페이지 이미지

tiful season; and how were they lo dis- entirely ignorant of the principles of compose of the surplus ? Where was that merce who could entertain such a notion, country in which corn was to be made for it might be as well said that those dear by law, to dispose of its surplus pro- countries were dependent upon us. But duce ? That surplus could not, in fact, find every commercial irausaction was an exa market in any other country, and there change of equivalents, in wbich both parfore must remain on the hands of our ties were equally interested. It could not farmers. Thus the object of this Bill be pretended that we were dependent was likely to be defeated, and the farmers upon Russia because this country afforded become more distressed than they pro- the principal market for her produce. On bably were at present. Thus the farmers the contrary, Russia was by that circumwould be rendered unable to sell cheaper, stance so dependent upon us that this while they would be also rendered un. dependence notoriously occasioned that able to export, through the operation of effort on the part of Russia which had led this measure, for forcing an increased (God grant that it might lead !) to the deprice of corn.

liverance of Europe. The fact was, that But the fallacy of the arguments, or

the interest which the Russian Jand. rather the assertions, adduced in support holders felt in their commercial interof this measure, was in no case more gla. | course with this country, was the great ring than in that which referred to the cause of the restoration of the pacific danger of our dependence upon foreign relations of Russia; and why should not supply. That such apprehension was the landed interest of France feel equally utterly groundless was quite evident, from well disposed towards this country, if our the experience of the last twenty years, market were opened to their produce when the general state of the country, and through a free trade in corn. Such a cir especially the improvement of our agri- cumstance must indeed serve to excite a culture, afforded the most conclusive an. strong interest in France in the mainteswer to those who professed to entertain nance of peace with this country. But the apprehension of such a dependence. could it be supposed, that because France He not only deprecated this apprehension would thus feel an interest in selling ber as quite visionary, but some observations produce to us, we should therefore become connected with it, which he deemed illi- dependent upon her? The idea was abberal; for he protested against the lan- surd, quite as absurd, indeed, as the wild guage used to excite a prejudice with maxim prevailing among some politicians regard to what was improperly called our on the continent, that we were dependent “ natural enemy,” because he saw no rea- upon those nations to whom we sold our son why we should not be as ready to open manufactures; the buyers in such cases a just and liberal intercourse with France being just as dependent as the sellers. as with any other nation. But further, as Yet from this absurd measure it was often 20 the idea of dependence upon France: assumed that this, the most independent it has been stated by the noble earl, that nation in the world, was dependent upon the price of corn in France was 475. a its customers, who were its customers only quarter, and that its export was prohibited to supply their own wants. But if it were when it arrived at 49s. Now, if this coun- maintained that we were dependent betry were so dependent upon France, how cause we brought from other countries, came it that our demand had not been then we must contrive to supply all our such as to raise the price from 47s. to 49s.? wants at home, in order to guard against But the fact was, that our import from the imaginary danger of dependence. France was insignificant, not exceeding This supply was, however, impossible. 145,000 quarters, while our national con. Some of our most essential articles must be sumption was from 13 to 15 million quar. had from other countries-naval stores, for ters. How, then, could it be rational to instance. But this apprehension of deentertain

any fear of our dependence for pendence upon other nations, because we supply upon what was called our natural purchased from them, was quite a new enemy? The idea of such dependence notion. We must, in fact, buy, or we was, in fact, quite nugatory. We bad, could not sell; we must export, or wo indeed, usually a much

larger supply from could not import. And here be took 06. Poland and Holland ; but was it therefore casion to observe, that the old maxim, 10 be inferred that we were dependent that the balance of exports over imports upon either of these countries? They were constituted the wealth of a country, was quite fallacious; that wealth being, in fact, those conveniencies, which, from our pecreated by the profit arising out of the culiar circumstances, their means could exchange of those articles which one not reach at home. If the Bill passed, country could produce cheaper than an- there was no labourer who had a family of other, and which, excbange must of course, three children, who would not be obliged be mutually beneficial. But if this coun- to apply for parochial relief: the manutry endeavoured to supply herself with facturers' would be reduced to this recorn and manufactures, she must possess a source, which was at present but too genedouble capital, enough to supply ihe loom rally resorted 10 by the agriculturist; and and the plough, or one or the other must even the artificer, if ibe reward of his toil be neglected. Now, the question was, did not increase in the same proportion as

whether it would be wise on our part to the price of bread, would be reduced to . abandon or to hazard the loom, which was the same painful resource. The noble found so productive of national wealth, in baron concluded by observing, that he the speculation of becoming a great agri- had studiously avoided every thing which cultural country. The country had been might be construed into an imputation of hitherto found incompetent to grow suffi- improper motives to the supporters of the cient corn for its consumption; and the measure, and by thanking the House for question was, whether by pursuing our the attention with which he had been prosperous system of manufacture, we heard. should not be able, through the disposal

The Earl of Lauderdale said, there was of that manufacture abroad, to procure not one thing which the noble lord who corn considerably cheaper than we could had just sat down had offered to the possibly grow it at home.'

House, which he had not anticipated. Adverting to the petition from the city The noble lord bad throughout argued of London, ibe noble lord forcibly pressed upon a false view of the present situation the necessity of inquiry upon the im of the country, as well as upon a false portant point referred to in ihat petition, view of the measure on which they were namely, as to the influence which ihis Bill that day proceeding. This measure had was likely to have upon the price of bread. for its object not only a system by which He asked their lordships, whether they the price of grain would be diminished, could reconcile to their sense of justice, io and by which the country would beredecide upon the merits of this measure after be secured that article at a fair and without hearing both sides? And it was to moderate rate, but it had in view the rebe recollected, that as yet only one side lief of the agriculturist from the distress had been heard, no evidence whatever under wbich he at present laboured. He having been adduced on the part of the said he had given his mind as much 10 manufacturers and the other petitioners this subject as any man-he bad consiagainst the Bill. In his opinion, the len- dered it in all its bearings; and the result dency of this Bill would be to raise the of his deliberations was, that so far from price of bread above its natural level; being injurious to the community, and considering the influence of the price prove in the bighest degree beneficial. of provisions upon the price of labour, he With respect to the argument urged, of a conjured their lordships maturely to in- high price of provisions being injurious quire and deliberate, before they deter- to the manufacturers, be could only say, mined upon such a question. The conse- that the evidence of those individuals quences to our national wealth from any went directly to refute it. When those considerable check to our manfactures he individuals were examined three years thought it unnecessary to dwell upon, for ago upon the question of the orders in those consequences must be obvious 10 council, he had distinctly asked them their lordships judgment; but he begged wbether their distresses were not attrito impress upon their minds the serious butable to the high price of provisions ? injury likely to result from that provoca. And their answer was, that they never tive to emigration, which must arise out experienced any inconvenience from the of any enhancement of the price of provi- high price of provisions, provided trade sions, especially combined with the known was brisk. And the fact was, that the pressure of our taxes. Indeed, it was a extra employment which was given to lamentable fact, that numbers even of the the labourers by this briskness, amply higher order of our gentry had already compensated for any increased price of felt it advisable to seek in other countries provisions. The Bill, he observed, was no new measure; it was only rendering be obliged to hold back their supply. effectual the old laws, which had been The small quantity which we now imenacted for the protection of our farmers, ported, might be very well supplied by and which had formed the system of this our own farmers. Capital was not wanicountry ever since the reign of Edwarding, nor was the capital required to pro3, who had prohibited importation when duce 1,200,000 quarters, in addition to wheat was below 6s. the quarter.' Far the present quantity, great. All that was from burthening the manufacturer, it required was security; for the farmers would relieve him by relieving the farmer; would not employ their capital without for from the prosperity of the farmer, the that security being afforded to their occulabourer would be employed, the shop- pation, which was given to all other lines keeper would thrive, and would create a in which capital was employed.The demand--the most material and safest de noble earl then contended, that the lowermand on the manufacturer for his com- ing of rents would be attended with a modities. The supply of grain from fo- comparatively trifling reduction in the reign countries was very small in propor- price of grain. It had been argued, that tion to that from our own soil. The whole from the reduction of taxes, a correspondquantity of grain consumed in Great Bri. ing reduction ought to take plaee in the tain was estimated at 40 million of quar- price of agricultural produce; but in the ters, of which only 1,200,000 on an present state of the revenue of this counaverage were imported. To produce a try, and the way in which it was managed, cheap supply, would it not be wiser to

no man could say what our laxation would encourage the producers of the greater be, and that it would not press heavier quantity than those who supplied the than it had done on the agriculture of the lesser quanlity? The price of 80s. would country. He had argued throughout, that be a maximum ; for if the price rose the measure ought to be adopted as one above that sum for six weeks, there would which was beneficial to the consumer. be a most abundant importation from the There was not one of the general princiopposite side of the Channel. It was a ples contended for by the noble lord great mistake to proceed on the supposi- (Grenville), that he was not deeper pledged tion that the trade in grain was free, while to than most men; but it was necessary there were so many taxes which pressed to look at the real situation of the country on our agriculturists. If the importation at this time, in measuring the application were open, there would be a bounty on of these general principles. He was care. foreign growers to import into our markets. less of present popularity-he looked Five million of quarters might in that alone to the welfare of the country; and case be imported. Such a state of things he knew that when they came to feel the laid our subsistence at the mercy of fo- beneficial effects of this measure, the reign powers, and they might raise a navy people of this country would not be defiagainst us by limiting the trade to their cient in gratitude to their real benefactors, own ships. If

If our manufactures were to The Earl of Selkirk contended, that how. be destroyed by high prices, foreign states ever desirable it might be that a free trade might, in such a state of things, put an should universally exist, it was well known end to them at once by stopping impor- that no state acted upon this principle; and tation. On the other hand, they had ex while we were most in want of a supply perience that encouragement would pro- of food from other countries, we might duce low prices—as, for instance, in the open our ports in vain for it. He entered cotton trade, the iron trade, and even in at some length into the connexion be. the trade of grain itself, the price of which, tween the price of food and the wages of under a system of efficient protection, and labour, and contended that the present with a bounty on exportation, had conti- measure would have the most beneficial nued to fall for a whole century. It was effect, in so far as concerned the labour. chimerical to suppose that the farmers ing classes. He argued also, that a recould combine to raise the price of corn, gular supply of food, at an equal price, when they could not combine in any one was greatly preferable to the sudden rises thing. The consequence of a free impor. and depressions of price which would tation would be, that in abundant years follow from such an extensive country as the market would be overstocked with Great Britain being, in any way depenforeign corn-in scarce years foreign na dent on foreign countries for any conside* tions, for their own preservation, would rable part of her food,




The House then divided on the question Earl Grey again urged the impossibility for the second reading : Contents, 92 ; of properly considering the Treaty without Proxies, 52, 144; Not-Contents, 15; having information of the previous negoProsies, 2, 17: Majority, 127.

ciation, particularly if it should turn out, The Bill was then read a second time as he believed was the case, that we had and committed for Friday,

rejected moderate overtures in the hour of List of the Minority.

elation and success, to which we had af.

terwards acceded when the time came of DUKES. Fortescue

reverse and defeat. He did not know at Gloucester Grey

the moment, whether any precedent of Somerset

such a communication existed; but be Argyll Torrington

thought the information he sought for of MARQUISSES. Buckingham King so much importance to the discus

proper Wellesley Montfort

sion of the question, that he should take Douglas Grenville

an opportunity of moving for its pro.

Proxies. duction. Essex

Devonshire Aylesbury Spencer


'Tion.] Earl Stanhope rose to bring forward his promised motion on this subject,

which he prefaced with a variety of oba HOUSE OF LORDS.

servations. The line of the noble earl's Thursday, March 16.

argumentation and detailed reference, Treaty WITH AMERICA.] The Earl of were similar to those which he used on Liverpool laid on the table the Treaty of moving bis resolutions last session pro Peace with the United States of America, forma, which he now proposed for the and gave notice of his intention to move adoption of the House. He approved of the consideration of it on Wednesday. the principle advanced last night by a

Earl Grey wished to know whether it noble earl high in office--that it waswas the intention of ministers to lay before essentially necessary to encourage the the House any information as to the pre- agriculture of the country; in this he vious negociations ?

cordially agreed with him, and it was one The Earl of Liverpool answered in the of the principal objects of what he was negative.

about to propose to encourage agriculture, Earl Grey observed, that it had been by relieving the farmers in the only way the practice to communicate information they should be relieved, and to enable respecting negociations which had ter. them to sell bread at a cheap and reasonminated to the House; and that it would able rate to the consumer, by relieving be impossible to come to the proper con- him from those parts of taxation that bore sideration of the Treaty without knowing the heaviest on his agricultural pursuits. what had been the previous demands, and This principle was recognised by many in what manner those demands had been of the petitions with which their lordships persisted in or retracted.

table was loaded; but more especially by The Earl of Liverpool denied that it had that of the corn growers of Peterborough been the practice to communicate infor, and its vicinity, in which his proposed mation respecting negociations that bad resolutions were adverted to in a way terminated happily. On the contrary, he worthy the most serious attention of the believed there was no precedent whatever House. In illustration of bis positions, of that nature. With respect to those the noble earl referred to certain parts of negociations that had broken off, it in the evidence given before their lordships doubtedly had been the practice to com- committee ; bịt more particularly to that municate information to Parliament. In given by Mr. James Buxton, who, among the present instance, however, there was olher very material points, stated, that in no necessity for any such communication, 1792, the whole expenses of his farm for and therefore none was intended to be labour was 2741. 148. 1d. ; that, in 1812, made; nor was it intended at all to recur those expenses came to 8161. 185. 6d.; lo che negociation, but to ground an Ad. and that upon the same quantity of land, dress to the Prince Regent, on the terms and for the same degree or scale of im. of the Treaty being satisfactory and adprovement. That the poor's-rates of the vantageous to the country.

same farm were in 1792, 171. 198.; that in

1812 they amounted to 1661. That his navy, the army, &c. was necessary to be other farming expenses were increased in kept up. They might be certain, howproportion. How was it possible, then, ever, that those establishments would not that a man so circumstanced could go on be kept up on a scale higher than the in his business, but by increasing the price necessity of the case exacted. But would of his commodity? What was the cause it be wise or proper, or did it stand to of all this, but the crowding tax upon tax reason, that hopes should be now held out, upon the farmer, and consequently upon when they could not be realised ? With the labouring poor of the community ? respect to the weight of taxation so partiAfter some farther observations in this cularly adverted to by the noble earl, he be. principle and spirit, the noble earl pro- lieved the inconveniencies, whatever they posed his resolutions, viz. “ That lo pro might be, resulted more from the extent vide for the public an ample supply of of the taxes than from the mode of their provisions, is at all times a national object distribution. With every disposition to of the very first importance:-But this am- relieve all classes of his Majesty's subjects ple supply of provisions, cannot at all times in that way as far as the same could con. be provided, unless due encouragement be sistently be done, he must say he had given to the growers of corn in Great never yet seen any plan for the reductions Britain and Ireland, so as to enable them alluded to which could be carried into efto carry on the improved system of agri- fect. When such a plan could be produced, culture, and to enable them to sell the then would be the time for considering produce of the same on moderate terms to such propositions. At present the adopihe consumers. That in order to procure tion of the proposed resolutions could be these essential, united objects, it is expe- attended with no good wbatever, but dient that those taxes which bear most might be of mischievous tendency. He beavily on agriculture on the one hand, or should therefore beg leave to move the on the labouring part of the community previous question. on the other, be repeated, as far as the Earl Grey had no doubt of the purity of return of peace may enable the same to the motive which actuated bis noble friend be done, consistently with the keeping in proposing this motion; but he agreed due faith to the public creditor, and pro- with the noble earl opposite, lhat no pracviding for a sufficient peace establish-tical good could result from adopting it, ment.”-He submitted these resolutions, and that it might be holding out expectaafter what had passed, with great confi. tions to the public which could not be dence. He thought the principle laid realised. If his noble friend could pracdown should he supported, not only by all tically point out any improvement in the those who were inimical to, but by all system of taxation, he would go along those who voted for the Corn Bill ; and with him in supporting it, as well as in were their lordships to record the prin- advocating retrenchment and economy, ciple, he thought it must have its due particularly as they regarded the peace weight in deterring the Commons from establishment. Whilst upon this topic, sending up tax bills of the nature con. he could not omit the opportunity of extemplated.

pressing bis hope that no injudicious inThe Earl of Liverpool felt it is duty to ierference on our part in the affairs of object to the adoption of the resolutions, France would have the effect of interruptreferring to expedients which noble lords ing that peace which so recently promised must know could not be carried into exe- to be of long duration. cution. The impropriety must be plain Earl Scanhope reprobated the 'tameness to all, of deluding persons by holding out of submitting to all the forms of taxation hopes of repeal which it was impracticable put on them by the House of Commons, to realise. . Their lordships all knew what declared he wished all the House had as the situation of the country was with respect much resolution as himself, and called for to its revenue and system of taxation, now a division, in which he said he would that the interest of the national debt, in persevere, if he had but a single vote on cluding the sinking fund, was little less his side. than 40 millions; and that in the present The House they divided. On the prestate of affairs and the world, a certain vious question. Contents, 30; Non-conscale of establishment in respect to the tents, 1.

« 이전계속 »