Ztbates ants 1Procubirras in Varliament.
THE BUDGET RESOLUTIONS.
The adjourned debate in the House of Commons was continued on Monday.
At the commencement of the proceedings, Mr. CEARLES WYNN hoped that the House would be allowed to proceed to a division that night ; and that for such a purpose Mr. Brotherton would for once intermit his usual vigilance. Lord Joins RUSSELL would neither pre- vent nor hasten a decision. Mr. BROTHERTON would not promise to comply with Mr. Wynn's request: there were still a dozen gentlemen on his side of the House anxious to address it.
Sir EDWARD KNATCHBULL, who was in possession of the House, then said, that he would not prolong discussion on an exhausted subject; especially as twelve gentlemen opposite were anxious to speak. Sir CHARLES GREY continued the debate, amid the noise of Members leav- bog the House. He was sceptical as to the alleged danger of ruin to the West Indies ; and he twitted the East Indians, who now opposed mea- sures of enlargement, with having been very zealous in urging the evils of restriction when their interests were opposed to the monopoly of the West Indies. Let those who now objected to the removal of restrie- tions look to the breaking up of the Spanish colonies and the fatal reaction of a restrictive system on the mother-country. Sir Charles had not the most remote idea of the grounds upon which the party opposite were to come into power— He had himself been asked by intelligent foreigners from almost all nations, what it was that was now going on ? (" Hear!' and laughter.) Was he to answer that a change of the English Ministry had taken place, because the party opposite had taken fright at the intimation given by the Chancellor of the Exchequer that he meant to propose to reduce from 63s. to 36s. the import-duties on foreign-grown sugar ? (Clieers and laughter.) Mr. SMYTHE would support Lord Sandon's amendment, on the score of good faith to the West Indies. Mr. AINSWORTH insisted on the importance of the Brazil trade. The poor weavers of Bolton were well aware, that if Government could carry this question, in a short time it would be able to do away with the Sugar-monopoly altogether. Mr. Tnostes HODGES would have supported the reduction of the Timber- duties, had it been proposed separately ; for though it might be preju- dicial to the home grower, yet it must be borne in mind that the country did not produce enough for its own consumption : but he opposed the other two of the three reductions which were suggested. Mr. TROTTER, on the other hand, thought a revision of the Sugar-duties advisable, on ac- count of the opening it would give our manufactures; but he deprecated alteration of the Corn-laws, or of the Timber-duties, on account of the dis- satisfaction which that would create in Canada. Mr. Witaasai ROCHE. supported the original proposition, on account of the very horror which he felt at slavery ; because, from the long and strenuous opposition which Government had waged against slavery, he took it for granted that they had well considered the effects of their measure. When it was proved that free labour could not compete with slave labour, it would be time enough for them to acknowledge that they were wrong. Mr. TUFFNELL charged the Opposition with supporting Lord Sandon's resolution, not from motives of humanity, but because in supporting the sugar-mono- poly they bargained for support for their own corn-monopoly. Mr. GEORGE CAVENDISH defended the Ministerial proposition generally. Captain MAamEw deduced from the present conduct of Ministers, that their former measure for the abolition of slavery was brought forward for party purposes only. Sir BENJAMIN Henn saw no alternative between the Chancellor of the Exchequer's plan and a property-tax. He hoped that, however Ministers might be beaten, they would stick to their present policy, especially in what related to the Corn-laws, and boldly press it upon the Legislature. Mr. Srarrx considered that the payment of 20,000,0001. in compensation for the slaves of the West Indian proprie- tors precluded them from offering any just opposition to the Govern- ment proposaL If the argument against the admission of slave-grown sugar had any force, an act of non-intercourse with Brazil and other slave-countries ought to be introduced ; as every bale of English goods that went out, in so far as it produced a return, encouraged slavery. Mr. MARK PHILLIPS quoted a letter from the Secretary of the Man- chester Anti-Slavery Society, which declared that only two members of the Society were opposed to the intended reduction of duties, in order to show that the denouncers of slavery might agree with Government; and then he enlarged upon the benefit which the people of this country would derive from the measure. Mr. BARRON supported the original motion, with a formal enumeration of reasons, to which he added one which "might perhaps be regarded as novel " : if Lord Sandon's reso- lution were carried, the Irish people would consider it as intended to unseat the Government in which they had confidence. That would tend more to the Repeal of the Union, and to shake the confidence of the people of Ireland in a British House of Commons, than any act that had been passed for thirty years. He hoped that Ministers would appeal to the country on these measures. (Great cheering on the Minis- terial side of the Rouse, and laughter on the-other.) Mr. WILLIAM meats asserted the rights of the White labourers at home to a prior attention. Mr. THOMAS DoNeoxins declared Lord Sandon's resolution unparalleled for inconsistency and matchless duplicity. He reproached the other side with not stating the means by which they proposed to meet the deficiency. The chief cause of that deficiency was the fall in the Post-office revenue and in the Irish excise : would the Tories re- peal the Penny Postage Act ? or did they mean to promote inebriety in Ireland? In any ease, however, they could not, as Mr. Goulburn had proposed, leave these things alone. Mr. Duncombe went on at consider- able length to contrast the reports of the happy condition of the Ne- groes in the West Indies, with the opposite reports of the state of the poor in the crowded parts of London, and the stop to employment in the manufacturing districts— In Huddersfield, men were working fourteen, sixteen, and even eighteen hours a day, for from 3s. 6d. to 7s. 6d. a week. He would give an instance of misery, from a letter addressed, not by a Chartist, but by a Church-and-State man, to the Duke of Wellington. The writer said he could scarcely trust him- self to describe the case. It was actually incredible, but nevertheless it was true, and could be proved by incontrovertible evidence. About six miles from Huddersfield, on the edge of the moors, a cow dying of dysentery was consi- dered by the poor weavers as a godsend. They called it a green cake. (A laugh.) They cut up the cow before it was stiff, and ate the pieces before they were fried. This was the state in which the manufacturing districts of the country were. Here were individuals scrambling for a portion of the carcass of a diseased cow to sustain life ; and yet an honourable gentleman said that the people would prefer a dinner of herbs to a dinner off a fat ox ! Mr. Duncombe encouraged Ministers to persevere— He knew that the division on this question would be against the Ministers ; but he hoped they would not despond. When Lord John Russell brought for- ward the Reform Bill, his proposition was also received with derision. He must remember the insulting yells and the horrible Boroughmongering howls- with which he was then assailed. Let him, then, not despond. The People ssteoeoadni%ghsaimge ofnrethat i) occasion, gsaion, aaan ptheyaiwould r astaiamn.piaPserthlipra jtal:yesm41.hat Gra- ham and Lord Stanley could never object to such a proceeding,) 'requesting certain august persons to absent themselves from the Legislature while a mea- sure beneficial to the interest of the people was passing. ("Hear, hear! ") Mr. BRISCOE applauded the plan of providing for the deficiency in the public income without adding to the burdens of the people. Mr. MONTE was at a loss to understand how the proposed alteration would make up the required revenue. He thought not merely the landed, but the monied interest also, ought to bear a share of the public burdens. Repeal of the Corn-laws only meant reduction of wages ; and unless the monetary system of the country underwent-a total revision, he did not see how they were to get the taxes paid.
On the motion of Mr. &mu., the debate was adjourned for the seventh time.
It was taken up on Tuesday by Mr. Sum ; who, after arguing at some length on the absurdity of excluding only one species of slave-produce, read some extracts from Mr. Huskisson's language on the Corn-laws, which he did not remember to have seen quoted before, in order to put the House in possession of that statesman's real views, and to counteract the effect of other quotations derived from what Mr. Huskisson had said antecedently— After describing the difficulties with which the commerce of the country had to contend, in a speech on the state of the country delivered on March 16th 1830, Mr. Hnskisson said—" This is the rivalry, every day growing more formidable, with which our capital, and industry and skill have to contend. If we meet it under some advantages, we have also great and growing disad- vantages to encounter. Do not let us lose sight of the fearful consequences which must ensue if we are distanced in the race. The greatest of all follies on such an occasion would be to shut our eyes to difficulties which if taken in time we may perhaps overcome, but which by procrastination we cannot evade. For a long time we have been the greatest manufacturing and trading nation in the world. We export for sale abroad, in a manfactured state, more or less of almost-every thing which we raise or produce. Of the raw materials of our soil the export is next to nothing. They are barely adequate—indeed I might say inadequate—to the subsistence of our population. Upon an average of years, we cannot do without a supply of foreign corn ; and of cheese, butter, and other articles, we have a large annual importation. Our Corn-laws, however expedient to prevent other evils, in the present state of the country are in themselves a burden and a restraint upon its manufacturing and com- mercial industry. Whilst the products of that industry must descend to the level of the general market of the world, the producers, so far as food is con- cerned, are debarred from that level." And let it be remembered (added Mr. Shell) that sugar was food as well as corn. Again—" Take, for instance, the landowner. Can any man doubt, that in proportion to the relief afforded would be the means and desire of the industrious classes to consume more of all the productions of the soil, which constitute their habitual comforts and luxuries ? " In another most important and invaluable speech made by Mr. Buskisson, on the 25th March 1830, upon Mr. Poulett Thomson's motion for a revision of the system of taxation—" It was," he said, " his unalterable con- viction, that we could not uphold the Corn-laws now in existence together with the present taxation, and at the same time increase national prosperity and preserve public contentment. That those laws might be repealed without af- fecting the landed interest, whilst at the same time the distress of the people might he relieved, he never had any doubt whatever. A general feeling pre- vailed that some change must be effected, and that speedily; nor were there any individuals more thoroughly persuaded of it than those who moved in the humbler walks of life." Compare those opinions of Mr. Huskisson with those which had been expressed by his distinguished pupil a few nights ago. Those were the opinions of Mr. Huskisson when he left the party with which the noble lord, his disciple, was now united. Mr. Sheil showed that the West Indians had reaped more from this country than the twenty-million compensation— Mr. Gladstone had admitted, that independently of the 20,000,0001., more than 10,000,0001. had been received since 1833,in the shape of protected prices. Mr. Sheil had applied to his friend Mr. M'Gregor upon the subject, and asked him whether Mr. Gladstone was right in his calculation ? Mr. M'Gregor said he was not ; and furnished a table, from which it appeared that the West Indians, since the 3-ear 1833, had got, in the shape of protection, 19,243,465/. Mr. HERRIES wished to inquire into the nature of the emergency which required so strong a remedy as that proposed— The House had been informed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and Lord John Russell that the finances of the country were in a deplorable condition. What, then, was the difficulty in which the country was placed ? and how did it come to be so placed ? After four years of administration by Mr. Baring and his colleagues—after four years of embarrassment—a crisis at length arrived ; things came to a dead lock, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer called on the House for assistance. Mr. Baring, a few eve- nings before, had challenged a comparison between his own administration and those of his predecessors : when Mr. Berries heard the expressions of the right honourable gentleman, he was lost in astonishment ; for it was a most re • markable fact, and one to which the attention of the House could not be too strongly directed, that the present Administration was the first and the only one, be believed, in the history of this country, which in time of peace had suffered a continued deficiency to exist in the public finances. He really wondered that the Chancellor of the Exchequer was not shocked by the contrast when he cast his eyes back on the official career of his predecessors. In time of war, indeed, there must, from the nature of things, be a deficiency; for then the revenue was not adequate to meet the extraordinary expenses that arose : but that in time of peace a Government should suffer the finances to fall into such a state of derangement that in five consecutive years of peace a deficiency of 7,000,0001. should have been accumulated, was a fact widely different from any thing that had occurred under any former Administration. Mr. Herries proceeded to show, that during the twelve years ending in 1828, the accumulated surplus, which was applied to the reduction of the permanent burdens of the country, amounted to 31,900,0001. In the three years following, while Mr. Goulburn was Chancellor of the Ex- chequer, there was an aggregate surplus of 10,000,0001., and the Na- - tiorral Debt was again proportionably reduced. The first six years even of Whig government, from the accession of Lord Grey to the retire- ment of Lord Stanley and Sir James Graham, when the finances were administered by Lord Althorp and Lord Monteagle, exhibited a similar result, giving a gross surplus of 6,700,0001. There was one exception— There was one year of deficiency, and it occurred under the administration of Lord Althorp. But no one who was at that time a Member of the House could fail to remember with how much regret the deficiency was contemplated by Lord Althorp—with how much assiduity he applied himself to repair the mischief—how anxious he was to prevent a recurrence of it, and with how
much success he carried his wishes into execution. Not only was Lord Althorp exceedingly solicitous to prevent a deficiency, but when he made an estimate of his finances, by which it appeared that his resources would not exceed by more than 300,0001. the expenditure of the year, he said, "Now, although I never was an advocate for a large sinking-fund or a large surplus of revenue, I cer- tainly think that 300,000/. is coming too near the mark. Now, the Chancellor of the Exchequer calmly confessed that he was 7,000,0001. in debt— It was true that this confession was not made until after every possible shift had been resorted to to meet the current expenditure : Exchequer Bills to the "extent of 4,000,000/. had been funded; the Savings Banks had been poached upon; every source from which money could be derived had been eagerly and anxiously visited; but still there was a deficiency to the amount of 7,000,0001. And what was there to account for it ?—
Had the revenue failed? had the resources of the country fallen off? had there been any extraordinary unforeseen expenditure for foreign ser- Yiee 7—No such thing. There UPI been no expenditure that any Mi-
nister, at the time of framing the Budget, ought not to have fore- seen. To what, then, was the difficulty attributable? To what cause was it that for five years we had been gradually falling into this state of increasing difficulty and disgrace ? A child of ten years old might perfectly under- stand it. He did not believe that there was one person in the country so little informed upon public affairs, or of so little reflection, as not to be perfectly aware that the whole of the great difficulty in which we were now involved was owing to the feebleness of the Government ; a Government so weak as to be obliged to make engagements and compacts with parties in that House, with- out whose support it could not continue to exist, and to secure which it did not hesitate to make sacrifices of the gravest and most serious character. Among these might be reckoned the sacrifice of the Post-office revenue ; which, as nearly as could be calculated, gave rise to a deficiency of 1,400,0001.. Had that amount of income been still continued to the Exchequer, there would have been no occasion to resort to the extraordinary measures now propounded by the Government.
Mr. Herries went on to examine the three questions raised by the Chancellor of the Exchequer's resolutions. The changes in the Corn and Timber duties were at least strangely ill-timed, especially the latter; and Lord Sydenham said that it would greatly add to the embarrassment of his government in conducting the great experiment which was now in progress in Canada. With respect to the Sugar-duties, Mr. Herries altogether agreed with Lord Sandon. He then touched upon the subject of free trade ; observing how little the Government plan was calculated to fulfil the expectations of the Free-trade section of the House. Mem- bers had talked of class-interests- These interests had been condemned, as if the protective duties had been established for the sake of the individuals connected with them—as if they were separate classes—as if the shipping interest was an interest separate from that of the country at large—as if the protective duties went into the pockets of the shipowners or of the sailors who belonged to them. Was that really the case ? The agricultural also had been styled a class-interest. Did they, however, believe it ? Did they believe the colonial to be a class-interest? Did they believe that the whole policy of this country had been for the sake of benefiting the colonial proprietors, the shipping proprietors, and the landed proprietors? Could they really imagine that the policy of this great country had been so miserably partial and shortsighted? If these were the views of Government— if they looked on these interests as separate from the interests of the nation— if they forgot how much the safety, the power, and the glory of the country depended on the existence of these class-interests—and if they were prepared to sacrifice them to the doctrines of free trade—all he could say was, that he thought the time had come when that party which advocated a better and a more considerate policy were imperatively called on to take the places of honourable gentlemen opposite, and to assume the responsibility of the go- vernment.
Mr. Vim.rnas maintained that no connexion had been proved be- tween the feebleness with which Government had been reproached and the financial difficulties of the country. He approved of the Ministerial plan for recruiting the resources of the country by relieving it of re- strictions and monopolies which fettered and oppressed commerce. He gave an apology for the imperfect nature of the Government scheme, comparing it with the policy of their opponents— Lord Stanley had stated what he considered to be the principles of free trade—that the object of our wants should be procured in whatever markets we could buy cheapest ; that no class should be protected at the expense of the community ; and that taxes should be imposed for revenue, and not for pro- tection. Be added, however, that such principles were only espoused by Mr. Grote ; and by that expression the noble lord evidently meant to say, " These are opinions which no friend of mine has advanced : it is not for revenue, but for protection, that I would impose taxes." Then Lord Stanley proceeded to vindicate himself from being thought the advocate of monopoly. " I am," said he, " a disciple of Mr. Huskisson. Mr. Huskisson was the minister of common sense, and 1 am his follower. Am I, then, the advocate of the doc- trines of free trade ?—No. Am I the advocate of monopoly ?—No ; but I am fur competition, checked, limited, and regulated by protective duties." Now Mr. Villiers wanted to know how this species of competition differed from mo- nopoly. There was no injury inilicted on the community by the landed in- terest, the shipping interest, or the West Indian interest, which could not be defended on the principles of the policy avowed by the noble lord ; and he was satisfied that there was no working-man in the country who would be content with the principle of free trade as propounded by the noble lord. The time was come when the country would insist upon an intelligible definition of what was meant by protection. For his part, he knew of none better than that which had been given by able and competent witnesses examined before a Committee of that House. They said that protection was not feasible as re- garded the public, and only useful as regarded the interest of particular classes. The proposition of the Government included both protection and competition, but recommended protection not as a principle but as a compromise. Mr. Villiers made a broad and sweeping reply to the Anti-Slavery arguments— What was the favourite policy with respect to other countries where the slave-trade was carried on with every aggravation of cruelty ? With regard to Turkey, what efforts were made to preserve the integrity of the Turkish empire ? English money and English blood had been expended to support it ; and we all knew that slavery was carried on there with greater cruelty than in the West Indies. Books were filled with the slavery and the slave-trade of Egypt. And so with respect to the East Indies. The motion of the noble lord had been seconded by an East India Director, who would not deny that slavery existed in the East Indies, and that the slave-trade was winked at by the Company's servants there, and was tolerated by their apathy and indiffer- ence. What was meant by a motion to prevent the people of England from consuming slave-grown sugar at a cheap rate, seconded by an at India Director, who must know that the slave-trade was carried on in the East Indies, and was encouraged by the apathy and indifference of the Company's servants ?—a motion supported by those who had been owners of slaves ? The House was going to a division—it was said to a dissolution ; and he hoped that the people would scan the division-lists ; wliile he gave a
hint to the electors, that they should not confirm the necessity of some change in the franchise, by sacrificing the interests of the unrepresented classes to sectional interests.
Sir EDWARD KNATCHBULL resisted the proposed alteration of duty, mainly on the ground that it would encourage slavery. Mr. CHARLES BULLER, in a lively speech, starting with some raillery of Sir Edward Knatchbull's desire that Members should " speak out,"
contrasted with the reserve of his party, deprecated the infliction of such a curse on India as a forced industry. He drew attention to one important fact— It related to the difference between the increase of the population in the agricultural and manufacturing districts throughout the country. It appeared that between the years 1811 and 1831, the population had increased by 865,000 families; of whom 65,000 only belonged to the agricultural districts, the re- maining 800,000 belonging to the manufacturing portions of the country. It
was the export trade of the country by which that great population was sup- . ported. Millions of human beings were placed in daily and hourly dependence upon the export trade. If any measures were adopted the effect of which would be to destroy the markets of the country, instead of our being the most happy and prosperous people, we should become the most beggarly and miserable on the face of the earth.
Sir ROBERT PEEL, even though no question of timber or of corn had been mixed with that of sugar, would have voted against the introduc- tion of slave-grown sugar into the English market ; not upon the ab- stract ground that conscience would forbid all commerce in the produce of slave-labour—he had voted for the reduction of duty on cotton, and the rempval of the absurd restriction which required foreign coffee to be sent round to the Cape—but he now rested mainly upon a considera- tion of the social and moral condition of the West Indian people, under the experiment now in progress— Ile admitted that the liberality of this country bad been so great, that if the personal and pecuniary interests of the West India proprietors only had been concerned, this House would have had a right to call upon them to sacrifice their interests to a consideration of the public advantage. But he forgot their individual interests in the much higher considerations which were involved in this question, when he looked to the moral and social condition of the inha- bitants of that part of the empire in which we had recently. made the greatest and most hazardous, and apparently—and he admitted it with cordial satisfac- tion—the most successful experiment that was ever made in the civilized world. But he could not conceive what might be the consequences of that change, when he saw society in these colonies staggering and reeling under the effects of this experiment, if he took a step which might decide that sugar the pro- duce of slave-labour should be introduced into the markets of this country. Sir Robert cited the authority of Mr. Burnley : he had been cited also on the other side as sanctioning free trade ; but then he had declared, that unless a new supply of labour were first furnished to the West Indies, all capital must perish. A deputation from the Man- chester Chamber of Commerce had waited upon Sir Robert, consisting of Mr. Ashworth and two other gentlemen, for whose intelligence and personal character he had the profoundest respect, and they had recom- mended to his perusal a pamphlet by Mr. William Greg. He had read it attentively. Mr. William Greg was the advocate of free trade and of the manufacturing interests— The conclusion of the pamphlet was this—" We think we have now clearly made out all the positions which it was our object to elucidate, namely, that all artificial measures for suppressing the African slave-trade, whether by increas- ing our squadron, encouraging commerce, forming treaties, establishing factories, or christianizing Atrica, must necessarily end in disappointment and calamity ; that the only method of abolishing the slave-trade is by destroying the demand for slaves ; that this object can only be attained, and may cer- tainly be attained, by establishing, through the prosperity of our West Indian colonies, the superior cheapness free labour; and ti.at this prosperity will be insured, and can only be insured, by extensive and systematic immigration, and by a temporary continuance of the present discriminating duties on sugar." For the benefit of honourable gentlemen opposite, he would repeat the words, "and by a temporary continuance of the present discriminating duties on sugar." Now this was not the first time that he had been indebted for an argument to the Chamber of Commerce at Manchester. He had read the pamphlet that was thus placed in his hands by an advocate of free trade ; and having read it with great respect for the abilities of the author, no con- viction had followed, but a confirmation of his previous views in favour of the continuance of a discriminating duty on sugar— "Sol oceubuit, nos nulls semis est."
Sir Robert expressed his conviction that a sufficient supply of sugar would be furnished from the East and West Indies and the Mauritius. There had been a material reduction in its price even since the begit- ning of the present debate. He urged the importance of providing new articles of remittance from India to England ; and quoted instances of extensive mortality by famine in Hindostan, produced in some measure by the expulsion of the Hindoo manufactures through the superiority of the English. After such fearful examples, he was unable to feel the paramount obligation of those Free-trade doctrines which now invoked him to give a preference to the industry of Cuba and Brazil over that of the East Indies. The proposal alleged to have been made by Mr. Grant, now Lord Glenelg, to a former Tory Cabinet, had been misre- presented. It was a proposal only for reducing the duty on West Indian sugar, not for admitting the sugar of slave-colonies ; and since then, slavery had been abolished in the British possessions ; so that the cir- cumstances were totally altered. He owned he was surprised at the tone taken upon the Slave question in this debate—the total indiffe- rence—the abandonment of the whole position heretofore maintained by Government ; an abandonment which the country would view with disgust. The time was past when a nation could rule her neighbours by force; but he had hoped that England might still sway them by the greatness of her example. Sir Robert had been accused of faction-
" In his introductory speech, Lord John Russell indignantly repelled the accusations of faction made against her Majesty's Ministers, and said with much earnestness that he was quite conscious no man who had watched the progress of the Government of which he was a member could ever, even for a single moment, suppose them capable of bringing forward a public measure with a view to court a factious popularity. (Great laughter, answered by cheers from the Ministerial benches.) Now, Sir, I say nothing on the subject of the noble lord's anticipatory defence of himself; but I must say, that I had hoped that the experience of the noble lord would have sufficed to free us from the charge of having offered a factious opposition to Government. I think, Sir, before he bad levelled any such accusation against us, he might have recalled to his recol- lection several occasions when, if we had offered a factious opposition to him, his position as a Minister of the Crown in this House would have been far less easy than It has been : he might have borne in mind the question of Privilege—the ques- tion, of the Union of the Cauadas—of the new Poor-law ; and might have had the ,justice to give us some credit for not baying been desirous against our convictions to barrass his Government on great public questions. a • a Why, Sir, the only prima facie evidence of faction in the case is, that I now pursue the course alone which I pursued last year conjointly with Ministers on this very question."
It was said that Lord Sandon's resolution left its supporters a loop- hole to escape by, so that they might afterwards propose what they now oppose : Sir Robert would not avail himself of it-
" I will be frank and explicit with you. I do now say that my opinion, my deliberate opinion is, that the for experiment which has coat this country so ri much—the great experiment for the extinction of slavery—should be fully, fairly, and perfectly tried; and that to this effect we ought to encourage sugar the production of free labour, by giving it the exclusive preference in the market of the United Kingdom, as well as to attempt to increase its supply in all our colonies. Sir, if I bad been in office, I should have taken the same course that I did take on this question ; and if I should be in office, I never con- template changing it. (Cheers.) I do not propose to follow your example— (addressing Lord John Russell)—to resist the proposition now under discussion this year, and come down the next with a motion for its adoption. (Great cheers.) Sir, the principle we contend for is this, that East India sugar and rum— all produce of that colony in fact, but especially sugars—should be placed on the same footing as the produce of the West Indies. (Cheers.) My confident hope and firm belief is that a sufficient supply of sugar will be produced in our own colonies. ("Hear, hear, hear! n I should rejoice at it ; and if it be procurable at a reasonable price, I shall be prepared to continue the existing protection, so long as our West India colonies remain in a state analogous to that in which they are placed at present." He did not deny, and he deeply regretted the existence of, great dis- tress in some of the manufacturing districts ; a distress, however, which, unhappily, was to be found in all times and circumstances. But he did not contemplate with alarm the commercial prospects of the country. He referred to Parliamentary returns, showing the recent decrease of exports to have been but small, and to have been owing chiefly to the late embarrassments of the United States, our great customers for the parti- cular articles in which the decrease had occurred. The state of our shipping had been not only not retrograde, but actually progressive. He had been called upon by Mr. Villiers to make a declaration of his opinion on free trade— Mr. Villiers said the principle of free trade advocated by him and those friends who concurred with him was this, that without reference to any other consideration, our true policy was to buy in the cheapest market. If such was the principle of the honourable gentleman, to be acted upon as an in- variable and universal rule, without reference to time and circumstances, Sir Robert could only say that in principle, or at least in this application of it, he could not concur. He did not contest the principle in reference to countries, if it were possible to conceive their existence, in which no preformed relations subsisted ; but, as Lord Stanley said in the admirable speech he had delivered, in a country with such complicated relations as this, of such extensive empire, of such immense trade, the rigid application of such a principle as this would in- volve us in inextricable confusion ; and Sir Robert apprehended that the Ministry themselves would dissent from the principle of free trade thus laid down. If Mr. Villiers's principle was really and simply to go to the cheapest market, what could the honourable gentleman say to the Government propo- sition to impose 8s. a quarter duty on the importation of wheat ? He must, consistently with his principle, insist upon the entirely free and unrestricted importation of wheat, timber, sugar, and every other commodity. Sir Robert and his colleagues in office had been cordial supporters of Mr. Huskisson, the recollection of whose authority confirmed him in his present opinions; and the only actual resistance to Mr. Huskisson's measures was from Mr. Edward Ellice and Mr. Williams, partisans of the W higs. Yet now Lord John Russell seemed to claim an exclusive possession of the principles of Mr. Huskisson. (" Hear, hear ! " and laughter.) He seemed to say, If we go out of office, we will pack up the principles of free trade and carry them away with us. (Loud cheers and laughter.) But such is our magnanimous generosity, that we give you notice that we shall stand by our principles ; and we will not withhold a supply when you demand from us a contribution of liberal policy." (" Hear, hear!" and laughter.)
Sir Robert declared his views upon the other special questions under consideration—the Corn and Timber duties. Here is his declaration on the Corn-laws-
" I do then say, that notwithstanding the forcible combination which has been formed against the Corn-laws—notwithstanding the declarations that either the total repeal or the substitution of a fixed duty for the present scale is the inevitable result of the agitation now going forward—notwithstanding this declaration, 1 do not hesitate to avow my adherence to the opinion which I expressed last year, and now again declare that my preference is decidedly in favour of a graduated sliding to any fixed duty. (Loud cheering.) I said that I preferred the principle ofa graduated sliding duty to a fixed one. I said that I would not limit myself to any rigid details, but that I reserved for my- self the opportunity of considering them ; the principle of the graduated sliding scale as compared with the fixed duty I bound myself to, but not to any details. a a a The noble lord will propose the adoption of a fixed duty ; but I will offer my opposition to it on the ground that I do not think a fixed duty can be permanent." ("!pear, hear ! ' )
He could make no promise in regard to the Timber-duties-
" How could any rational man venture to form an opinion upon such a sub- ject as theTimber-duties, without having been put in possession not only of the financial and commercial, but of the political circumstances connected with them. Did Lord John apply the principles of free trade to the Timber-duties? No; he availed himself of the advantages which his office gave him, and said that there was a great political crisis. He looked to the state of Canada, and considered the great experiment which had been made there—the condition of property in that colony, the state of our relations with the United States of America, the apprehension of Mr. APLeod, and the long-pendiug and unsettled question of the North-eastern boundary ; and instead of applying the princi- ples of free trade to the Timber-duties, he writes out to the Governor-General of that province, and asks him for an opinion. The Governor-General of Canada informs him that if he touches the Timber-duties he will materially add to the difficulties he already has to contend with in that colony. If, then, the Governor-General himself says that the alteration of the Timber-duties will materially add to his difficulties, I will demand to know the truths which you, the Colonial Secretary, know—I will be put in possession of your official in- formation upon the subject—before I answer your appeal upon such a question as this."
Ministers talked of a financial crisis : they were mainly responsible for it. They came down to the House year after year and announced a deficiency; and now they boast themselves martyrs to free trade, and ask him for a budget-
" I am by no means surprised at your confidence. You recollect that when I left office in 1830, I had been connected with an Administration which, during the period in which it had the management of the finances of this country under its control, reduced the public debt by 20,000,0001. of capital, and the annual charge upon that debt by more than 1,000,000/. You remember, too, that we left a surplus of 1,600,0001. of revenue over expenditure ; and that we did all this with all the difficulties of an Unreformed Parliament. (Loud cheers.) Now, you have had your way for five years. (Cheers and laughter.) You have had all the benefit of cheap government. (Laughter.) You have had that superior advantage—you have had the administration of affairs for ten years. You recollect, no doubt, the aid which I gave you with respect to the Jamaica question on a former occasion—when I enabled you to retain popular representative government—when you were compelled to take my ad- vice, and were glad and rejoiced in your counseller—(Protracted cheers)—you remember all this; and, if the circumstances were the same now, I would again give you the same advice. (Cheers.) Sir, I cannot but confess that I view with unaffected sympathy theposition of the right honourable gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer--for to see a good man struggling with adversity, says the poet, is a sight which the gods love to look upon—(Laughter)—and I cannot conceive a more lamentable position than that of a Chancellor of the Exchequer seated on an empty chest, by the aide of bottomless deficiencies, fishing for a budget. (Protracted cheers and laughter.) I won't bite— (Reiterated laughter and cheers)—and I refuse my aid, on this ground, that I can see nothing less worthy of public confidence than my conduct would be were I, out of office, to come forward and offer my budget in competition with .yours." (Loud cheers.) There might be some young gentlemen in that House who would be silly enough to fancy that he would say something about a Property-tax, and the propriety of abolishing the Penny- Postage sys- tem. But he would fairly say at once, that he would bring forward no budget; his vote that evening was upon a question of confidence--(Opposition cheers); and he would not endeavour to obtain the confidence or support of the country by raising expectations that he should bring forward plans for relieving the necessities of the country, or encourage any precise expectations of relief. What Sir Robert would do were he in office—
No man had a right to anticipate being taken to the confidence of his Sove- reign, and placed in the position of Minister. If it were in his power to do so tomorrow, he should endeavour to secure the confidence of the Ilouse of Com- mons without delay ; but he would not make any public professions of what be would do if in office. He should certainly profess so far as this, that he should carefully review the circumstances of the country ; and that, considering the existence of a deficit in time of peace to be an intolerable evil, he should make some effort to equalize the income and expenditure of the country; but at the same time, whilst he asked of the House of Commons a manifestation of its confidence and friendliness, he should ask to be allowed time to consider the circumstances of the country, and the best mode of applying a relief to the evils and distress complained of in it.
His belief was, that he could assign no particular cause for the defi- ciency. He would not mix up with the question immediately before the House the larger questions of Foreign policy ; but he declared that he retained his opinions in respect to China ; and he admitted that Government had been called upon to incur expenses in Canada. Still, making these allowances, Ministers were responsible for the ills which had resulted from general mismanagement. The evil had occurred not from want of individual ability, but because Minis- ters, as a Government, had retained office when they no longer had the means of effecting the measures they knew to be necessary— because they had endeavoured to carry on their Administration in viola- tion of the principles of the constitution, on which they had given him credit for acting when he resigned in 1835. It was not for the interest of a representative government that these things should con- tinue— " Sir, I cannot think it is to the advantage of the Monarchy that the servants of the Crown should be retained when they are unable to carry those measures which, as the confidential servants of the Sovereign, it is their bounden duty to bring forward. It is not the measures themselves (said Sir Robert, addressing Ministers) which you introduce that are injurious, but they lose the grace and favour of the public eye when it is believed that they do not spring from your deliberate will—are not formed in consequence of the deliberate convictions of your own minds ; but are proposed merely for the purpose of propping up your falling fortunes, and conciliating the good-will of a particular party, to whose support you look. (Cheers.) It is not, believe me, consistent with your own high character as public men, that you have made your present proposal. The public—I do not mean the needy and suffering portion of the people whose miseries you have affected to describe, but the intelligent, well-judging portion of the public—will hardly admit that you possess their confidence." (Cheers.) Sir Robert deplored the style of argument to which Ministers had condescended— He lamented particularly the comparisons which Lord John Russell had drawn between the state of the population of the West Indies and the working- classes of this country. He lamented particularly that appeal which he had made on the score of the sufferings of the latter. The same arguments and the same statements had been made against Lord John himself, when he had proposed grants of public money in that House. On the Poor-law question, also, lie had been obstructed by the very same statements; and if he now suc- ceeded by the use of such arguments in carrying a fixed duty upon corn, he might expect, in every future measure which he might propose, to be encoun- tered, and successfully encountered, with the same weapons. (Opposition cheers.) Sir Robert did not deny the power of such arguments, and that the use of such appeals coming from men in the position and with the authority of the noble lord would give them an overwhelming potency. By such argu- ments it might be easy to rouse tlae excited passions of a populace against what were called class interests; and very possibly, in the collision which took place between opposing interests, meu might be able to gather up the fragments mid to combine them into the element of an increased party strength. But they might depend upon it that such elements were of an unruly and uncontrollable nature, and that a Government who made use of them would read to the country this great lesson, that when authority condescended to support itself by means of an alliance with agitation, it called to its aid a powerful ally, no doubt, but an ally which would be its master, and not its slave. (Loud Oppo- sition cheers.) Lord PALMERSTON denied that his friend the Chancellor of the Ex- chequer was fishing for a budget : he had caught his budget, and laid it on the table : though in doing so, indeed, he had been charged with forgetting the duties of a Chancellor of the Exchequer, because he had proposed to fill up a part of the deficiency by relieving the people from a portion of their burdens. Sir Robert Peel had mistaken when he supposed that he was asked for a budget- " What we required was this—and not even tonight has an answer been given to the challenge= Tell us, ay or no, when we intend to supply the deficiency of the revenue by striking a blow at some of the great monopolies which have hitherto retarded the prosperity of the country—when you object on narrow and insufficient grounds to our particular proposal, tell us plainly, do you approve of makina' up the deficiency in the way we intend, or are you prepared to vote new taxes for the purpose ? " Sir Robert Peel had promised to give with the utmost frankness his opinion on the Corn, Timber, and Sugar questions : what, then, did he say?— "What were those explanations which were to be given in such an unreserved spirit ? On the Sugar-duty he read over, in the beginning of his speech, the principles and doctrines contained in the resolution of his noble friend ; and the only pledge he could give was, that for the next year he should not pro- pose any change in the duty. (Cheers.) Well, then, we were to have his un- reserved opinion on the question of the Corn-laws. What was it ? That he preferred a sliding scale to a fixed duty. But a sliding scale may be a very slippery thing. (Loud and prolonged cheering.) The right honourable baronet took care to guard against declaring whether that siding scale which he wished to slip into would be a scale material'y diminishing, or not, that amount of protection which the present law affords. (Loud cheers.) On the Timber-duties, too, we have the right honourable baronet's equally frank and candid declaration. (Laughter.) If my ear did not deceive me, he said that on thatquestion also he should keep himself totally unfettered—(Laughter and cheers)—that until be knew what was known to my noble friend, (Lord John Russell,) until he was put into the confidence of the Governor-General of Canada, it was utterly impossible for him to afford us any information as to his views." (Cheers.)
Lord Palmerston, indeed, remembered no great question that had been debated on more narrow and inadequate grounds-
" That question is, whether the great springs of industry shall be relieved from some of the obstructions which have hitherto retarded their development,
or whether the resources of our strength shall continue to be shaken for the sake of private interests or of privileged classes. (Loud cheers.) The ques- tion is between free trade—and by free trade 1 mean such a trade as opens the
way to free competition—on the one side, and monopoly on the other. (Ulcers.)
The question is between reason and prejudice—between the interests of the many and the profits of the few. (Loud cheers.) And the honourable gen- tlemen opposite, shrinking from a question which they were bound fairly and
manfully to grapple with—afraid to join issue with us on the real merits of the case, because they know the verdict of the country would be against them—
have endeavoured to narrow it to one collateral point, and under the pretence of an unbounded zeal for the welfare of the Negroes of our own Colonies, to attract the House and the country into an erroneous impression as to their views. I forbear to say how many of those who are the loudest in the present cry have been parties to the sufferings of those Negroes. They stand forward, they say, as supporters of principle against interest ; the principle they have
adopted being that of humanity, and the interests they oppose those of the twenty-five millions of this kingdom. I honour and respect principle—(Much laughter from the Opposition)—hut let principle be the rule and not the ex- ception ; let it guide your conduct and inspire your actions, and not be put forward as a mere pretext to arrive at unacknowledged ends."
Lord Palmerston very effectively ridiculed the futility of excluding one kind of slave-produce and admitting several others- " Do we not, I ask, encourage the slaves of North America to produce as ranch cotton as they can ; and do we not send that cotton to South America,
in order to induce them, by slave-labour, to produce as much sugar as they can ? We say to the Brazils, ' We can supply you with a quantity of cotton cheaper and better than you can get it elsewhere ; will you buy it 1"lhey say in return, Certainly we mill, and we will pay you in sugar and coffee.' We say then, ' No; sugar and coffee arc the produce of slave-labour: we are men of principle, and our consciences will not allow us to consume slave-labour sugar and coffee.' But does the transaction end there? do we then take our goods to a free-labour market ? No ; we try to help them out of the difficulty : we say, ' We will not consume sugar and coffee the produce of slave-labour ; but the Germans are not so conscientious ; take your produce there, and get for it money, which we have no scruple to accept.' But the Brazilians say, There is still a difficulty in this: Germany is across the Atlantic ; we hare very few
ships fit to cope with the waves of the ocean.' What do we then say ? Our
reply is, 'Oh, we have ships in plenty ; we will carry your produce for you.' Slave-labour sugar shall not contaminate our warehouses, our shops, or our tables ; but as to our ships, that is a very different thing. But the Brazilians say there is another difficulty—and indeed there is no end to them. The Bra- zilians say, ' The Germans like our sugar; but they are fond of refined sugar : we cannot refine our own sugar, and the Germans are not willing to do so.' But we again say, Oh, we are aware of that ; we will step in and help you: we will refine your sugar for you.' So that, however sinful it may be to continue to use slave-labour sugar, there is no sin in refining it. We refine it then, and think
we have done. Not a bit : the Brazilians say, We have a great deal more sugar than the Germans want ; what are we to do with it?' And what do
we say in reply ? Why, we say, ' We will buy it of you ; we will not eat it our-
selves, because we are conscientious men, but will send it to our West India islands, and to our distant settlements, there to be consumed by the Negro or
the colonist, who has no right to a conscience. It can do them no harm to eat slave-labour sugar : and to prevent any difficulty, we tell you that if that will not do, and if through any accident our own sugar shall get dear, we will eat
your slave-grown sugar ourselves.' Now, without wishing to give the slightest offence, I ask, is not this the grossest hypocrisy ? (Loud cheers.) And are we to be asked to forego an arrangement which will be attended with relief to our commerce and with assistance to our finances, upon pretences so hollow and so inconsistent with what we are doing every day ?" (Loud cheers.) If indeed Ministers thought that their proposition was likely to en- courage the slave-trade, it would not have ben made. The suppres-
sion of that traffic was to he effected in two ways,—either by exercise of the utmost vigilance on the part of our maritime police, acting under treaties with Foreign Governments ; or else by the measures which Foreign Governments themselves might be induced to adopt. The
measure now proposed would materially aid in both those. respects. When the Whigs first enier:d office in 1830, the slave-trade was car- ried on to the greatest extent, chiefly under the flags of Spain and Portugal. The first thing which Ministers did was to procure an extension of the treaty with those countries, and a new treaty with France. That was of no use, however, without they could obtain such treaties from every power in the world that had a vessel sailing on the ocean- " We have made great progress in the work. We have treaties now ratified and concluded with France, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Sweden, Den-
mark, the Manse Towns, Sardinia, Venezuela, and Buenos Ayres. We have also treaties concluded, but there had not yet been time for the ratifications to arrive, with Brazil, Chili, Monte Video, Mexico, and Texas. We were nego- tiating a treaty—which had been adopted, and the signatures to which were only delayed in consequence of circumstances arising out of the recent changes in Europe—between England, France, Austria, Russia, and Prussia, founded on the treaty already concluded with France. I have the best reason also for be- lieving, that when that treaty shall be ultimately concluded, Belgium, Hano- ver, and Greece will not withold their assent from it. In Greece we have very recently prevailed upon the Government to pass a law prohibiting the slave-trade in the Mediterranean carried on by Greek ships. We are nego- tiating on the same subject with the state of Equator, in South America; and I hope to have the treaty soon. A treaty with Peru had not been entered into only because the Government of that state was in a condition which ren- dered it impossible to obtain from it a treaty of any sort. If we were to suc- ceed in these treaties, as we have every reason to hope we shall, there will then remain, of all the states in Christendom, but the single exception of the United States of America that will not be engaged in a general league for the suppres- sion of-the slave-trade. They have hitherto been deterred by the name of the
right of search ; and they did not sufficiently remember that the right of search asked for the purpose of preventing traffic in slaves, was as different from the right of search against which they contended in their war with us as any one thing could possibly be from another. I trust, therefore, that the people of America will not allow themselves to be carried away by a name, but will in- vestigate the nature of things." Now, in Brazil and Cuba the slave-trade might have been suppressed already had the existing laws against it been enforced. Why were they
not, but that we had excited the jealousy of those states by always ap- pearing as enemies ; while by asserting, as Lord Sandon proposed to do, that free labour could not compete with slave labour, we were sup- plying them with the very best argument against their compliance in our demand, and falsifying all that we had said as to its expediency and feasibility. Would they not think, that to the odiousness of our commercial hostility we had been adding the meanness of falsehood and duplicity ? On the other hand, those who on broad views wished to extend the principles of liberty, should desire all that could contri- bute to the welfare of England-
" As long as England remains preeminent on the ocean of human affairs, there are none be they ever so unfortunate, none be their condition ever so desperate or forlorn, who do not turn with a look of hope to the light that beams from hence. They may be beyond the reach of our power; still our moral sympathy and our influence can support them under their reverses, and hold out to them in the midst of their difficulties the hope of better days. But if by the assaults of her enemies or the errors of her misguided sons, England should fall, or her star lose its lustre, with her would fall the hopes of the Africans, whether on their own continent or in the great regions of America ; and they would for a time at least be buried in despair. (Loud cheers.) I know no nation that is now ready in this respect to supply our place."
Lord Palmerston would impose duties on foreign produce solely for the purposes of revenue ; but then Government did not mean to apply that principle in a very alarming manner-
" I know that in an artificial state of society, such as that in which we live, it is impossible at once and without some delay to apply principles of this kind ; because, suddenly adopted, they would derange a considerable branch of human transactions, and might possibly lead to the ruin of thousands of indi- viduals. That is not our wish or our intention. The object at which we aim is to go on with the principles of free trade as quickly and as straightforwardly as circumstances will admit."
We could not urge a more liberal commercial policy on foreign countries, telling them that competition is the light and life of trade, and at the same time retain our own restrictive system. Foreign coun- tries listen with polite incredulity, and point front our theories to our practice. Lord Palmerston's official experience showed that this was no merely imaginary grievance— "First ofall, the German League had just renewed their treaty for twelve years from 1842. Next summer they are going to hold a meeting for the purpose of revising their tariff: and this [louse and the country deceive themselves greatly if they imagine that a perseverance in our restrictive and prohibitory duties will not induce the German League to place such duties upon our manufactures as will probably exclude them completely from the whole of that part of the European market. Russia and Sweden prohibit a great number of our com- modities; and when we ask them to relax their tariff, they say,' Take our corn and timber, and then we will talk with you about the admission of your manu- factures.' Not long ago, Sweden sent over a mission headed by a nobleman of high distinction, for the purpose of inducing us to come to some arrangement for a mutual modification of the tariffs of the two countries ; but at that mo- ment we had no rational hopes of carrying through Parliament any proposition that would have met either our own views or those of the Swedish Govern- ment. France has a tariff which excludes many of the staple articles of our manufacturing produce. (" Rear, hear ! ") France will not alter her tariff if we do not alter ours. As a proof of the extent to which this mania growing out of the notion of protection extends, I may mention that France, not content with excluding our iron by a high protecting-duty, and our cotton manufactures by an absolute prohibition, has now descended to a minuteness of protection which would be ludicrous if it were not an illustration of the force and fallacy of our erroneous and mischievous system. France has absolutely prohibited the importation of needles and fish-hooks. (Cheers.) In Belgium, too, they are running wild with the notion of protection; and they say that they observe that England has grown great by these means. The United States of America have followed our practice ; and though it so happens that the Southern States produce slave-labour cotton, which al: of us think so essential, so impossible for us to do without, and which no tariff-regulations can prevent from reaching us to a very great extent, yet there can be no doubt that if the United States and England were mutually to revise their scale of import- duties, the commerce between the two countries would be greatly increased. Mexico is following the example : some renegade sons of England, who have established manufactures in Mexico, are endeavouring to prevail upon the Mexican Government to exclude by a high protecting-duty similar articles to those of their own manufacture produced in England. That is the course which our system of protective duties naturally induces other countries to take.
Lord Josh RUSSELL would not further protract discussion, but would content himself, after the division, with moving the resolution of which he had given notice. In reference to what Sir Robert Peel had said about the support which had been given to Mr. Huskisson, Lord John explained, that some words which Mr. Labouchere had let fall might have been misunderstood ; but be himself had never said that the merit of supporting Mr. Huskisson was not due to that statesman's colleagues : he was quite satisfied that the praise of having first proposed his prin- ciples of commercial policy was due to his colleagues and himself. Lord John then drew a parallel between the succession of Parliamentary defeats sustained by Sir Robert Peel, during his short Administration in 1835, and the present position of Ministers ; deducing that the former afforded a stronger instance of a Government retaining office than any thing that had occurred during the occupation of the present Cabinet. At the commencement of last session, the House had decided by a ma- jority of 21 against the vo'e of want of confidence in the present Ministry ; was not that a totally different case from any which had occurred during Sir Robert's Administration ? Lord John did not think that the probable successors of Ministers enjoyed the con- fidence of the country ; for he did not regard single elections as de- cisive evidence.
In reply to some incidental allusion which Lord John made to the appointment of the Marquis of Londonderry to be Ambassador to St. Petersburg, Sir ROBERT PEEL stated, that he had been no party to the withdrawal of Lord Londonderry : it was entirely his own act. The fact was, that the appointment bad not been made ; but had the House proceeded to present an address to the Crown, it had been Sir Robert's firm intention to resign.
The House then divided on the motion that the Speaker do leave the chair ; which was rejected by 317 to 281, a majority of 36.
Lord Jorizi RUSSELL next moved pro forma the resolution of which he had given notice, as an amendment to Lord Sandon's. Mr. FIELDER then moved the adjournment of the debate ; but that motion was negatived without a division ; and Lord John not pressing his reso- lution, that also was negatived without a division. Lord Sandon's resolution was agreed to ; and the other orders of the day having been disposed of, the House adjourned till Thursday, at a quarter to four o'clock on Wednesday morning.
When the House assembled again on Thursday afternoon, every part
was crowded, as a report had been circulated that Lord John Russell was to make a statement of the course which Government intended to pursue. The seats appropriated to Peers were full : among those pre- sent were Lord Lyndhurst, Lord Wharncliffe, Lord Abinger, Lord Cardigan, the Bishop of Rochester, Lord Ellenborough, Lord Comber- mere, Lord Hatherton, and Lord Poltimore. When the presentation of petitions was finished, Mr. JOHN FIELDER requested the attention of the House. He complained that his motion for the adjournment of the debate on Wednesday morning had been disposed of without his consent : the Speaker never asked him whether he meant to press his motion ; and he now asked why it had not been put from the chair ? The SPEAKER said, he saw Mr. Wakley rise to second it, but did not understand him to have done so. Mr. WAKLEY said, he had seconded the motion ; but he did not wonder, in the noise and confusion at the time, that the Speaker had made the mistake. Mr. FIELDER, however, would not be baulked : since he had not had an opportunity of delivering his speech in the House, he should send it to the newspapers. (Loud laughter.) As honourable Members seemed amused, he would tell them that the speech which he intended to make was written beforehand. (Renewed laughter.) Nay, he thought it would save time if honourable Members would make a practice of writing their speeches before they delivered them. The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER then rose, all eyes being turned upon him in anticipation of some explanation; and, says the Chronicle, " with all the coolness and tranquillity of manner he would have displayed in moving an issue of Exchequer Bills, or any business of course," he gave notice that on Monday next, in a Committee of Ways and Means, he should move the usual annual Sugar-duties! There was still an expectation, and all eyes were fixed upon the Ministerial Leader ; when Lord Jows RUSSELL moved, that this House, at its rising, do adjourn till Monday." The House assented. The Earl of DARLINGTON had been relieved of all suspense as to the intentions of Lord John ; as it was plain that he meant to stay in office—with a tenacity, he must be allowed to say, unparalleled in the history of governments—(Cheers)—and with the deliberate decision of the House of Commons, unequivocally declared, against him. (Cheers, and cries of " Order ! ") When did Lord John intend to bring forward the question of the Corn-law ? Lord JOHN RUSSELL—" On Friday the 4th of June." (Ministerial cheers.) The House was immediately left by the vast majority of those who had crowded it.
In the House of Lords, on Monday, on the presentation of some petitions from Leicester, by the Duke of Rrrriatlin, against alter- ation of the Corn-laws, Earl FITZWILLIAN expressed surprise, be- cause petitions from the same persons, or at least the same places, were presented five years back with a prayer of a completely contrary nature. In 1835, the inhabitants of Leicester called on the House to take their case into consideration with a view to an alteration in the Corn-laws ; while in 1841 they loudly expressed their disapprobation of any alteration. The reason was, that they disliked the low price in 1835, but were well content with the high price in 1841. In the mean time, a large and important class, who were well enough satisfied in 1835, 1836, and 1837, the manufacturing class, had found reason to complain of the existing laws. So that, at one time or another, every class of the community had objected to these laws. The Duke of WELLINGTON concurred, however, " in the feeling that the prosperity of the agriculturist must depend on the general pros- perity of the manufacturer and of commercial interests in general : there could be no doubt about that : and these Corn-laws were supported, not with a view to the advantage of any particular interest or class of men, but with a view to render the whole country independent of foreign countries in respect of its supply of food."
The Earl of RenNoa contended that the real interest of the people was to have cheap bread.
Lord ASHBURTON questioned the extent • of the commercial distress
of which the manufacturers complained; and at any rate it was to be attributed to other causes than the Corn-laws-
Nearly the whole amount of money raised for railroads was procured from the manufacturers of' Manchester and other places. The great portion of the amount of money raised on turnpike-trusts was derived from manufacturers. Be believed, on inquiry, that at least 50,000,0001. out of the 60,000,000/. raised for this purpose belonged to manufacturers. He was astonished at the con- duct of those gentlemen at Manchester who, by their outcry on the subject of the Corn-laws, were destroying the best market for their manufactures, namely, the home market.
Lord Ashburton condemned the conduct of Government in regard to the Hand-loom Weavers Commission and to the Committee of the House of Commons on the Import-duties. In both instances the object of in- quiry had been departed from, and the investigation had been carried on in a most unfair manner— The officers of the Board of Trade who were most strongly in favour of free trade, had been examined in such a way before the Import-duties Com- mittee as to elicit particular opinions from them favourable to the views of those who had appointed the Committee; but there had been no cross-exa- mination, and therefore the evidence ought only to be regarded as partial and one-sided.
The Earl of RADNOR did not find any opinions of Mr. Hume, Mr. M`Gregor, or Mr. Porter in favour of free trade, at all stronger than those given on the same subject a few years ago by Lord Ashburton himself.
Lord ASHBURTON had made no attack on the three gentlemen ; but he could not help strongly condemning the conduct of the Government in sending persons about the country for the purpose of producing excitement by means of the exaggerated statements contained in that Report.
The Earl of CLARENDON gave the most unqualified contradiction to the unwarrantable statement that the Government had sent persons about the country for the purpose of getting up agitation on the subject. But he vindicated the value of the Import-duties Report— It was certainly open to Lord Ashburton to make whatever observations he pleased on the Report, and to say that the opinions which it contained were most absurd, empirical, and shallow. But he must tell the noble lord, that the country took a very different view of that Report, which their Lordships would find to be one of the most important documents which ever emanated'
from the other House of Parliament ; and it would unquestionably produce most important results. It bad been translated into almost every Continental lan- guage ; thousands had been printed in America, and 46,000 copies had been circulated in this country. These copies were not circulated, as the noble lord said, for the purpose of agitating, but they were sold because the parties who bought them wished to read them. Though the noble lord called the Report absurd, Lord Clarendon could say that it contained nothing more than deductions from the evidence of the persons called in by the Committee to give evidence.
And if it were absurd, it had been exceeded by Lord Ashburton's own speeches— Those speeches afforded the most valuable repository in the English language for arguments a,_,,rainst the principles which Lord Ashburton now professed. Be said in the House of Commons that the tax of corn cost the country eighteen millions and a half a year, and that that went into the pockets of the landlords. Multiplying those eighteen millions and a half by the twenty-five years which had passed since, the conclusion would be, that the country had paid more than three or four hundred millions for the protection-tax on corn,— a proposition the extravagance of which Lord Ashburton himself would find it difficult to equal in that Report. The Earl of WICKLOW considered that the party-spirit in which Government bad now taken up the question went to invalidate Lord Clarendon's contradiction. Lord ELLENBOROUGH saw in-the extensive circulation of the Report only the more reason to regret its partial cha- racter. The Earl of RADNOR asked, why did Lord Ellenborough not move the appointment of a Committee to counteract the poison which he found in the Report? Lord ASHBURTON complained that no mem- ber of Government had been appointed to the Committee to watch its proceedings. He vindicated his own conduct— He admitted that his opinions might have changed in the course of twenty- five years, but not to the extent which had been stated. In consequence of his having been taunted with this, he had looked into the debates, and he found that in 1815 Sir Henry Parnell proposed that the protecting-duty should be fixed when corn was 86s.; the Government proposed 80s. ; and he proposed 76s. He might have expressed himself strongly; but it was then his opinion, as it was now, that all interests, whether landed, manufacturing, or commercial, should be protected when protection could be given without danger. He was always willing to give this ; but when persons came forward and demanded more than the exigencies of the case required, he then, as now, opposed their claims. He was open to conviction ; and if Lord Fitzwilliam could con- vince him that free trade would be beneficial to the country, he would not care a straw for his "consistency," but would come down to that House and vote for it.
The Marquis of NoRHANRY confirmed the statement of Lord Claren- don, that however extensively the Report of the Import-duties Com- mittee might have circulated, the Government had nothing to do with it. After a little more desultory conversation, the matter dropped.
REGISTRY OF ELECTORS. In the House of Commons, on Thursday, Mr. Thanes DUNCOMBE moved a resolution, declaring "That, under the provisions of the Act for Amending the Representation of the People of England and Wales, it is incumbent on the Clerk of the Peace of every county to write or print the register of electors annu- -Ally, and to furnish copies of the same at the mosi reasonable price ; and censuring the contrary practice, which has obtained in Hertfordshire. The resolution was agreed to without debate or division.
On Thursday, the further consideration of the POOR-LAW AmEnn- MENT Brix was deferred till Monday next.
PROMOTION FOR THE MARINES. On Thursday, Lord GEORGE LEN- aeox moved for a Committee of the whole House to take into considera- tion so much of the Report of the Naval and Military Commission as re- lated to the Royal Marines. He complained that only one Marine offi- cer had been appointed to the Commission, and he had died before the report was made ; and he asserted, that -while the suggestions of the Commission had been acted on where other branches of the service were concerned, nothing had been done for the Marines. The motion was opposed by Sir HUSSEY VIVIAN and several official and unofficial Members ; including Sir ADOLPHUS DALRYMPLE and Mr. HUME, who had supported a former motion of the same kind, but thought that re- cent promotions had superseded the necessity, and by Lord ARTHUR LENNOX. It was negatived without a division.
NEW PENAL COLONY. On Tuesday, Sir CHARLES GREY deferred his motion for a Select Committee to consider the fitness of the territory of Labrador for the purposes of a penal settlement, to Tuesday the 8th June.