Cabinet Councils were held at the Foreign Office on Tuesday and Thursday. The former sat for three hours and a half; the latter two and a half.
We have already mentioned the report respecting the meeting of Parlia- ment and the Ministerial measure to be then proposed: the announcement was opened by the Times, on Thursday, in the following form- " The decision of the Cabinet is no longer a secret- Parliament, it is confi- dently reported, is to be summoned for the first week in January; and the Royal i Speech will, it s added, recommend an immediate consideration of the Corn-law; preparatory to their total repeal. Sir Robert Peel in one House, and the Duke of Wellington in the other, will, we are told, be prepared to give immediate effect to
the recommendation thus conveyed. • • It is understood that until Par- liament meets nothing is to be done. For the Legislature will be reserved the responsibility and the glory of opening the ports. We presume that none will quarrel with this brief appearance of delay, now that the resolution of the Cabinet is known. The moral certainty of an early opening will be equivalent in its opera- tion to an immediate Order in Council. It is enough for the merchant and the capitalist to know that by the end of Jaduary at the latest, the produce of all countries will enter the British market on an absolute equality with our own, ex- cepting only those disadvantages which Nature itself has made, and which man cannot entirely remove. "It is said that the decision has been made with that unanimity which perhaps the compulsion of circumstances alone can inspire. The reported exceptions are both insignificant and doubtful, and not of a sort to interfere with the construc- tion of the Cabinet. There is, of course, one man who had it in his power to offer an enormous impediment and create a frightful collision ; but experience coming to the aid of his own intuitive sagacity, has, we are told, taught him to retire from an eventually fruitless opposition, and to husband his strength for more attainable objects. Fortunately for the present peace if not for the ulti- mate prosperity of the nation he has long exemplified that which the chief writer on the British Constitution has declared to be the most decisive and triumphant test of its soundness—viz, the absolute impotence of military greatness against the constitutional movements of the popular will. It is scarcely fair to imagine a contingency from which the possible author has himself most judiciously re- coiled; but we feel very sure that the Upper House will be only too thankful to be spared an unequal and perhaps a disastrous conflict with the Ministers of the Crown and the Representatives of the People. It is evident that this is the only quarter from which the Premier's position has been seriously threatened."
The journalist went on to support the whole project with arguments all the more forcible and useful for not wearing the character of advocacy, but being rather in the tone of a patronizing, almost bantering, though ap- proving bystander. Next day the same valuable support was continue& For example-
" Now that the Corn-laws are indeed given up, nothing remains but that the deed be done with all possible unanimity and grace. For the sake of peace and good example, it is well that all the actors in the drama of Protection should assemble on the stage and assist at the closing scene. Let nothing mar the farewell to the past and the inauguration of our future career. It is true that brief time is given us to prepare for these pious solemnities. But one short month is allowed to get over the prejudices of an age. Such, however, it must be re- membered, is the usual proportion between reconciliations and the feuds which they heal. So intractable are hostility and error, that they never will abate so long as there is leisure to be obstinate. Some sudden calamity or joy, or other mighty persuasion, is necessary to efface the long accumulation of grievances and hurry man at once into friendship and forgiveness. As far as the process itself is concerned, therefore we will not complain that the Premier hiss timed the nation' rather closely. Had the agriculturist still a voice in the matter, he would pos- sibly ask a thousand years to forget his resentments and learn to be generous. Five weeks are sufficient to discover the wisdom of that which must be done, and the invalidity of arguments which will never again receive the smallest attention." "It devolves then upon all those who possess the ear of this class, to persuade them into a cheerful resignation, if not an unreserved consent. There is nothing whatever in the intrinsic merits of the cause to justify holding out with a desperate and vexatious enthusiasm. It is no sacred or constitutional principle that is at stake. Neither the Bible, nor Magna Charts, nor the Bill of Eights, nor the Act of Settlement, nor the Coronation Oath, prescribe the sliding scale. It is not only a human, but also a modern invention. * It would be most absurd and mischievous to raise the provinces, and stir up the dying embers of the quarrel, a moment after the final decision of the Legislature had been put beyond all possi bility of doubt. Agitation is only respectable when it is either for a principle or for a purpose. Under existing circumstances, an agitation for the Corn-laws would possess neither of these claims to respect. It would neither be romantic nor discreet, nor anything else, in fact, but a very prosaic and low-minded piece of stupidity, which could have no other effect than to constitute the agriculturist the everlasting Peter Peebles of a forgotten pecuniary squabble."
The Standard, on Thursday evening, echoed by the Herald next morn- ing, professed to meet this report with incredulity. The fact could net possibly be known, it was said, without the violation of the oath taken hr Ministers, as Privy Councillors; but without an equal violation it could not be contradicted. The Morning Chronicle shows that this is nonsense: the oath of Ministers has not deterred them, at any time, from letting their general policy be known; nor has it ever prevented a simple contradiction of false assertions. The agriculturist Post received the statement with blank disbelief. The Globe sneered at it.
The leading Whig journal, the Chronicle, promises support to the Minis- ter, more handsome in the substance than in the manner, which is neither gracious nor ungrudging- ' If the Ministry are still to be ranked among the upholders of monopoly, we must do our best to beat them; and we shall beat them. If the news be true, and they undertake the cause of Free Trade, they will want all our aid, and that aid we must give them, as cordially as we would give it to the best and earliest of our friends. Even with Ministers on our side, and with all the influence of the Duke andSir Robert Peel, we shall have a fierce struggle to go through. Nothing but the most unequivocal expression of the most determined popular will can bend the majority of the House of Lords. In order to overcome that resistance, we mast throw aside every consideration of yarty, and avail ourselves of every aid offered to us for the great end of insuring subsistence and employment to the
• pie, freedom to trade, stability to agricultural industry, and relict to the great y of the people from the most insolent injustice by which any aristocracy, re the present day, has ventured to promote its selfish interests at the expense of the community. If Sir Robert Peel will give us the aid of his Ministerial influence, and lead us on to combat in our own cause, we shall be rejoiced to fight under his guidance and name. We shall leave to a future day to vindicate the just claims of those to whom the victory of Free Trade is really due."
Mr. Cayley has addressed a long letter in reply to Lord John Russell's on the Corn-laws. The Member for North Yorkshire carries on the con- troversy with "dear Lord John" in a candid and friendly style; though his arguments appear to us to be as little conclusive as novel.
He contends that the Corn-laws are founded on public principle, and are bene- ficial to the many as well as to the few. The immediate opening of the ports, he maintains, would aggravate the ill effects of the deficiency. " Either we could have obtained an immediate supply, or we could not. If we could not, it would have been mischievous to have opened the ports, since the expectation of a large additional supply would have so lowered the price of corn, and have led to such an increased consumption, as might have trenched injuriously on the means of supply before the next harvest. If we could have obtained an immediate supply, an equally mischievous result might have followed: it would have equally led to an immediate increase of consumption, and might equally have trenched on the ultimate means of supply; since it is notorious that, with perhaps the exception of Canada and the United States, and possibly Spain and Italy, there is as great a deficiency of wheat in the rest of the world as in England, if not a greater defi- ciency. And this does not appear to be a casual occurrence." Mr. Cayley cites, from Lowe's State of Agriculture, instances in which scarcity in England was accompanied by general scarcity in Europe—in the years 1708, 1709, 1764, 1773, 1794, 1798, 1799, 1811, 1816, &c. "Instances also have doubtless occurred of more partial scarcities—instances, perhaps, like those when Prussia could supply our wants; but when we took off the duty on importation, the King of Prussia put it on at his side of the water, thus filling his exchequer at the expense of ours, without the suspension of the duty being of the slightest benefit to the English consumer. When, however, the dearth is general, we cannot be surprised that other countries and their rulers should prevent the exportation of corn to their neighbours at a time when famine stares them in the face at home." Russia, France, and Naples have done so on various occasions. That consi- deration it was, probably, that induced Mr. Iluskisson's celebrated con- clusion that this country should mainly depend on a home supply. "In arguing, therefore, for an immediate suspension of the import-duties, you appear to involve yourself in a contradiction; for you very justly observe, in another place, that 'the effect of a bad harvest is, in the first place, to diminish the supply in the market, and to raise the price. Hence diminished consumption and the privation of incipient scarcity, by which the whole stock is more equally distributed over the year, and the ultimata pressure is greatly mitigated.' But an immediate suspension of the import-duties would produce, in all probability, an immediate letting out of bond 1,000,000 quarters of wheat, besides, before winter causing another million of quarters to be poured into the market, and thus, pos- sibly, at once exhaust the foreign supply, to the great aggravation, if there be a scarcity, (and if there prove to be no scarcity, then there is still less necessity for the measure,) of the deficiency before next harvest." The present Corn law produces the great desideratum, steadiness of price. "Take any six weeks since harvest, when the reported scarcity (if no obstructive principle had been at work) would probably have produced a variation in prices from week to week of as. or 103. per quarter, as reports vacillated of the prospects of supply; and what do you see? Scarcely a variation of 2d. a bushel; but, instead of it, a steady pro- gression in price approximating very gradually to that point where the duty vir- tually ceases and free importation begins—that point near which popular clamour is so easily excited, but at which the duty vanishes, to the instant relief of the con- sumer, and to the mortification of those who would profit by the clamour." Even the more stringent law of 1828, in spite of adverse forebodings, admitted sufficient supplies in the scarce years of 1828, 1829,1830, and 1831. "Rumour with her busy tongue, panic with its prostrate imbecility, were as rife then as now. And what was the result? In no four years in any period of English history, before or since, had we such large importations." Mr. Cayley commiserates the Irish potato-eaters; but own ports would not give them money to buy corn. As to England, he insists that there is not the scarcity asserted: although the yield of wheat is deficient, there has been a greater breadth of land sown, and no corn has "sprouted," as it did in times of real scarcity; care, when taken, has succeeded in arresting the potato disease; and the deficiency of potatoes will in a great measure be compensated by the unusual abundance of oats, barley, and beans. Wages in Mr. Cayley's dis- trict are not lower, hut are 2s. 6d. a day—what they have been ever since he has known it: he hopes that they will never be lowered by repeal of the Corn-laws. "What the English fanner wants is not scarcity or dearness. Scarcity is a curse to man and beast—plenty a blessing to both. But he wants that degree of price which, under our most artificial state, with debts, taxes, embarrassments, and entanglements innumerable and almost out of count, will enable him to compete with those who have no such burdens to bear, or incomparably fewer." The letter concludes with these words—" My reply to your more general observa- tions on the Corn-laws I reserve, as I said before, (providing the physical strength be left me) to a second letter. More ! do the farmers want, do you ask? May I answer you? Yes ! They now, not improbably, want, as I do, to see Lord John Russell in his old place as leader of the House of Commons; for then they would feel that they might safely repose under the protection and consistency of her Majesty's—Opposition."
The National de l'Ouest announces that the Consuls of Great Britain, Belgium, and Holland, residing at Nantes, have been consulted by their respective Governments concerning the state of provisions in the West of France, in order to ascertain how far a supply could be obtained in that quarter.
Reports are revived of extensive changes in the Royal Household, with the sanction of the Earl of Liverpool and Earl Delawarr—Lord Steward and Lord Chamberlain. The duties of their offices, in respect of business details, will be concentrated in the person of Colonel Bowles, the Master of the Household. The office of General Inspector of Palaces is not filled up, but an Inspector for Windsor Castle has been appointed; and another will be appointed for Buckingham Palace.
According to the Standard, one thousand recruits are immediately to be raised to complete the strength of the Royal Artillery Regiment; the bounty being raised from 61. las. 6d. to 91. 5s. 6d. per man.
In the columns of the Times, Lord Dundonald has published some "brief observations" on the preparations for the maritime defence of the country. He hints at some destructive agent which he possesses, and which, to judge by his comparison, would be as novel as gunpowder on its first introduction.
"I am desirous of showing that the use of steam-ships of war, though at pre. Bent available by rival nations, need not necessarily diminish the security of our commerce; that still less need it necessarily endanger our national existence,— which appears to be apprehended by those who allege the necessity of devoting millions of money to the defence of our coasts. "I contend that there is nothing in the expected new system of naval warfare, through the employment of steam-vessels, that can justify such expensive and de- rogatory precautions, because there are equally new (and yet secret) means of conquest, which no devices hitherto used in maritime warfare could resist or evade. • • * Factitious ports on the margin of the Channel cannot be bet-
ter protected than those which exist; respecting which I pledge any professional credit I may possess, that whatever hostile force might thereialbe assembled could be destroyed within the first twenty-four hours favourable for effective operations, in defiance of forts and batteries, mounted with the most powerful ordnance now
in use. • • it is, therefore, greatly to be desired that those in power ahotild pause before proceeding further in such a course. It behoves them to consider in all its bearings, and in all its consequences, the contemplated system of stationary
maritime defence; subject, as that sl stem may become, to the overwhelming
fluence of the secret plan which I Placed in their hands similar to that which I presented in 1812 to Ins Royal Highness the Prince Regent; who (as stated last year in my memorial to the House of Lords) referred its consideration confiden- tially to Lord Keith, Lord Exmouth, and the two Congreves, professional and scien- tific men; by whom it was pronounced to be infallible, under the circumstances. detailed in my explanatory statement. Thirty-three years is a long time to re- tain an important secret; especially as I could have used it with effect in defence of my character when cruelly assailed, (as I have shown at length in a represen- tation to the Government,) and could have practically employed it on various occasions to my private advantage. I have now, however, determined to solicit its well-merited consideration, in the hope, privately, if possible, to prove the com- parative inexpedience of an expenditure of some 12,000,0001. or 20,000,0001. ster- ling for the construction of forts and harbours, instead of applying ample funds at once to remodel and renovate the Navy—professionally known to be susceptible of immense improvement—including the removal from its swollen bulk of much that is cumbrous and prejudicial." In conclusion, Lord Dundonald intimates that he may think it expedient, if he can obtain attention in no other way, to divulge his secret.
The Grand Duke Constantine of Russia has been detained, with his ship the Ingermanland, in Plymouth Sound, by contrary winds.
Lord John Russell and his family have been residing in the house of Mr. Andrew Rutherfurd, at Edinburgh; given up for their use by that gentleman. Lord John came to England specially to attend the funeral of Lady Holland.
An alarming accident happened to Miss Peel, daughter of Mr. William Yates Peel of Bagginton, and niece to the Premier, on Tuesday afternoon. Her brother Henry was driving her in a pony phaeton; the horses ran away; and both were thrown out on the soft sward of an embankment. The young lady was but slightly bruised; her brother was quite unhurt.
The Lord Chancellor has appointed Mr. Burge, Queen's counsel, for- merly Attorney-General for Jamaica, to the District Commissionership of Bankruptcy vacant by the death of Mr. Boteler.
Ibrahim Pacha, eldest son of Mehemet Ali, arrived at Toulon on the 26th November. He was to proceed in three days to Marseilles; and thence, for the winter, it is said, to Vernet des Rains.
The Journal des Dekas states that the Abbess who lately escaped from Poland, after suffering persecution with the nuns under her charge, at the hands of a renegade Bishop, has arrived in Rome, and is the object of uni- versal sympathy. In many convents of Rome, the nuns add to their ordinary prayers the objurgation—" A furore Nicolai libera nos, Domine!" The Journal calls upon the Emperor to free his character from the imputation of conniving at the persecution exercised on the Roman Catholics of Poland by partisans of the Greek Church.
Punch has, of course, some allusion to the great topics of the day—the Whig and Conservative adhesions to Corn-law Repeal. In the cut belonging to the series of " pencillings" is the parody of a picture (by Collins, if we remember rightly) called "Coming events cast their shadows before": Cobden, with "free'' corn on his head, is the traveller whose approach is indicated by the shadow on the path; and Peel is the urchin-slowly opening the five-barred gate of "IMMO- poly," to let the forage pass. In another cut, Cobden is going right ahead,. at a
hard trot, on the good hackney "Free Trade"; and John Russell, touching his cap, is the little vagabond street-lounger that runs after the gentleman hood passibus equis, crying, "May I hold your horse, Sir? "—a kind of "fixed 'Outy."
which the Manchester man betrays no sort of disposition to intrust to the sesta- cious-looking little fellow.
Our facetious contemporary also gives to the world a good "eclogue," entitled "Advice Gratis."
Paddy—What's to be done at all, Misther Commissioner?
Here's slot of praytees wouldn't plaze the pigs, Sir; Earlles and tampers, cups and common taters, Gone to the divil.
Commissioner—Dig up your tubers ; store them in a dry place ;
Plenty of straw put underneath each layer; Grind them to pulp, or, if you like It better, Toast on a griddle.
Paddy—Murdther alive ! but where's the straw to eome from ?
Mill for to grind, or griddle for to toast 'em ?
Divil the place I've got to keep myself dry, Much less my pratles.
Dr. Buckland—Ignorant peasant, don't mind Kane or Playfair :
Starch is only gluten, therefore innutrItious ; Steam your potatoes, and you'll find the fungus Equal to mushrooms.
Mr. 7'illey—Chloride of lime is better, if you've got it ; Twopence a pound is all that it will cost you.
One pound of chloride, properly employed, saves Two of potatoes.
Al? together—But whate'er you do, Pat, keep your mind quite easy. Science is at work examining the fungus;
Though for the present, we confess that we know Nothing about it.
[Exeunt Commissioner, Eualand, and Tilley. Paddy with hit haadi in his pockets, looks after them bewildered.
The Providence Journal says that the Honourable Caleb Cushing is preparing for the press a history of the American Embassy to China. A trial will take place in the Court of Exchequer either in the present or the early part of the ensuing term, which will excite some interest in the literary world. It is an action brought by Trinity College, Cambridge, against the Trus- tees of the British Museum, for their possession of a manuscript alleged to have been stolen from the library of the former. The manuscript has been interme- diately in the possession of Mr. J. 0. Barnwell, F.R.S.; whose suspension from the privileges of the library of the Museum has recently caused a painful interest in literary orcles.—Daily Papers.
We understand that Mr. Waghorn is now actively, engaged in preparing for sir •
trials of the Trieste route as regards time against that by Marseilles and that a meeting of the London, East India, and China Association, will shortly take place, in order that the merchants of the City may choose the six months in summer : and winter to practically settle all doubts on the subject of the present superiority o the Trieste route.—Times.
The annual performances of the ifessitds by the Sacred Harmonic Society begin on Friday next. Mrs. Sunderland, a singer of some provincial repu- tation, is then to make her first appearance in London.