A public meeting of inhabitants of Lancashire was held on the Green Area at Lancaster, on Saturday, to receive Mr. Cobden and Mr. Bright, as a deputation from the Anti-Corn-law League. The attendance was not numerous. Mr. Bateman, a landowner in the district, was called to the chair. Mr. Bright having spoken at some length, Mr. Cobden fol- lowed with one of his familiar expositions of the effect of the Corn-laws on the farmers and farm-labourers. He reported the general result on the authority of farmers themselves— After having come upon the platform, he had asked what sort of farmers there were in the neighbourhood of that town. The answer was, that "they were a poor set about Lancaster." He heard the same story every where— that the farmers were a poor set. He was over at Oxford the other day, and dined at the farmers' ordinary at that place. Ile asked a large farmer and an intelligent man, who sa topposite him, what was the state of the farmers there ? "I would venture to say," said the man, "there is not one in ten of them has made the interest on the money he has laid out on his farm,—in ot words, who has made the interest on his capital." He wrote to a gentle* the other day in Cheshire, an independent farmer in that county, to ask him for similar information : and the answer he received was, that not one in twenty of the farmers in Cheshire had kept his own,—in other words, that if you struck a balance among them which should embrace the last twenty years, you would find that money had been lost. Were these facts? Did anybody con- tradict them ? And if they were facts, what in the world became of the pretence under which this system was kept up ? The pretence upon which the law was defended in Parliament seemed to be, that it was for the benefit of the farmer and farm-labourer : but when he came to the farmers, and asked them upon the subject, they declared that they were the worst-used set of men in the country. A resolution in favour of free trade was proposed, and carried unani- mously; as well as others thanking the deputation and the Chairman.
The deputation had a similar meeting for North Cheshire, at Limits- ford, on Monday. It took place on the race-ground ; the stands serving as a platform and standing-place for the more " respectable" portion of the audience. About a thousand persons were present ; and Mr. E. Da- venport, a landowner of the neighbourhood, was the Chairman. Mr. Cobden alluded to the alleged absence of farmers at such meetings ; which he denied, on the strength of the complexion and costume of many persons who attended. Nor could it be said that because parties were persuaded to stay away, they took no part in the question : their absence was taking part in the question. While discussing the effect of the Corn-law on farms, Mr. Cobden produced the copy of an existing lease in Cheshire : it stipulated that the tenant was only to have a cer- tain quantity of tillage in the year ; that the potato-ground was not to exceed an acre ; that he was not to break up any of the ancient meadow- land, to use soot as manure, to grow vetches, to grow any more than once in one year, to sow any wheat or rye, hemp or flax, to mow any pasture-land which should have been covered with bone-dust at the ex- pense of the landlord ; with more such restrictions. Mr. Cobden could only say, that every line of' the lease was a bar to good husbandry ac- cording to modern improvements. A resolution in favour of free trade was carried without opposition.
The Lichfield Agricultural Association held the dinner which termi- nates the Society's annual show on Wednesday. Several noblemen and gentlemen were present. Lord Hatherton was the Chairman ; and he delivered a speech on practical agriculture, which was much praised. One fact that he mentioned is a most striking illustration of the effect of knowledge in agriculture— Many farmers were not aware of the nature of water which was drawn from the land by draining, and instead of esteeming it as a precious gift from Heaven, treated it as an enemy, suffering it to be entirely loot. Now he himself, acting under the advice and experience of Mr. Bright, had caused his waste water at Teddesley to be directed into one stream; and at. the small expense of 1,0001. he had obtained a mill-pawer, whereby he effected a saving of 450/, per annum in thrashing, cutting straw, sawing, grinding malt, and other agricultural operations.
The meeting was chiefly rendered remarkable by the presence of Sir Robert Peel: but his speech disappoints expectation. He alluded to the question of farm-tenures, but so vaguely that no single passage can be picked out as avowing any thing. Much, he said, depended on local customs. Although there were no leases on his estate, yet if' any tenant felt that his character would be exalted and that he should employ his capital with more confidence for a lease, Sir Robert " should be very much disposed to accede to his'wishes." That was the most .definite thing he -said; -except to avow himself in favour of garden-
allotments to farm-labourers, as tending to give them an interest in the soil.
A meeting was held at Huddersfield on Monday, to receive Dr. Sleigh, who bad a petition to propose for the protection of labour. The Philosophical Hall, which holds 3,000 persons, was densely crowded. Dr. Sleigh stated, that, seeing session after session pass by without any thing being done to relieve the wants of the masses, be bad determined to take a tour through the manufacturing districts, for the purpose of submitting to them a measure to rescue the operatives, and avert im- pending ruin from the manufacturers, tradesmen, and merchants. Ile paid his first visit to Huddersfield, because it sent a requisition in his behalf to the electors of Aylesbury. Dr. Sleigh expounded his views in a very long speech ; in the midst of which he read a petition to the Queen. It took for its principle, that labour is the source of all wealth, wages or cspital ; and asserted that either wages must be raised to the reputed level of the wealth of the nation, or capital must sink to the standard of wages; praying, therefore, that the Queen would command her Ministers to take the subject into consideration, with a view to extricating the labouring classes from the hardships to which they have been exposed "in consequence of the gradual withdrawal of protection from British industry, and in consequence of their having been left to the evils of selfishness, cupidity, and avaricious competition:' Resolu- tions were passed, thanking Dr. Sleigh, adopting his petition, and re- committing it to his hands that he might take the best means of causing it to be presented to the Queen.
A meeting of farmers and others was held at Cwm Twleb, in the mountains about seventeen miles from Swansea, on Friday, to consider their depressed condition. Among other speakers, the Chairman, Mr. John Jones, of Bryn Ammon, ascribed much of the evil to the Corn- laws ; especially instancing their effect in forcing up rents— By their means, the landlord actually placed a price upon the corn before it went to market, say 56s. : but suppose, when the farm is rented upon such a calculation, the corn, instead of realizing 56s., only fetched 46s.; why then, the farmer is ruined, and there is general distress. Well then, it may be said, the landlord would suffer also: but it was no difference to him at what he let his farm, or at what rental; for while the farmer had enough credit to find seed to sow, the landlord was safe ; for if the fanner could not pay his rent, the land- lord in first with his distress, and actually took the produce of the very seed the man had obtained on credit, and sold off the poor fellow. This was the law of distress ; which ought to be abolished, and the landlord placed in the same situation as other creditors, to come in with them, and not before them and to their exclusion. The laws should be made equitable and easily capable of being understood : but he was sorry to say that they were made to benefit the makers of the laws, and not those who were to obey them. A petition to the Queen was moved, praying for repeal of the Corn- laws, and for dissolution of a Parliament elected under circumstances totally differing from those which exist. The petitioners imputed their distress to the people's inability to consume the produce of the land, and thigh rents— "Hat' Majesty's petitioners are fully aware that rents do not legitimately come within the class of evils remediable by legislation ; yet they cannot but conclude that this want of proportion between the value of land and that which land produces is the result of legislative interference with the trade of the country. On the faith of enactments which held out hopes to the farmer, which have not been realized, the agriculturists of this country have for several years been paying in a higher ratio than the average prices of corn and other agricultural produce for a series of years. Your Majesty's petitioners therefore pray for a repeal of the Corn-laws and Protecting-duties generally ; on these grounds—first, that they have, by restricting trade and commerce, ma- terially injured the market for the farmer's produce ; second, that those laws, in giving an artificial value to the price of land, have held out hopes to the farmer which have not been realized."
The petition was unanimously adopted.
A meeting of freeholders and farmers of Llandilo Talybont was held at Goppa-Faeh, about one mile from Pontardulais, on the 21st instant ; more than a hundred farmers being present. Mr. Morgan Jones, of Dantwyn, was voted to the chair. Resolutions were passed unani- mously, imputing the disorders to general distress, occasioned by high rents, over-taxation, and a crippled state of commerce, the discontent being aggravated by the New Poor-law ; and pledging the meeting collectively and individually, to employ every constitutional means to withstand the spirit of insubordination, and to exert itself to obtain a redress of all Public grievances. In the course of some subsequent discussion, it was put to the meeting, "Whether they were in favour of the Old or New Poar-law ? " and every hand was instantly raised for the Old Poor-law.
Another meeting was held on Monday' at Treleach, of freeholders, farmers, and others belonging to several neighbouring parishes ; Mr. John Jones, of Precymfawr, being the Chairman. A petition to the Queen set forth the usual local gievances of the district—tolls, tithes, high rents, exorbitant justice-fees, and so forth ; and prayed the Queen to summon a new Parliament in order to the consideration and redress of those grievances. The petition also declared- " That your Majesty's petitioners view with alarm the long continued and contracted state of the agricultural market of their locality. That having ex- perienced that prices advance in proportion as trade expands, your Majesty's petitioners could not but hail any measure which might, on principles of re- ciprocity, extend the commerce of the country, so as to create a fresh stimulus in the agricultural districts."
The petition having been adopted, Mr. Goring Thomas produced a notice which had been stuck up in the parish of Penboyr. It was headed like a proclamation, "Becca—Sept, 15, 1843 " ; and it called upon the farmers for cooperation in lightening their own burdens. Almost imme- diately after the beginning, it turned to the form of a dialogue between Becca and a Farmer; Becca suggesting that the farmers should fix on a day to visit their landlords, and each ask "his highness" (the land- lord) to agree to the appointment of a person on each side to value the land and fix the rent. The Farmer inquires of Becca how that should be accomplished ? "Farmer—Suppose the landlord refuse to appoint persons to value the land, he should tell me to give it up to him ? bear-a—Take him upon his offer, and tell him to take it up next Marsh. , " Farmer—Then, in this way we shall lose our claim to the land, and whoever wishes may take it.
"Beers—Yes, certainly; but as to his enjoying it, I testify to you that there is not a man of any nation under heaven that shall enjoy an acre of your land, sa it is but justice you will be seeking in desiring your landlord to lower your rents : therefore, I will take your part, were we forced to tarn the bodies of those that dare try to take your land. Now, I have never deceived those to whom I have given notice, as you know. As notice, if you will not endeavour to retake your farms, as the Lord God ke owetb. you shall see more fires than you have ever seen in your it is probable I may visit to-ne of you in Pen- boyer ere long., Take heed, On your peril, that the hire of the harvest is not lowered by you.' After expressing his horror at this attempt to institute a system of terrorism, Mr. Thomas moved the following resolution ; which was carried unanimously before the meeting separated— ".That this meeting has beard with great and unfeigned regret of the various outrages that have taken place in different parts of the county. The farmers and others now present hereby pledge themselves not to attend or countenance nightly meetings, and to discharge any farm-servants who do attend them." The correspondent of the Times perceives a change of feeling in South Wales- " During the lest two or three days, there has been a lull in the breeze of disturbances which has a,i.ated this country ; though I fear the gale is far from having ceased. It is the opinion of many intelligent gentlemen with whom I have conversed on matter, that the shocking murder of the poor old woman at Bendy-bridge gate bee produced a salutary effect upon the better-disposed part of the population ; and that the farmers, who would wil- lingly run the risk of imprisonment for breaking a toll-gate, in order to get rid of what they consider an unbearable grievance, shrink with horror from being classed as murderers and giving possible employment to the hangman. I know that this is a general feeling just now, and that this very shocking result of these disturbances has caused many to pause and reflect on the probable con- sequences of their lawless course. On the other hand, in the immediate neigh- bourbood of the Pontardulais fight, it is quite true that a deep and brooding spirit of vengeance exists. A very great number of persons engaged in that fight were wounded and got off. I have been informed on credible authority, that several farmers in the neighbourhood are dangerously ill of wounds re- ceived by them at that encounter. I beard of one young man, the other day, who received a ball in his leg, and who is at this moment lying at his home with the wounded limb dreadfully swollen, but afraid to send for surgical assist- ance. Among the friends and acquaintances of these parties, the most bitter and rancorous spirit of revenge prevails. "It is said, too, that the better class of farmers are beginning to get sick of Rebecca's proceedings; and with some reason. I am intormed that a kind a black mail in levied on them. The parties who break gates, &c., are genetally paid labourers, led on by some few farmers and the Rebecca of the district ; and I am informed these men are paid 2s. 6d. a night, out of which they pro- vide their powder and shot ; and the money to pay them with is raised by sending round notices, first to one farmer and then to another, to pay a sum at which he is assessed by a certain time, and bring it to coins meeting of Re- beccaites. If he refuse it, he does it at the peril of having his stacks fired. The Rebecca for the night pays the men from this fund. On the person oi the Rebecca taken at Pootardulais, several receipts acknowledging payments of this nature were found. This sort of tax on the farmer has caused, t am told, a great deal of secret information to be given by them to the authorities; ard I have heard that it was from information derived in this way that the Polioe came upon the party attacking Puntardulais.gate. "The outrages, however, are very far from having entirely ceased."
During last week,about fourteen different toll-bars have been de- stroyed in Carmarthenshire ; and property to the amount of 800/. was burned in the rick-yard of Mr. J. R. Lloyd, a County Magistrate, at Dolhaidd.
A reward of 5001., with the Queen's pardon to any accomplice, hoe been offered for the discovery and apprehension of the person who murdered Sarah Williams, the Hendy-gite toll-collector; and 100/, for the detection of the persons who destroyed Lechryd fishing-weir.