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vantages are not sufficient to coun to have other articles not produced terbalance the risk; and I ask by that land, would procure them your free suffrages with this frank only by barter. The result would and explicit declaration of my be the annihilation of all public opinions." Frank and explicit! and private trade, and at no disHe saw no frankness here, for he tant period, national bankruptcy. never recollected to have read a He adverted to the injurious sentence that had less. What effects of " that monstrous and " advantages"-the advantages of destructive measure known by the abandoning or of maintaining the name of Peel's Bill ;” and come present Corn-laws ? What risk paring the present measure with did the right honourable Baronet previous Acts, he observed, that incur with an immense and over whereas in the time of Charles the whelming majority in both Houses 2nd, the duty on wheat, at the of Parliament ready to support price of 55s., was 16s. 6d., now the Corn-laws ? He deprecated a it was proposed to be 17s., an adstruggle -- with whom? With dition of only 6d., notwithstanding the Corn-law League ? Or with the the almost incredible amount of landed interest ? It would have the burthens of the country! He been very convenient if the right asked for a plain answer to the honourable Baronet had been a question, whether Ministers did or little more frank. He need not did not expect a large importation have informed his constituents at of foreign corn, and a large reTamworth what his plans were, duction of price? If they did, but if he had only given them a what must be the effect on agrihint that he intended to make a culture, and on all other branches very considerable diminution of of productive industry? if not, the present protection to the home where was the advantage to the grower, and that the importation consumer? He attributed the ab of cattle was to be encouraged, it sence of numerous petitions against would have had the effect of re the measure to the contempt with lieving himself and his colleagues which such documents were treated of the cares and anxieties of office. by Parliament, and also to dislike He cited figures to show that the on the part of the farmers to risk prices of corn abroad were much the reinstatement in power of lower than had been assumed ; their political adversaries. He and he came to the conclusion, must, however, observe, that when that the bill would only give pro. a man was sentenced to death, it tection up to 50s. instead of 568.; did not much import to him whewhile home-grown corn does not ther the executioner were a Whig obtain a remunerating price until or a Conservative ; and to carry it is sold in the market for 60$. the simile a little further, if he The ulterior effect of the measure should be sentenced to have his would be to annihilate rent. He head cut off, whether the instrudid not believe, indeed, that land ment employed for that purpose would go out of cultivation. It should be a guillotine or an axe would be cultivated for the con a sliding-scale, or a fixed duty. sumption of those who owned, (Great laughter.) He was grieved occupied, or tilled it, and any of to say, that nothing but mischievthese three classes, if they wished ous measures had yet been pro
pounded by the present Govern- difficulty and danger? The bill ment, and he should steadfastly would satisfy no party, nor would resist not only the Corn-importa- it settle existing differences. Mintion Bill but also the New Tariff. isters were giving up a law which He moved that the Bill be read a bad worked beneficially; they second time that day six months. were risking more than they were
The Earl of Hardwicke denied aware of; and, ere long, they that Sir Robert Peel had deceived would be called upon to yield a the country; he had pledged him- little more. self to adhere to the broad principle The Earl of Winchelsea was of the sliding-scale, but he re- glad that an agitation which had served to himself the power of shaken the confidence of the agrimaking what alterations he thought culturists in their prosperity, and fit. That the farmers so under- the permanence of the laws, was stood, the Earl had evidence in about to be brought, so far as the county with which he was human prudence could foresee, to connected; they felt that the a final settlement. There was no Corn-laws were in an unsettled question on which it was state. He thought, indeed, that easy to excite the labouring classes, after the decision of the House of none on which they were more Commons, the Lords were not left unqualified to come to a just and to form an opinion whether the accurate conclusion. Such, howCorn laws should be altered or ever, was his confidence in the not; they might reject this Bill, capabilities of the soil, and in but the question of alteration was agricultural improvements, that if already determined by the voice of England proceeded for the next the country; and no Corn-law fifteen years as she had done for could be so bad, no protection 10 the last, he thought she could not inadequate, as that which was only supply her increasing popualways questioned and debated. lation, but become an exporting, The Earl proceeded with a general instead of an importing, country. defence of the measure, maintain. In an entirely new country, a free ing that the best interests of the trade in corn might be advocated ; people had been preserved, as they but here a Corn-law was needed to were themselves intelligent enough sustain the country under its burto perceive.
thens. The fixed duty, however, The Duke of Buckingham re was a perfect fallacy. He declared garded the measure-produced, no the accusation that the Ministers doubt, from the best motives with had deceived the country, a gross a feeling of deep alarm. The mis-statement. Government had progress which agriculture had maintained the principle to which made for a number of years past it was pledged. would be checked, the farmer's Lord Western said, that the spirit of enterprise would ere long statement of Lord Ripon had been be extinguished, and the foreigner made so fairly, that it had almost would soon meet him in his own changed his opinions upon certain market, and overpower his com- points. He wished he could vote petition. If they pauperised the in favour of the principle of free agricultural interest, on what sup- trade; but he believed that agriport would they lean in times of culturists could bear no reduction
of price, and if prices fell, so would late Ministry, their successurs must the wages of labour. He did not inevitably take up the subject; say that wages always rise with but he did not anticipate that, at the price of food; but, certainly, one fell swoop, half the protection they always fall in proportion to would be removed from wheat, it. He had been about to with- and two thirds from barley ; and draw his support from the late he complained that the intentions Government when they brought of Ministers had been kept so forward their fixed duty scheme; secret that they had taken the he certainly should take care how country by surprise ; Lincolnshire, he did anything of that sort again, Buckinghamshire, and Essex, how-how he withdrew his support ever, had protested against the from one party before he had tried measure, and in other counties it another. He certainly did expect was regarded with dismay. from a Conservative Government Lord Brougham neither conthat they would have conserved curred in Earl Stanhope's oppoexisting institutions. A new tariff sition, nor altogether in the meato follow the 8s. duty was looked sure itself; and he should move for from Lord John Russell ; but an amendment, asserting what he who ever expected a tariff from considered to be a right and just such a quarter? What did the principle,—the total and absolute Government expect by such a repeal of the duty on foreign corn. measure ? Popularity ? They Comparing the Bill with the existmight obtain the votes of the ing law, Lord Brougham judged people, but they had lost their it to be an improvement in the hearts. There would be other removal of obstacles to the imand greater effects; the country portation of corn, and that it could not resume the confidence it would to a certain extent, render had previously felt in its own more difficult the trafficking and power and resources. The people jobbing in the averages; though would not know what to expect. he doubted whether the addition It would be almost better to have of 150 towns would have the free trade at once. A free trade effect expected. The measure was would raise the energies of the but a step in the right direction, people, and, if freed from the bur. which would open the gates to then of taxation, or if unable further improvement. In a final to do that-with a currency to settlement of the question, the meet that taxation, the people of agriculturists were most interested, England might do wonders; for for, until that was effected, no the contraction of the currency by man knew the real value of land. the Bank was the real cause of the To show the groundlessness of distress.
alarm at the total repeal of the Lord Fitzgerald, after comment. Corn-law, he explained how small ing on some inconsistencies in the supplies were which could be Lord Western's speech, adduced brought from abroad. In Jersey, evidence from Sir Robert Peel's where there is perfect freedom, former speeches to exonerate him the price of wheat in 1840, was from the charge of deception. no lower than 51s., while it was
Lord Beaumont admitted, that 57s. in England. If there were after the change proposed by the free trade in England, either there
must be a great demand, and then ther approve of the principle, nor prices abroad would rise consider- the general provisions of the bill ; ably, or there must be no such but he would not deprive the demand, and, in that case, no country of the advantages which harm could be anticipated. In it undoubtedly offered as compared improving our commercial inter- with the present system. course with foreign states, the con On a division, Lord Stanhope's dition of those states must be bet- amendment was rejected, by 119 tered, and the consumption of to 17.
to 17. Lord Brougham's by 109 corn there would increase ; a pro to 5. The bill was then read a cess illustrated by the course of second time. the trade with Ireland, and the On the motion to go into comdiminished importation from that mittee, on the following day, country. The distress had been Viscount Melbourne moved the attributed, not to the Corn-laws, amendment of which he had given but to the currency ; but the evil notice. He had always been a influence was only imputed since friend to free-trade, and he was so 1835, and the measure which al. still. It would have been much tered the currency was passed better for the world, if trade had twenly years before, and could not been free from the beginning, have anything to do with it. had all nations applied themselves And was it desirable to issue Go. to the cultivation and interchange vernment assignats? was there no of the commodities which each fear of a recourse to a system could produce under the most faunder which in France 500,000 vourable circumstances, reciprofrancs' worth of assignats had pur- cally ; but while all sound arguchased only a pair of gloves? He ment, all good sense, all clear argued that the price of provisions reason, all the well understood and of labour had no mutual de interests of mankind were on that pendence, and he concluded by side, all usage, all custom, all premoving an amendment to Lord judices, and, with but few excepStanhope's, that no duty ought to tions, all feelings, were on the be imposed upon the importation other. He, therefore, could not of foreign corn.
adopt the resolution which Lord Earl Fitzwillian would vote for Brougham was to move against the bill, as bearing within itself all restriction on He did the seeds of future amendment. not arrive at that conclusion by He held it impossible for any one the argument that the agricultuto believe, that the right hon- rists were entitled to protection ourable Baronet who had pro on account of exclusive burthens ; pounded this measure, and the if they had such burthens, they Tariff in connection with it, did ought to be removed. Neither did not see much further into the he rely on the objections to depenquestion than those Gentlemen dance on foreign countries. Two of who thought it would be a final the greatest republics, Rome and settlement. A final settlement of Athens, were wholly dependent on this question there could be but foreign supplies. Even if we did one, and that was the adoption of depend on foreign countries for a perfectly free trade.
corn, foreign countries must de'Viscount Melbourne could neis pend on us for payment; and Vol. LXXXIV.
nothing would more tend to pre some measure was necessary; all serve peace than thus establishing but seventeen bad on the previous the relation of tradesman and cus- evening conceived it advisable to tomer. He was not prepared, come to some settlement of the however, by removing all restric. question. But Lord Melbourne, tions on importation, to make ex. though he named no sum, hinted periments in throwing inferior that he was still attached to the lands out of culture. How then 8s. fixed duty; and that, Lord to impose that restriction? He Ripon contended, would not be thought that the best way would sufficient protection, since, if corn be by a fixed duty ; which would could be imported into this country have the effect of giving freedom at 40s, it would sell at 488., some to trade, remove the opportunity eight or ten shillings below the for fraud, or, what was almost as point at which the remunerating bad, the suspicion of fraud, and price had been taken. Then, when would at the same time assist the prices rose very high, the 8s. duty
It was said that a fixed was to be removed -- sliding or duty could not be maintained; jumping down from 88. to nothing; but they had adhered to another but how it was to be removed Lord plan ; the excitement which pains Melbourne did not explain. had been taken to get up, had
The Earl of Clarendon congrafailed ; and if so unlikely an event tulated Lord Ripon on the unaoccurred as the price rising under nimity which prevailed as to the the fixed duty, there could be no necessity of changing the Cornmore difficulty of maintaining it laws. He did not think that the than with a high price under the measure was such that the Duke existing scale. Lord Melbourne of Buckingham need liave seceded moved, “ That it is the opinion of from his colleagues on account of this House that a fixed duty upon it, or that Lord Stanhope need the importation of foreign corn have conjured up visions of revolu. and flour would be more advan- tion and ruin, still he rejoiced that tageous to trade, and more condu- Lord Stanhope's motion was not cive to the general welfare of all successful; for he looked on the classes of the people than a gra- introduction of the bill as a great duated duty varying with the and important event, and as the average of prices in the markets of abandonment of all those positions this country."
hitherto held by the party now in The Earl of Ripon said, that power. He was not for withthe House could not rescind the drawing all protection; and he decision of the previous evening thought that if the 8s. duty had in order to adopt an entirely new been adopted, protection might principle for the regulation of have been prolonged for some time corn; while, as to the mode of
But that measure had carrying it into effect, Lord Mel. been dealt with as the Reform Bill bourne had not given any glimmer- had; and if the present bill ing of intimation. The only effect passed---maintaining as it did the would be to extinguish the bill; essential evils of the existing sysbut when that was got rid of, the tem, based as it was on no solid question would not be advanced arguments, and accompanied by one jot. Everybody admitted that examples of a different kind in the