Meetings to memorialize Government for the immediate opening of the ports have been held at Gloucester, Stroud, (both attended by the League deputation—Mr. Cobden and Mr. Bright,) Leeds, Huddersfield, Notting- ham, Kendal, Gateshead, Norwich, Manchester, (working classes,) and other places. The speeches at these meetings possessed for the most part a greatly diminished interest, consisting so much of repetition. Even Mr. Cobden seems to have lost part of the motive to his eloquence, now that the repeal is virtually a fait accompli. The accession of Lord John Rus- sell and Lord Morpeth was everywhere a prbscipal feature.
At the Liverpool meeting, last week, Mr. Wylie, of the house of Lizardi esid Co., ascribed to the working of the Corn-laws a terrible change now iaservable in the state of trade— Corn stood out the great exception in our commerce; every other import was constantly passing though the hands of the gentlemen present, except that which was so much wanted, and which under a right system would be forthcoming. For such an unnatural state of things her Majesty's Ministers must be held re- sponsible—for all the penury that followed high prices, for the pestilence that ac- companied a scarcity of food and, worse than all, for all the crime that starvation provoked. Let them cast off the trammels of party, and give a complete remedy; the people would hold them harmless. Already the evil was felt; never in the memory of any one present had so sudden and severe a check come over the face of trade as in the past month. A few weeks since, every trade was prosperous; but now they had reduced wages and high prices of provisions, and all was languishing just when a dreary winter was approaching.
The memorial of the Manchester working men, addressed to Sir Robert Peel, is concise and impressive- " To the Right Honourable Sir R. Peel, First Lord of the Treasury. "The memorial of the working classes of Manchester humbly showeth-
" That your memorialists look to the result of the failure of the late harvest with feelings of the "greatest concern. Already many of the mills are working only three or four days per week; and the price of the four-pound loaf is advanced
• in two months from 5d. to 8d., while potatoes have risen from 6s. to 9s. [Hs.] per load; making an addition on bread of three-fifths, and on potatoes one-half to our weekly expenses; while, from the decreased sales and reduced prices of manufac- tured goods, the produce of our labour, we are led to expect, from the probability of working short time, a reduction in the amount of our money wages.
"Under these distressing circumstances, and in order to avert, if possible, the impending danger' we would earnestly and firmly press upon you, Sir Robert, to lose no time in getting removed 'all manner of restrictions on the importation of food and provisions of all kinds, so that we may at least stand upon the same ground as our brethen of other countries. "The first guarantee of peace is a sufficiency of food: we believe her Majesty's Government has the power to give it at the present time; and we would respect- fully hut earnestly urge the awful responsibility consequent upon the realization of our fe:. rs, if no effort be made to avert the calamity. "Confidently hoping an immediate compliance with our wishes, your memo rialists will ever pray. At a meeting in Kendal, last week,—the Mayor presiding,--Alderinan- John Whitwell stated that a few gentlemen, resolved not to be misled by exaggeration or the false reports of interested persona, had determined to examine the prospects of the supply of potatoes in the neighbourhood of Kendal; and they made the following report- " The result of this investigation is, that the commissioners have obtained returns signed by ninety-four farmers residing in twenty-seven different town- ships. These returns furnish the alarming but indubitable evidence that above one-half of the potato crop is already diseased or destroyed; and so rapidly is the decay going forward, despite all measures used for preventictn, that few parties en- tertain the hope of preserving any quantity until the spring of 1846, while than whose hopes are strongest believe that the quantity preserved will be wholly in- adequate for food or seed. In addition to these returns, letters have been received from sixty gentlemen resident in different parts of this county and the neighbour.. ing counties, including places in Cumberland, Northumberland, North Yorkshire, West Durham, and North Lancashire. These letters with one exception, (where, with great care, a gentleman says he has prevented the disease af63cting more than one in ten of his stock,) fully corroborate the statements obtained in this immediate district."
The annual meeting of the Taunton Agricultural Association was held on Friday. About three hundred persons mustered at table: Mr. William Miles, Member for East Somerset, presided; Mr. Acland, and Mr. Dickinson, Members for West Somerset, and Mr. Labouchere, Member for Taunton, attended; and Mr. Bickham Escott, Member for Winchester, was among the guests. When the Members for the division of the County were toasted, there was a tumult of cheers and hisses; which was renewed when Mr. Acland rose to respond. He took an apologetic tone-
" The generosity of Englishmen, whether friendly or opponents, is always re- freshing and cheering to an Englishman. This is not the place for me to go into political matters; I know I should be stopped if I did so. You know, gen- tlemen, I am not a very old man; but I have been quite long enough mixed up in public life to know what than cries which have proceeded from the lower part of the room meant. I know that those cheers came from those who are my political friends; and I know that those strange cries came from those who are my decided political opponents. But, gentlemen, when a man knows he has done his duty—when he knows he has done what he conscientiously believes to be right and correct—why should he fear to meet his friends? Gentlemen, I am quite aware of what has passed in another part of this county, and I suppose I understand it. * * * But I must beg to say, that, as your representative—as the representative of an important and influential constituency—I have endea- voured to do my best to advance the interests committed to my charge. I know that the course I have adopted has incurred censure; and, however confident I sin that I have done what in my conscience I believed to be right, I beg to assure you that I am not at all indifferent to the censure of may friends. 1f! have differed from some of those may take more decided—(I suppose that is the word I must use)—more decided views than myself, all I can say is, I have not done so without much reflection. I have not acted rashly. I have not acted so to please any man." This was met with mixed cheers and hisses; the cheers predominating towards the close of Mr. Acland's speech. Mr. Dickinson's speech did not differ very greatly either in its terms or in its reception. Mr. Miles and Colonel Gore Langton, Members for East Somersetshire, and Mr. Labou- chere, were toasted with general applause; and so was Mr. Sanford. Mr. Labouchere eschewed politics, and spoke generally of agricultural im- provements; and his observations were favourably listened to; although some sarcastic person once called out "Cut down the timber." The most noticeable speech, both in its nature and in the response to it, was that of Mr. Bickham Escott ; which we subjoin nearly entire- " I have great pleasure in meeting you at these anniversaries; and I quite agree with the Members for the County and other gentlemen who have alluded to the subject, in deprecating the introduction of any topic that can create a difference of opinion. I have no occasion to introduce any such topic. I have already, as well as my honourable friend, (Mr. Labouchere,) had my say upon the failure of the potato crop. I have already appeared before my constituents and given them an account of my conduct in another place. (Cheers.) But, gentlemen, when the health of one who, by the favour of his countrymen, has been elevated to the high station of a Member of Parliament, is proposed at a meeting of this kind, it is generally expected that he should say something. (" Hear!" and a laugh.) Yet I declare that, for my own part, you having by your wise regulations ex- cluded all questions of a political character, I confess that it is somewhat difficult to know what to say; because I am not, in a great meeting of practical farmers, like this, to talk about my own private affairs. (Laughter.) That won't do. It is therefore difficult to know how to meet the emergency. Well, you will forgive me if I ask you whether you have ever heard the story of old Richard Gubbins. (Laughter.) If you have not, I will endeavour to tell it. Old Richard Gubbins, (I am not joking, for he really was a valued friend of mine,) liven in the West country; and very much belies the opinion of a learned sergeant, that the further you go West, the more you are persuaded that wise men come from the East. (Cheers and laughter.) Some years ago, he married his only daughter to a rich tradesman, living in Milsom Street, Bath; to which city he frequently went; and happening once to meet each other on the coach, we went together, and were much pleased with the journey. Richard was particularly pleased with the black horses, with their buck-up tails—(Laughter)--and fre- quently expressed his conviction that the old four-wheel was the best possible conveyance that could or ever would be had. (Laughter.) I remember how he admired the pulling-up at Dunkerton Hill, myself sitting on the box, and he just behind m; with his knees on each aide of me, forming not a very comfort- able sort of arm-chair. (Laughter.) Last fall, I called on Richard; and after talk- ing to him of the hardness of the times, and the distress of the farmers and other classes, I complained to him that we had never met on the road lately. Richard drew rather a heavy respiration, and said, 'The road, Sir? it was a very plea- sant thing, but there's no coaching to Bath now; and I cannot stand a private conveyance, nor anything of that sort, not being a very rich man.' I said it was true there were no coaches, and ventured to suggest the railroad. I told him that not only might he get to Bath, but that by leaving in the morning he would be up there in time to have dinner with his daughter, instead of being seven hours on the road. That moment I saw I had suggested an ,unfortunate topic. Sir,' said he, do you suppose that, after having lived like an honest man for seventy-five years and after having been upon a coach so often, I would submit to be drawn behind a smoke-box?' (Roars of laughter.) He asked also what sort of company I had kept to talk of such a subject in his house; and concluded by saying this—' Remember there is no politics here; it is the rule of the house. ("Hear!" and great laughter.) Suggestions for travelling on railroads may do very well for manufacturers and Radicals, but not for Richard Gubbins, nor any of his kin.' (Great laughter.) Now the fact is, gentlemen, that there are other Richard Gubbinses, and they do not all live in the West country. (Laughter.) But, whether or not, I am willing to follow the rule of the house and not speak about politics. (Cheers) I am rejoiced to meet you here; and whe- ther we look to railroads or to buckled-up tails of black horses, it will always boa pleasure to me to see men do their duty, at all times and in all places, in the respective vocations in which Providence has placed them." (Long-eontinued sheering and hearty laughter.)
The Rugby and Dunchurch Agricultural Association dincd on Tuesday; Lord John Scott (brother to the Duke of Buccleuch) in the chair as President. The proceedings were chiefly remarkable for the emphatic advocacy of the sliding scale by Mr. Stratford Dugdale, the Member for North Warwickshire; and his declaration that he should give decided and unqualified opposition to a repeal of the Corn-laws, if such a measure should be introduced into Parliament.
Mr. Yates of Liverpool has given 50,000/. for the establishment of pub- lic parks in that town. When he appeared, on Friday, at the Anti-Corn-law meeting,, he was received with vollie.s of cheers.
The inhabitants of Bury St. Edmunds, in public meeting assembled, have resolved upon establishing a museum, under the Museums in Large Towns Act.
Mary Ann Vigo, a girl of thirteen, was charged before the Rochester Magistrates, last week, with shocking cruelty to a female infant whom she had been employed to nurse in the Workhouse. She had said that she bated the child. She took an opportunity of getting a quantity of scalding tea from a copper in a pail, into which she forced the feet of the Infant; stuffing a leather ball into its mouth to stifle its cries ! The child was horribly scalded, and perhaps will not survive the "shock to the system? Vigo was committed for trial.
"C. G.," in a letter to the Times, describes a collision on the London and Birmingham Railway. "I was a passenger yesterday by the train on the Midland Counties Railway, which, by the printed paper of the company, ought to have left Leicester at fifty-five minutes past five o'clock p.m. It did not, however, start until a quarter-past six; and, consequently, did not reach Rugby until after the departure of the train by which the Midland passengers are usually forwarded to London. After being detained at Rugby an hour and a half, an express-engine took us to Wolverton. We waited there the usual period of about eight minutes; and, on leaving that station, the collision to which I have alluded took place, with a train of thirty or forty waggons loaded with coke; which, having been detached from a longer train, were backing to the Wolverton station—without showing any lights. Several of the passengers were bruised, one considerably. Fortunately, we had not attained our full speed, or the consequences would have been most serious."
"A special train," we are concisely told, "ran into a luggage-train" on the York and North Midland Railway, on Wednesday. No lives were lost; but one of the passengers in the special train received a severe contusion on the leg, and the stoker's foot was seriously bruised. Several of the carriages of the luggage-train were shattered, and some sheep which they contained killed; and it was some hours before the line was cleared of the wreck.
An inquest on the body of Police-Sergeant Stubbs, who lost his life by the late collision on the Midland Railway, has returned a verdict of "Manslaughter" against Wheatley, the driver of the assistant-engine.
Another man has died of the effects of the explosion of the boiler at Sunder- land, and one or two more are in danger. The explosion was of tremendous violence: for hundreds of yards in every direction, bricks, pieces of iron, and other articles, were carried through the air; while enormous portions of the boiler were borne to a less distance. Of course the buildings around were more or less injured; but, fortunately, no one was hurt outside the mill. An inquest OR the bodies sat on Friday and Monday. It appeared from the evidence that the boiler leaked, the water got low, and the sides became red hot. The Jury, how- ever, did not venture in their verdict to decide what the cause of the explosion had been; but they censured the engineman, who had observed the leakage, for not telling the engineer, and also the engineer, for not sufficiently examining the boiler and engine.