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Revision of Poor-Lax Burdens-His Speech—He is answered at lenyth by Sir George Grey- The Motion is supported, during a protracted Debate of tico nights, by Mr. Seymer, Sir John Tyrrell, Lord John Manners, Mr. Stafford, and Mr. Gladstone, and opposed by Mr. Bright, Mr. Hobhouse, Mr. Wilson, Sir James Graham, and Sir Robert Peel-On a Division, the Motion is negatived by a Majority of 21 votes. PARLIAMENTARY REFORM—Mr. Hume proposes, on the 28th Feb., a Resolution for the Extension of the Franchise— The Motion is seconded by Sir Joshua Walmsley, and advocated by Mr. Feargus O'Connor, Mr. W. P. Wood, Mr. Roebuck, Mr. B. Osborne, and Mr. Locke King-Sir George Grey, Mr. Henry Drummond, and Lord John Russell, address the House on the other side-Mr. Hume's proposition is negatived by 242 to 96.
T the commencement of the the community with the circumA
year 1850, the domestic affairs stances in which the free-trade of the British nation presented a measures had placed them, was tranquil and, with partial excep- deeply felt and loudly expressed. tions, a cheering aspect.
The As to the remedies applicable to revenue, notwithstanding the re- the grievances of which they comcent reductions in the Customs plained, a great diversity of opinion duties, exhibited gratifying signs prevailed; some deeming that a reof buoyancy, the excess of income turn to a protective system could over expenditure when the year alone restore agriculture to a commenced being somewhat more healthy state; others despairing of than two millions. The foreign a reversal of the newly-adopted trade of the country had likewise system, and preferring to seek regreatly increased, the value of the lief through the remission of finanexports having risen from about cial burdens. Few persons, how48,000,0001. in 1848, to about ever, ventured to deny that the 58,000,0001. in 1849. Concurrently embarrassed condition of the landed with these facts, a diminution of interest presented matter for grave pauperism, and an increased facility consideration, and a fair claim for of subsistence, and larger command any relief that might not be inconof the comforts of life on the part of sistent with the interests of the the working-classes, afforded proof other classes of the community. that the recent changes of com- With the exception of a partial exmercial policy had not altogether citement occasioned by the renewal disappointed the anticipations of from time to time of the still untheir authors. The depressed con- settled controversy of free trade, dition of the classes connected with the country in general wore an the cultivation of the soil, alone appearance of perfect tranquilfurnished an exception to the gene- lity and repose; nor was the reral well-being. The difficulties ex- assembling of Parliament regarded perienced by the farmers in adjust- with anything more than that ing their operations to the reduced natural interest which uniformly prices occasioned by unfettered attends the commencement of a imports, appeared to be no nearer to new session. This event took place a satisfactory solution than before. on the 31st of January, when ParThe dissatisfaction of this class of liament was opened by commission, and the Lord Chancellor read the might be rendered necessary by Royal Speech from the Throne, in the relaxation of the restrictions the following terms :
formerly imposed by the navigation
laws of this country. "My Lords and Gentlemen,
“ The Governments of the “We are commanded by Her United States of America and of Majesty to assure you that Her Sweden have promptly taken steps Majesty has great satisfaction in to secure to British ships, in the again having recourse to the advice ports of their respective countries, and assistance of her Parliament. advantages similar to those which
“ The decease of her Majesty their own ships now enjoy in BriQueen Adelaide has caused Her tish ports. Majesty deep affliction. The ex- “With regard to those foreign tensive charity and exemplary vir- states whose navigation laws have tues of her late Majesty will always hitherto been of a restrictive charender her memory dear to the racter, Her Majesty has received nation.
from nearly all of them assurances “Her Majesty happily continues which induce her to hope that our in peace and amity with foreign example will speedily lead to a powers.
great and general diminution of “In the course of the autumn those obstacles which previously differences of a serious character existed to a free intercourse by sea arose between the Governments of between the nations of the world. Austria and Russia on the one In the summer and autumn of hand, and the Sublime Porte on the past year the United Kingdom the other, in regard to the treat- was again visited by the ravages of ment of a considerable number of the cholera ; but Almighty God, in persons who, after the termination of His mercy, was pleased to arrest the civil warin Hungary, had taken the progress of mortality, and to refuge in the Turkish territory. stay this fearful pestilence. Her
“Explanations which took place Majesty is persuaded that we shall between the Turkish and Imperial best evince our gratitude by vigiGovernments have fortunately re. lant precautions against the more moved any danger to the peace of obvious causes of sickness, and Europe which might have arisen an enlightened consideration for out of these differences.
those who are most exposed to its "Her Majesty, having been ap- attacks. pealed to on this occasion by the “Her Majesty, in her late visit Sultan, united her efforts with to Ireland, derived the highest those of the Government of France, gratification from the loyalty and to which a similar appeal had been attachment manifested by all classes made, in order to assist, by the of her subjects. Although the employment of her good offices, in effects of former years of scarcity effecting an amicable settlement of are painfully felt in that part of those differences in a manner con- the United Kingdom, they are mitisistent with the dignity and inde- gated by the present abundance of pendence of the Porte.
food, and the tranquillity which “ Her Majesty has been engaged prevails. in communications with foreign “Her Majesty has great satisstates upon the measures which faction in congratulating you on
the improved condition of com- other matters of serious conse-
well-being of her subjects.
“ The favour of Divine Provi. “Gentlemen of the House of dence has hitherto preserved this Commons,
kingdom from the wars and con“Her Majesty has directed the vulsions which, during the last two estimates for the year to be laid years, have shaken so many of the before you. They have been states of the Continent of Europe. framed with a strict regard to “ It is Her Majesty's hope and economy, while the efficiency of belief, that by combining liberty the various branches of the public with order, by preserving what is service has not been neglected. valuable, and amending what is
“ Her Majesty has seen with defective, you will sustain the satisfaction the present state of the fabric of our institutions as the
abode and the shelter of a free and
After the delivery of the Royal
its exertions in the cause of order,
and expressed his conviction that
declared that, so far as his experi- which expressed Her Majesty's ence of free trade went, the pre- gratification at the increased ensent agricultural pressure seemed joyment of the necessaries and likely to be permanent. If the comforts of life which low prices history of the Corn Laws were re- had bestowed on the nation at viewed, it would be found that large. From returns in their posthough low prices had occasionally session the Government were able occurred, they were entirely differ to state that, comparing the 1st of ent, both in cause and effect, from January, 1849, with the 1st of the low rates which at present pre- January, 1850, there had been in vailed. Upon this point, there- England a decrease of above 7 fore, he ventured to move the in- per cent. on the persons mainsertion of the following paragraph, tained out of the funds for after the words “commerce and the relief of the poor; while in manufactures:"-" That we regret, Ireland the cost of supporting the however, to be compelled humbly poor in the workhouse had fallen to represent to your Majesty that from 28. ld. to ls. ld. per head. in many parts of the United King. Though the agricultural horizon dom, and especially in Ireland, the might be gloomy and lowering, he various classes of your Majesty's was not prepared to contemplate subjects connected with the culti- under any circumstances a return vation of the soil are labouring to protection, and for his part, l'aunder severe distress, mainly ap- ther than consent to any measure plicable, in our opinion, to recent which would check the importation legislative enactments, aggravated of the necessaries of life, he would by the pressure of local taxation.” resign his office and his rank. He
The Earl of Desart seconded therefore called upon their Lordthe amendment, because he felt ships to affirm, by a decisive majoconvinced that the interests of the rity, their unwillingness to reverse landlord, labourer, and tenant in the policy which they had so reIreland were fast tending to a cently sanctioned. state of utter annihilation and The Duke of Richmond ruin.
warned the last speaker that the The Earl of Carlisle saw no time might come when it would be great difference between the Ad fortunate for him to be shorn of dress and the amendment, and he, his honours. To speak plainly, for one, deriving as he did all his he thought the agricultural inteincome from land, entered most rest had been slighted in the Speech fully into that part of her Majesty's from the Throne, which, as he unSpeech in which she lamented that derstood it, did not even admit the owners and occupiers of land that the agriculturists were sufferwere subject to distress. Still no ing from distress. The noble Earl contradiction had been given, nor, had talked of the cheapness of in his opinion, could be given, to provisions, but had omitted to say that part of the Speech which con- anything about wages, which had gratulated the country on the im- fallen excessively in some districts, proved condition of commerce and in which hundreds of labourers manufactures. Still less could the were out of work. It was surprisexisting distress in Ireland be al- ing to hear the noble Lord talk of leged as an answer to that sentence the courage which their Lordships
displayed in passing the free-trade was able to produce under a better measures. It was notorious that system of agriculture. He thought their lordships were influenced by there were many reasons for the an opposite motive—they yielded present low price of corn, without to the pressure from without. Let attributing it entirely to free trade. it not be supposed that agricultural Lord Brougham, though he did agitation would terminate with the not think agricultural distress at year 1850. The farmers were all exaggerated, disapproved in the men who, when once aroused, strongest manner of the language would never cease exerting them that had been used at certain Proselves until they obtained redress tectionist meetings. A great deal for their injuries. Every bustings had also been said as to the disin the country would be made a tress existing in certain classes of battle-tield, on which they would the community, and emigration steadily, but without violence of had been proposed as a means of language, state their grievances alleviating it, though he did not and demand justice.
think it would be attended with Earl Fitzwilliam contended that the anticipated result. The noble agriculture had never benefited by and learned Lord concluded by protection, and trusted their Lord. stating that, having seen no cause ships would not consent to insert why they should retrace their in the Address any words calcu- steps, he was unable to vote for lated to inspire delusive hopes. the amendment proposed by the
The Earl of Winchilsea thought noble Earl. it impossible for the English grower Lord Stanley, having remarked to compete at present prices with on the cordial assent which certain the Americans, and was deter- portions of the Speech would meet mined never to rest till England had with from all classes of the commurecovered that fair protection which mity, and especially those portions had been taken from her. He had which related to the death of the no hesitation in saying that he Queen Dowagerand to the visitation would agitate by every means in of the cholera, turned to those sentihis power.
ments which did not meet with his Earl Granville rejoiced to find a approbation. Considering the coolgreat difference between the lan- ness which had arisen between guage held in the House and that England and Russia on the Turk, reported to have been used at Pro- ish question, he was surprised tectionist meetings. At those that Her Majesty had been made meetings it had been affirmed that to say that she was at peace and distress was universal, while in the amity with all other nations; and speeches they had just heard, it with regard to agricultural distress, was admitted that depression was he was convinced that it could only confined to the classes immediately be alleviated by a return to mointerested in agriculture. With derate protection. He and his respect to the farmer, there was no friends had been invited to say doubt that he was now passing what they desired, and he made po through a state of transition; and secret of his own views. He beit could not asserted that he lieved a moderate protecting duty was unable to compete with fo- would be advantageous to agricul
. igners till it was seen what he ture and to the revenue, while it