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would not be injurious to the con- Government, that he would not sumer. He did not ask their compromise surrender, but Lordships to interrupt the progress maintain, those measures which of that great experiment, which he he considered to be connected with feared was leading inevitably to the happiness and well-being of the most serious consequences. the people-proceeded to notice He only asked them, and he asked the salient topics of the Speech. them with confidence, not to refuse On the subject of the laws passed their assent to the amendment, last Session to regulate our naviwhich affirmed that there were two gation, he stated facts upon which causes for the distress of the he grounded a confident belief that agricultural interest-causes with the predictions of the opponents which it was the function of the of the change would be falsified, Government to deal; and they and the expectations of its advowere entitled to say that in one cates fully realized. The anshape or other the Government nouncement in the Speech of the was bound to take some steps for prosperity of our trade and manuthe removal of that distress. factures he considered highly im
The Marquess of Lansdowne de- portant as a lesson to foreign fended the Royal Speech from the countries watching the effects of objections raised by Lord Stanley, the great experiment made by and advised the House to support England, which had succeeded at the Address, and throw out the home, as well as abroad, beyond amendment.
his hopes, in the extension of our After some observations from trade, the improvement in the the Duke of Beaufort,
wages and comforts of the operaTheir Lordships divided, when tive classes, and the increase of the numbers were,
the revenue, in the very first year
of free trade. He admitted and For the Amendment
regretted the sufferings of many of Present
69 the owners and occupiers of land ; Proxies
but it would be delusive to hold
-103 out to them any expectations of Against it
the legislative relief they desired, Present
86 namely, a parliamentary guarantee Proxies
66 of price for their produce, which -152 had been the ruin of the agricul
tural interest. The landowners, Majority in favour of
however, had at least this consolathe Address
49 tion, that land now fetched a
higher price in the market than it In the House of Commons, the
The Address moved by Address was moved by Mr. C. Mr. Villiers was, as usual, a reVilliers, who, premising that he flection of the Speech. had undertaken this office because The motion was seconded by Sir he entirely agreed in the views J. Duke. which the Government now took Sir J. Trollope moved an amendof the interests of the people, and ment upon that part of the Address had the most implicit reliance on which referred to the condition of the noble
Lord at the head of the agriculture and the complaints of the owners and occupiers of land. The distress amongst certain He urged the difficulties experi- classes of the owners and occuenced by those classes throughout piers of land in some parts of the the country, who felt that their country had been exaggerated. complaints had been treated with In the great majority of the agrilevity and disrespect, and who had cultural counties, there had been a in a firm tone maintained their diminution of distress, and a reright to be heard with attention by duction of poor-rates, and he relied the Legislature. He proposed to upon the energy of the farmers add to the Address a representa- to overcome the unavoidable effects tion to Her Majesty that, in many of so great a change of the law, as parts of the United Kingdom, and they had overcome the distress especially in Ireland, the various caused by still greater depressions classes connected with the cultiva- of prices under protection; though tion of the soil were labouring he denied that the present fall of under severe distress, which they prices was to be solely attributed mainly attributed to recent legis- to that change, and did not expect lative enactments, the operation of that the permanent price of corn which was aggravated by the pres- would range so low as at present. sure of local taxation. He denied The people of this country had a that the principle of free trade right to food at as cheap a rate as had been applied equally to agri- possible; the producers of coru culture and manufactures, the lat- must therefore increase its quanter being still protected, and he tity, and this could be done only saw no resource but a reconsider- by the application of additional ation of the whole matter.
industry, skill, and capital to land. Colonel Chatterton, the new Even a reduction of rent was not member for Cork, seconded the to be put into competition with amendment.
the benefit of a cheap supply of The Chancellor of the Exche- food to the labouring classes, quer was glad that on the first which was already felt in the diminight of the session the amend- nution of poor-rates ; these were ment moved by Sir J. Trollope, 400,0001. Iess in 1849 than in who called for a reconsideration of 1848. Sir Charles read various the recent legislative measures, returns, which showed a progreswould bring the great question to sive falling off in the number of issue, whether Parliament should able-bodied poor relieved durivg retrace its steps, or persist in that the past year in most of the agricourse of legislation to which he cultural counties, as well as in believed the universal prosperity Ireland; and ho asked how this of the country was owing. Sir fact could be reconciled with the Charles Wood entered into various alleged increase of distress amongst details, founded upon official agricultural labourers ? On the documents, showing the augmen contrary, it confirmed the infortation of our foreign trade (our mation he had received from vaexports having increased about rious parts of the country of inten millions in the last year), creased activity in the culture of and its profitable character, and the land, and the improved condi. the increase of shipbuilding in tion of the peasantry. He read this country, even for foreigners. statements of the imports of foreign and colonial produce, and of ship- pendent upon foreigners for food. ping entered in England, pointing Our late legislation was experiout how much the results were at mental, not final and irrevocable; variance with the forebodings of and the result of the experiment the Protectionists; and he wound had verified the apprehension of these statements up with an an- its destructive effects upon the nouncement that every branch of agriculture of this country. the revenue had decidedly im- Mr. G. Berkeley complained of proved, the result being that there the omission in the Speech and was an excess of income over in the Address of any allusion to expenditure for the
of the state of the West Indian Colo2,098,0001.
nies, and condemned the terms in Mr. H. Herbert disputed the which Mr. Bright and Mr. Cobden deduction drawn by Mr. Villiers had spoken out of doors of our and Sir C. Wood from the diminu- colonial possessions. He defied tion of the number of persons re
the Manchester school to prove ceiving out-door relief in Ireland; that, with present prices, land that fact did not show a diminution could be farmed profitably without of destitution, since there had been rent; he denounced the doctrines additional house accommodation, of that school as fraught with dethousands had come to England, lusion and danger, and charged and other causes had co-operated. them with stirring up an ill-feeling He recommended the House to between landlord and tenant, and receive with caution anything which with using language calculated to came from the Government on the exasperate the humble classes. subject of the prosperity of Ireland, Free-trader as he had been, as well taxing Sir C. Wood with a flagrant as a supporter of the Government, inaccuracy in a speech made by he felt the measure of free trade him upon the Irish poor law. He was a most disgraceful one, and supported the amendment, and was that the agricultural interest had replied to by
been ill-used by the present MiMr. W. Fagan, who denied that nisters; and, unless something was the distress of Ireland could be done, that interest must be overascribed to "recent legislative whelmed with ruin. enactments," which, on the con- The Marquess of Granby, contrary, had produced some abate- fining himself to the paragraph in ment of that distress.
the Speech to which the amendSir J. Walsh regretted that the ment was directed, and which he Address had not been so framed characterized as offensive to a that all could concur in it, instead of large class of Her Majesty's subprovoking a division. The Govern- jects, combated the opinions of Mr. ment were precipitating a contest Villiers as to the real causes of between the landed interest on agricultural distress. At large one side, and the spirit of de- meetings throughout the country magoguism on the other. The the language universally held had energies of British farmers, he been, that under present prices it feared, would be overtaxed, and was impossible for the occupiers of when agriculture was reduced to land to cultivate it profitably—that its lowest depression, our manu
they must have protection against facturers would be altogether de- foreigners. This, however, was a
subject which involved the interests, ground that it was injurious to not of owners and occupiers of other interests of the country, and land merely, but of the agricultural being so, it must be eventually inlabourers, who far outnumbered jurious to the protected interest. those engaged in other pursuits, Mr. Christopher said it was and who had been worse off since from no disrespect to the Sovereign the free-trade measures. On the that the Speech was objected to, other hand, the Marquess adduced since it was that of her Ministers, evidence to show that our present who did not sympathize with the manufacturing prosperity was tem- distress which he had witnessed in porary and transient, if not unreal; the agricultural districts. They but suppose it be real, the answer did not acknowledge it; they was, that our manufactures were taunted the owners and occupiers protected: with what justice, then, of land with venting complaints ; could protection be refused to our the amendment was therefore unagriculture ? If, as he contended, avoidable. In urging the oft-rethe distress in the agricultural dis. peated statement, that profitable tricts was owing to legislation, and cultivation of land at present was likely to be permanent; and if prices was impossible, Mr. Chrisfree trade was to be the order of topher gave some practical details the day; let it be fully and impar- of the results of experiments on tially carried out, for the agricul- his own estate, and asked what tural interest could no longer grounds there were for anticipating, endure the burdens and restrictions under free trade, more prosperous which had been partially borne times. He expected, on the conunder protection. He supported trary, to witness in our agricultural the amendment.
districts the scenes of Kilrush, Mr. J. E. Denison lamented unless we returned to the system that the occupiers of land should so unwisely abandoned. be brought to public meetings to Mr. M'Cullagh, with reference listen to political acerbities and to the words in the amendment, personal invectives, and deprecated "especially in Ireland," contended the desponding language held by that that country repudiated agriLord Granby to the farmers at cultural protection, which had been these meetings, who were told that & positive impediment to cultivatheir ruin was certain; recommend. tion, and an obstacle to employing him, instead of engaging in a ment. An attempt to return to prohopeless contest for a return of tection there would check the career protection, to encourage the te- of improvement, and open fresh pantry, and to apply his attention sources of contention at a time when to the administration of local affairs angry passions were subsiding. and the reduction of county expen- Mr. Robert Palmer, as representditure. He should vote against ing a purely agricultural county, the amendment, on the grounds of supported the amendment, conright, justice, and necessity. sidering the words it proposed to
Lord Norreys, in a brief speech, add to the Address, framed as it supported the Address, as did
was, of very great importance. He Captain Pelham, the new mem- justified the calling of public meetber for Boston, who opposed the ings to ascertain the opinions of system of protection on the simple the classes interested in the culti
vation of the land, and the result lion. He did not advocate a return proved that this was a tenant-far- to protection, which had been of mers' and labourers' question. The no service to the protected class. cause of agricultural distress was Mr. Herries animadverted in obvious: it was the necessary con- severe terms upon the paragraph sequence of the changes introduced in the Speech relating to the since 1846; and the distress re- landed interest, which, together acted upon small traders, whilst to with the person chosen to move the almost all classes of producers, the Address, had called for the amenddepreciation of prices neutralized ment, to which he gave his cordial the advantages of cheap bread. He consent. Upon the subject of disputed the position that the best shipbuilding since the repeal of the test of the condition of the labour- Navigation Laws, he stated facts ing classes was the amount given which detracted from the repre. away of pauper relief; there was a sentations given by Mr. Villiers of distinction between pauperism and the prosperity of that interest, and poverty; the diminution of the he taxed the Chancellor of the former might co-exist with much Exchequer with unfairness in dealdistress amongst the better classes ing with the accounts of our exof the poor. He urged the va. ports, whence he had drawn a false rious arguments in favour of the inference of the success of freeprinciple of protection, which was trade principles. In like manner, recognised in respect to other in the arguments to the same purterests whose claims were less rea- pose, deduced from the poor rates sonable than those of the farmer, and from the influx of bullion, and he insisted that one of two were fallacious. The cheapening courses must be taken-either pro. of food was a benefit which might tection must, in some degree, be re- be purchased too dearly. By prostored, or the burdens of the agri- tection was meant, by those who cultural interest must be reduced. sought it, justice, and only justice,
Mr. Muntz said, as to retracing which they would ultimately gain, their steps, he defied the Govern- not by intimidation or violence, ment to do so, though the result of but through the returning wisdom, free trade had not realized the pre- the maturer judgment, and the dictions of its advocates. They better prudence of the Legislature. asserted that the repeal of the corn Mr. Labouchere, in reply to Mr. laws would not reduce prices; he Herries, declared that he had never thought it would, and had voted made an assertion with greater for it on that ground, and he confidence than that he believed believed that there would be a fur- the whole business connected with ther reduction. The boasted pros- shipbuilding, instead of being paraperity of our trade, however, was a lyzed, was in a most satisfactory state. fallacious and one-sided prosperity. With respect to the favour supHe disputed the inference drawn posed to be shown to manufactures by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, above agriculture, there could not from the details of our exports, be a greater mistake ; though some which could not be relied on; and vestiges of protection still appeared explained his theory of the action on the statute book, all our great and reaction of our foreign trade staple manufactures were absolutely upon the import and export of bul- unprotected, whilst agriculture was