Grenville wished once more to call the attention of their lordships to the proceedings on the Helleston Election Bill. As it now stood, he thought it must lie unnoticed on their lordships table till evidence was produced. Last year petitions were presented both for and against the Bill; this year there were none on either side. One course that might be adopted in this situation, was to send to the Commons for minutes of the evidence on which they had proceeded. He did not mean it to be considered as evidence upon which their lordships were to act, but merely as a way of obtaining information. He was not prepared to recommend any proceeding in preference to another, but perhaps the appointment of a committee for the purpose of investigating the matter might be preferred.
The Earl of Liverpool entirely agreed with the noble lord on the subject. He agreed, that if the case was made out, the principle of the Bill should be adopted; the more so, as he objected to the more general measure called Parliamentary Reform. If the House should go into the consideration of the Bill, he would carry into the discussion no prejudice or presumption on one side or the other. He saw no objection to sending a message to the House of Commons, for the information on which they had passed the Bill. They might then summon the witnesses called before that House, and proceed to examine them on their own authority. The evidence might be the same, or it might be very different; but, in either case, they would be guided by their own judgments. He agreed it would be better to wait a few days longer.
The Earl of Lauderdale suggested that a message to the effect proposed was sent to the House of Commons last year. They might now send for any additional evidence. As to the other alternative of appointing a committee, he thought it the best, particularly if it was directed to
Mr. Calvert, on presenting the petition from the borough of Southwark, observed, that the shortness of the time had only enabled 7,500 inhabitants to sign it; but there was no doubt that the petition which would be prepared for another place, would be signed by more than three times that number. He took that opportunity of adding, that the object of this petition was not to entreat consideration whether 76s. or 80s. were the fittest price, but decidedly to pray, that no alteration whatever might be made in the corn laws.
Mr. Barclay presented one from the manor of Clapham, signed by 7,700 persons.
Mr. Blackburn presented ten petitions from different parts of Lancashire; amongst them was the petition from Manchester, which was signed by 54,000 inhabitants. On this being presented,
General Gascoyne took occasion_to_observe, that when he had commented on the unpopularity of this measure in Lancashire, an hon. member for Lancaster had said, that the people were rather friendly than adverse to it. He would only ask whether the many thousands of names signed to all the petitions from those parts, did not prove directly the contrary?
The petition from Manchester was ordered to be read. It set forth the unequivocal and unanimous opinion of the petitioners, that the Bill was the most unadvised and injudicious measure ever brought forward: that the petitioners were convinced it would have the effect
of raising the price of labour, and diminishing the demand for our own manufactures. It alluded to the great improvements in the cotton machinery on the continent, by which an important rivalship would exist towards us, that could not fail to undermine our manufactures, if this measure were passed into a law; the petitioners therefore viewed it with the greatest alarm, and prayed it might be rejected.
was, that the more the measure became known, the more generally it was execrated and condemned. The people were not to be cajoled by such arguments as that the Bill would give them cheap bread: they knew better; they knew the thing was impossible; and, considering the inevitable consequences of the measure, he hoped the House would not suffer it to proceed further.
Mr. Philips said, that the petitions before them were a complete answer to the idea that the minds of the people were changed. Upon no question were their opinions so unanimous. It had, indeed, been said that popular clamour was raised on this occasion, which was rather a curious term from a representative to his constituents. At all events, the present petition had no tendency to inflame, it was argumentative and rational; it came, in fact, from a quarter not remarkable for public meet
Sir Robert Peel said, that it was not without some uneasiness he rose on this occasion. He thought the petition must show the unanimous opinion entertained of the Bill in this large manufacturing town. He begged the House also to observe, that the petition was not urged by any want of attachment to the government; for during the most pressing periods of the war, the people of Manchester had abstained from all complaints, because they had hoped that the return of peace, when-ings; for the practice at Manchester was, ever it might arrive, would cause a cessa- if a requisition was transmitted to the tion of their burthens. He had witnessed proper officer to convene a meeting, a their feelings on former occasions with counter one was also sent by a greater great uneasiness, as they arose from a want number of persons, and consequently no of bread; but when they were told that meeting was assembled. This practice he it would be injurious to publish their com- strongly reprobated; it went to discounplaints, they submitted to their hard con- tenance the fair and constitutional expresdition with the most praiseworthy silence. sion of public feeling. What rendered He considered the present Bill as the most the present petition of greater value was, injurious and unprecedented measure that it was signed by those who heretofore which had occurred in his time, as it went objected to general meetings. A great to affect an immensely numerous and loyal deal had been said of the sufferings of the body of people, who had supported go- agriculturist. On this point he would only vernment by their labour and the advan- say, that an artificial extension of what tages derived from its exercise. Was it, was called their protection would increase then, to be endured, that ministers should their sufferings. Whatever public evil lend themselves to such a measure? He existed, the manufacturer bore his part of would tell them that they had but one the pressure: his wages were getting interest to consult, and that was, to sup- lower, as the petition stated, and were port the labourer in manufacturing in-likely to continue so. Great manufacdustry. Was it intended that we should turing and commercial distress prevailed, for the future only live on the produce of to the vital injury of those undeniable our land? If so, what would become of sources of national wealth and prosperity. the resources from our manufactures, when The petitioners had further stated, that our machinery should be lost? He was artisans were rapidly emigrating to France; persuaded our manufacturers would not sit and what would not be the consequence still and see their trade frittered away and of an increase of those emigrations? The destroyed they would go abroad and hon. member concluded by adverting to exert themselves where their labour would the enormous increase of the manufacbe properly appreciated, and enable them turing population of Lancashire. In the to procure the necessaries of life. He, year 1690 it amounted but to 234,805; however, yet hoped, that as the injurious it was now $28,000. Such an increase tendency of the measure must now be was entitled to the serious reflection of evident, it would not be suffered to proceed, the House. but that ministers would convince the anxious multitude that they were alive to their real and vital interests. The fact
Mr. Cawthorne said a few words in explanation of his former opinion, relative to the change in the people's minds upon the