Page images

measure was to extend relief to the districts in which there was so much distress. It was, therefore, the intention of Government to propose a bill to enable the quantity of corn accumulated to come into consumption. The Right Honourable Gentleman concluded by moving, that the House should to-morrow resolve itself into a committee on the Act of the 3d of Geo. IV. cap. 60.

Mr Tierney expressed his approbation of this measure. Mr Phillips observed, that the people also wanted the means to buy corn; the Corn Laws ought to be set at rest. Mr Canning remarked, that he had no intention to revive the question of the Corn Laws. Mr Ellice asked, whether the Government had any other measures to propose; if not, he should advert to the subject on Thursday, on the motion regarding the state of the nation. Mr Canning observed, that he should not now promote farther discussion. Mr Wodehouse thought they ought to set the Corn Laws question at rest.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer spoke of the great exertions that had already been made, but trusted, that in a time of such difficulty, the rich would not be backward with munificent donations, Mr Secretary Peel spoke to the like effect, and said that the accounts he received were of the most distressing character; but while he was determined to perform his duty, painful as it was, he could not but express the hope that those who had the means would be prompt to supply aid. Mr Robinson made some remarks, after which the conver. sation dropped.

2.The Leith Docks' Bill was read a third time and passed. Mr Abercromby presented a petition from Alloa for the abolition of slavery. Mr Downie pre. sented a similar petition from Pathhead, in the county of Edinburgh.


Mr Secretary Peel moved the first reading of the bills to restore certain Scotch peerages, and he hoped they would be allowed to pass through their several stages in one day.

Lord Milton said, he had, with considerable regret, to oppose these bills; he thought they ought not to be support ed by that House. If there were a general bill, it would be a different matter; but these selections were unfortunate→→ to restore titles that had been attainted for standing in rebellion against the con. stitution as established at the Revolution, and desiring to bring back a monarch who had been rejected for tyranny and oppression; the individuals might be worthy of peerages, but he objected to

these unfortunate selections. A bill to remove the attaint generally might have been adopted. He might stand alone in his opinions, but he was not ashamed of them.


Mr Secretary Canning moved that the House resolve itself into a committee on the Corn Act, pursuant to his notice of yesterday.

Sir T. Lethbridge said, it was with considerable reluctance that he rose to throw any obstruction in the way of this motion. He felt for the country; but he must oppose this proposition, to afford a remedy, even though he might expose' himself to the jibes of some, or to the sterner denunciation of the noble member for Yorkshire, Lord Milton. He commiserated the condition of the manufacturers, but the relief now offered would not be a cure. Why was not a vote in aid of the poor required?—that would be a more rational course. The Honourable Member concluded by moving an amendment, "That a select committee be appointed to inquire into the causes of distress in the manufacturing districts." (Hear hear.)

Mr Bennet seconded the amendment.

Mr Canning said, there now existed in this country a large quantity of corn, which had been imported under the Corn Laws as they now stood, and, according to these laws, such corn could not come into the market. The persons distressed were actually in the sight of those gra naries in which such corn was hoarded. They conceived that a grinding oppression diverted that corn from supplying their necessities. It became a merely moral consideration, in such a view of the case, whether it was not wise to administer that relief which could be supplied at so small a cost to those who conceived that they might be injured by the admission of foreign corn. The Government, continued the Right Honourable Secretary, required a power to admit foreign corn under circumstances of pressure which could not be measured by any previous views which might be taken on the sub ject. Of all boons that Parliament could confer on the administration, such a dis cretionary power would be the last for which they would ask. He thought that, if the difficulties of the country were not met, it might be impossible to maintain the present state of the Corn Laws.

A debate of considerable length ensued, in which the proposed measures of Mi. nisters were defended by Mr Whitmore, Mr Philips, and Mr Huskisson; and op. posed by Mr Bankes, Mr Robertson, Colonel Wood, Mr Calcraft, Lord John

Russel, and Mr J. Williams, some on the ground that it was getting rid of the Corn Laws by a side-wind, and others as not affording an immediate and effectual relief to the manufacturers. Sir T. Lethbridge's amendment was negatived by 214 to 82, and the House went into a committee. A long discussion again ensued. The first resolution viz., "That all foreign corn, meal, flour, &c. in bond on the second of May, should be admit ted into consumption, on payment of the following duties, wheat 12s., rye, beans, &c. 8s. and 6s., oats 4s., meal and flour 3s. and 3d. the quarter," was agreed to.

The second resolution was read, viz. "That it is the opinion of this commitee, that it is expedient to empower his Majesty to permit, under certain limitations, and for a time limited, the importation of foreign corn, subject to the above duties." Lord Milton moved that the chairman report progress, and ask leave to sit again. This motion was negatived by 109 to 60, but a farther debate took place on the resolution, and ultimately it was agreed to report progress, and leave was given for the committee to sit again on Thursday. Adjourned.


4. Mr Hume rose to bring forward the motion of which he had given notice two months since; and in doing so, he would not interfere with the measures of Government, as their acts, with the exception of those which regarded the expenditure of the country, were such as gave him pleasure, and, as such, he had often voted with them. The situation of the country, however, now called imperatively for inquiry. Some imputed the present distresses to the state of the currency, some to the Corn Laws, and others assigned other causes; but for his part, he was satisfied they arose solely from extravagant taxation.The Ho nourable Member then went into a detail of various items, to show the futility of the sinking fund, and the fallacious statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who had told the public, that twenty-seven millions of taxes had been taken off, when it must be seen, that, by altering the standard, and attempting to restore us to a metallic currency, there was nearly the same sum paid now into the Treasury that there had been on the average in former years, antecedent to the arrangements in our finance, which took place upon the cessation of hostilities in 1815. He should conclude by moving, "That an humble address be presented to his Majesty, praying him to take into consideration the present cala

mitous situation of the country, and that he would be graciously pleased to direct an inquiry into the causes which had produced such wide-spreading distress, and to ascertain the best means of relieving the country from its embarrassments."

The Chancellor of the Exchequer proceeded to refute many of the statements of the Honourable Member for Aberdeen, and defended himself and his Majesty's Government from the charge of illiberal motives; at the same time maintaining that Ministers had not pro posed any expense but what was absolutely necessary. He should not consent to the address moved by the Honourable Member. Mr Brougham supported the motion of his Honourable Friend, whose object was to induce Parliament not to draw from the public one shilling more than was necessary, so that the burthens of the people might be effectually relieved. Mr Robertson (amid cries of Question) rose to move an adjournment, which was seconded by Mr Alderman Heygate.

The motion of adjournment was negatived without a division. The House then divided, when there appeared-for the motion, 51; against it, 152—majority, 101.-Adjourned.

5. The Glasgow Saltmarket Bill was read a third time and passed.


Mr Secretary Canning moved that the House go into a committee on the Corn Act, with the view to resume the consideration of the Ministers' second proposition.

Mr Calcraft trusted that the House would give its most stubborn opposition to the second proposition.(Hear.)—He could compromise no longer; he was prepared to go into a full discussion of the Corn Laws, but he was against any expedient.

Sir C. Knatchbull spoke to the like effect, and said they were called on to legislate without adequate information.

The House resolved itself into a committee on the act.

Mr Canning again moved his second proposition. He was disposed to give up all limitation as to price and duty, and to fix the limitation on quantity only; and that the quantity should be limited to half the quantity imported in the largest year of importation, which would make the whole amount to 500,000 quarters, exclusive of the quantity now in bond; the importation not to continue more than two months, and to be subject to duty as fixed by the King and Council, not exceeding the highest duty now pay.

able, nor being less than the lowest. Mr C. Wilson gave his most cordial support to the proposition. Sir T. Lethbridge thought no case was made out to justify the apprehension of a scarcity of corn. Mr Portman thought the present distress did not arise in any degree from a scarcity of corn, but from a want of employment and credit. Mr Sumner said, he was confident there was a sufficient supply of corn in the country to prevent scarcity. Mr Peel said, there was no inconsistency in proposing to Parliament to arm Government with a power to admit a limited quantity of corn, in case there was reason to apprehend a scarcity. It was a delusion to suppose that corn was admissible into this country when it became 80s. a-quarter. The fact was, that there must be a long run of averages at that price, but, in the mean time, corn might actually rise to 100s. or 120s. (Hear! hear!)-As a friend to the agricultural interest, he must deprecate the rejection of the measure. The gallery was cleared for a division, but none took place, the motion having been agreed to by an immense majority. On the motion of Mr Peel, the Aliens Bill was read a third time, and passed. The Gardens and Hot-Houses Bill was also read a third time, and passed.


8. In answer to a question by Mr Grenfell, the Chancellor of the Exchequer stated, that the Bank of England has under consideration the best means of establishing Branch Banks throughout the kingdom.


The Chancellor of the Exchequer mov. ed that the report on the Corn Act be received. Mr Calcraft, Mr Bankes, Mr Jones, and some other members, confessed that they had been in some degree reconciled to the measure by the arguments they had heard, and still more by the modifications it had undergone, but declined pledging themselves to support it. Lord Belgrave and Mr Holme Sumner opposed the motion, as injurious to the landed interest. Mr Stanley supported it, as necessary to save the unemployed manufacturers from famine. Mr Frankland Lewis, Mr Irving, Mr J. Smith, and Mr C. Wilson, also supported the motion. Colonel Wood thought the House ought to show every wish to relieve the sufferings of the manufacturers. Sir M. W. Ridley voted for bringing up the report. Mr J. Smith thought Ministers would have incurred a most heavy responsibility, if, in the present circum. stances of the country, they had not

brought forward the measures now before them. Mr Baring opposed the measure, on the ground that the whole question of the Corn Laws ought to be discussed and settled. Mr Whitmore also urged the propriety of opening the general ques tion, and settling it. Mr Huskisson ably defended the measure. Sir E. Knatchbull opposed the measure, as ini mical to the interests of agriculture. Mr Canning defended the measure at some length, and said that it was intended for the good of the landed interest, and that, if he were called on to name the present bill, he would call it a bill for the protection of the landed interest. Lord Mil ton was of opinion, that the present measure was not calculated to meet the existing exigency, and hoped that Ministers had some other measure in view, in case they should be defeated in the one which was now before Parliament.

On the Speaker putting the question, that the resolutions (contained in the report) be read a second time, Mr Baring moved, as an amendment, that the resolutions be re-committed. On this amendment being put, Lord Milton rose to second it, and observed, that the present time would be as good for settling the general question as any other. Mr Canning said, that the amendment would go to engage the House in a revision of the whole question of the Corn Laws, and he hoped he had already shown satisfactorily, that the present would be a most inconvenient time for such a discussion. The gallery was again cleared, and the House divided, when there appearedFor the amendment, 51-against it, 167, -majority in favour of the resolutions, 116. The report was then agreed to.

The Bank of Scotland Bill was read a second time, and ordered to be re-committed to-morrow.

9. Mr W. Dundas presented a petition from proprietors of West-India property resident in Edinburgh, complaining that their property would be deteriorated, if the contemplated measures were car. ried into effect, and praying for protection.

The Banks in Scotland (Copartnerships) Bill went through a committee. Report received, and ordered to be taken into farther consideration to-morrow. CORN BILL.

On the order of the day being read for the second reading of the Warehousing Corn Bill, Mr H. Sumner moved an amendment, that the question be adjourned. Mr Canning was against the amendment. The House then divided. -For the motion, 174.For the ad.

journment, 2.-Majority for the motion, 172. The Bill was read a second time, and ordered to be committed to-morrow.

11.-Mr Hume, in moving to bring in a Bill to render lawful the exportation of machinery, but which he afterwards withdrew, said, if he had the honour of a seat in that House in the next Parlia. ment, he should take the earliest opportunity to introduce the subject to the at tention of the House.


Upon the motion for the second read. ing of the Foreign Corn Importation Bill, Sir T. Lethbridge repeated his for. mer arguments, against a measure which he must consider as aiming a vital blow against the agricultural interest. Mr H. Sumner also persisted in his intention to oppose the Bill in every stage. Sir W. W. Wynn supported the Bill, whilst Mr Bankes considered it every way objec tionable, more particularly as the late disturbances might be imputed to the relief proposed to be given to the manu facturers, and to this opinion he would never lend his sanction.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer repeated his former opinion, and defended Government, who only asked for a power with which they might do great good, and could do no imaginary mischief. After a few words from Mr Whitmore and Mr Irving, the House then divided, when the numbers were-for the second reading, 189-against it, 65-majority, 124.

12. On the motion of the Lord Ad. vocate, the report of the Scots Banks Copartnerships Bill was presented and agreed to.

On the motion that it be read a third time, Mr J. P. Grant expressed his disapprobation of the Bill in its present form. It was at complete variance with the law on the subject in England. It would be waste of time to divide the House on it. The Lord Advocate defended the principle of the Bill. After some remarks from Mr P. Moore, the third reading was ordered to be on Thursday next.


The Chancellor of the Exchequer moved that the House go into a committee on the Foreign Importation Bill. Colonel Wood said, he had been urged not to propose his amendment, for the non-importation of corn, till the price of 65s. He did not wish to be obstinate, and should leave it with the House. Lord Milton was glad that the proposed amendment was not to be pressed. Sir W. Ingleby wished to propose that there

be an importation duty of 20s. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said, no proposition on the subject could be made in this stage of the bill. The several clauses were then agreed to, the House resumed, and the report was ordered to be taken into consideration on Wednesday.

On the motion, that the report on the Warehoused Corn Bill be received, Mr Bennet (Wilts) moved, as an amendment, that the Bill be referred back to the committee on the Corn Laws' Act, for the purpose of raising the duty from 12s. to 17s.-the difference of duty to be applied to the distressed manufacturers. Mr Portman seconded the amendment. Huskisson opposed it. After some discussion, the gallery was cleared for a division, but none took place, the amend ment having been withdrawn.



17. On the motion that the report of the Corn Importation Bill be presented, Sir T. Lethbridge said, though his opi. nions remained unaltered, he should not offer farther resistance to the measure. It had been carried by a large and respectable majority, but he trusted that the measure now urged would not be considered to prejudice the great question of the Corn Laws. (Hear.) The Chancellor of the Exchequer repeated what he deemed the pledge of Government, that this measure should not be held as prejudging the question.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer moved, that the report of the Warehous. ing Corn Bill be received.

Sir H. Heron said, it would do no public good, but put money into the pockets of particular individuals.

Mr Huskisson remarked, that there was twice the quantity of bonded corn in London that there was in Liverpool, and that the Honourable Member's fortune would not cover the loss that would be sustained by the duty of 12s.

Report agreed to, and bill ordered to be read a third time to-morrow.

18. The Lord-Advocate moved for several returns relative to the state of prisons in Scotland.-Ordered.


Lord Milton wished to ask the Right Honourable Secretary for Foreign Affairs whether it was the intention of his Majesty's Government to apply any portion of the public money to the relief of the distress in the manufacturing districts? Mr Canning said, as the motion to come on to morrow evening would embrace the question proposed by the Noble Lord, be should reserve his sentiments until that motion came before the House. Should any

thing, however, occur to occasion a postponement of the motion, he should in that case have no objection to state to the Noble Lord the intention of his Majesty's Government.

The Corn Importation and the Ware housed Corn Bills were severally read a third time, and passed.

COURT OF CHANCERY REPORT. The Attorney-General, in moving for leave to bring in a bill founded upon the report of the Chancery commission, expatiated at great length upon the various propositions suggested by the commissioners, and vindicated the Noble Lord at the head of the Court from the illiberal attacks and violent aspersions which have been so unceremoniously levelled against him. His object, however, was, not to discuss the various clauses of the bill during the present Session, but that it should be printed, to enable gentlemen to give every attention to a subject of so much importance to the judicial character of the country.

19.-The Lord Advocate presented the report of the committee on Scotch prisons.-Ordered to be printed.

Mr Hume presented a petition from a poor weaver of Glasgow, complaining of his distressed condition, of the Corn Laws, &c. and praying for the affixing of a minimum on wages, as there was on the price of corn.-Ordered to be printed.

Mr Baring presented a petition from the manufacturing cotton-spinners of Glasgow, praying that the House would extend to them, in their distressed situation, some suitable measure of relief, In reply to a question from Lord Milton, Mr Canning declared, that it was not the intention of Ministers to propose any pecaniary grant for the relief of the distressed manufacturers.


Mr Deacon presented a petition in favour of the Greeks,-a cause that merited the support of this country. Mr W. Smith was of the like opinion. He should like some expression of the Government's sentiments on this subject; it would be most useful. Sir R. Wilson spoke of the sacredness of the cause, and condemned the foreign enlistment act. Mr Hob. house did not despair of the Greek cause, though Missolonghi had fallen; if Napoli di Romania defended itself with half the courage, it could hold out a long time. The French had played an unfair part; they had encouraged the Turks against the Greeks. He had a list of French officers, on half pay, now serving the Pacha of Egypt, and of Austrian vessels that regularly aided the Turks.--Petition order. ed to be printed.



Mr Brougham moved that the resolutions of the House for the amelioration of slavery in the West Indies be read by: the clerk. He addressed the House at considerable length, and concluded by moving a resolution, that the House would, in the next Session of Parliament, take measures to enforce its resolutions of the 23d May 1823, for the ameliora. tion of the condition of the slaves in the West-India colonies.

Mr W. Horton, Mr R. Ellis, and Mr Bernal, opposed the motion. Dr Lushington and Mr Denman supported it. Mr Canning said, the resolution would › interfere with the proceedings of Govern. ment, who were determined to enforce the former resolutions of the House.

Mr Brougham replied, after which the resolution was negatived.

26. Mr Secretary Canning presented the convention of commerce and naviga tion between his Majesty and the King of Sweden and Norway.-Ordered to lie on the table, and to be printed.

Lord J. Russell rose, for the purpose of moving resolutions relating to bribery at elections.

Mr W. Wynn moved the previous question.

On the question being put, Mr Peel confessed, that he should have been glad had the noble Lord consented to have postponed his resolutions until the next Session, as he was well inclined to the principle of them, but he objected to the time of their being brought forward, se veral members having supported the mo-> tion. The house divided, when there were-For the motion 62. Against it 62.

The numbers being even, the Speaker: gave his casting vote in favour of the resolution, (load cheering.)


Mr Peel brought up the report of the select committee on the banking system of Scotland.

On the question that it be read, Mr Tierney rose to call the attention of the House to the report of the committee on the Scotch and Irish promissory-notes. On this measure there was a great difference of opinion among men of good judgment and understanding; but he had given it all the support in his power, from a conviction that it would ulti mately be beneficial to the country. Mat ters went on smoothly till Scotland was mentioned. Of Ireland he should say nothing, because nothing conclusive had been stated in the report. With respect to Scotland, however, the case was dif ferent; and he believed that, since the

5 B

« PreviousContinue »