4 APRIL 1840, Page 1


MR. VILLIERS was compelled by illness to put off his motion on the Corn-laws from Tuesday to Wednesday ; when he brought it forward, in a speech which, we arc happy to say, betrayed no

symptom of the indisposition under which he laboured. Mr. Vismas devoted nearly four hours to what may be called an ex- haustion of the subject. He examined the operation of the Corn- laws on every class of society; and demonstrated that the agricul- tural as well as the mercantile and manufacturing capitalist, the mechanic, and the labouring man, were iojured by them. If it was a fault last year to fix attention no' exclusively on the diffiCulties and losses of the merchants and manufacturers, a more judicious line of argument was followed on this occasion ; for Mr. VILLIERS took extraordinary pains with that part of his case which concerned the limner and the firm-labourer—agricul- turists in the proper sense of the term, He drew a distinction, very necessary to be remembered—but which the " farmer's friends" would gladly keep out of sight—between the owner of

land and the persons who bring capital and labour to the cultiva- tion of land. Rightly understood, the interests of these parties are identical—as " true self-love and social are the same :" but

landoxuing legislators have misconceived their permanent advan- tage, and, as appeared from the evidence quoted by Mr. VILLIERS from the Report of the Agricultural Committee of 163G, used the Corn-laws as a lure for exorbitant rents. The consequence is manifest in the ruin of tenants and the degradation of the labour- ers into paupers. In dealing with that part of the question which more nearly touched the merchants, manufacturers, and the working population of the manufacturing districts, Mr. Vistas:us took up new ground, and instead of dilating on the advantage of the export-trede, proved, by the very fact of increased exportation of manufactured articles, that trade had been carried on at a loss. Ile thus laid himself open to a taunt from Lord DARLINGTON, who bad nothing better than a taunt to offer in reply. True it is, that increase or dimi- nution of' exports is no longer taken as the criterion of prosperity; and lb'. this excellent reason, that during the year 1839 augmenta- tion of exports has been coincident with decrease of production, "short time," and ruinous losses. How is this? The home demand has fallen off to an extent which even an addition of two millions to the exports will not cover. But is that an argument in thvour of reliance on the home market ? Will experience of the failure of the home demand renler merchants and manofactorers less anxious for admission into foreign marts? Front the air of triumph with which Lord DARLINGTON referred to the tarts mentioned, it might be supposed that the landowners' theory or die superior security and steadiness of domestic com- merce had received confirmation from the deplorable falling off in that commerce during the last year of high rents and dear food. Oh, but says Lord DARLINGTON, it' you deprive us of Corn-laws we shill have still less money foe the purchase of' your commodi-

ties, nod on us is your main reliance. By no means : the mer- chant and the manufheturer depend upon the millions. They

flourished in 1833-4-5, when corn was cheap and landowners could hardly find wherewith to pay the interest on their mortgages. bird Damaxorox, and the Members who followed on the same side, left Mr. Vimantts's case as they found it. The remark applies to the speeches of the first two nights, to which alone we have access at

the time we write. But Mr. Viimamis did not stand alone. Ile received support from Sir Gnotton STRICKLAND, Lord MORPETII, Mr. Lanoticianne, Mr. CLAY, and above all from Mr. GROTE. To Mr. Gin era's elucidation of old phienomena by new illustrations, or if tun new, at least of the aptest kind most perfectly worked out, no reply has been even attempted. Sir 11.0BERT PEEL was challenged into the field by the Member for London; who may securely defy the efforts of' the best man in the Tory camp to dislodge hini from

the position he occupies. Mr. GROTE discusses the Corn-question like a practical philosopher: if Sir ROBERT PEEL exhibit quali- ties beyond those of a clever misleader, we shall be agreeably sur- prized.

Two members of the Cabinet, Mr. LABOUCIILRE and Lord

Moitriorn, avowed themselves the advocates of what has been called "fixed injustice," in the shape of a fiaed duty of Gs. or 7s. a quarter; anti when we have mentioned this circumstance, all that needs be said of the part Ministers have taken in the dis- elision is told.

There are signs of alarm among the supporters of the present scale of duties. Several Members spoke with much bitterness of the agitation in their own neighbourhoods. It was not denied that the opposition to the Corn-laws is spreading. Petitions for altera- tion or repeal were presented from agricultural districts for the first time. Nevertheless, the division is not expected to show any material variation from the numbers of last year. If any converts have been made within the House, they have not yet avowed a change of opinion. The certainty that the discussion will end in an overwhelming majority against any alteration, deadens the interest of the debate; which, to say the truth, has been for the most put dull and languid. The House is thinly attended, and often noisy. Nobody expects to hear new arguments on this worn- out theme; and it will be a relief to all when the palaver is finished.

Lord ABERDEEN has valiantly undertaken to satisfy the con- flicting parties on the Scotch Church question. Lord Mnenotassal fairly avowed that he saw no way of accomplishing that object ; and, though nightly badgered with interrogatories front the Oppo- sition, could not make up his mind what to do. If' what Lord ABERDEEN alleges—that the execution of the law would cause bloodshed, and be resisted by force of arms in Aberdeenshire—is correct, then the interference of Government is a peremptory duty; otherwise we can scarcely blame Ministers for declining to embroil themselves still further in the quarrel. They have probably discovered, not only that the Non-Intrusionists are slippery allies at a contested election, but that much of the excite- ment is fictitious, and that the bulk of the people take little in- terest in the matter. Ministers are chiefly blameable for tamper- ing with the Church for electioneering purposes, and raising tithe hopes of obtaining a Parliamentary sanction of the Veto and other usurpations of the General Assembly. The result is, alienation of' the Disacaters. and the fiercer hatred of the Church party, who will reproach the Govcsarnent with treachery.

Mr. PA KINGTON has carried the second reading of his Beer Bill ; but must expect formidable opposition from many who allow it to go into Committee. We hope it will be thrown out ; for al- though the regulations for the sale of malt liquor may need im- provement, this is not the time to legislate severely even against the vices and irregularities of the poor. Besides, by making it difficult and expensive to obtain licences, and empowering country Justices to grant or retbse them, sense of the worst evils of the old licencing system would be revived. A rather interesting discussion on Lord SEATON'S pension is the subject of remark elsewhere; and the other Parliamentary business does not require particular notice.