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concluded by moving — “That it is expedient, as a remedy for a state of anxiety embarrassing and unfair to the agriculturists and injurious to commerce, that the attention of this House be directed to the continued existence of Associations which, in matters affecting agriculture and commerce, pretend to influence the delibera– tions of the Legislature,and which, by their combination and by their proceedings, are at once dangerous to the public peace and inconsistent with the spirit of the constitution.” Mr. Cobden said, that he had not attacked Mr. Bankes individually, nor had he charged him with giving less wages than other people; but he had good reason to know that able-bodied labourers in Dorsetshire could not get more than 7s. a week for their labour. He could produce documents shewing a very different state of things on Mr. Bankes's estate from anything he had represented to the House. Why, there were people living in the Isle of Purbeck, occupying cottages that were more like rabbit-huts than fit residences for human beings, cottages that had been complained of by the surgeon to the union as likely to produce disease. There was one startling fact, supported by official authority and which the honourable Member had not grappled with—one out of every seven of the people of Dorset was a pauper; and yet, with this fact staring him in the face, the honourable Member got up and read to the House letters stating that there were no people in Dorsetshire wanting employment. Turning to the subject before the House, Mr. Cobden said, that if the inquiry were refused, the country would at once decide that

it was because honourable Gentlemen opposite knew that they could not make out their case. He vindicated the peaceable agitation of the League, and mentioned a course of meetings which he was holding in the agricultural counties, and to which farmers came from a distance of thirty or forty miles, who dared not attend meetings in their own district. Mr. Wykeham Martin opposing the Motion, said that Mr. Ward had forgotten the heavy tax on the transfer of landed property. Mr. William Williams, on the other hand, contrasted the costs of mortgages on personal and real property, the maximum of mortgage duty payable by the landowner being 25l. ; and he entered into a variety of calculations to show how generally unequal was the pressure of taxation on the poor. Mr. Milner Gibson asked, what Mr. Bankes would do if his resolution were carried ? Would he advise the Government to suspend the Habeas Corpus Act 2 or, like Lord Castlereagh, declare the meetings of the League illegal? He then stated some general arguments for Mr. Ward's Motion. Sir Robert Peel said, that he could not vote for the amendment on two grounds; that it had no immediate connexion with Mr. Ward's Motion, which merited a direct affirmative or negative; and he decidedly objected to the dealing with acts that the House might disapprove by way of resolution, which constituted no law of the realm ; and could have no ulterior effect. If the House thought the law improperly administered, it could move an Address to the Crown to put the existing law in force,

which would be a censure on Ministers; or if it thought the law defective, it could amend it by legislation : but resolutions could be binding on no one. He must, however, object to the Committee; because, fairly to represent the House, he might claim that the Ministerial side should have a majority in the Committee, and then would it be satisfactory to Mr. Ward P. What would be the nature of the evidence? and how revent the Committee from exibiting a mere conflict of opinion ? Mr. Ward, for example, said that land was exempt from the probate and legacy-duty: he denied that, for all leasehold property is subject to it: Mr. Ward and he differed, and how was the point to be settled P. Not by referring it to a Committee, but by volunteering to give returns tending to show the proportion of public taxation borne by the land; to the production of which Sir Robert Peel had no objection. The late Chancellor of the Exchequer had shown that the land contributes 1,600,000l. to the State in stamps on deeds and conveyances; the amount of the legacy-duty being 1,700,000l. Formerly, profits and stock in trade were assessed to the poor-rate; but the difficulty of ascertaining the value had caused those sources to be exempted: the land, however, was tangible, and on that the burden remained. It might be said that though no one would be influenced by the report of a Committee, people would be influenced by the facts collected : but those facts could be as well obtained by returns. Adam Smith and Mr. Ricardo admitted that tithes were a charge on the land: but how could the question be settled in Committee,

whether Mr. Ward, or Adam Smith and Mr. Ricardo were right? But he did not rest the claim of the land to protection exclusively on the plea of special burdens: last year he had stated, that after protection had endured for a hundred and fifty years, and capital had been invested on the faith of it, the protection must not be rashly or suddenly withdrawn. Besides, there was an immense population dependent on the land, whose interest must not be lightly disturbed. He had uniformly accompanied the maxim, “Buy in the cheapest market and sell in the dearest,” with the qualification, that regard must be had to so artificial a state as ours in the application of that abstract principle. And if Mr. Ward obtained this Committee —whose inquiry might last for two or three Sessions—was he prepared to vote next week for total repeal of the Corn-laws? Mr. Ewart had a resolution on the Notice-paper that the question ought to be settled without delay: Mr. Ward's settlement of the question was to transfer it to a Select Committee, whose labours could not close with the present Session ' If he were convinced that it was for the interest of the country at large that the law should be altered, he would not one moment hesitate to adopt that course; but he was not so convinced. The change of the Cornlaw, the Tariff, and the undue panic, had already had a tendency to disturb the application of capital, and to suspend employment, and the continuance of doubt must have evil consequences; therefore he could not consent to the appointment of the Committee. Lord Howick rose, chiefly for the purpose of contending, that Sir R. Peel's justification of the position which Mr. Ward had challenged proved the necessity for a Committee to set forth the whole case ; and he remarked that at the time when Mr. Ricardo wrote, tithes were a substantive charge upon production, which they are no longer. Mr. Blackstone derived satisfaction from Sir R. Peel's declaration, and hoped that the slight threat held out with respect to a free importation of American wheat through Canada would not be followed up. Sir Robert Peel said that his determination to maintain the existing Corn-laws was made with a full reservation of the intention of Government respecting Canada. After some further desultory debate, Mr. Bankes's amendment was negatived, without a division; Mr. Ward's motion was lost on a division, by 232, to 133. On the 13th of May the whole subject of the Corn-laws was brought under discussion in the House of Commons upon the motion annually brought forward by Mr. Villiers for a Committee of the whole House to consider the duties on the importation of foreign corn. Mr. Villiers began his speech by saying that what was advanced now in support of a repeal of the Corn-laws was urged with equal force in 1815. He said, it was the firm conviction of the middle classes that no argument which would bear the test of examination could be brought forward in support of any laws which tended to keep up the price of food, and with a compliment to the Anti-Corn-law League for having diffused useful information

on the subject, he described the people as waiting for the final sentence of the House on those unjust and oppressive laws. If food were not cheapened, he predicted a rise of poor-rates, and he adduced statistical figures from which he calculated that the people annually expended 100,000,000l. in the excess of cost for the necessaries of life, of which the price was raised by fiscal restrictions. He glanced at the distresses of 1839–42, the bankruptcies, the dreadful and revolting sufferings of the people, and the increase of pauperism. He denied the assumption that in ordinary years an adequate supply of corn is grown in this country, According to a calculation which he believed to be pretty correct, there were 10,000,000 of the people who were not consumers of wheat, and he believed that was under the mark; 500,000 consumed seven ounces daily; 1,500,000 ten ounces; 3,000,000 fourteen ounces; 3,000,000 seventeen ounces; 4,000,000 twenty-one ounces; and 5,000,000 twentyfour ounces daily, then there were 4,000,000 who lived on oatmeal, and 10,000,000 who “rejoiced in potatoes.” They said . had an adequate supply of food, and yet 10,000,000 of the people never tasted wheat. It was a disgrace to England. They said they wanted new markets in China and elsewhere ; here was one ready to their hands—a home market of 10,000,000 of their fellow-countrymen; free their labour, and they at once gave 10,000,000 customers to our manufacturers. To show that there was an adequate supply of food, they now wanted to send thousands of their fellow countrymen to obtain it in a far clime—to go back to a primitive state, and to send out the handloom-weaver to be a shepherd at the antipodes. Nothing prevented improvements in agriculture more than the Corn-laws. He deprecated the idea that any panic would result from announcing an intention to repeal the Corn-laws. He had never been very much afraid of it, but his apprehension had been entirely dispelled by what had occurred at the agricultural dinners in the autumn, when certain gentlemen went into the country and appeared to be anxious to prepare the way for some great change in the Corn-laws; and certainly, though nothing could have been more sound than the principles they promulgated on commercial policy, those notions had not been scouted or sneered at by the farmers, but on the contrary, they had been well received : for instance, one had declared that the welfare of agriculture depended on the prosperity of commerce, and the honourable Member for Somersetshire had been cordially cheered at the close of an able speech, the sum and substance of which was that the British farmer ought no longer to rely upon protection—that protection would no longer support him, and that protection would no longer be supported, while one honourable Gentleman, late a county Member, (Mr. Goring), had declared they ought not to care at all for protection. But what had put a stop all of a sudden to this excellent preaching 2 Strange coincidence it ceased just when the good news from China arrived; of course it did not follow that there was the connexion of cause and effect, but it might perhaps occur to the people that those in power had

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contemplated the necessity for repeal, and had been induced to postpone it by the idea that a little revival of trade would take off public attention from an evil which repeal alone would remedy, but which nevertheless was to be retained so long as the Corn-laws could be clung to. At all events, it appeared that no very alarming apprehensions were entertained by the agriculturists about repeal, and certainly there could not be a better opportunity than the present for any experiments on agricultural endurance. They were in a most confiding mood just now. They had no disposition to distrust the declarations of those in office; they were absolutely after what had occurred prepared for anvihing. Mr. Willer, concluded by moving, “That the House should resolve itself into a Committee for the purpose of considering the duties affecting the importation of foreign corn, with the view to their immediate abolition.” Mr. Villiers Stuart seeonded the motion. Mr. Gladstone met it by a di. rect negative. He said that last year the House had rejected such a motion by 393 to 90, but if the motion were unreasonable twelve months ago, it was doubly so now. A commercial law of the kind was not only an experiment, but partook of the nature of a contract, and in the absence both of experience and of altered circumstances to justify a change so soon after the adjustment of the law, such a step would be ruinous in itself and a breach of the contract. Mr. Villiers proposed to make the most productive fruit altogether free from protection, and in so doing; he would place it on different princithe purpose of contending, that Sir R. Peel's justification of the position which Mr. Ward had challenged proved the necessity for a Committee to set forth the whole case; and he remarked that at the time when Mr. Ricardo wrote, tithes were a substantive charge upon production, which they are no longer. Mr. Blackstone derived satisfaction from Sir R. Peel's declaration, and hoped that the slight threat held out with respect to a free importation of American wheat through Canada would not be followed up. Sir Robert Peel said that his determination to maintain the existing Corn-laws was made with a full reservation of the intention of Government respecting Canada. After some further desultory debate, Mr. Bankes's amendment was negatived, without a division; Mr. Ward's motion was lost on a division, by 232, to 133. On the 13th of May the whole subject of the Corn-laws was brought under discussion in the House of Commons upon the motion annually brought forward by Mr. Villiers for a Committee of the whole House to consider the duties on the importation of foreign corn. Mr. Williers began his speech by saying that what was advanced now in support of a repeal of the Corn-laws was urged with equal force in 1815. He said, it was the firm conviction of the middle classes that no argument which would bear the test of examination could be brought forward in support of any laws which tended to keep up the price of food, and with a compliment to the Anti-Corn-law League for having diffused useful information

on the subject, he described the people as waiting for the final sentence of the House on those unjust and oppressive laws. If food were not cheapened, he predicted a rise of poor-rates, and he adduced statistical figures from which he calculated that the people annually expended 100,000,000l. in the excess of cost for the necessaries of life, of which the price was raised by fiscal restrictions. He glanced at the distresses of 1839–42, the bankruptcies, the dreadful and revolting sufferings of the people, and the increase of pauperism. He denied the assumption that in ordinary years an adequate supply of corn is grown in this country, According to a calculation which he believed to be pretty correct, there were 10,000,000 of the people who were not consumers of wheat, and he believed that was under the mark; 500,000 consumed seven ounces daily; 1,500,000 ten ounces; 3,000,000 fourteen ounces; 3,000,000 seventeen ounces; 4,000,000 twenty-one ounces; and 5,000,000 twentyfour ounces daily, then there were 4,000,000 who lived on oatmeal, and 10,000,000 who “rejoiced in potatoes.” They said they had an adequate supply of food, and yet 10,000,000 of the people never tasted wheat. It was a disgrace to England. They said they wanted new markets in China and elsewhere; here was one ready to their hands — a home market of 10,000,000 of their fellow-countrymen; free their labour, and they at once gave 10,000,000 customers to our manufacturers. To show that there was an adequate supply of food, they now wanted to send thousands of their fellow countrymen to obtain it in a far clime—to go

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