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ment of the Socialist editor of the Nerv Moral World. It is true the deputation were received; but still we did not encourage them to expect the high honour of presentation to Her Majesty. Would the noble Lord have thought it becoming in me to decline to receive them until I had first ascertained the private characters and the political opinions of those who composed the deputation? I saw the persons who called upon me, and who succeeded in deceiving me so far, that on entering the room I believed them to be a deputation as represented—a belief which was strengthened by the perfect knowledge of the subject on which they came to speak; but l am no party to the publication of what took place. Surprised as I was to find that a lengthened and detailed report of what passed had been published, I am innocent of any intention to derive an advantage from the dramatic effects of which the noble Lord spoke; and until I saw that these persons were editors of a newspaper, I remained under the pleasing delusion that I had been talking to workmen deputed by their brother workmen to give an account of their sufferings.” It had been his wish to bring on the financial and commercial policy of the country both together ; but he was withheld by a consideration of the public interest. He would, however, redeem the pledge he gave last Session, that no unnecessary delay should take place in explaining the views of Government: “I do not ask for delay; I do not intend to tpone the announcement of the udget, as it is called, to that period of the year at which it is usually brought forward. Indeed,

so far as concerns the convenience of Her Majesty's Government, we are prepared to state to the House now the measures with reference to the commerce and finance of the country which we mean to propose; and I should have wished to state the nature of those measures simultaneously with the views which we have arrived at on the subject of the Corn-laws : but I think that there would be disadvantage to the public interests in postponing the consideration of the Corn-laws, and that it would be better that Her Majesty's Government should propose to the House their views relative to those laws on Wednesday next ; and on the earliest possible day following, disclose the whole of our financial and commercial policy in Committee of Ways and Means.” Mr. C. Williers did not dissent from the liberal generalities which had been uttered ; and he rejoiced that the landed proprietary shrunk from maintaining the Corn-law, now that its mischiefs were generally detected. He only wished that Sir Robert Peel would seriously consider a permanent settlement of the question. He would avail himself of the earliest opportunity to take the sense of the House upon the principle of taxation of food. Mr. Escott hoped that Ministers would bring forward a measure which should settle the corn question, with a view to the interests of all. The agriculturists had sustained a great loss in the separation of the Duke of Buckingham from the Queen's counsels; but they were not opposed to all changes, though most anxious for a termination to their present state of anxiety and uncertainty. The Address was then agreed to.


Introductory Debate on the Corn-lans on 9th February—Extraordinary interest manifested in the House of Commons, and out of dori-Altempt of the Anti-Corn-lan Delegates to take possession of to Lolly–They are prevented by the Police—Development of the Ministerial plan by Sir Robert Peel—He proposes a modification of tle Sliding scale-Short Isemarks on the Plan by Lord John Huilell—It is vehemently denounced by Mr. Cobden as an insult to the People—Debate resumed on the 14th–Lord John Russell moves | greal length a Resolution condemnatory of a Graduated Scale— Summary of his arguments—He is answered by Mr. W. E. Glad. alone-The Debate continued by Adjournment during three nights -Principal Speakers on both sides— Debate unmarked by novelty or

originality of views—Mr. Roebuck opposes the principle of Prolection in toto-Speech of Sir Robert #. nho is follamed by Lord

Palmerstan–Lord John Russell's Amendment rejected on

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N the 9th of February, being the day which Sir Robert Peel had announced for the development of the Ministerial plan for the alteration of the Cornlaws, extraordinary interest was evinced, both in and out of the House of Commons, to learn the issue of the long-concealed delibtrations of the Government on this subject, At an early hour all the avenues of the House were *songed by persons eager to ob*in admission; and, as soon as the doors were opened, a violent To ensued, and every seat in * Strangers'-gallery was in a ow moments occupied. Shortly after four o'clock, a number of the Anti-Corn-law delegates Matched in procession down Parliament-street to the Hous, and


made an attempt to station themselves in the lobby. Had this been permitted, the Members of the House would have experienced great difficulty in obtaining admission. To avoid this result, the police and officers on duty were compelled to oppose the entrance of the delegates, and for a time it was thought that a violent conflict would have taken place, The delegates, however, after some altercation, thought fit to retire from the field, and stationed themselves outside the House, where they saluted the different Members as they passed with cries of “No Sliding-scale,” “Total Repeal," “Fixed Duty,” &c. In the House of Commons the scene was particularly animated. By five o'clock the House was perfectly

crammed. Below the bar were seen a number of distinguished strangers, among whom the Duke of Cambridge, and numerous Members of the Upper House were conspicuous. Shortly afterwards, Sir Robert Peel rose and moved, “That this House resolve itself into a committee to consider the trade in Corn.” He then requested that the Clerk of the House should read that portion of her Majesty's Speech which related to that subject. The speech which he then proceeded to address to the House, was listened to throughout with profound attention, marked, however, by manifestations of keener and more eager attention as often as the speaker was supposed about to develope the proposals of the Government. The extreme importance attached to the statements contained in this address under the circumstances which attended its delivery, warrants a larger allotment of space than can usually be afforded to individual speeches within the limits of this work, while its unusual length prevents its insertion entire. It is hoped that the extracts which follow will suffice to present a tolerably clear and complete, though abridged view of the statements and reasonings which it embraced. He began by observing that it was difficult to discuss the subject without making statements or admissions which would be seized by opponents; but he trusted to the reason, the moderation, the judgment of Parliament. He would not, however, excite the hope that his measure would tend materially and immediately to mitigate the existing commercial distress, produced by a combination of circumstances. He had before seen de

pressions as great, and revivals of prosperity almost as sudden and extraordinary as those depressions; and to the operation of natural causes he confidently looked for such a revival. Sir Robert Peel briefly enumerated the causes to which he assigned the embarrassment, which had been in operation the last four or five years, viz.the stimulus given to great undertakings by the connexion between joint stock banks and our manufacturing establishments; the immigration of labourers from the agricultural, to the manufacturing, districts and consequent building speculations; the immense increase of mechanical power; the reaction of monetary difficulty produced by similar causes in the United States, and the diminished demand for our manufactures there; interruption of commerce with China; the war-alarm in Europe, and stagnation of commerce consequent upon it. He did not think an alteration of the Corn-laws could be any remedy for some of the evils inseparable from these causes. “Extend,” he said, “your foreign commerce as you may, depend upon it that it is not a necessary consequence that the means of employment for manual labour will be proportionate to that extension.” The handloom weavers were an instance of the disastrous effects upon particular classes of those sudden improvements in machinery which produced the general wealth of the country; a hard but inevitable condition. He referred to the exports to show the working of some of the causes which he named. He said, we were too apt, upon comparison of the last few years at any time, if we find a decline, to infer that the sources of our prosperity are drying up: we should extend the comparison over larger periods. But even during a very recent period, the general exports showed an increase. “On referring to the returns, I find that in the year 1840 the exports of British produce and manufactures—I speak of their declared value—to all parts of the world, exceeded the exports of 1837 by 9,355,000l. ; that they exceeded those of 1838 by 1,345,000l.; that they fell short of the exports of 1839 by 1,817,000l. — a falling-off sufficient, no doubt, to create great and natural anxiety and apprehension; but the causes of that falling-off will be amply accounted for if you will refer to the state of our commercial transactions with the United States. In 1839 there was an export to the United States of 8,839,000l., whereas in 1840 the total amount of exports was only 5,283,000l. ; thus leaving a deficit in the state of our exports with the United States, in 1840 as compared with 1839, of the amount of 3,556,000l. Now this fact is sufficient to account for the falling-off in the general amount of our exports in 1840 as compared with 1839. In the mean time, it is satisfactory to view the progress of our Colonial trade. In 1837, the proportion of our exports to the Colonies was 11,208,000l. ; in 1838, it was 12,025,000l. ; in 1839, it was 14,363,000l.; and in 1840, it was 15,497,000l. Now let us look at the state of our commertial transactions with those counties, in Europe which are the shief sources of our supply of food. Let us look at the state of out export trade with Germany, Wol. LXXXIV.

Holland, and Belgium. In 1837, the value of our exports to these three countries was 8,742,000l. ; in 1838, it was 9,606,000l. ; in 1839, it was 9,660,000l. ; and in 1840, it was 9,704,000l. So that even with respect to those countries which are the chief sources of our supply of corn when we stand in need of any, which are supposed to be such formidable competitors of our manufacturers, and with which the sale of our productions is supposed to be so rapidly declining on account of our exclusion of their corn, it appears that on the whole there has been a progressive increase in the exports of our commerce. Sir, I cannot, therefore, infer that the operation of the Corn-laws is to be charged with the depression which unfortunately prevails in the country at the present moment.” Various opinions obtained in the

country as to a change of the

Corn-laws. Some opposed all

change. Sir Robert Peel believed

their number very small, for most agriculturists believed that the Corn-laws might be altered with

advantage. Others demanded im

mediate and absolute repeal, rejecting all modification: and those

who advocated repeal of all taxes

on subsistence, appealed to topics

which gave them great advantage.

A comparison was made between

the dearness of food in this country

and its cheapness in others; but

that led to a fallacious conclusion :

the true question is, not what is

the price of bread, but what com

mand the labouring classes have

over bread, and what command

they have over the enjoyments of life. The price of corn is much

less in Prussia, than in this coun

try; but what is the condition of the Prussian people? The evi


dence of Dr. Bowring before the Import-duties Committee should tell. “He said that, he had made an estimate of the consumption of different articles, (and, I believe, he had in his possession the means of calculating,) and that he found that in Prussia, with a population of 14,000,000, the consumption of butchers'-meat was 485,000,000 pounds, or very nearly thirty-five pounds annually for each person. But the honourable Gentleman says that, in this country 25,000,000 of persons each consume fifty pounds of meat annually: he says that, it cannot be less than fifty pounds, and it has been frequently estimated at double that amount. Now, I will take it at the lowest calculation; and from that it appears, that the inhabitants of Prussia consume but thirtyfive pounds yearly, whereas in this country fifty pounds are, at the lowest estimate, consumed annually. Observe, that I am not at all denying that distress prevails in many parts of the country: I feel perfectly convinced that, in parts of the country, distress prevails to a great extent. Indeed, I could not have been present at the debate last night, and heard the details with respect to the state of Paisley, without being satisfied of the existence of distress. I certainly do not mean to draw the inference that, while there are 17,000 persons out of employ at Paisley, the consumption of meat is upon this scale. Not at all ; but it is impossible to argue the subject fairly with reference to particular cases. You must not be driven away from the inference by being taunted with the question as to whether at Paisley, Stockport, or Oldham, there is such an

amount of consumption. I admit that there is no such consumption; but in drawing general conclusions with respect to legislation, you have no other alternative than to deal with general averages and comprehensive results; and by that means to ascertain, upon the whole, what the consumption of a country is, I will now proceed to the consumption of sugar; and before you determine that high prices are necessarily an evil, I would recommend you to compare the consumption of sugar in this country with that of other countries of Europe. I again refer to the authority of Dr. Bowring. The honourable Gentleman said, that in France the consumption of sugar, according to the last returns, was about five pounds a head: he said, indeed, that the amount of consumption of sugar was four and three-tenths a head, but I think it better to take five pounds, because there may be a certain amount of beet-root sugar, which he may not have taken into his calculation. Therefore, taking the consumption at five pounds a head in France, it will be found to be the highest in Continental Europe. In the states of the German League it is four pounds; and in Europe generally it is two and a half pounds a head. The consumption of Great Britain, however, the honourable Gentleman caleulates at seventeen pounds a head. I will now take the consumption of corn—of the article which is the subject of our present discussion. Mr. Deacon Hume, a gentleman whose loss we must all sincerely deplore, made the calculation that each individual in this country consumed one quarter of wheat per annum; the honourable Gentleman makes the total con

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