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prepared to propose any alteration had given greater or more just in the mode of assessment.
He dissatisfaction. He proposed to would, however, relieve the agri- relieve the unions of half of the cultural interest of the charge charge on this score by taking it of maintaining prisoners in the upon the Government. He esticounty gaols, and would provide mated that the amount of charge for that charge by an annual vote in that case would be 100,0001. of that House. He also proposed for England, and 15,0001. for Scotthat that portion of the charge for land. The subject of medical reprosecuting felons which was now lief in Ireland was under a differdefrayed in England and Wales ent system, and would shortly ocout of local rates imposed upon cupy the attention of the other the land, should be transferred House of Parliament. He next to the State. The relief in point proceeded to intimate his belief, of money would not be large; but that in the parish workhouses of if it enabled you to exercise an England the provision for purposes increased control prosecu- of education was very inadequate. tions, it would be a great social He did not purpose in any way to advantage. In Ireland, the relief interfere with the right now vested would amount to 17,0001., and in in the board of guardians to apEngland, to 100,0001. a year. Ile point a schoolmaster or schoolthen proceeded to contend, that if mistress to superintend the educathere was any part of the United tion of the pauper children ; that Kingdom likely to suffer from the right of appointment would remain withdrawal of protection, it was where it now was ; but GovernIreland : for Ireland had not, as ment, in undertaking to provide England had, the means of finding 30,0001. a year for the salaries of employment for her agricultural schoolmasters and schoolmistresses, population in her manufacturing for the children of the destitute, districts. Here, again, he would would reserve to itself power to propose no relief from local bur- inquire into the qualifications of dens which was not accompanied those instructors, and a power of by social advantages. In Ireland, inspecting, and, to a certain extent, the police was paid partly by the controlling the schools. Then, land, and partly by the Treasury. again, as to the auditors of the He believed that it would be for unions : he proposed that their salathe general advantage to place the ries, like those of the Commissioners police entirely under the Treasury, and Sub-Commissioners, should be and to vest the control of it in the defrayed at the public expense. Executive Government. Such was He called upon the flouse to the recommendation of Lord De- recollect that in every compensavon's Commission ; and he, there- tion which he had proposed for the fore, proposed that all the charge land, he had also proposed to give for the rural police in Ireland to the community great social reshould thereafter be borne by the lief. He therefore hoped that, public Treasury. Sir Robert then before this law was rejected, adverted to the subject of the both parties, if their immediate medical relief of the poor in this views were not accomplished by it, country. He believed that there would recollect that it proposed was no part of the Poor Law which great benefits for society at large.
Whether those benefits would be way, Sweden, Austria, and Hansufficient to induce both parties to With respect to our domesgive their assent to his proposition, tic policy, he had been asked why he could not as yet tell ; but he he had determined to disturb the wished them to consider it calmly prosperity which had now lasted and temperately, and to reflect for nearly three years. “ It had upon the consequences which might coexisted with the Corn Laws of accrue from its rejection. He con 1842-what reason was there to cluded with two observations ; one disturb it ?"
His answer was, connected with our foreign and our that up to October last all those commercial policy, and another indications of prosperity did exist; connected with our domestic policy. but since that time there had been In making these great reductions indications of sympathy in the on the importation of articles, the manufacturing districts between produce or manufacture of foreign employment and the price of procountries, he could give the House visions. What had occurred since no guarantee that foreign coun October, 1845, was
one of the tries would follow our example. grounds on which he had deterHe had resolved to consult our mined to bring forward his present own interests alone, and not to proposition. Such were the propunish other countries and our- posals he had to offer for the ultiselves by continuing high duties, mate adjustment of this great and the necessary concomitant of question. IIe believed that there high duties--smuggling. Ile could was at present between the master not promise them that foreign manufacturers and the operatives, countries would exhibit any grati- a sympathy which did not prevail tude for what they were now doing. in 1812, and which led both of On the contrary, he might be told them to the conclusion, that these that many countries which had laws ought to be altered. But benefited by the relaxation of our although that was the case, there duties on their commodities had was nothing but general content, applied a higher rate of duties to loyalty, and confidence on their our goods. He relied on that fact part in the wisdom of the Legisas an encouragement to proceed in lature. But because there was a our past course. What had been calm, and no coercion, he entreated the result of those increased duties hon, members to bear in mind that on our export trade? Why, that the aspect of affairs might be it had flourished in spite of them, changed. They might have worse because the smuggler of foreign harvests, and therefore they ought countries had been called in by the to avail themselves of an adjustinhabitants to our aid. He was ment of this question, which must convinced that our example would ultimately be made, and which could ultimately be followed by foreign not long be delayed without endancountries, and that reason and the gering the peace and security of the common interest of the people and empire. Ile recommended his prothe Government in those countries position to the calm consideration would induce a relaxation of hos of the House, in the hope that it tile tariffs. He illustrated this by would, in the language of Her Mareference to recent publications in jesty's Speech, "promote friendly the United States, Naples, Nor- feelings between different classes,
provide additional security for the A desultory discussion ensued ; continuance of peace, and main some members asking additional tain contentment and happiness information, some expressing hosat home by increasing the com- tile opinions, others promising supforts and bettering the condition port. Mr. Newdegate inquired if of the great body of the people.' Sir Robert Peel had formed any Sir R. Peel concluded his address estimate of the price wheat would amid loud cheers.
bear after his measure came into He shortly afterwards rose again operation. Sir Robert Peel reto suggest that the discussion on plied in the negative. Lord Inhis resolution should be taken on gestre desired to know what prothat day week. His measure in- vision had been made for the reguvolved å great remission of taxa- lation of the tithe averages. Sir tion, and, therefore, a defalcation Robert Peel answered, that it was of the revenue. Besides, it in
not necessary to determine that curred an annual charge amount- question at the present time. In aning at least to 600,0001.
swer to further questions on the same Mr. Stafford O'Brien, Mr. Miles, subject, from Lord G. Bentinck, he and other members, then urged answered that he did not propose any upon Sir Robert Peel the expe- alterations with regard to the tithe dioncy of allowing a longer time laws, not anticipating any material than he had proposed to give for change in the price of wheat. If the consideration of the measures there should be, the House ought now offered, before the discussion in justice to reconsider the subject. was resumed. Sir Robert Peel Mr. Wodehouse inquired if it was assented to the suggestion ; but, at intended to submit to the House the same time, stated that he should any of the communications which then ask the House to proceed de had been received from some of die in diem with the consideration the crowned heads of Europe. Sir of them. In answer to certain Robert Peel said, that any conquestions addressed to him, he vention entered into would be laid stated that he could not exactly on the table. There had been calculate the probable effect upon some strong expressions by the the revenue from the adoption of Secretary of the American Treahis propositions. He thought that sury with regard to a relaxation of by the alteration of the Excise du- the American tariff, and he exties he should lose one million, pected shortly to be able to lay but the revenue from that source on the table a convention with was now as good as it had been Naples in favour of free trade. before the recent alterations. He Mr. Curteis thought the duty on had expected to lose four millions hops ought to have been repealed, by the former reductions of the and for not doing so the Ministers Customs' duties, but nothing of would incur the censure of the hopthat sort had occurred. He was, growing counties. He wished Sir therefore, unwilling now to estimate Robert Peel to take the case into the loss which would accrue to the consideration, but would not press existing revenue. The charge for an answer. which his scheme would impose Sir Robert Peel said : “ But I on the Consolidated Fund would must give you an answer; and, if I be an additional charge of 513,0001. were in private, I would earnestly
advise the honourable gentleman On that evening, accordingly, not to encourage the hop-growers in the debate commenced, and was conKent and Sussex to agitate this tinued, by repeated adjournments, question.” In 1842, when he pro- into the third week, when it finally posed to reduce the duty from 101. terminated, on the 27th of Feto 41. 10s., he was told it would ruin bruary, by a division on the twelfth the home-grower: but what was the night. Forty-eight members spoke fact? Why 41. 10s. had proved as in favour of free trade, fifty-five on great a prohibition as the former the side of protection ; making a duty of 101.; the whole amount of total of 103 speeches delivered. duty paid at the reduced rate being It would be vain to attempt, within only 101.
IIe thought that a our allotted limits, to give even a duty of 21. 10s. would confer a fair brief summary of the individual protection. With regard to the speeches. We shall, therefore, Excise duty of 18s. on home-grown confine ourselves to an endeavour hops, the state of the revenue did to present the more prominent arnot admit of any further reduction. guments which were urged on either
Several members expressed de- side of the question, by selecttermined hostility, among whom ing some of the principal speeches were--Mr. Stafford O'Brien, the as a sample of the rest, and exhiEarl of March, Sir John Tyrell, biting, in a condensed form, the and Colonel Sibthorp, who severely grounds on which they mainly suptaunted the Ministers with tergi- ported their views. versation and inconsistency. Lord The debate was commenced, Ingestre, Mr. Liddell, “Mr. R. after a great number of petitions Scott, and Lord Newport ex had been presented on both sides, pressed disapproval of the scheme, by Mr. Philip Miles, M.P. for East though iu more measured terms. Somersetshire, who moved as an
Mr. Hume, Mr. Wakley, Mr. amendment, “ That the IIouse do Gisborne, and Mr. Philip Howard, resolve itself into the said Committee strongly supported the proposi- on that day six months."
said he did not see any necessity Mr. Sidney Herbert (who had for departing from a course of pobeen twitted by the Earl of March licy which had been pursued in this for changing his opinions) declared country from an early period of its that his views had altered, not history, and under which it had from any wish for power, nor for risen to great eminence. True, currying favour or popularity with there has been a failure of the poa peculiarly agricultural constitu- tato crop in Ireland ; but the crop ency, but from a conviction that in this country had been very large. the proposed changes would effect That famine was not apprehended much good. Ile himself had sug was shown by the fact that wheat gested some of them, and was ready was then at 56s. a quarter, a price to explain, advocate, and defend which, in 1842, Sir Robert Peel them.
thought a fair one. Taking prices It was finally arranged that the into account, and the circumstance House should enter on the discus that Sir Robert's colleagues had resion on Sir Robert Peel's motion fused to assent to the opening of the to go into Committee on his reso- ports, Mr. Miles was led to think lutions on the 9th of February. that the cause of protection had
been long doomed in the mind of the proposed measure passed into the Minister, and that the proposi- law, the country would be inuntions now made had sealed its fate. dated with foreign goods, to the Ile did not deny that there were discouragement of the home trade. parts of the measure from which Wages on railroads and public benefit would be derived; but he works might for a time be higher, deemed the continuance of a mo but reduction would soon come. derate amount of protection essen In many things the manufacturer tial to the welfare of the country. possessed a great advantage over IIe had brought forward his motion the farmer ; his establishment was not on account of the agricultural much better conducted. (Laughter.) interest alone, but of all the inter He could exercise a better control ests of the country : he was con over his servants, and he was not nected with them all. He knew so heavily burdened with taxation. the difficulties which stood in his On this point, Sir Robert Peel's way in the House ; but he should professed compensation was altonot be disheartened, knowing that gether inadequate ; and Mr. Miles a large and influential party with- believed that the agriculturists out the walls held opinions in ac would almost have been better cordance with his own. One chief pleased had nothing at all been objection entertained by him to offered. the proposed measures was, that As to the Colonies, Mr. Miles he could see no end to them : thought the Ministerial scheme every session would bring addi most imperfect. If the principle tional change ; and when all these of the Canada Corn Bill were gethings were considered, he thought nerally extended, he would not the opinion of the constituencies withhold his support. If free-trade ought to be taken before the mea- principles were to prevail, they sures were allowed to pass. He did ought to be extended to the Colonot think that the recent prosperity nies ; and the manufacturer of this of the country was altogether to be country ought not to be allowed to attributed to the measures of Sir have a monopoly of the colonial Robert Peel. When Sir Robert market. succeeded to office trade was in a Sir W. Heathcote seconded the bad state, owing, mainly, to a suc motion, but declared that he did cession of bad harvests. Railroad not intend to follow those who had speculation sprang up, labour came charged Sir Robert Peel with disto be in demand, prices rose, and honesty in the proposition of these the termination of the wars in India and China gave a great im The plan professed to be a great petus to trade. Adding to these and comprehensive scheme of free the succession of good harvests, trade, which it was not; but, even he could not admit that the pro- if it had been impartial, he would sperity boasted of was attributable still have looked upon it as a step entirely to Sir Robert Peel's po- in a downward course leading to licy. Neither was the state of ex evil. He was not afraid to avow ports a test of prosperity. The that the legislation of the last foreign markets had been glutted, twenty years in the same direcChina and India had been inun tion had produced greater evils dated with British goods. When than had been supposed, but the