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country, reason and moderation thus at once enhancing the price would eventually gravitate towards of corn, you would establish a that which is just.

steady and well-regulated barter, Lord Palmerston followed in a which would at the same time clever speech which concluded the supply your wants and open new debate. He taunted Sir Robert fields for the consumption of the Peel with the general dissatisfac- produce of your manufacturing intion which his measure gave, tes- dustry.

Under such an arrangetified on his own side of the House ment, the merchant would make by an eloquent silence. He said, his arrangements for buying a suptwo courses were open to the Mi- ply of corn in those places where it nister--either to have stood by the was cheapest, and would bring it old Corn-laws, in which he would home at a period when he thought have been cordially supported by a that it could be best disposed of majority in the House, or to bave both to the country and to himself. taken a bold course in changing the Aboveall, you would extend greatly Corn-laws, in which case he would your commercial relations with the have obtained support from other United States." quarters. It is not given to man,

Adverting to the comparative much less to man in office, to merits of the Whig and Tory proplease all parties. Lord Palmersion positions, he remarked, that there admitted that the proposed law was were larger grounds on which the a mitigation of that which it was doctrine of independence of foreign to replace, but he proceeded to supply ought to be repudiated by show in how trifling a degree ; and the House :--" Why is the earth he asked why agriculturists should on which we live divided into zones be insured against the contingen- and climates? Why do different cies of the seasons, when such an countries yield different producinsurance is not attempted in any tions to people experiencing similar other trade ? the merchant is not wants ? Why are they intersected insured against loss by accidents at with mighty rivers, the natural

The late Ministers had pro- highways of nations? Why are posed a duty of 8s., but Sir Robert lands the most distant from each Peel had almost convinced him that other brought almost into contact that was too high. Without ad. by that very ocean which seems to mitting that, however, he contended divide them? Why, Sir, it is that that the duty should be fixed and man may be dependent upon man. known : “If a moderate fixed It is that the exchange of commoduty was established, you would dities may be accompanied by the have a complete change in the trade extension and diffusion of knowaltogether; you would have an ledge-by the interchange of muentirely different system of trans- tual benefits engendering mutual actions in the corn market. For kind feelings - multiplying and instead of gambling transactions, confirming friendly relations. It you would establish a sound and is that Commerce may freely go advantageous trade; and, instead forth, leading Civilization with one of the merchant hurrying at every hand and Peace with the other, to rise in price to the foreign market render mankind happier, wiser, on the Continent--for the distant better. Sir, this is the dispensamarkets are hardly touched-and tion of Providence; this is the

sea.

decree of that power which created However, Lord Palmerston and disposed the universe. But, hailed the Ministerial concession, in the face of it, with arrogant, small as it was, as breaking ground presumptuous folly, the dealers in in removing the intrenchments of restrictive duties fly, fettering the monopoly. inborn energies of man, and setting The House then divided, when up their miserable legislation in there appeared for Lord John Russtead of the great standing laws of sell's amendment, 226; against it, Nature."

349 : majority, 123.

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CHAPTER III.

Corn-laws-Debate on Mr. Villiers' Amendment--General Character

of the Discussion which occupied five nights --Speeches of Mr. Villiers, Mr. T. B. Macaulay, Mr. J. S. Wortley, Mr. Wakley, Mr. Wykeham Martin, Sir Robert Peel, and Mr. Cobden-Mr. B. Ferrand brings heavy Charges against certain Manufacturers Discussion thereon-Reply of Mr. Villiers, whose Amendment is lost by 393 to 90-Public Meetings on the Corn-laws-Proceedings of Anti-Corn-law Societies-Letter of Lord Nugent on withdrawing from one of these BodiesSir Robert Peel is burnt in Effigy in various manufacturing Towns--Meetings of Agriculturists - Their general reception of the Measure-Proceedings of the Aylesbury Association, where the Duke of Buckingham presides, The House of Commons goes into Committee on the Resolutions on February 25th-Mr. Christopher proposes a new Scale of Duties as a Substitute for Sir Robert Peel's -- An irregular Discussion on the Amendment terminates in its Rejection by 306 to 104– Mr. Wodehouse's Motion respecting Duties on Barley withdrawn after some Debate--Mr. Smith O'Brien advocates greater protection to Irish Oats- Various other Amendments proposed, all of which are rejected or withdrawn-On Motion for Second Reading of the Bill Lord Ebrington moves that it be read that Day Six Months Speeches of Lord Howick, Mr. C. Buller, Sir Robert Peel, and other Members— The Second Reading carried by 284 to 176– Rapid Progress of the Bill through Committee--Divers Amendments defeated— Resolution proposed by Mr. Cobden on Third Reading rejected by large Majorily-Bill passed in House of Commons on April 5thIn the House of Lords the Second Reading is moved by the Earl of Ripon-Earl Stanhope vigorously opposes it, and censures the Government-His speech on moving the rejection of the Bill--Speeches of the Earl of Hardwick, Duke of Buckingham, Earl of Winchelsea, Viscount Melbourne, and Lord Brougham, who moves another Amendment-Both Motions are rejected by great Majorities-- The Bill is read Second Time-In Committee Viscount Melbourne moves an Amendment in favour of a Fixed Duty- It is rejected after full Discussion by a majority of 68– Three Resolutions condemnatory of all Duties on Foreign Corn are proposed by Lord Brougham-They are disaffirmed by 87 to 6– Various other Amendments are moved without success, and the Bill is read a Third Time and passed.

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duties, it might have seemed Corn-laws should not continue ; equally illogical and superfluous and they would no longer brook afterwards to discuss a proposition, the protracted refusal of all change of which the affirmative had been with which they had hitherto been involved in the preceding decision, met. And to what a monstrous viz., whether corn should be sub- anomaly in the condition of Engjected to any duties at all. The land had the law given birth! A motion to that effect, however, of territory unexcelled in the abun. which Mr. Villiers had previously daut resources of nature and accugiven notice, he did not now think mulated wealth, yet labouring proper to withdraw, and after four under such a weight of distress nights of debate upon Lord Jobu that Government had admitted it Russell's amendment, the whole could not be exaggerated! Food subject was re-opened, and five was becoming scarcer, and the more evenings employed in a dis- people were every hour sinking cussion of the conflicting argue in the scale of human beings; yet ments for protection or free-trade. the food which they demanded It cannot be deemed surprising they could not have, because the under these circumstances, that owners of the soil had established this second stage of a conflict de- barriers between our island and prived of all its interest by the the two civilized continents be. anticipated certainty of its result, tween which it is placed, so that was marked by an unusual degree they should not aid us in our of flatness and repetition. hopeless distress. The cause of would be an useless task to exbibit the distress, however, was even a condensed summary of the exposed, in spite of every effort to speeches addressed to the House, divert attention from the enquiry; during the week thus occupied, and within the year two different by the host of Members who suc- Governments had been obliged to cessively challenged the attention concede to the general expression of the Chair. We shall endeavour, of opinion one had sacrificed after giving a short sketch of the office on that account; the other line of argument adopted by the had found it proper to admit, what mover of the amendment, to record it previously denied, that the law the few striking or original pas- must be changed. He objected, sages which the debate produced, however, to both their projects ; or such as derived importance from for there was no ground for the the situation or character of the maintenance of the Corn-law; and individual speakers. Mr. Villiers he had not heard of any writer on thus opened his case: He said that ethics who justified the modificafor four centuries the proprietors tion of wrong. Some, indeed, of the soil bad been attempting to conseientiously held that a total legislate for the purpose of raising change of the law would be prethe value of their properties, and judicial to agriculture; but he the result of all their efforts had defied proof that the fear rested been to prejudice those properties, on any valid ground, and the and greatly to lower the owners in highest authorities were opposed the estimation of the country. The to it. Here Mr. Villiers quoted great majority of the people had Lord Grenville, the London Mernow made up their minds that the chants Petition of 1820, the Select Committee of 1821, the Committee is not uniformly or necessarily a of 1836 and the evidence given benefit to the people. When you before it, the pamphlet of A suppose that a man has but 401.Cumberland Landowner,” Mr. a year for the support of himself, Whitmore's “ Letter to the Agri- his wife, and children, it appears culturists of Salop,” Mr. Tooke, monstrous to argue that an outlay Mr. M‘Culloch, the evidence of of 301. for corn is not a matter in statesmen, landed proprietors, the- which he is deeply interested. I oretical writers, and farmers. Of am now only putting the prima the peculiar burthens pleaded by facie case. How is it met by the the landed interest, the highway- Government? Why, the right rate alone was exclusively borne honourable Gentleman declares, by them; and that was as much against the universal sense of all an investment as any other outlay ages and nations, that cheapness of to give value to their lands, and as food is not necessarily a benefit to justly borne by them as local rates a people. His argument, if I by a town. In fact, nothing but rightly understood it, was simply vague generalities had been brought this there are countries where forward to sustain the plea. The food is cheap, and the people are competition among farmers for not so well off as the people of land showed that they could only England; and the countries which obtain the current rate of profit on he particularly cited were Prussia their capital ; the monopoly, there- and Belgium. If the right honfore, did not benefit them; and ourable Gentleman used any other the paramount interest of labourers argument on this head, it escaped always lies in procuring cheap my attention. Now, Sir, is that food. The forced maintenance of argument absolutely worth anythe Corn-laws was making all thing is it even a plausible argumen in the country politicians, ment? If, indeed, any person and driving the middle and work- were so egregiously absurd as to ing classes to think that they were argue that cheapness of food is the mis-represented. He concluded by sole cause of national prosperity, moving “ that all duties payable and that trade and manufactures, on the importation of corn, meal, and a long course of successful or flour, do now cease and deter- events have nothing to do with it, mine.”

I could understand the exposure After several speakers had ex- of the fallacy which pointed out pressed their opinions for

other countries where the necesagainst the amendment, Mr. T. B. saries of life were extremely cheap Macaulay declared his intention of but the condition of the people voting on neither side, agreeing not proportionably benefited. But with Mr. Villiers in wishing a

all we have argued is, that cheaptotal repeal of duties, but objecting ness of food is a blessing to a to an immediate withdrawal of nation, exactly in the same sense protection. He would omit the as health is a blessing to an indiword " now” from the resolution. vidual. Of course, a man in exHe thought Sir Robert Peel was cellent bodily health may, from wrong in his fundamental prin- family afflictions and pecuniary ciple. “ His principle is, that the difficulties, be on the whole worse cheapness of the necessaries of life off than the invalid ; but that

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