NEWS OF THE WEEK.
THE Marquis of CHANDOS stood fast to his pledge, and proposed the total repeal of the Malt-tax, on Tuesday night. But the majority of the Tory landholders, who had made their way into the House of Commons by dint of promising to abolish the Malt- duty, broke their solemn engagements to their constituents, and voted with the Minister. Lord CHANDOS was defeated, by 350 to 192; and thus the five millions derived from the tax are secured to the revenue for another twelvemonth at least.
It cannot be questioned that the repeal of the duty on an article of almost universal consumption, to the amount of five millions annually, would afford a considerable relief. It is no answer to this to tell us that the amount is made up of small sums. In one way or another, the tax on malt is the means of extracting from the packets of the people a sum equal to one ninth of the whole revenue of the country. It may be very true that the farmers and labourers would not derive that direct benefit from the abolition of the Malt-tax which they have been taught to ex- pect by ignorant or designing politicians and candidates for their votes at elections: but the landowners would profit by the abolition of the duty, and to a certain extent other interests would be be- nefited likewise. The removal of the Malt-tax might raise the price of barley three or four shillings a quarter above the present price; though that, according to Mr. ALEXANDER BARING, is the whole extent to which it can reach under the existing Corn-laws, being checked at that point by the importation of foreign barley. The enhanced rent of barley-land would correspond with this in- crease of price.
In point of fact, then, the farmers, and the labouring classes generally, have not lost much by the defeat of Lord CHANDOS'S motion. It is pretended, indeed, that a reduction in the price of malt liquor is but a secondary consideration, and that the main object of the repealers is to bring back the old practice of home- brewing, and with it the sociable habits of the English yeomanry of former days, when the master and his workman lived in the same house and dined at the same table. But these dreams of Arcadian felicity, though pleasant to sentimentalists, and even to sturdy Englishmen like ComsErr, to whom they recal the days of their youth, must not influence the opinions or the votes of legis- lators in 1835. A change has come over the feelings and habits of farmers, as well as of those who dwell in cities. An agricul- turist no longer stands aloof from the manufacturer and the me- chanic. His notions have assimilated to theirs; and it will require some influence more potent than any which can be derived from home-brewing to render the tenant of some hundred acres the companion as well as the master of his workmen. The idea is Indeed absurd. What obstacle is there to prevent a farmer from boarding his labourers in his own house, which brewing at home could possibly remove? The landowners are well aware that the almost immediate con- sequence of repealing the Malt-tax would be an advance in the rent of barley-land ; and if this were probably the sole result of the measure, it is certain that a majority of their body would have voted for it on Tuesday. But they were made to understand that other taxes 'would be imposed to supply the deficiency in the re- venue, and that these taxes would fall on land. Therefore it was that all their fine feelings about the sufferings of the poor labourer, all the eloquence about the bad beer and worse company he meets with at beer-houses, and all their solemn promises to their duped constituents, were blown to the winds. Sir ROBERT PEEL well knew with whom he had to deal. His speech was an effective one, for he appealed to the selfish interests and baser passions of his supporters. He held a Property-tax in terrorenz over them, and bade them defy the anger of their constituents, if they wished, to escape the infliction. Sir ROBERT'S speech has been extra- vagantly praised ; but, though clever and well-delivered—clear in the style, plausible, and impudent—it was not for all that a re- markable or a superior performance. The subject-matter has long been exhausted : Sir ROBERT had not a single new argu- ment, scarcely a new fact, to put forth. Having the advantage of being the first who spoke on his side of the question, he of course left little to do for those who followed him. This is the reason why his speech was more complete than those of Mr. SPRING' RICE, Mr. POULETT THOMSON, and SirJAMES GRAHAM, who had merely separate points to touch upon. Sir JAMES GRAHAM used one argument which, we doubt not, told in the division quite as much as all the laborious calculations and statements of Sir ROBERT PEEL—all argument which resembled the Minister's menace of a Property-tax ; he told the landowners that they ought to keep fast hold of the Malt-tax, in order that they might have one peculiar burden as a set off against the Corn-laws ! The Tithe system is about to be modified, the County-rates are about to be abolished—if you take off the Malt-tax, said Sir JAMES, where is your locus stanch for the defence of the Corn-laws ? Where, indeed ! When the repeal of the Corn-laws is next pro- posed, we hope its advocates will not forget this Malt-tax debate. The pledge-breakers received some heavy blows during the dis- cussion. Lord CHANDOS—W110 has conducted himself very cre- ditably in this affair—rebuked them gravely for their apostacy. Mr. CHARLES WOOD and Mr. SPRING RICE Were not sparing of their taunts and mementos of the means employed by the Tories to gain advantage over their Liberal opponents at the last elec- tions. Poor Sir EDWARD KNATCHBULL cut a miserable figure in his attempt to prove himself not inconsistent in voting for and against the repeal. Mr. ALEXANDER BARING was, as usual, se much occupied in defending his slippery courses, that he could, scarcely find time to speak to the question in hand. The House evidently despises this noted deserter from the Liberal ranks, and seizes the-opportunity of his rising to commence a general conver- sation. CORBETT broke down : hid' voice was so weak that he could not be heard across the table. This he attributes, in the Register published this morning, to hoarseness; but it appeared to us to be a permanent, not a temporary malady, and symptomatic of that physical decay which all must expect at three score and ten. Sir JAMES GRAHAM will take care how he again goes out of his way to sneer at Mr. HUME and ridicule Mr. ROBERT GORDON: The off-band replies of these gentlemen were far more telling than Sir JAMES'S prepared volley of impertinent personalities. We never saw a defeated aggressor in Parliamentary warfare look so forlorn and foolish as did Sir JAMES GRAHAM when Mr. HUME was throw- ing in his teeth his celebrated currency project—his scheme for paying debts at the rate of ten shillings in the pound. And yet this is the statesman who presumed to declare that an Adminis. tration composed of such men as GROTE, WARBURTON, and HUME, would be dangerous to public credit! An Administration made up of such men as Sir JAMES GRAHAM would find little favour on 'Change, we apprehend, whatever they might " think of it at Cockermouth."
Ministers were saved from defeat by the assistance of the Opposition, who refused to follow the example set them by their opponents of changing their votes with their places. They knew, notwithstanding the hypocritical pretence of some of the Minis- terial Members, who on Tuesday opposed the repeal of the tax which they advocated last session, that the circumstances were es- sentially the same as when Sir WILLIAM INGILBY brought for- ward his motion. They might have absented themselves from the division, but acted a more manly part After this, is it not ludicrous to hear the Tories prate about the Ministerial victory of' Tuesday night ? The Malt-tax was the great question of the week ; but several other measures of importance were also discussed. Among them is the bill for reforming Ecclesiastical Courts, which was prepared by the late Ministers, and would have been brought forward by them early this session had they retained their places. To Dr. LUSHINGTON is due the principal merit of this measure; but PEEL, with brazen-faced assurance, endeavoured to claim credit for it. In this attempt, however, he failed ; for Mr. HOME told him the plain truth—that he only hatched an egg laid by the late Ministers, into whose nest he had creeped; and Mr. O'CON. NELL expressed the same thing by another simile—that of a braggart strutting in other men's shoes.
The appointment of Lord LONDONDERRY to the Russian Em- bassy was the subject of an animated debate last night. Sir ROBERT PEEL declared that the appointment woe % Ost Ise CAC
celled; although he could not deny, when pressed by Sir JoeN nommen, that the majority of the House disapproved of it.
Here we have another assurance of the policy on whioh Ministers mean to carry on the Government. Last night there could be no
Suestion of a very considerable majority against them; for Lord TANLEY united with the Liberals in expressing strong disappro• tenon of the conduct of Ministers in this affair. Sir ROBERT Pees shuffled like a man conscious of being in an inextricable scrape. It was with the utmost difficulty, and not until he had been re- peatedly questioned, that he could be brought to say " Yes" or " No" to the inquiry whether the appointment would be persisted tn. It is plain, nMerithstanding his assumption of supreme responsibility, that the Duke is still PEEL'S master. Every one knows by whom Lord LONDONDERRY was appointed ; every one believes that Sir ROBERT PEEL would gladly reverse the appoint- ment; but he dares not.
A Committee has been appointed, on the motion of Sir GEORGE GREY, to inquire into the means of preventing bribery and inti- midation at elections. There is a reluctance to have recourse to the Ballot ; but at the same time an e,ident consciousness on the part of many Members, some of whom formerly opposed it, that there is no other effectual mode of preventing bribery and intimi- dation.
Mr. GISBORNE has brought in a bill to regulate the payment of expenses incurred in unseating Members who have been re- turned by means of bribery ; and Mr. HUME has also introduced a bill to diminish the cost of elections, and to facilitate the exercise of the elective franchise. All this looks well. It is worthy of remark, that the Tories never move a step in this road. They know too well by what means their elections are for the most part carried, to be eager in their efforts to put an end to corrupt prac- tices. Let this test be applied to their professions in general.
The Irish Orangemen, who, as we learn from their organ the Dublin Evening Mail, are quite frantic with rage at the determi- nation of Ministers to uphold Archbishop WHATELEY'S "Anti- Scriptural" system of Education, will not be altogether pleased at the language used by Sir HENRY HARDINGE in speaking of some of their recent exploits in murdering Catholics and burning down their houses. Sir HENRY leaves it to Colonel VERNER and Lord MANDEVILLE to extenuate or deny the existence of such crimes; and declares that he will bring the offenders to justice. We hope that he will keep his word, and wish him and his colleagues joy of their Orange allies.
Our record of Parliamentary proceedings this week has one im- portant blank. Mr. Huste's promised motion for limiting the Supplies was not brought forward last night. Ardent Reformers will feel deep disappointment at this. The constituencies did not expect that the Tory Ministers would have been suffered to re- tain their places so long. They elected a majority of Reformers in the belief that the very first step taken would be the ejectment of the Duke and his colleagues. And we think it is plain that the Liberals have committed a mistake in not acting with more vigour at the outset of the campaign. An Opposition of this un- precedented maguitude cannot be kept together by management and manoeuvres. It coheres by the power of public sympathy and the attraction of great principles. It is only formidable while directing its energy on large objects, simple and definite, which all can understand. It should have carried the Tory iiitrench- ments by storm, at once. It should not have lingered inac- tive in the face of a wily enemy, inferior in numbers, but hold- ing out lures to desertion. The first step was a prudent and vigorous one—the election of Speaker. But then the Amendment to the Address was tame and inconclusive. This, we suspect, the most timid of the Whigs will now admit to have been a mistake. It afforded Sir ROBERT PEEL an excuse for staying in office, in- stead of proving the means of turning him out. It enabled such trimmers as Sir FRANCIS BURDETT 10 trump up a kind of justifi- cation of their backsliding ; and tended to depress instead of invigorate the spirits of the Reformers generally. The next thing to be done was to postpone the Committee of Supply. it is true that no prospective expenditure has yet been sanctioned; but it would have been a more direct and manly course to have said to the Ministers—" We have virtually de- clared by two votes since the meeting of Parliament, that you ought not to be where you are: remaining as you do in our despite, we cannot trust you with the public money for any pur- pose." This, we feel assured, would have been the most effectual course, fur it would have removed the intruders immediately. But, since the first opportunity was suffered to escape, the second ought not to have been neglected. Mr. HUME ought to have been supported in his promised motion to limit the Supplies, by the whole body of the Opposition. There appears to have been a little mismanagement on the part of the leaders; and, what is of more consequence, a reluctance on that of many Reformers to take the only step which can speedily eject a desperate faction, misusing the Royal prerogative. Give the Tories money, and they. will fight the country with its own resources, despite of votes of censure and want of confidence.
It is, however, gratifying to know, that the hopes of the Tory party, that a split had occurred in the Opposition ranks, are groundless. The Reformers are more firmly united than they were before the meeting at Lord Lac HFIELD'S on Thursday, when it was resolved not to press the motion fur limiting the Supplies. Good-humour and tact, and a desire to conciliate, as well as calm zemelutien, were manifested by those whom the Tories hoped would prove restive and unmanageable. If the Globe will consult any of the Members who attended the meeting, it will find that no one blames Mr. lItute for his conduct. The result of the whole wilt be a closer connexion of the different sections of the Opposition, a more cordial cooperation in future measures. The effect of this union will, it is believed, be seen in the vote on the Irish Churchquestion; which will be followed up by a di. rect vote of want of confidence, if the Ministers still cling to office.
It ought to be added, that the opposition to Mr. HOME'S pro- posed motion was not confined to the Whigs; many of the lead- ing members of that party would have gladly voted for it ; but several distinguished and undoubted Reformers expressed a strong reluctance to take a step which might have had the effect of creating much temporary alarm among the timid and the ignorant. For our own parts, believing as we do that the public funds would be more safe under the immediate control of Parlia- ment than in the hands of the Tory Ministers, and fearing that to this we must resort at last, we repeat that we wish a decisive stand had been taken, and the Ministers forced to retire.