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of the potato crop, and the in- try, the law had provided that corn conveniences likely to result, my should be admitted at a nominal right honourable friend at the duty. Under these circumstances, head of Her Majesty's Govern- it appeared to me to be unnecessary ment deemed it his duty to call toge to suspend the law; and on that ther his colleagues, in order to take ground I certainly was one of those those reports into consideration. who objected to this proposition of Accordingly he did so; reports my right honourable friend, At and propositions were submitted to the same time I was most anxthe Cabinet; and among the rest ious—and the Government almost Sir R. Peel proposed to suspend unanimously concurred in the same the operation of the existing Corn view—to adopt such measures as, Law, so as to open the ports for under the circumstances, might the admission of corn duty free. seem calculated to meet the apIt is not necessary, my Lords, prehended misfortune.
A comthat I should discuss the motives mission was appointed and inor the grounds on which that pro structed to take measures for emposal was founded. I was, how. ploying the people, paying them, ever, one of those who considered
and procuring food for them-inthat it was not necessary that such deed, all the measures adopted on a measure should be adopted at former similar occasions. In the that time. I considered, that course of the discussions on the although the misfortune to which subject, it was intimated that the I have referred would undoubtedly suspension of the Corn Law might have the effect of depriving mil make its renewal very difficult ; lions, I may say, of a large and subsequently, Sir Robert Peel portion of the provision they had intimated his opinion of the absomade for their sustenance during lute necessity of making an essenthe year, yet that there tial alteration in the Corn Laws. not exactly a deficiency of food. I believe every body admitted Millions, it is true, had been de that some alteration was necessary prived of their food; but still there - that an alteration upon certain was no deficiency of food in the points was necessary.
I think country, according to all accounts. there is doubt about that. It was my opinion that it was That was admitted by all. My advisable arrangements should be right honourable friend considered made, as had been done before, that it was necessary to make an to find the means of employment essential alteration in the existing for parties who had suffered this Corn Law. Many members of the deprivation, and to find also the Cabinet objected to this suggested means of rewarding them for their alteration; and there was a strong labour, and of giving them food. difference of opinion on the subject. My lords, it appears to me, besides, For my own part, I certainly was that, under the provisions of the of opinion that it was desirable to existing Corn Law, Parliament had avoid making any essential alteraprovided for such an emergency. tion in the Corn Laws. I confess If the price of corn reached such also, my lords, that I considered an amount that there should ap. it was essential to the safety of pear to be any deficiency of supply, the Government that the differences. or any want of food in the coun of opinion in the Cabinet should
be reconciled. Having served the tertained the same opinion. At Crown of England now for above a subsequent period a noble lord fifty years, I consider it my duty attempted unsuccessfully to form on all occasions to endeavour to another Administration, and Her promote the interests of the State; Majesty called upon Sir R. Peel and I did every thing in my power to to resume his duties. My right reconcile the differences of opinion honourable friend wrote to among my colleagues--to preserve (I was in the country at the time) in union a Government which en- informing me of the circumstance; joyed the confidence of the Sove- and stating, that if he did resume reign, of the public, and of both office he had determined, happen Houses of Parliament.
what might, if he stood alone, sidered it my duty to make every that, as the Minister of the Crown, effort to retain union in the Cabi- he would enable Her Majesty to pet, and to reconcile differences of meet her Parliament. I highly opinion, as the best service I could applauded my right honourable render to the Sovereign in the cir- friend on that occasion, and I cumstances in which the Cabinet determined that I, for one, would was placed with reference to this stand by him. I felt it my duty; subject. My lords, unfortunately and I did think the formation of in these efforts I did not succeed; a Government in which Her Maand the result was an intimation jesty would have confidence was on the part of my right honourable of greater importance than any friend, that he would submit to opinions of any individual upon Her Majesty the resignation of his the Corn Law or any other law. office, and that he would recom (A laugh.) My lords, my right mend Her Majesty to endeavour honourable friend wrote to me, to form another Government. My and desired me to attend the Calords, this course was adopted, binet that evening, which I did. after a discussion whether it was I admired the conduct of my right advisable that my right honourable honourable friend; I was delighted friend should come down to Parlia- with it; it was exactly the course ment to make his proposition for which I should have followed myan alteration of the Corn Laws as self under similar circumstances ; the head of a Cabinet, a majority and I determined that I would of which was against the proposi- stand by him. My lords, at the tion; or whether it was not best, same time that I did this, I knew and more for the interest and con well the position in which my venience of Her Majesty, that he right honourable friend stood in should at once intimate to Her relation to the Corn Laws. Ι Majesty the position in which he knew well, that in consequence of stood, and express his desire that his having resigned his office into Her Majesty would permit him to Her Majesty's hands, because he resign his office ; and I certainly could not prevail upon his Cabinet thought that it was desirable that
to support him in a material almy right honourable friend should teration of the Corn Law, those resign his office, rather than make who were employed to form a his proposition to Parliament with Government must have had a a divided Cabinet ; and I believe knowledge of the particular cirevery member of the Cabinet en cumstances under which my right
honourable friend had resigned his present myself now to your view; office ; and, my lords, how could and I claim from you an my right honourable friend go into quiescence in the principle which the House of Commons, and again I have laid down, that I positivedefend the Corn Law, as he had ly could not refuse to serve the done only the preceding July - Sovereign when thus called upon. (A laugh)-how could he go into I have no doubt, when those meaParliament and defend the Corn sures come to be laid before you, Law against those gentlemen who that they will be found to be such were informed of his opinion that as will meet your satisfaction and it ought to be altered, and who, of general approbation.' course, would have reproached him The Duke of Buckingham was with a fresh alteration of opinion ? not satisfied, and demanded further I knew well, therefore, when I told explanation. my right honourable friend that The Government, it appeared, I would stand by him in the had become quite a free-trade resumption of his Government, Government; and he wished to that in doing so I must be a know why, when Lord John party to the proposition for a Russell attempted to form material alteration of the Corn Government, the present MinisLaw. It could not be otherwise. ters had not supported him. As I knew it, and I did it.” The for himself, he would join with the duke went on to express his be
Duke of Richmond to defeat any lief that the measures to be
pro measure of this or of any Govern, posed by Sir Robert Peel would
ert Peel would ment to introduce free trade. be satisfactory to the country, The Duke of Wellington. - I and to his right honourable friends. don't know what the noble duke He observed, that the Presi means by a “Free-trade Governdent of the Board of Control, ment." Perhaps the noble duke a great landed proprietor, would will explain what he means. — scarcely propose measures that (Laughter.) would betray the interests of The Duke of Buckingham. agriculture. He entreated their No doubt the noble duke is staglordships to wait and hear the gered to find himself in a Cabinet measures which would be laid professing measures so totally difbefore them, and they would ferent to what he formerly prothen see whether Sir R. Peel fessed, Ministers who are now had betrayed his duty. But, ready to carry out measures which at all events, my lords, whatever they opposed in 1841, form, if not that measure may be, I say, that, a free-trade Government, as nearly situated as I am in this country, one as possible.” highly rewarded as I have been by The Marquis of Lansdowne said, the Sovereign and the people of that as the circumstances under England, I could not refuse that which Lord John Russell had atSovereign to aid her to form a tempted to form a Government Government when called upon, in had been fully explained to the order to enable Her Majesty to public, he did not feel called meet her Parliament, and carry upon to recapitulate them. He on the business of the country. explained, however, how he himUpon that ground, my lords, I self had determined to abandon
the principle of a fixed duty on on this side, but on the other side corn,
of the House; and a much greater “ A friend to the principle of degree of facility in effecting them a fixed duty, I saw good reason
would be found by your lordships for abandoning it at this moment, opposite than could be hoped for, after the public declarations that either by myself or by any of my had been made against it by a colleagues : and, therefore, I am person so high in authority as the sanguine that, under the influence right honourable Baronet at the of those noble lords, this great head of the present Government question may be brought to such a and at the head of the former settlement as I for one earnestly Government, that that substitu desire to see.” tion for the existing Corn Law The Duke of Wellington added was to which he
a few words to his former explanacould consent. And when I found tion. that to his high authority was “ It is perfectly true, as stated added that of my noble friend by the noble marquis, that in the the member for the city of London, course of the discussions which I-retaining my opinion that a took place (after the resignation fixed duty would have been the of my right honourable friend, most satisfactory arrangement that and before the resumption of could be made of this question, his office) between Her Majesty and one which, had it been adopt and the noble lord in another ed earlier, would have prevented place and the noble marquis-it the agitation which has taken is perfectly true that I, and I place on this subject- I did think believe others, were called upon that it was impracticable to bring to state whether any one of us a fixed duty before the consider was disposed to form a Governation of Parliament with any ment on the principle of mainchance of its being adopted. taining the existing Corn Law, In the course of some further My lords, what others answered remarks, Lord Lansdowne men I cannot pretend to say. tioned, that when Sir R. Peel swered immediately, that I was found himself unable to carry on not ; that I could not undertake the Government, an effort was to form a Government. made to ascertain whether those lords, when I made that answer, who differed from him in the Ca- I did it not only out of diffidence binet thought themselves capable in my own ability to undertake of carrying it on. He hoped that such a charge, but likewise, my the House would now devote itself lords, because I felt that it would to the satisfactory settlement of be absolutely impossible, according the question. “I for one do hold to my knowledge of the disposithe opinion, that the facilities en tion of the House of Commons, joyed by the noble lords oppo to form a Government in which site of carrying this question were the public would have confidence greater than those which others which should be formed on the could have, as the question only principle of supporting that meacould be carried by effecting con sure. Under those circumstances, versions in some quarter or another. my lords, I certainly, when called Those conversions are needed, not upon to say whether I would or
not form a Government for Her he had made converts of the peoMajesty on that principle, declared ple out of doors : if that were the that I could not and would not.” case, then let the Minister dissolve
The Earl of Radnor asked how Parliament and go to the country. it was that if Sir R. Peel thought He (the Duke of Richmond) would it necessary, on October the 31st, say to the farmers throughout the to open the ports, and if, as he country, “Protection, not to corn said, in two months the failure alone, but to British industry." of the potato crop would prove Let them go to the country, and so very serious a visitation, the ask the manufacturers of England Cabinet had not met from the -ay, the manufacturers of this 6th to the 25th of November. town— the English tailors and Had any thing yet been done to shoemakers—whether they would provide for such a state of things ? consent to foreign articles coming
The Duke of Wellington re in free of duty? He defied them peated his assurance that precau to go to the country ; let them go tions had been taken.
and appeal to those constituencies The Duke of Richmond hoped that placed the present Governthat inquiry would take place be ment in power, and those constifore changes were made in the tuencies would say,
“ We are law.
against free trade now." The Marquis of Clanricarde said Lord Beaumont spoke in favour he wished for inquiry, but the of protection, and demanded to Duke of Richmond's friends had know the reasons which had made always opposed it.
converts of those members of Sir The Duke of Richmond said Robert Peel's Cabinet who had at they had done so because the first opposed him in it, especially free-trade party had demanded it, designating the Earls of 'Ripon, with the avowal that their object Haddington, and Aberdeen. was to get rid of the Corn Laws. The Earl of Aberdeen responded His friends were always ready to the appeal on his own behalf. He to give every
When my right honourable that subject. He supposed that friend, early in November, made that the highway-rates and the poor- proposal to the Government which rates were not burdens upon land ? has been alluded to, I gave to it my (Cries of "No, no!") He should cordial and unhesitating assent. like to know whether one of his It would not be proper at this time tenants did not pay more than to enter into the reasons which inthe whole League put together? duced me to come to that opinion ; (Laughter.) Lord Clanricarde had but such is the opinion which I then said that Mr. Cobden had made con entertained, and which I entertain verts of the whole of the Cabinet now.' of Sir R. Peel and the rest of the The discussion here terminated. Ministers, and then he said that