Dthates anti 113Tocrtbings in iliatifatunt.
After some routine business in the House of Commons on Monday, Sir ROBERT PEEL having moved that the Speaker do leave the chair, in order to a Committee of the whole House on the Corn-laws, Lord Jonn Russzu. rose to bring forward his amendment The cry, he observed, was no longer " No surrender "; but the question was now as to the terms of the capitulation. If, however, the House was prepared to condemn the Corn-laws as no longer fit to remain on the statute- book, it was of importance that the change should be made on sound principles, and in such manner that the new arrangement should not be disturbed for some time to come. To disturb the existing state of things but to settle nothing, to concede but not to conciliate, would be the most imprudent course for a Government or for Parliament to adopt. Lord John stated the general principles upon which he differed with the Government proposal- " I suppose it will be agreed, that with respect to corn as with respect to every thing else, the general principle is one of not legislating at all on the subject. The general principle as to all commodities is, that the producer or the seller endeavours to produce or to bring to market that article, and in that shape, which will be most likely to find a ready and immediate purchaser. The general principle with regard to the purchaser, I apprehend, in like manner is, that he will go by preference where he expects to get the goods he wants the best in quality and the cheapest in price. Therefore, speaking generally, le- gislation has no natural place in those matters. The community themselves are far better judges on such subjects than the wisest senate that ever deli- berated upon them."
This principle is well understood in the present day, but is most ex- ceedingly violated in practice. There are, no doubt, -two exceptions and limitations to its application in the present case : if the landed in- terest suffered peculiar burdens, they might claim protection against foreign competition to that extent ; and Adam Smith had said, that when the importation of foreign goods has been for some sime interrup- ted, and the protected employment has been so far extended as to en- gage a great number of hands, humanity may require that freedom of trade should only be restored by slow gradations, and with a good deal of reserve and circumspection. In the proposed plan, however, Government acted upon the principle (a principle sanctioned by Mr. Malthus, it is true,) that you ought never to make yourself dependent on foreign countries for your food.
"But though such a proposition might be good and true in some remote se- questered state—though it might apply with truth to that community which b some is said to exist in Mexico, which is cut off from and without communica- tion with the rest of mankind—I cannot conceive how it can be applicable to a great commercial country like this. Supposing it possible, in what manner could you establish such an independence ? Remember, that not only corn, but other articles are necessary. But as to corn only, let us not forget, as the right honourable gentleman stated the other night, that for four years the average annual importation of corn to this country from abroad was 2,300,000 quarters. Thus 2,000,000 people must during that period have depended for food upon foreign countries. As regards other commodities, the employment of the people and the increase of manufactures de ads as much on the supply of the raw material, as the food of those 2,000,111 depended on the supply of corn from abroad. Suppose the supply of cotton from Amend z were suddenly stopped, or the supply of wool, or of silks : I do not think I should exaggerate if I said that not less than 7,000,000 persons would be deprived of employment and subsistence. Here, then, for four or five years, under a law which goes upon the principle of making the country independent of any other for its sup- ply of food, 7,000.000 of your people were dependent upon foreign produce. For that period, 7,000,000 of the people of this country, which has gone on the principle of being independent of a foreign supply, were compelled, in despite of and in defiance of that principle, to have recourse to foreign aid."
But in respect of food itself, the very means taken to make this country independent of foreign nations have failed-
" The consequence, as pointed out by the report of the Committee of 1821, said to be written by Mr. Huskisson, is, that while you raise the price of food in this country beyond the price of Continental countries, you do for a time give a stimulus to agriculture ; a stimulus, however, which in favourab'e seasons produces a glut which it becomes impossible to remedy. In that way was it that the distress of those years referred to by the right honourable Baronet occurred. Those were the years in which we find by the King's Speeches, by the appoint- ment of Committees, and by speeches made in this House, that complaints were frequently made of agricultural distress; complaints which, I must say, it was natural to expect would have been made, because there was no outlet or vent for the surplus agricultural produce of those years. Then, what follows ? Why, necessarily, a check to production, until that production is made suit- able to average years. Again, when an unfavourable season arrives, you find you have not the quantity of food necessary for the supply of your wants, and you are obliged to make a large importation; so that your object is entirely defeated. The only ground I can conceive for entertaining such an object, would be the case of a war with a foreign country; and yet I cannot imagine a war by which we should be placed in a position of greater danger than that which we occupied when this country was struggling against Napoleon, and when 2,000,000 quarters of corn were imported in a single year." Sir Robert Peel had said that those countries whence we import corn are nearly in the same latitude as our own ; that their seasons resemble ours, and that therefore they would suffer a scarcity when we do. The argument only showed how necessary it is not to confine ourselves for a supply to the North of Europe alone' but to take assistance also from the Black Sea and America : "Stretch the arms of your commerce, as all your other powers are stretched, over the whole world." But the proposal before the House was opposed to that extension- " The first objection' I take to a sliding scale is, that a high, I would say a prohibitory duty, always forms part of it. I could understand a scale not ex- ceeding 10s. or 12s., and going down to 4s., to 3s., or to Is.; but I find that whenever gentlemen speak of a sliding scale, it is of such a nature as to contain a prohibitory duty. The first duty, when the price is at 50s. and under 51s., is 208.; and I shall now proceed to show that that is a prohibitory duty. I have looked over the papers containing the latest information. From the in- formation obtained by Mr. Meek, who was sent to the North of Europe ex- pressly to collect information on the subject, it appears that the original price of Dantzic wheat, when brought from the interior of the country, is 33.. ; that the charges, which seem to satisfy that gentleman's mind, amount in all to 10s. 6L; thus making the price at which it could be sold in England in ordi- nary years 45s. 6d. If you add to that the proposed duty of 20s. you make the entire price of Dantzic wheat 658. 6d. when the price at home is 50s.; showing, of course, that 20s. amounts to a prohibitory duty. In the same way at Odessa, as stated in the Consul's returns, the price would be 26s.; adding to which 10s. for freight, and some further charges, which cannot be taken at less than 5X, as on former occasions, and adding then the proposed duty of 20s.,
you would have the price up to 61s., without counting the profit of the mer- chant who had to deal with this corn ; and therefore, although you may say that you have reduced the duty to 20s., to 19s., and to 18s., yet in all three in- stances it can be shown that the duty is prohibitory ; and that when the price is at 556. or 56s.—the price at which the right honourable gentleman said it would please him to see it, nobody can tell why—there would then be a prohibi- tory duty upon foreign corn."
Indeed, Sir Robert was right when he said that a duty of 20s. was quite sufficient, and that it would exclude foreign corn as effectually as a duty of 458. At what time, Lord John asked, would the duty cease to be prohibitory ?—
" Supposing you admit foreign corn at 62s., and that that price would en- able the merchant to pay a duty of 118.; at 65s. he could sell it to greater ad- vantage by getting as. additional. Not content with that, you tell him that when the price is at 65s., and that a supply is required, you will admit his
foreign corn at Si. instead of 11s. What has been the consequence daring the last year of that system of duties? It has been well stated in two new pamph- lets written on this subject—one by Mr. Hubbard, the other by Mr. Greg: in one of these it is shown, that on the 5th July last, Dantric wheat in bond was 48s. a quarter; and that if let out it might have been had, with the duty of 8s., for 56s. On the 6th August, the price room to 60g.: your law afforded special reasons for believing that a still better price could be obtained for it, and on the 3d September, only two months after it could have been sold at 48s., it was sold at 70s. in bond ; thereby adding 22s. to the price, without the slightest benefit to the farmer or landholder, and with no advantage but to the foreign speculator."
Mr. Greg calculated that the sum paid to owners and growers of foreign corn last year was 6,000.000L; Lord John, that it was 4,000,0004, or 5,000,0001.; a loss which was entailed upon the country by the sliding scale. Another evil of the sliding scale lies in the fact, that take the averages as fairly as you may, they cannot tell the quality of the corn- " During the past year and some of the preceding years, a great portion of the corn of the country was greatly damaged; to the extent, as alleged by some persons well acquainted with agriculture, of one-fifth of the whole crop of England. The consequence was a considerable reduction in the market-price. But did the people get their bread a whit the cheaper ? No; when corn comes to that degree of cheapness, it is not cheapness to the consumer of bread, be- cause he is paying as much as when the averages were much higher. This has been made out in figures by a gentleman who sent me a statement on the subject. He shows that in the month of January 1841 the average price of wheat was 61s. 2d.; and that in the same month in 1842 the average was also 61s. 2d. You may therefore say that the average price being the same at both periods, and the duty being also the same, the people obtained bread at the same price. But is it so ? Far from it ; because, according to the Mark Lane return, I found that the price of the best flour in the first four weeks of 1841 was 55s. per sack, while in the first four weeks of 1842 it was 61s. per sack; making a difference of no less than 68. per sack in that description of flour from which the bread is made, while no alteration took place either in the averages or the amount of the duty."
The sadden rise after a bad harvest, when perhaps there has been a prohibition for two or three years, causes the necessity of a sudden supply from abroad : there is no regular trade ; and bullion is sent to meet the demand ; the Bank of England contracts its issues, and there is derangement of the currency. Lord John was aware that corn must be dearer at some seasons than at others ; but where Nature places dif- ficulties in your way, do not aggravate them by bad legislation. With respect to the frauds in the averages, the Committee of 1820 exposed a great number ; and a fraudulent rise in price to the extent of 9s. in one week was exposed in 1839. He quoted Mr. Buckingham' to show the importance of extending our commercial intercourse with America— In the five States of Michigan, Mississippi, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio, there were 280,000 square miles of cultivable land, into which a vast population was constantly flowing. At present, according to Mr. Buckingham, the population of Ohio was 1,400,000; Indiana, 600,000; the other States were in a similar proportion, the present population of the whole five being estimated at 3,000,000; and if the increase went on at the same rate as that at which it had already progressed, the amount of the five States, as respected population, would in 1850, according to the best calculation, exceed 6,000,000. The area upon which these States stand is principally composed of arable land, which is cultivated to a very great extent; yet, though well calculated for the produc- tion of grain, so far is it removed from this county, and such are the expenses attending importation, that corn could not be brought to this country for less than 43s. or 47s. per quarter, and that would be a competition which the home grower need not greatly fear. "This being the case," continued Lord John, I must call upon the House to take into consideration the great advant- age which this country must derive from the consumption which markets containing 6,000,000 of people would open up to our increasing manufactures; a people, too, it must be remembered, who were from their habits, circum- stances, and position, more inclined to direct their attention to agricultural than to manufacturing pursuits, and who, unless we by our legislative enact- ments forced them to a contrary course, must be glad to receive our manu- factured goods in return for their agricultural produce." The Ministerial proposition included a contrivance for throwing a new obstacle in the way of the importation of wheat from America— not by a sliding scale, but by a fixed duty on wheat which might come to this country through the St. Lawrence. He trusted, indeed, that that part of the project would be abandoned. It was monstrous that in legislating on the corn-trade, the products of the ports of the Black Sea and of the five Western States of America, so well calculated to supply our deficiency, should be excluded. It should be borne in mind that the latitudes of America and Europe are materially different, and do not present the same influence of seasons. Sir Robert Peel had ad- verted to the advantages which the advocates of a free trade in corn had over their opponents : "I admit," said Lord John, "that it is an ad- vantage ; but it is one that we have a right to hold." The principle of a fixed duty came before the House recommended by names entitled to great consideration : Mr. Ricardo recommended a duty of 208., falling is. every year, to stand finally at 108.; Mr. Jil‘Calloch recommended a fixed duty of 5s. as equivalent to the burdens on agriculture; the Committee of 1821, of which Sir Edward Knatchbull and other emi- nent men skilled in agricultural matters were members, and of which Sir Thomas Gooch was Chairman, recommended a fixed duty ; the per- son by whom the Report was drawn up appeared to think a fixed duty only a temporary measure, and to contemplate doing away with all protection and prohibition ; and the same principle was recognized by Mr. Huskisson in 1827, 1828, and 1830. If a fixed duty were adopted, however, many filings would require serious consideration. When Lord John proposed his plan last session, to obviate the inconvenience of a fixed duty in times of dearth,- he bad suggested that the Crown- should have power to open the ports and to admit corn duty-free : perhaps, however, it would be well to fix the admission to a certain point, as when the average price should rise to 73.s. or 74s. the quarter. Lord John did not regard the Corn-laws as the cause of the whole of the present distress but he thought that they tend very greatly to aggravate it, and that a considerable relaxation would tend greatly
to mitigate the distress. He quoted the Manchester circular addressed to the wholesale London cotton-dealers, in which it is stated that the home consumption of manufactures has fallen off in consequence of the high price of corn. That statement was supported by all who had communication with the working-class, and by their own
admission in various parts of the country. The freer admission of corn would enable that numerous class to consume more manufactures, while it would provide a better market for our goods abroad. It appeared to him that Sir Robert Peel did not understand the true position of the country : if the causes of distress had been the number of joint-stock- banks and the excess of production, it would have passed by. The whole history of the country since the introduction of manufactures disproved the assertion that the increase of machinery diminishes em-.
ployment ; for markets have always been created or extended in pro- portion to the increase of machinery. And indeed, had it not been so, what could have called into existence the great towns of Manchester, Leeds, Glasgow, and Birmingham ? Lord John believed that our com- merce has not attained its highest point, if its freedom be but increased instead of restricted. Sir Robert said that an alteration of the Corn- laws would not relieve the distress-
" Why, Sir, I agree to that description, when it is made applicable to the measures of the Government. I agree that it is impossible to hope that any
material alleviation of distress should result from a measure which is only
made to look apparently a little better than the former one—which keeps up all the vicious principles of the old law—which forbids the import of corn by a
prohibitory duty—which encourages speculation—which cramps your commerce, and prevents your resorting for food to the Black Sea and the United States. To such a measure, the description that it will do nothing to relieve the dis- tress is strictly applicable. Lord Bacon said, with a wisdom which has been often admired, that the froward retention of custom is as turbulent in a state as the rashness of innovation. But he never dreamt that there might be a measure which should have all the evils of a froward retention of custom, and yet contain within it all the mischiefs of innovation ; a measure which should change and therefore disturb, but which should not improve, and therefore not alleviate distress; a measure which, having caused much speculation and ex- cited great hopes for a long period, should be in appearance a change and yet in reality be founded on the same principles and produce similar evils with that which has been condemned by the public voice?' The proposal would call up a formidable spirit of discontent. If the land-proprietors adhered to a sliding scale, generally condemned, as the basis of a law, could the people believe that they alone took an impartial view of the question ? They would attribute to them a bias towards those interests that were favoured. Any thing would be better for the Legislature than that-
" Be in error if you will. Enact laws which partake of the ignorance of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries upon matters of trade : if it is mere igno-
rance, you will excite no feelings of hostility by such a course. But if you will proclaim that the Commons of England have acted on this question, which concerns the food of the whole community, with a selfish and partial view to their own advantage, it is impossible but that the Legislature must suffer in estimation."
Lord John concluded by moving,
" That this House, considering the evils which have been caused by the pre- sent Corn-laws, and especially by the fluctuations of the graduated or sliding.
scale, is not prepared to adopt the measure of her Majesty's Government, which is founded upon the same principles, and is likely to be attended by simi- lar results."
Mr. GLADSTONE opposed the amendment. As the advocate of a fixed duty, Lord John Russell had no right to assume that the success of his motion would gratify the sentiments to which he bad referred, or allay the agitation on the subject. Lord John not only admitted that there were special burdens imposed on the land, but also that the policy of the Legislature respecting the importation of corn had always been restrictive—
On the faith of these restrictive enactments enormous capitals had been in- vested ; through the investment of those capitals millions of the population had been employed ; and the noble lord justly held that the consequences of disturbing those capitals, of creating an agricultural panic, and displacing large masses of agricultural labourers, would be so disastrous in their nature, and so disgraceful to the British Parliament, that the idea could not be enter- tained. Therefore the noble lord, as well as her Majesty's Ministers, was ob- noxious to the clamour of those (Raid Mr Gladstone quoting a circular of the Anti-Corn-law Conference) who contended that a Free importation was not a question of policy or prudence for the decision of senates, but a natural and inalienable right of man.
As Lord John had quoted the authority of Mr. Malthus respect- ing independence of a foreign supply, Mr. Gladstone was surprised
that he had not quoted the higher authority of Mr. Huskisson ; who,
though not in all its extremes, strongly maintained that doctrine. The evils attributed to the existing law are only attributable to it in a limited degree : they have been grossly exaggerated. And Lord John was wrong in saying that the measure now proposed was founded on the same principles— Unfortunately, there was no term frequently used in that House, which, however paradoxical it might seem, had a less determinate sense ascribed to it
than the word "principle.' lf by principle the noble lord meant the principle
of a graduated scale as opposed to.a fixed duty, undoubtedly this measure was founded on the same principle with the present system ; but if by principle the noble lord meant the particular regulation and structure of the scale of duties to which, in point of fact, it could be shown a great portion of the existing evils might fairly be traced, he must altogether deny that this measure MIS founded on the same principles.
He was ready to admit that the present scale had not worked
as it was expected to do ; but it was perfectly wonderful—it was incredible—how men of the most dispassionate and able minds, of the most acute and searching intellects, did appear to be possessed by a mania in discussing this subject, that the evils evidently not attributable to the present system nor to any other human cause, but to those dis- pensations which had ordained fluctuations in the supply of the food of man, were to be thrown entirely on the Corn-laws. Mr. Gladstone never understood Sir Robert Peel, or any one else, to hold that the effect of machinery was the ultimate diminution of employment— What he understood was, that the effect of machinery, with its great coma- terming advantages, was a considerable glut of the market ; i e., that when dependent in a great degree on manual power, as fast as our producing power incrautes our consuming power must increase : but when we give to one man the power of fifty, as if by a law of nature of necessary application in all such eases, we must be liable to great periods of over-production, and it was impos- sible for the markets to be relieved. This he firmly believed to be the case. Looking to other articles than corn, he found great fluctuations of price- During the last fourteen years, the cheapest was 1835, when the price of wheat was 39s. 4d., and the dearest 1839, when it was 70s. flel.; the variation during that period being 79 per cent. He had received a circular showing for the same period the prices of cotton, an article in which there was perfect free- dom of trade; and though subject to uncertainty in its production, certainly not more so than the article of food. The fluctuations in the price of cotton from the United States, according to the statement of parties who were per- fectly impartial-the cotton-brokers in Manchester-had been, between 1828 and 1841, 70 per cent ; the lowest being 5id. per pound, and the highest 9d. r-r pound ; while the fluctuations in Pernambuco cotton were, during the same period, 86 per cent. The fluctuations in the price of cotton, therefore, were very nearly the same as in the price of wheat."
Mr. Wilson said that wheat ought to be the steadiest article in price ; Mr. Huskisson, that it necessarily fluctuated more than any other article; but in palliation of charges against the existing law, he would refer to the prices of wheat in this country at former times-
In the fourteen years of the present Corn-law, the fluctuations bad been 79 per cent. From 1816 to 1828, the fluctuations bad ranged from 44s. 7d., the Ihwest, to 96s. 11d., or 117 per cent. From 1806 to 1815, the price of wheat had varied from 65s. 7d. to 126s. 6d., or 92 per cent. From 1796 to 1805, the fluctuation was from 51s. lad. to 119s. 6d., or 130 per cent. From 1786 to 1795, a period during which perfect freedom of trade prevailed, he found that the fluctuation had been from 40s. to 75s. 2d., or 87 per cent. Under the present system the fluctuation would be only 79 per cent ; and it was not till we got back beyond the year 1785 that we found even a decennial period in wtich the fluctuation in the price of wheat was less. He referred to the consumption of rye in Prussia, where there is no ern-law, and compared the fluctuations in the price of that with the fluctuations of English wheat : the rye showed a difference in price of 53 to 109 percent; English wheat, of 25 to 105 per cent. With regard to the effect of the present system in operating as an inducement to retain corn in the expectation of higher prices, that was undoubtedly an evil, but it was not without its benefits ; for it had the effect of bringing corn to us from a greater distance, and so it enlarges the radius of the circle swept by the British markets. He did not defend the operation by which the dealer forces up the price to 73s.; but at least it has the effect of bringing a great abundance into the market : last year 2,300,000 quarters were liberated at Is. duty. The high price may have inflicted inconvenience on the consumer : would the fixed duty materially have mended the matter ?- Allowing that the noble lord had carried his 8s. fixed duty, was it quite certain that at this moment prices would have been so moderate as they now were, or had been since September last, or were likely to be in the coming _moths? He could easily conceive that under the 8s. duty a certain portion of the corn which came in at the low duty of Is., and gave immense profits to the importers, might have been brought at an earlier period ; but the great bulk of the corn that came in was brought in under the spur of the moment. It was brought by the high prices, and without the high prices they had no right to assume that the corn would have come. He did not think there were more than 300,000 or 400,000 quarters in bond at the time. But suppose that by a fixed duty they had brought out a certain quantity of it, what would have been the effect as the winter came on ? If the large supply bad not been admitted in the summer, it must have come during the winter, when, the Baltic being closed, insurances high, and charges heavy, the market would still have continued in a feverish and continually rising state ; and instead of the pressure coming in the summer, when employment was abundant and the wants of the people comparatively few, it must have come in the dead of the winter, when the charges of importation were increased, employment dimi- raished, and the necessities of the people more severely felt.
Lord John had made considerable progress in opinion-
Ile was glad to observe, that in the additional maturity of his views, from hie experience during the last two years, the noble lord now approximated to the ideas entertained on the Ministerial side of the House. The noble lord was nine parts out of ten a convert to the minimum duty : he was not even alarmed at the system of averages, although he declared them to be not inaccessible to fraud.
At considerable length, Mr. Gladstone compared the probable work- ing of Lord John's plan and Sir Robert Peel's-
What would be the comparative temptation to commit fraud and work the averages? Under his right honourable friend's scheme, the importer knew when the price of wheat VMS at 64s. that there was no chance of getting the duty down to the minimum without holding out for a rise of 9s. If wheat rose to 66s., the duty would be 69., and it would become a matter of considerable un- certainty, certainly one of more than an average and ordinary chance, whether the price would rise so as to bring the duty very much lower. But the im- porter, under a fixed duty of 8s., knew that he had no chance of a diminution of duty unleash° could work the averages up to 73s., when he got his corn in at ls. duty. When, therefore, there was a short supply of corn in the country, there was almost an absolute certainty that the price would go up to 73s.; and in pro- portion as the premium of the importer would then be large, he would set to work to starve the market and torture the consumer-to revive and increase, indeed, all those means of fraud said to be employed under the old scale, which the noble lord professed a desire to prevent. Ilow would the noble lord's scheme work Or America? When wheat went down to Is. duty, then those who sent to the nearest port of the Continent might have a chance of gettir'os it in port in time ; but the American would have comparatively no chance of doing so, for before his COM arrived in this country the duty might have leaped from ls. up again to 8s. Now, let the House try his right honourable friend's plan by ap- plyieg its operation to the same country. If when the American importer brought his corn to this country he found the price of wheat fallen from the highest point, he would only have to pay a duty in proportion to the fall; and, if the price had got so low as 66s., the duty would not then be higher than 6s., instead of 83. as proposed by the noble lord. In fact, the objection with re-
spect to America was, not the variation of duty, but the enormous rapidity of the variation. But this objection in no way applied to the measure of his right
honourable friend; for supposing, as he had a right to do, that before corn was imported a fall of 6s. or 7s. had taken place, to state the utmost, from the price of 73s., the duty would then be only 6s., instead of 20s. 8d. Taking the price of wheat at 66s., by Sir Robert Peel's plan the im- porter might gain 5s. by waiting till the price reached 73s.; by the ex-
isting scale he would gain 19s. 8d., a bonus four times as great. Mr. Gldostone quoted the circular of Messrs. Kingsford and Lay, the great corn-dealers, to show that there would not be the same inducement to force up prices.-
" As regards the ultimate operations of the proposed law, it must, in our opinion, with fair average crops here, cause the prices on the Continent to rule low, and it would not be safe to purchase there without calculating on the wheat being subject to a duty of 14s. to 18s. per quarter, on being entered for home consumption in this country. There being no longer the same induce- ment to hold back for the lowest rate, as has hitherto been the case, the im- porters would prefer paying the current ditty and selling ex ship, to incurring the expenses of landing. It would seem probable that the average price will range between 50s. and 60s., and that the importers will very seldom have an opportunity to avail themselves of the minimum duty."
But what did Lord John mean by a prohibitory duty ? would any duty-would the fis. fixed duty-not be prohibitory in certain states of the market? Mr. Gladstone denied, however, that even a duty of 20s. would be prohibitory-
If any one would refer to the average price of corn shipped at Dantzic, he would find that the price, until there VMS a great demand, was not higher than 26s. But if the price was 26s., and if, as he knew perfectly well, wheat might, under favourable circumstances, be imported from the Baltic ports at 6s. or 7s., or at the most 8s. per quarter, that would raise the price only to 34s. ; and then they would be able even with a duty of 20s. to sell it at 54s. or 56s. in this country. But if they took the price at the average of 358., he did not know why wheat should not be bought at Dantzic at 35s. and yet sold in this country. The present average price of wheat in this country was about 62s.; the London price was always somewhat higher than the average price of the whole kingdom, and taking the average country price at 62s. the London aver- age price would be about 64s. or 65s. But the scheme of his right honourable friend, with an average price of 62s., would give only a duty of 10s.; and that amount of duty would have, therefore, to be deducted from the price of wheat, which would leave the price of wheat so imported 55s. And yet the noble lord said that it could not be imported for 10s. or 10s. 6d. charge. Since the year 1704, there had never been a period in which there was not a maximum duty of 20s.; so that the agriculturists had a pre- scription of nearly one hundred and forty years with respect to that maximum. It was not quite true that the importation had quite stopped during the years 1832 to 1837: there had been in those six years an importation of 3,375,000 quarters for bonding ; and the trade of reft- porting was more considerable than was supposed, for during those years there was an exportation of nearly 300,000 quarters annually. He did not deny, however, that a fixed duty would to a certain extent encourage the exportation of British manufactures- But at the same time, it was too much to suppose there was any very close relation between the quantity of corn which we took from foreign countries,, and the quantity of manufactures which they took from us. It had been argued that the depression of the British export-trade with America, which had been so severe, had arisen from our not taking American corn. But on looking to the year 1840, he found that we had only imported 1,000,000 of barrels of American flour, whilst oar export-trade had amounted to 5t800,000/.4 and in 1836, when we scarcely imported any corn from America, our export- trade was nearly 12,000,000/. Let them look also to other countries : they must not too readily assume that other countries would be ready to go along with them in supporting these changes in their commercial system. Take, for instance, Russia: did they suppose that if they took Russian corn she would greatly enlarge her demand for British manufactures ? It was on the principle of obtaining that return that the fixed duty was to proceed. But what was the state of things under the existing system? The itntafisitor Russia had been nearly 6,000,0001.; our exports to that country had beets lees than 2,000,0001.; and the Emperor of Russia, in retaliation for our consump- tion of Russian goods, had recently published a new tariff, more ree,ieti va- than the one that previously existed.
If through a regular foreign supply there was a diversion of labour from agriculture, so that instead of 20 only 18 quarters were grown,. there would be the greater deficiency to supply in a succession of bad harvests. But a fixed duty levied on foreign corn was altogether a. novel principle in our legislation. It was,, in fact, a delusion; it were- impossible, with corn at a high price, to sustain aught but a merely nominal duty : it was more "slippery" than the slidiug scale. Indeed,. Lord John had abandoned his " fixed " position-
Notwithstanding all the noble lord had said and written up= the-subject of' a substituted fixed duty and its excellences, the noble lord now was ready, it appeared, to embrace-to swallow-the average system, and to have a minimum, price fixed. The " jumps " of the present scale were great, by 2x. and 3s. 4 but the noble lord surpassed them all in "jumping," and positively leaped 8s.. at once.
Mr. Gladstone argued that the-Government proposition was a practi- cal relief; and he quoted Lord Melbourne's declaration to Lord Fitz- william against agitation for repeal of the Corn-laws as dangerous. to the peace of society. The:present Government had offered what he repudiated, a change of the existing system; and was it not better to remedy its evils than to go on debating the subject session after session? Citing the denunciation of the measure by the Conference on the 9th, as "an insult to the patience of a suffering people," and resolutions passed by certain farmers of Boston on the same evening, demanding full protection and the maintenance of the price of wheat at 60s., Mr. Gladstone insisted that the Government project was a fair compromise between the two extremes thus represented. He believed a majority of Members would give a conscientious assent to the proposal ; and whatever misrepresentation Government might incur, they would be content with the reflection that they had conferred on their country a great boon, certain to secure ultimately the universal approbation which it merited.
Mr. CHARLES WOOD followed many of Lord John Russell's argu- ments. He said that it was a visionary project to endeavour to make the country independent of foreign supplies ; for such supplies were already needed year by year, as the returns proved. Whether it was impossible, or difficult, to counteract the effects of bad seasons, the sliding scale aggravated all their evils and excessively enhanced fluctu- ation. The object of the measure was to restrict the fluctuations of price between 54s. and 48g.: the last Corn-law proposed to restrict the fluctuation within 10s. of 60s., and yet the fluctuations had been as great as 70 or 80 or 100 per cent.
Mr. LIDDELL supported the Government plan. He condemned Lord John Russell's doctrine of conciliation. Catholic Emancipation had failed to produce any permanent advantages ; and under Parliamentary Reform, Lord John had had great difficulty in maintaining his Finality doctrine.
Dr. BOWLING referred to Sir Robert Peel's quotations from his Report on Prussia, and said that he had omitted to notice some portions-
The right honourable Baronet had quoted a passage from the Report elm- cerning the consumption of various articles in the Prussian states; but Is for- re,or olidtttid to state, that there was a great diversity in the consumption of different places : the right honourable Baronet forgot to state, that while in Hogssen ni Posen the consumption was 93 pounds, and in Oels in Silesia 192* pounds, it was in Berlin 2681 pounds, in Spandau 472* pounds, and in Ehren- breitstem it was 1,128* pounds. Such a statement did not suit the purpose intended by the right honourable Baronet. The documents he held in his hand showed that in Prussia the consumption of animal food was 34f; pounds per head per annum in the rural districts, while in the large towns the con- sumption was 100 pounds per head. Many articles, which were objects of ex- tensive consumption in North Germany, were consumed in this country to a very small extent. Spirits were consumed in Prussia to two or three times the extent that they were in England ; and the consumption of wines and vegetables was also much greater in the former than in the latter country. The money spent in books, and in the business of instruction, in many parts of Prussia was very considerable; and he was bound to say that throughout Prussia he had found the working-classes in the habit of saving comparatively large sums from their earnings.
Mr. FERRAND said that he had been requested by the working-classes of the North of England to defend them from their oppressors. He then made several assertions to prove that, so far from manufacturers being ruined, they had amassed enormous fortunes. Messrs. Marshall of Leeds had accumulated 2,000,000/., and had erected mills in Bel- gium ; the Member for Salford had made an immense fortune ; the Member for Stockport, who so strongly denounced the Corn-laws last session, had had his mills running night and day throughout the session. He gave the history of millowners who held a meeting lately at Bingley to complain of distress, exhibiting equally prosperous results. He made a sweeping charge of reckless bankruptcy by speculators, who ruined honest tradesmen and then recommenced their career. He averred that one object of the League was to become the corn-mer- chants of England, and to convert their mills into granaries, with one part of their machinery to grind corn ; and finally, he read long ex- tracts from Adam Smith, M'Culloch, and Malthus, to prove the Anti- Corn-law agitators in the wrong. At a quarter before one o'clock, the House adjourned.
The debate was taken up on Tuesday by Sir WILLIAM CLAY; who remarked upon the omissions in Sir Robert Peel's speech—all allusion to the effect of the Corn-laws upon the currency, and all allusion to the report of Mr. Meek, who had been sent to the Continent by Sir Robert himself to collect information. It was impossible that so important an omission could have been unintentional in the carefully-digested speech of so skilful a debater. Mr. Gladstone had no authority to assume that Lord John Russell meant by a fixed duty a duty of 8s. : he had never mentioned the rate of the duty. In arguing that there would be an in- creased deficiency under the fixed duty in bad seasons, Mr. Gladstone failed to notice the difference that there would be in the creation and extension of markets in the one system as compared with the other. Captain HAMILTON preferred some parts of Mr. Christopher's scale to Sir Robert Peel's ; but, looking at the measure as a whole, it should have his vote.
Mr. CBTLDERS pointed to the fact, that although certain quantities of foreign wheat had been admitted when the duties were at 10s. 8d., 6s. 8d., and 2s. 8d., that only occurred when prices were falling, and not when they were rising— He feund, from 1829 to the present year, that when the prices were rising and the' duty was falling, the quantity of corn entered at 10s. 8d. was very small—it was not more than 17,000 quarters; but when the duty was rising and the prices were falling, there were 789,000 quarters entered. He took the quantity entered at 6s. 8d. duty, and he found that when the prices were rising and the duty was falling, there were entered 30,000 quarters ; whereas, when the prices were falling and the duty was rising, the quantity entered was 1,892,000 quarters.
Captain Roue agreed with Lord Melbourne in thinking that any man who attempted to do away with the Corn-laws could only be fit for Bedlam. In all countries that he had visited, low wages went with cheap provisions, as in India— To a mechanic in Westminster, who earned 60s. a week, what mattered a 1d more or ld. less in the price of his loaf, so long as he had, what he knew to be a Saturday fare for several working-men, namely, a pound of beefsteak, a pint of stout, and a glass of gin to keep the porter from becoming cold on the stomach. If the plan of the honourable Member for Wolverhampton were car- ried, they would have no rump-steaks, no porter, no gin, but cheap bread and onions, and a good suck at the pump—that was all. It was true that rents were now higher than they were thirty or forty years ago; but the wages paid to ser- vants were higher also. At Hamburg a ship might be built for 2,000/., which would cost 3,5001. at Hull or London ; but the reason was, that the wages of shipwrights were Is. 8d. a day at Hamburg, but Si. in this country. The Ham- burg man would live on a crust of bread, but Captain Rous's friend must have his beefsteak. Again, he could find plenty of good seamen—Prussians, Danes, and Swedes—who would navigate the ship from Hamburg at 15s. a mouth, with rations of 3d. a day per head; but an Euglish seaman must have his pound of beef or pork.
Mr. WILLIAMS blamed the Government for putting words in the Queen's mouth which they must have known would beget mere delu- sion, and end in the severest disappointment. Rather than be subject • to the sliding scale, it would be to the interest of the people to pay a fixed duty of 20s.: then at least they would know what they would have to pay. Mr. Williams questioned the accuracy of the statements which Sir Robert Peel gave as Dr. Bowring's respecting the compara- tive comforts enjoyed by Prussian and English labourers : he could testify, from personal knowledge, that the working-classes were better off in Prussia than in England ; and in France and Switzerland they were in a still better state than in Prussia.
Mr. ORMSBY GORE quoted some figures derived from inquiries among thirteen families, to show how little they would benefit by a reduction in the price of corn— The consumption of those thirteen families was eight bushels and a very small fraction, Imperial measure, per head per annum. Taking, for the faci- lity of calculation, the consumption at eight bushels, and the price of wheat
at 56s. 9d., the weekly consumption of each individual would amount to Is. 01. Assuming the increase in price beyond the price of 51s. to be pro-
duced by the effect of duty, there would be 5s. 9d. to be paid in the shape of duty per head per annum. This amounted per month to 31d. or lid. per head per week; which was all that was to be deducted. Mr. WARD remarked, that by Mr. Gore's own showing the increase , of price was equivalent to a tax of 5,000,000/. onahe entire population. The purpose of the Government plan was, to give the agriculturists the possession, the sole possession or monopoly, of the home market, when- ever the state of the market itself proved their ability to supply it ; a most unintelligible proposition. Lord John Russell, on the other hand, proposed to apportion the protective-duty to the peculiar burdens sus- tamed by the land. Mr. Ward intended to move for a Committee to inquire what are the peculiar burdens that press on the agricultural interests of the country, and whether there are any. His opinion was that the time for a fixed duty was rapidly passing away ; for if great parties on great questions committed great mistakes, the public would benefit by them, as they bad by the Tories mistake in refusing a repre- sentation to Birmingham, which procured the Reform Bill. Mr. Glad- stone's strictures had made him refer to Mr. Wilson's pamphlet ; and he confessed that he went entirely with that gentleman in his arguments to show that the Corn-laws stimulated the growth of corn to that ex- tent that they defeated the object of proteection by producing a glut. Sir Robert Peel's theory of price, for retaining it at 54s. to 58s., was very beautiful, only that it was utterly without foundation— He was willing to admit that, after the price of English wheat reached 64s., (the point at which the two leaders of party seemed to come into contact,) there was a great improvement in the scale, and that the whole scale was far superior to that now existing. And he was bound, further, honestly to say, that he liked it better than the plan proposed by Lord John Russell in his speech on the previous night ; for in that speech, in the principle of which he concurred, to every sentiment of which he assented, the noble lord had allowed himself to be caught in the trap skilfully laid for him by the right honourable gentleman opposite, from which trap he must leave the noble lord to extricate himself; seeing that, connecting himself with the sliding scale at a certain point, the noble lord had placed himself in a position in which he begged to say that he could not accompany him.
Mr. Ward argued, that with a fixed duty prices would never reach such extreme points as to make the maintenance of that duty impossi- ble. He entered into some details to show the effect of the sliding scale on the people ; adverting by the way to the " scandalous levity " with which Mr. Ferrand had treated the subject ; and he charged Lord Ashley with vociferously cheering Mr. Ferrand. Sir Robert Peel, while talking
of "over-production," admitted that it would be madness to try to check the march of manufacturing improvement : yet there was no al- ternative but to do that, or to enable industry to open new fields for its exertion.
Sir EDWAR.D KNAvennum. declared his own concurrence in the doctrine of a fixed duty, provided it were possible to maintain such a duty in times of scarcity ; but it could not be then maintained ; and if once removed, it would be gone for ever. He certainly would not himself have concurred in Sir Robert Peel's plan if he had not believed it to furnish just and full protection to the landed interests, and security to them for their station in the community.
Mr. LABOUCHERE was glad that Sir Edward had at last given the House a clear definition of the object of the Ministerial proposition ; and the cheers of the gentlemen around him had confirmed his represen-
tation. Mr. Labouchere conceived that the first object was of a totally different character—namely, to arrange the matter on such a basis as would be for the advantage of the whole community ; for the interest not merely of the landowners, but of the great majority of the people, consisting of the working and middle classes. He called the attention of the House to the real state in which the country stood— The question for the House to consider was this—not whether the home growth was sufficient in one year and insufficient in the next, but whether upon an average of years it was equal to the supply of our own people? If-it were true that it was in bad years only that we wanted a supply of foreign corn, and that in good years we had more than enough, and were capable of becoming an exporting country, he could understand much of the reasoning which the right honourable Baronet had advanced upon this subject : but he thought that the reverse of that fact would be easily demonstrable. He did not apprehend that there would be any difficulty in proving that, upon an average of years, there was a deficiency in the supply of home-grown corn, and that the importation of foreign corn necessary to supply that deficiency was annually increasing to a very great extent. Here he referred to figures, which showed that, taking decennial periods, the average importation had pro- gresssively increased from 94,089 quarters in the ten years ending 1770, to 908,118 in the ten years ending 1840. Thus, if it were allowable to argue for the future upon the experience of the past, it was perfectly manifeat, that not- withstanding the great increase in the productive power of agriculture, the wants of the population of this country had outstripped the means of supply. Therefore, in dealing with the Corn-laws, the House was bound to remember that the question could only be rightly considered by regarding this country as one in which a large and annually-increasing importation of corn was neces- sary to the supply of its population. He found, from the data furnished in the return from which he had just quoted, that if our wants increased in the • same ratio during the next ten years that they had done during the last ten years, we should require in 1850 a foreign supply of no less than 20,500,000 quarters, being rather more than an average of 2,000,000 quarters annually. Some conceived that Ireland was an inexhaustible granary ; but that was far from being the case. Up to 1833, the exports of wheat from Ireland steadily increased, and in that year they stood at 844,211 quar- ters; by 1841 they had as steadily fallen to 218,708. In fact, the con- sumption of Ireland had increased, at the same time that Irish agricul- turists had turned more attention to grazing and cattle-rearing, made profitable by the greater facilities of transport. Mr. Labouchere ad- mitted that the new male was some improvement on the " jumping " scale ; and that it might bring in a little more revenue ; but it would afford no relief to those interests which considered themselves aggrieved by the present law. He had been at some pains to collect the opinions of practical men on the measure— First of all it was to be observed, that the 156 towns which it was proposed to add to the 150 from which the returns were now made, were chiefly email agricultural towns, bearing no comparison in point of population and wealth to the towns with which they were to be united. Now it must be obvious, that the effect of this change must be in some degree to lower the amount of the advertised averages. The right honourable Baronet also proposed that the re- turns should be made by the Excise-officers. It was an undoubted fact, that the returns as at present made were prepared in a very careless and inaccurate manner. Could it be doubted, then, if these returns for the future, through the agency of Excise-officers, were made in a more perfect and stringent man- ner, that the effect of the alteration would be to affect the general averages? He was assured that it was the opinion of practical and experienced men, that the effect of these alterations would be to cause a decided reduction in the ad- vertised averages of no less than Sc. a quarter. Mr. Labouchere was not fond of bandying personalities, but some- times flesh and blood could not stand it. When he read Lord Stanley's memorable speech at Lancaster last year, he was tempted to ask, wise- slier that that was the same Mr. Stanley who in 1828 spoke thus- "He was certainly inclined to the opinion of those who abstractedly sup- ported a fixed permanent duty ; but, feeling that it was impracticable to carry such a measure, he felt that the next best plan would be to adopt such a scale of duties as would keep the price of corn as low as possible, at the same time giving to the agriculturists a fair profit." Repeating some of the arguments in favour of a fixed duty, Mr. La- bouchere, towards the conclusion of his speech, warned the House that a state of things seemed to be approaching when Englishmen would be arrayed against each other in a contest of class with class. Sir JAMES GRAHAM said, that Mr. Labouchere always spoke in such a manner that it was as agreeable to listen to him as it was disadvan- tageous to follow him ; but he bad let some things fall to which "flesh and blood" could not resist replying. He said that there was something threatening in the aspect of affairs : but who was responsible for open- ing the discussions which caused that threatening aspect ? When the Government of which the right honourable gentleman was a member bad, in June last, come down to the House and announced to the people of this country that the time had arrived when the existing Corn-laws ought to be revised—and when, having failed within the walls of Parliament, they made their appeal to the people by a dissolution—he asked was it possible that this question should be agitated from one end of the country to the other, and, to use the words of a noble lord, the very foundations of society not be shaken by the agitation thus produced ? Mr. Labouchere had taken up what had fallen from Sir Edward Knatchbull as proving that the proposition was a partial one; but Sir Robert Peel had distinctly disclaimed legislating except for the good of alL As to what Lord Stanley had said in 1828, Sir James would adopt the same language, and apply it strictly to the proposed measure. Lord John Russell, who is fond of antithesis and always uses it neatly, enjoined them not to concede without conciliating, to disturb without settling: could any terms more aptly describe his own fixed duty ? At a meeting in Leeds about a year ago, at which Mr. Ward was present, a banner was inscribed" A fixed duty is a fixed injustice ": so much for conceding without conciliating. Mr. O'Connell said, " Give us the 88. duty to begin with, and I tell you that six months after its enact- ment we shall get rid of it altogether." Indeed, Sir James must say that the doctrine of Finality in legislation seemed to him a phantom— He had himself been a fellow-student in the Finality school together with the noble lord opposite. That noble lord and he had had, he thought, some experi- ence with reference to bringing forward large measures—larger, perhaps, some- what than strict right, is the opinion of those affected by them, might have ren- dered either prudent or necessary ; and yet these measures had been made large, in the hope that their finality would be established, and that the concession thus made would stay further demands. But he, profiting by his experience, would never again be a party to recommending for the adoption of the Legislature any measure in the nature of a concession larger than he should think either prudent or just, in the vain expectation that by going beyond those hounds of prudence and justice he should succeed in establishing such a measure as a piece of final legislation. lie should not support any proposition for the adjustment of the Corn-laws with any view to what is called a final settlement of them.
Lord John argued as a general principle that trade ought to be per- fectly free : in his work, Memoirs of the Affairs of Europe since the Peace of Utrecht, he declared that exceptions ought to be made in favour of particular articles necessary to the strength and greatness of a country, and that protection ought to be very gradually withdrawn where a par- -ticular branch of industry has been favoured by law. In 1833 and 1834, he had voted, as a member of Earl Grey's Government, for the sliding scale. In June last, the 88. fixed duty was brought forward, for the purpose "not of disturbing but settling ": in the discussion of that and the previous night Lord John had glided away from it. So much for the stability of the fixed duty : its duration was abandoned by Lord John Russell, who, by a greater jump than any in the old scale, pro- posed a sadden fall to Is. Sir James entered into calculations to prove that the proposed scale is not prohibitory. Excluding the merely nominal and excessive prices of Antwerp and Rotterdam, the average of foreign wheat is about 36s.; and excluding Palermo and Odessa, the cost of transport would be about 48.; which would make the price of wheat in bond 40s. At the home price of 588., the duty is 148.; which added to 488., gave 548. as the price of foreign wheat. The improved modes of culture, indeed, under shelter of the law, had made a much lower price remunerating than when the late Corn-law was framed. And it was not among the least advantages of the graduated scale, that it tends to keep a store of wheat in bond— The perpetual fear that existed under the graduated scale that foreign corn would be introduced kept the grower of the home market in check, and com- pelled him to bring his supply to market before he incurred the risk of the Con- tinental corn coming in. On the other hand, there was the perpetual hope of introducing foreign corn at a profit, which operated on the foreign corn-factor to induce him at all times to import corn largely, and wait the turn of the British market; and that led to all the advantages of granaries for the public.
Sir James quoted a report by Mr. Leonard Horner, the Inspector of Factories in Lancashire, to show how the increase of machinery has the immediate effect of throwing numbers out of employment ; and he concluded with a general recommendation of the Government scheme.
At a few minutes before one o'clock, the House adjourned again.
Mr. EDWARD BULLER was the first speaker on Wednesday. In the course of an amusing speech, he pointed out one disadvantage of the new scale: although there was greater inducement under the old scale to hold back corn in the hope of a fall of duty than there would be with the new one, yet there was also greater risk of loss front the more sud- den rise of duty. Without doubting the excellent intentions of those who proposed what Sir Robert Peel called the " rests " in his scale, Mr. Buller could not see what could be the object of that strange devke. Eighteen shillings duty was as effectual for prohibition as 208.; and if therefore the rest was not intended to create an additional obstruction to the free import of corn, he must assume that it was meant for orna- ment rather than use. Then there was a rest at the top of the scale— he supposed for uniformity. And why have a fixed duty in Canada, on wheat imported from the United States ? was it for the purpose of trying an experiment in corpora viii? Perhaps, then, the "rest" in the scale was an embryo fixed duty, a germ which would blossom some day in a fixed duty of 6s. It would be quite as reasonable to fix on a sliding scale to adjust the operation of any other law—of the Habeas Corpus Act, for instance : why not measure sedition, privy conspiracy, and rebellion, by a sliding scale ?
Sir WALTER JAMES Said that if the value of agricultural produce had increased by 64,000,000/. a year, manufactures had not flourished% a less degree. Mr. R. BERNA.L condemned Captain Rous's resort to the old fallacy of cheap food producing low wages.
Mr. Foam's ScoTr represented an agricultural county (Roxburgh) in which are several thriving towns, and he could say that the measure proposed by the Government, such as it is, was entirely satisfactory to the great body of his constituents.
Mr. HASTIE enlarged upon the monetary derangement produced by the Corn-laws. It was quite true, as Sir Robert Peel had stated, that the exports had increased year by year : but if so, Sir Robert was wrong in assigning the distress to a falling-off in the foreign trade as one cause. Mr. Hastie made a calculation to show the loss of the country under the enhanced prices of late years. He took the annual consumption of wheat at 26,000,000 quarters : in 1837 the average price was 44.s. 6d., its cost to the country 60,000,000/. ; in 1838, the price was 56s. 2d., the cost 75,000,0001., increase 15,000,000/. ; 1839, price 638. 8d., cost 85,950,000/, increase since 1837, 25,000,0001.; 1840, price 678., cost 89,000,0001., increase since 1837, 29,000,000/. ; 1841. 'price 67s. Id, the cost and increase being still higher. The total additional cost taken out of the pockets of the consumers in those four years was 100,000,000/.
Mr. CHaisrrmas deprecated the importation of corn into Ireland. Although the exports from Ireland had decreased since 1833, they had not decreased in the six years ending 1838, as compared with the pre- vious six years. He did not admit that there was cause to believe that the decrease would continue.
Mr. ROEBUCK said that the discussion ought to have commenced with the question, whether there should be any duty at all; and he bad risen to prevent any misconception as to the views upon that point of some who seemed to acquiesce in Lord John Russell's motion. He disclaimed all intention of arguing upon the sliding scale : the sole ground of his op- position to the Government measure was the impolicy of any duty what- ever. Inasmuch as the people regarded the question from that point of view, therefore was the table loaded with petitions on the subject. But before he proceeded further with the question, he wished to strip it of much irrelevant matter with which it had been invested. Above all things, he desired not to make it a religious question : those who endea- voured, both in and out of doors, to surround the subject with vulgar prejudices, who said that the advocacy of the Corn-laws was sinful, might yet suffer for the fanaticism which they had thus inconsiderately and unfairly encouraged. All were agreed as to the fortitude of the people and the intensity of their sufferings, but not as to the causes of those sufferings. The distress, indeed, originated in causes more remote than any with which the existing parties had the least connexion. It was at the period when all our energies were put forth to cope with the gigantic power of France, that our ma- nufacturing system was called into existence; and it was not now the time for the landed-interest to turn round and say, Shall we maintain the manufacturing interest ? When Sir Robert Peel disclaimed interested motives, Mr. Roebuck at once accepted his declaration ; but he begged him to consider the responsibility which be had incurred— At the time the former Government left office, they had proposed, late he would admit, very late, a plan for relieving the distress of the people. It was a proceeding that might be likened not inaptly to the baptism of Constantine, who hoped by that means to expiate the sins of a misspent life. That mea- sure, however, good or bad, the late Government were not permitted to carry ; the right honourable Baronet assume t the reins of power; and upon him de- volved the business and the responsibility. The right honourable gentleman last year appeared before the House, and said, Mr. Roebuck thought justly, "Don't press me now. I must take all the evidence that can be gotten. I am new in my seat : I have not had time to consider this great question. Give me time, and you shall see what I will propose." Time went on. The session of Parliament commenced. All must remember the first night of the session, when the right honourable gentleman, with much emphasis, and a solemn deportment, as if almost weighed down by the weight of the burden upon his mind, said, that as early as possible, as soon as the forms of the House would allow, he would come down and touch this awful question. Gentlemen on both sides wondered what the perspicacity of the right honourable gentle- man would bring forward for the relief of the distressof which he had acknow- ledged the existence. There could be none in that House who did not re- member the scene which took place on the night the right honourable gentle- man was to announce his plan. He well remembered the right honourable Baronet walking up the House, every eye turned upon him. But, with much wisdom, he kept back the plan which he meant to propose ; and the protracted concealment appeared to enhance the anxiety with which it was expected, and the importance supposed to belong to it : " omne ignotum pro magnitico est." It was clear that some plan was coming; but for two long hours the right honour- able Baronet kept the House in suspense. At intervals, honourable Members seemed to think that he was ou the point of developing his plan : they seized pen and paper for the purpose of noting down details. He whirled round and round his subject, be twisted about it and about it ; and when at length the critical moment came—when he announced the plan which had required months of preparation, marvellous secrecy and mystery, and the application of wondrous sagacity and statesmanship—what did it prove ? au alteration, a slight modification, of an old system! '1'he advantages of self-support had been dwelt upon ; but a self- supporting country was incapable of extending its commerce ; and let it not be supposed that England ought not to foster her manufactures. What broke the alliance between Napoleon and Alexander? not the valour of our armies, great as that was acknowledged to be, but the skill of our manufacturers. And what did " protection " mean ?- The right honourable Baronet the Member for Kent had declared that it was to maintain the landed interest in their station in society. By the position in society of the lauded interest, he supposed was meant that there should be maintained a resident gentry, who, being of a better class, were able to cultivate their intellect and their manners, and by their influence and example to soften and benefit society at large. That was probably what the right honourable gentleman meant ; but he had not shown that all those same advantages of a resident gentry could not be obtained without the expense of protection. He could not suppose that the resident gentry would be less wise, less virtu- ous, less patriotic, less country gentlemen, than before. Was it to be imagined they were to be kept as they were, the ornaments, the pillars, the Corinthian capitals of the state, by a 20.3. duty ? Was there no inherent virtue in them, but were they to be bought? He could not believe it. If the landed interest suffered a peculiar grievance, let them prove it—
He wanted some honourable gentleman to get up and state their grievance. Would one tell him that they paid the poor-rate? So did he. Would another say that they paid the county-rate? So did he. The other classes of the coin-
inanity paid the same taxes as the agriculturists ; and he believed that the quota of the manufacturers was as large as that of the agriculturists, if not larger. But they who said that they had certain peculiar burdens to sustain had no right to make that an argument for the continuance of this monopoly. If they were aggrieved, they ought, like other classes of the community, to lay their petitions before that noose, and, exposing their grievances, ask the House to find a remedy for them.
The people, said Mr. Roebuck, would not regard this experiment as a mere mercantile speculation, but as the project of a great statesman, and failing, that great statesman must see that he lagged behind his age, as he had done before; and that, by not keeping pace with the march of public opinion, he never could again be at the head.
Lord ASHLEY rose to notice an abusive allusion by Mr. Ward, founded On the supposition that he had cheered Mr. Ferrand: he was not even in the House when Mr. Ferrand spoke. Mr. WARD hoped that Lord Ashley would pardon a mistake which he much regretted. Lord Asa- lam, in courteous terms, expressed himself perfectly satisfied.
Viscount SA.NDON supported the Government plan ; and cited the opinion given in a private letter from a merchant, that the new scale would divest the law of many of its disadvantages. Lord WORSLEY could not vote for Lord John Russell's motion, be- cause it was not his belief that the sliding scale was productive of the evils attributed to its operation. Many of those who now surrounded Sir Robert Peel had pledged themselves to resist all diminution of agri- cultural protection : they ought now to join with himself in opposing the Government plan. If Sir Robert Peel was right in the opinion that the Corn-laws had not contributed to the present distress, why did he propose this alteration of them? A range from 54s. to 58s. would not be satisfactory to his constituents; Mr. Christopher's proposition had been so coolly received, that he had thought it necessary to give notice of his intention to propose a maximum of 258. duty instead of 20s. Lord Worsley quoted figures to show that corn bad been imported at
more than 161. duty : in 1840, 299,354 quarters were admitted at 20s., the price being 668. to 69g.; a quantity quite sufficient to prove that a
16s. duty was no protection to the farmer. To show the inadequate in- formation gathered by Mr. Meek, who had recommended the scale of duties proposed by Sir Robert Peel, Lord Worsley read an extract of a letter written to a friend of his from Germany-
" Mr. Meek was a few hours at Lubec, but proceeded the same day he came here to Hamburg. The corn-speculators amused themselves with his total ignorance of this country. He assured them, that if the English Corn-laws were altered, all the sandy soils would grow turnips and wheat immediately."
Mr. CHRISTOPHER congratulated the House on the new-born zeal of the noble lord. He did not recommend a maximum duty of 208. at the meeting in Lincolnshire, but one varying from 208. to 308.; and what he had said had not only been well received, but had been cheered by persons who lived on Lord Worsley's estate. Mr. GRANTLEY BERKELEY supported the amendment.
Sir ROBERT PEEL replied. He had heard much, when Lord John Rus- sell was in the Government, in condemnation of those who, opposing his measures, did not clearly announce their own plans: it became the Character of a great Opposition, he said, to leave on record the prin- ciples on which they acted. Yet how ambiguous the phraseology of Lord John's present resolution! behind it lurked a fixed duty ; and how could those approve of it who were opposed to all duty whatsoever? In fact, however, Sir Robert's conflict was not with a fixed duty ; and as to general principles, there was no material discordance between him and his opponents. He agreed with Mr. Labouchere that the object of legislating on the corn-duties should be the welfare of the great body of the people; and he agreed with Lord John's expressed sentiments respecting protection. The latter seemed now even to abandon his fixed duty and to adopt a sliding scale : "the difference between us," said Sir Robert, "is, that he slides on one leg." Lord John proposed to have a duty of 8s. when the price is 72s., to drop suddenly to Is. when the price is 73s. or 748. Mr. Gladstone had shown how that would Operate in stimulating combinations to affect the averages, and how it would exclude American corn. The noble lord must therefore confess, that after six months for deliberation, the only amendment which he proposed left unremedied almost all the defects of the present system.
In answer to Mr. Labouchere's remark that the new mode of taking
the averages would diminish the price and raise the duty, Sir Robert *renewed his disclaimer of meaning to seek additional protection in that
way : if he found it work otherwise than as he expected, he was pre- Pared to reconsider it. It was very easy for Mr. Roebuck to call on 'him to discard class prejudice, to show that he did not lag behind the age, and to bring forward some comprehensive measure that would stamp him a great statesman : he would tell Mr. Roebuck what he thought belonged more to the true character of the Minister of such a country as this-
"1 think it would be more in keeping with that true character for me to aspire to none of those magnificent characteristics which he has described, and that the wisest and safest course for me to adopt is to effect as much practical -good as I can ; and not, after announcing some great principle calculated to win for me a great deal of popularity, to find at last that the practical part of the subject was in precisely the same state in which it was before I began. It is !may enough for the honourable and learned gentleman to say apply great principles,' make a mighty change.' But I find that mighty interests have grown up under the present law, and in full dependence on its faith. I find that the agriculture of this country produces 22,000,000 quarters of wheat every year, while of grain of all kinds it produces no less than 45,000,000 of quarters. Think what pecuniary interests must be involved in the production of such an amount of grain. Think, too, of the amount of social interests connected with those pecuniary interests-how many families are depending for their subsistence and their comforts upon the means of giving employment to thousands-before you hastily disturb the laws which determine the applica- tion of capitaL If you disregard those pecuniary and social interests which have grown up under that protection, which has long been continued by law, then a sense of injustice will be aroused, which will redound against your scheme of improvement, however conformable it may be to rigid principle.'
It was true that one hundred and forty years of prescription did not prove that that protection had been in itself wise ; but it was a valid reason why you should not lightly touch the interests established under that protection. Sir Robert proceeded to compare the leading principles of the various scales which had been proposed-
Taking the price of American wheat in Liverpool at 47s., the fixed duty of 8s. would he a prohibitory duty when the price of English wheat was at 50s. Sir Robertthought that 20s. would be quite sufficient to protect the farmer when wheat was under 518.; but that he claimed that amount of protection to prevent a sudden import of corn when it is not required for home consunp-
tion. Then turn to the intermediate part of the scale, when corn was at 56s.
or 57s.: here the argument is, that foreign corn could not come in. The fair way, however, was not to take the average price of all places abroad, but the lowest price. Supposing there are only two places from which corn can be brought-supposing that at Odessa wheat is 26c, and at Antwerp 56s. 5d.: united, these two prices make 82s. 5d.; divide them, and you have an average of 41s. 2id. Now, would it not be absurd for any man to argue that we n safe from the corn at Odessa because the average price of it, when united with that of Antwerp, was 41s. 21d, at which price foreign corn could not be intro
duced? In what a miserable plight would that corn-merchant be who founded his speculations upon such a principle as that ! Mr. Meek stated that 28s. 104 t
about the price of Danish wheat, and that the freight would not exceed 4s.: Danish corn, therefore, could come in when the price is 60s. Mr. Meek said that the average growth of wheat in Denmark is 150,000 quarters. and 500,000 of other grains; and that a steady demand would materially increase the quantity grown. Do not then blight the hopes of your own farmers by permitting the Danish agriculturist to throw a quantity of his corn at a low rate of duty into your market, and so damage the prices of your own produce. It is on that principle of protection to your own growers that I found my measure. Turn then to the upper parts of the scale. Take the duty I propose to levy when wheat is between 64s. and 728.; a period which certainly indicates severe pressure upon the people. Let us compare my scale at these prices with other scales that have been submitted; remembering that my principle is, that above
608. the interest of the consumer ought to be considered. According to my
proposition, when wheat is at 64s. the duty shall be 8s.; the present duty is 22s. 8d. Can any one say that I do not relieve the consumer ? When wheat is at 65s. I propose that the duty shall be 7s. ; the present duty is 21s. 8d. I propose a 6s. duty on wheat at 66s. ; the present duty is 20s. 8d. I continue the duty of Gs. till the price is at 68s., and then it is diminished Is. for every rise in price till it reaches the lowest point. I do not deny that the tendency may he to induce a holder to keep his stock till the duty is Is. If it be cer- tain that the price will rise within a short time, like as it is in every other article, the natural operation of commercial enterprise would be to induce the factor to hold. You say, 'Do not aggravate this certain tendency '; but if the noble lord's plan be adopted, there will be the greater inducement to keep for the Is. duty. Whereas, I believe, under my plan, that if the duty be 61. at 66s., 67s., and 68s., it will be a matter of grave consideration with the holder of foreign corn whether he will not release it when the price is 68s. and the duty 6s., rather than run the chance of having a price of 72s. or 73s., because others may take advantage of the 68. duty, and may bring in corn. Compare that with Mr. Canning's scale. He proposed that when wheat was 64s. the duty should be 12s.; I fix the duty at 8s. I propose that when wheat is 65s. the duty should be 7s. ; Mr. Canning fixed it at 105. When wheat is 66s., I propose a duty of Gs.; Mr. Canning proposed to impose a duty of 84. Then compare it with the noble lord's scheme. From 648. to 72... the noble lord proposes to levy a duty of 8s. According to my scale, the duty at 70s. will be only 4s., whilst at 73e. it will be merely the nominal sum of Is.; the noble lord's duty being 8s., unless he reduces his scale by the sudden diminution he
spoke of the other night." Sir Robert quoted a circular dated from Liverpool Corn Exchange, which said that "the new scale must be considered a very
important change"; and it went on to compare the rates at which it would admit grain with the rates now subsisting: wheat would be coming in at Ili. instead of 25s. 8d.; barley at 9s. instead of 18s.; and so on with other kinds; and American flour would be admitted at 6s. 6d. instead of 15s. 51;d.
Do not disturb, said Lord John unless you settle : now he tried an 8s. duty last year ; had he carried it, this year he would have come for- ward to amend it as a Minister. Sir Robert felt all the difficulty of meeting objections by answers which were seized by the opposite side as confirming opposite objections- " If I try to calm an apprehension here, I Bee a note taken on the other side; if I try to answer an unreasonable objection there, I am met, not by ob-
stacles, but by the intimation of alarm on this side; and it is whispered from one to the other that I am conceding too much. This is inseparable from the task I have undertaken. I do believe that in a mere party sense it would have
been wiser for me to say, I will stand by the Corn-laws and resist all change.
Some tell me that all the change required is an amendment of the averages. But other considerations, other responsibilities, press upon those who are charged with the administration of affairs. 1 stated before, and I repeat, that in considering this question, the arrangements which ought to be made Con- sistently with enlarged and comprehensive views-avoiding disturbance of capi-
tal embarked in agriculture, and the clouding of the prospects of worldly pros-
perity and social happiness of those who derive their subsistence from land- looking again to the state of commerce, to the advantage, when there is to be a supply of corn, of so introducing that corn that there may be the least disturb- ance of the monetary system of the country, the greatest approach to regular commercial dealings, the greatest encouragement consistent with due protec- tion to agriculture, to manufacturing and commercial industry-having to con- sider all these questions, having to weigh their relative and comparative im- portance, the measure upon which we have determined is that which we Con- scientiously believe to be upon the whole the most consistent with the general interest of the country. We did not confer with agricultural supporters for the purpose of insuring their concurrence ; we did not permit the abate- ment of it in this particular or in that in order to insure its success."
Sir Robert wound up his speech with the assurance that, after the old practice in this country, reason and moderation would gravitate towards that which is just.
Lord PALMERSTON laughed at Sir Robert Peel for the general dissa- tisfaction which his measure gave, testified on his own side of the House by an eloquent silence. Two courses were open to him,-either to have stood by the old Corn-laws, in which he would have been cor- dially supported by a majority in the House; or to have taken a bold course in changing the Corn-laws, in which he would have obtained support from other quarters. It is not given to man, much less to man in office, to please all parties. Lord Palmerston admitted that the proposed law is a mitigation of that which it is to replace ; but he pro- ceeded to show in how small a degree ; and he asked why agriculturists should be insured against the contingencies of the seasons, when such an insurance is not attempted in any other trade ? the merchant is not insured against loss by accidents at sea. The late Ministers proposed a duty of 88. ; but Sir Robert Peel had almost convinced him that that was too high. Without admitting that, however, he contended that the duty should be fixed and known-
" If s moderate fixed duty was established, you would have a complete change in the trade altogether you would have an entirely different system of trans- actions in the corn-market. For instead of gambling transactions, you would establish a sound and advantageous trade ; and, instead of the merchant hurry- ing at every rise in price to the foreign market on the Continent-for the dis- tant markets are hardly touched-and thus at once enhancing the price of corn, you would establish a steady and well-regulated barter, which would at the same time supply your wants and open new fields for the consumption of
the produce of your manufacturing industry. Under such an arrangement, the merchant would snake his arrangements for buying a supply of corn in those places where it was cheapest, and would bring it home at a period when be thought that it could be best disposed of both to the country and to himself. Above all, you would extend greatly your commercial relations with the United States."
Glancing at the comparative merits of the Whig and Tory propo- sitions, Lord Palmerston remarked, that there were larger grounds on which the doctrine of independence of foreign supply ought to be repudiated by the House-
" Why is the earth on which we live divided into zones and climates ? Why do different countries yield different productions to people experiencing simi- lar wants ? Why are they intersected with mighty rivers, the natural high- ways of nations ? Why are lands the most distant from each other brought almost into contact by that very ocean which seems to divide them ? W by, Sir, it is that man may be dependent upon man. It is that the exchange of commodities may be accompanied by the extension and diffusion of knowledge— by the interchange of mutual benefits engendering mutual kind feelings—mul- tiplying and confirming friendly relations. It is that Commerce may freely go forth, leading Civilization with one hand and Peace with the other, to ren- der mankind happier, wiser, better. Sir, this is the dispensation of Providence ; this is the decree of that power which created and disposed the universe. But, in the face of it, with arrogant, presumptuous folly, the dealers in restrictive duties fly, fettering the inborn energies of man, and setting up their miserable legislation instead of the great standing laws of Nature." However, Lord Palmerston hailed the Ministerial concession, trifling 98 it is, as breaking ground in removing the intrenchments of mono-
Tbe House divided, and Lord John Russell's amendment was re- jected: the numbers being—for the amendment, 226; against it, 349 ; majority, 123.
Besides Mr. VILLIERS'S amendment, against any duty on foreign corn, and others already mentioned, notices have been given of further pro- ceedings connected with the subject. Sir VALENTINE BLAKE has given notice, that if Mr. Villiers's motion be lost, he shall move a resolution, that, in consideration of the existing distress, the free importation of corn be allowed for one year, and such longer period as Parliament may determine. Mr. SMITH O'BRIEN announced a resolution that all Colo- nial wheat be admitted at a duty of Is. In reply to Mr. LABOUCHERE, on Monday, Mr. GLADSTONE said that Government had not irrevocably determined to impose a duty of 3s. on American wheat imported into Canada. Mr. ROEBUCK gave notice, that when that proposition was brought forward, be should take the sense of the House, as a matter of constitutional law, whether it was competent to the House to tax the Colonies. Mr. licaT is to move, on the 1st March, for leave to bring in a bill authorizing the substitution of flour and flour and biscuits for wheat in bonded warehouses. Sir ROBERT PEEL has stated, in reply to Mr. LABOUCHERE, that he could not maintain the existing prohibition against importing flour into Ireland.
In the House of Lords, on Thursday, Lord CLANCARTY moved for a Vest variety of papers respecting the operation of the New Poor-law an Ireland, so far as the appointment of chaplains to the Union Work- houses was concerned, and for minutes of all conversations on the sub- ject with the dignitaries of either Protestant or Roman Catholic churches. In consequence of the large proportion of Roman Catholics and Pres- byterians in the population, a minister of each form of worship, to- gether with one of the Established Church, was appointed to each Union; and he complained, that in allotting the salaries to be paid to each minister, the Poor-law Commissioner in whom this power was vested had shown an undue preference to the Roman Catholic and Pres- byterian ministers over those of the Established Church. This grievance was aggravated by the circumstance, that although the Commissioners were in communicatioc with the Roman Catholic Bishops on the subject of these appointments, the Protestant Bishops had not been consulted.
The Duke of WELLINGTON objected, that the mot ion should have been either for a total repeal of the Irish Poor-law, or at least of that clause under which the appointments were made, instead of a mere motion for papers and minutes. He contended that it was but reasonable that religious officers should be paid in some proportion to the amount of their duties ; and in the particular instance referred to, he thought the Commissioners had exercised a sound discretion. He moved the pre- vious question.
Lord NonsteNenr, Lord BROUGHAM, and Lord WHARNCLITFE, Con- curred with the Duke. The Bishop of EXETER thought that the mo- tion deserved more support. It was withdrawn.
THE CASE OF THE CREOLE.
In the House of Lords, on Monday, Lord BROUGHAM, on a motion for papers, reiterated his opinion that none of the Negroes who had taken the Creole to Nassau could be detained : even if subsisting treaties directed their surrender to the United States Government, the existing municipal law did not empower the Executive to surrender them. Be did not say that that state of the law should not be altered in order to the maintenance of friendly relations with a neighbouring power.
The Earl of ABERDEEN stated the course which the Government had As their Lordships might well imagine, the Government had given to the case its most serious consideration, and had availed itself of all the legal assistance which was desirable respecting it ; and they came to the conclusion, that by the laws of this country there was no machinery or authority for bringing those persons to trial for mutiny or murder, and still less for deliver- ing them up. Accordingly, orders were sent out by the Secretary for the Colo- nies for releasing those persons who bad hitherto been detained. It was possible that there might exist some law in part of our North American Colonies by which those parties might be brought to trial : if so, it could be acted on ; but he must say that he was not aware of the existence of any such ; and if it did not exist, orders had been sent to discharge the men. Lord DENMAN delivered his opinion on the law— He believed he might say that all Westminster Ball, including the Judi- cial Bench, were of the same opinion as that now expressed by the noble Earl, and of his noble and learned friend near him, that there was nothing in the law of England which would authorize its Government in giving up persons who had been charged with crimes in a foreign state and sought refuge here. When the Alien Law was before Parliament,the same opinion had been held by men of different political opinions on other poiuts. Among these, there was one so strongly expressed by Sir C. Wetherell, that he could not avoid reading it to their Lordships—" If aliens were sent out of this country because they were unpopular at foreign courts, the powers of the act were abused. That they should be accused of offences in foreign countries, was no reason for refusing them protection here. The regicides of Louis the Sixteenth, if they had sought shelter here, ought not to have been sent away. Exiles for crime ought to find an asylum in this country." Lord CAMPBELL, Lord COTTENHAM, and the LORD CHANCELLOR, concurred in Lord Denman's statement of the law ; and Lord BROUGHAM stated that Lord Wynford and Lord Abinger had authorized him to express their assent to the same opinion. At Lord ABERDEEN'S desire, the motion was withdrawn, its main object being accomplished.
PRIVILEGE. In the House of Commons,' on Wednesday, Mr. THE- siceR called attention to a petition against the return for Belfast, signed by a Peer. At the election the Earl of Belfast was a can- didate : he has subsequently been elevated to the House of Peers as Baron Innishowen ; and he has signed the petition and entered into recognizances since his elevation. A very desultory conversation took place ; when Sir ROBERT PEEL suggested that, unprepared as Members were, the question had better be postponed till Friday ; and Mr.
NEW MEMBERS. The Honourable Captain DUNCOMBE took the oaths and his seat, on Tuesday, for the borough of East Retford, and Viscount JOCELYN for the borough of King's Lynn. On Wednesday, Viscount ACHESON took his seat for Armagh.
NEW WRIT. On the motion of Sir THOMAS FREMANTLE, a new writ was ordered for the Southern Division of the County of Salop, in room of the Earl of Darlington, called up to the House of Peers.
EXCHEQUER BILL FRAUD. Lord MONTEAGLE has postponed his motion from the 17th to the 28th instant. In the House of Commons, the CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER has postponed his motion from Thursday last to Tuesday next.
LORD PRESIDENT HOPE. On Tuesday, Sir WILLIAM RAE stated that be had referred to the Lord Justice Clerk and the Solicitor-General for Scotland, to confirm his representations as to Lord President Hope's sitting on jury cases in the Court of Session. The Lord Justice Clerk said, that the Solicitor-General and he could only recollect three jury cases in which his father had not sat since November 1840, when the duty of presiding in jury cases devolved upon him.
The ROYAL ASSENT was given, by Commission, on Tuesday, to the Appropriation Act Amendment Bill.
PROHIBITED MARRIAGES. Lord FRANCIS EGERTON gave notice, OR Tuesday, that on the 22d he should move for leave to bring in a bill to render certain marriages valid, to alter the law with respect to certain voidable marriages, and to define the prohibited degrees of affinity.
SAFETY ON RAILWAYS. Mr. HARDY gave notice, on Wednesday, that in Committee on the Railways Bill he should move a clause or clauses to give greater security to passengers.
SPAIN. Colonel Fox asked, on Tuesday, whether Sir Robert Peel was aware that Louis Philippe had given Cabrera leave to go to the South of France, and that he had arrived in Paris ; and whether he was aware of the conspiracy against the Spanish Government. Sir ROBERT PEEL had no official Information as to Cabrera's movements ; and he had heard only the ordinary rumours of the conspiracy in Spain. He could only express a cordial hope that the Spanish Government, sup- ported by the spirit and energy of the Spanish people, would have the strength to resist any machinations against its repose.
STADE-DUTIES. In reply to Mr. HUTT, On Monday, Sir ROBERT PEEL said that the subject of the Stade-duties had received the atten- tion of her Majesty's Government. A commissioner had just arrived with powers for settling the question, and negotiations were pending._