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those laws ought to be altered or not, was and proceedings of the Arigna Mining another question; but, while they conti- Company. He was induced to bring fornued in their present state, and remained ward the motion thus early, from the deas the guides of our foreign commerce, sire for a speedy inquiry expressed by an they must be obeyed, and ministers had hon. member. At the same time he begnot the power to change the course which ged to say, that he did not intend to conthey directed to be pursued.
fine his motion to the conduct of that Mr. Alderman Thompson thought, that company; but should extend it to other the country was highly indebted to the Joint-stock companies with which that right hon. gentleman for the liberal course hon. gentleman and other members of that which he had hitherto pursueri. He | House were connected. wished to know what was the object of Mr. Brogden said, he felt personally the present motion ; for, if it was to ob- obliged at the announcement of an early tain a select committee, to whom was to day for bringing forward a motion, in be referred the question of the importa- which his character was so deeply contion duties ; he should certainly oppose cerned. He felt the same confidence that the appointment of any such committee, he had before expressed, as to his coming until after the question of the Corn-laws out of the inquiry with an unsullied repus had been finally settled. Until that ques- tation. He had seen in a report of the tion was decided, he was convinced the proceedings of the House of last evening, trade of this country could only be partially in which it was stated, that it was intiaffected by other measures.
mated to the worthy alderman by him, Colonel Torrens protested against the that he wished the subject should not be principle, that British manufacturers want- brought forward, until after the holidays. ed any protection. All they required He now called upon the worthy alderman was, that their energies should not be to do him the justice to say, that he had oppressed and destroyed by enormous and never concurred in such an understanding. unnecessary duties. We could not ex- Mr. Alderman Waithman said, that in port our agricultural produce in return for stating that there had been a wish eximportations of foreign manufactures, since pressed, that the subject should not be that produce was nearly 50 per cent. brought forward until after the holidays, dearer than
other in the world. We he certainly did not allude to the hon. must, therefore, either export our manufac- member but to a right hon. gentleman tures, or pay money for goods imported. over the way. It was by no means with a If there was a free trade to-morrow, our view to his own convenience, that he had manufacturers might meet all the world; suggested the postponement. It was to and their knowledge and skill, their capi- meet the wishes of others : but, perceiving tal and their machinery, would give them that a disposition to accommodate was a decided advantage. But, then, the sometimes productive of greater inconveCorn-laws destroyed these means of su- nience than the adherence to an original periority; and, until the question of those plan, he was determined to exercise his laws was settled, the prosperity of England own discretion, and bring the subject bestood but on a foundation of sand. He fore the House on Tuesday. should not detain the House further, as he had merely risen to enter his protest CURRENCY AND THE CORN-Laws.] against the supposition, that, of themselves, On the order of the day for going into a the British manufacturers required any committee of supply, protection against foreign competition.
Lord Folkestone took the opportunity, The motion was then agreed to. seeing the President of the Board of Con.
trol in his place, of asking whether it was
the intention of ministers to introduce any HOUSE OF COMMONS.
measure respecting the Currency, in conse: Friday, December 1.
quence of what had taken place in the ARIGNA MINING COMPANY.] Mr. Committee on the Small Note Bill in the Alderman Waithman said, that in conse- last session of the last parliament ? quence of what had passed in the House Mr. Huskisson said, that he was not at last evening, he was induced to give notice, that moment prepared to reply to the that on Tuesday next, he would submit a question of the noble lord. motion, for an inquiry into the formation Lord Folkestone said, he thought the
present a proper opportunity for remarking of inconvenience was allowed to prevent upon the extraordinary situation in which the meeting of parliament at the present parliament was placed, by the conduct of season of the year. He could not conministers, with respect to the Currency ceive why his majesty's ministers had been and the Corn-laws. Parliament was as- unable to make up their minds on this sembled at an inconvenient season of the vital question before the meeting of parliayear, and at a time that, it was admitted ment. When he had just now put a quesby all, the greatest distress pervaded every tion to the right hon. gentleman opposite, class of the community. Yet they were as to any intention to renew the committee told by ministers, that no discussion should of last session on the state of the Curtake place upon the subject, on which the rency, with a view of settling certain greatest excitation was raised throughout points still mooted, the right hon. gentlethe nation. hen the members met to- was not prepared to answer the gether, they were told that no information question. As it was impossible that his should be given ; that no debate should majesty's government could have any take place on these points, on which in- measures in contemplation with which that formation and debate were most desirable ; right hon. gentleman was not perfectly in short, that the only purpose for which acquainted, he did not think that he their attendance was rendered requisite, should be acting unfairly towards the right was to pass an act of indemnity to mi- hon. gentleman's colleagues, if he inferred nisters for a measure, which more than from the right hon. gentleman's disclaimer, any other measure of their administration, that they had no intention at present of had obtained for them the approbation of proposing any measure with respect to the the country. He saw no ground for this two important subjects to which he had delay. There had been, indeed, a great alluded. That was a statement, indeed, deal of blustering, that come what may, which he had heard in other quarters. ministers would abstain from declaring Recollecting as he did how the last session their views; but they were greatly mistaken, opened ; recollecting that in February, if they thought that such a declaration on only six weeks after the occurrence of what their part would satisfy the country. was generally known by the name of “the Both parties--those who thought that the panic," the country had been described by agriculture of the country ought to receive the right hon. gentleman and by his additional protection, and those who colleagues, as having been within eightthought that it ought to be deprived of and-forty hours of returning to a state of the protection which it already possessed barter, a state of utter confusion, entirely — were equally interested in the determi- incompatible with its welfare and existnation of the question ; and in the mean- ence, and therefore that it was necessary while, therefore, the general agitation was to call the immediate attention of parliain consequence extreme. He was utterly ment to the providing of a remedy calcuat a loss to conceive what rational advan- lated to prevent the recurrence of such a tage could ensue from the delay in set-danger:-recollecting that all the evils tling so important a matter. To talk of which had been endured had been attriinconvenience was to trifle with the feel- buted, and most justly attributed, to the deings of the whole country; and was more ranged state of the currency-recollecting especially absurd, when it was perfectly that on that occasion his inajesty's ministers well known, that on formed occasions in- lost no time in bringing the question under convenience was not deemed a sufficient the consideration of the House in a manreason for postponing the consideration of ner which met with his entire concurrence; matters of national importance. He per- recollecting all these things, he owned he fectly well recollected, that some years ago, was surprised that the plea of inconvenience when a scarcity was expected, parliament was now set up, in order to avoid the dissat during the months of November and cussion of a subject allowed on all hands December, expressly to make such an al- to be one of the most important that teration in the Corn-laws as might meet could by possibility be brought under the the anticipated necessity. When it was consideration of the legislature: The conthought expedient by his majesty's go- sequence of the proceedings adopted by vernment to propose certain strong mea- his majesty's government at the commencesures, the tendency of which was to violate ment of the last session was, that a bill the liberty of the subject, no similar plea I was introduced for the purpose of putting
an end, under certain exceptions and mo- currency, that they could not give an opidifications, to the circulation of small nion; and yet this very question, on which notes. That bill, however, experienced that of the Corn-laws, and so many others material alterations in passing through the of importance, were said to depend, was House. It being contended, that the to be left in this uncertain state. The principles respecting paper currency ap- committee went on to say, " It will probaplicable to England were not applicable to bly be deemed advisable to fix a definite, Scotland and Ireland, and especially to the though not an early, period, at which the former, a select committee was appointed circulation of Ireland of all notes below to take that part of the subject into con- 51. shall cease. And it is deserving of sideration. Every body must recollect, consideration, whether measures might that, towards the close of the last session not be adopted in the interim for the pur-a session which it was known imme- pose of ensuring such a final result by gradiately preceded the dissolution of parlia- dual though cautious advances towards it." ment-anextreme degree of hurry prevailed And yet, notwithstanding this uncertainty, in all the proceedings of parliament. The the House was to be left in darkness, as to Corn question, the Currency question, whether any further measures were to be and a great many other questions of im- introduced, and ministers were unprepared portance were postponed ; and the report to say whether they would take any step of the committee to which he had alluded on that important subject. He repeated was not brought up, until within a few days that parliament and the country were most of the prorogation, and, together with the unfairly treated by ministers, by the proevidence, was not printed until several traction of those important subjects, and months after the dissolution, of parliament. he felt it his duty thus early to enter his From that evidence, it would appear, that protest against the continuance of such the real difficulties of the question had not delays. been mooted, or canvassed, in the commit- Mr. Huskisson observed, that the noble tee. It had been argued by various gen- lord had discovered more in the answer tlemen, and especially by the right hon. gen- which he had returned to the noble lord's tleinan opposite, that, to restore the cur- question, than that answer really implied. rency to a satisfactory state would be to The noble lord had asked him, whether it restore agriculture to its former easy situ- was intended to renew the committee of ation. And yet the House would be sur- last session on the Small Notes bill, or to prised to hear, that, in the whole of the take any steps with regard to the report proceedings of the committee to which he which had been presented by that comhad adverted, no inquiry was made by the mittee. His answer was, that he was not right hon. gentleman, or by any other prepared to inform the noble lord whether member of it, as to the effect which had or not it was intended by government been produced on the agriculture of Scot- to propose either the renewal of the land by the substitution of a paper for a committee, or the adoption of any prometallic circulation. With respect to ceedings founded on their report. From that part of the inquiries of the committee that answer the noble lord chose to infer which related to Ireland, it had undergone prematurely that no steps whatever would a most imperfect consideration. The actually be taken. He again stated, that conclusion of the report of the committee his majesty's government had not had an stated, “ That in the imperfect state of the opportunity of considering if it was information which the committee had ob- necessary or not to renew the committee tained with respect to Ireland, they were in question ; and, therefore, he was not unable to come to any decisive opinion on prepared to say whether they would do so, that part of the question submitted to or whether they would take any steps on their investigation." Now, was it fitting the report already presented. The noble that a great national question should be lord expressed his surprise, that when a left in this undetermined condition? Was report had been presented in a former it fitting, when all our distresses had been session, on a subject involving questions over and over again attributed to the state of the greatest public interest, his majesty's of the currency, that the real state of that government ten days after the meeting of currency should be left in doubt? The parliament on a special occasion, committee asserted, that their information an unusual period, declined any proceedwas so imperfect on the state of the Irishing on that subject until after the recess,
The noble lord, who was a great friend when it was impossible to pursue it to its to the liberties of the people, and a great accomplishment. The noble lord said,
а stickler for the constitution, could not see that he recollected parliament having been for what purpose parliament was assembled, called together at the present period of if not to dispose of the currency and corn the year, for the general despatch of questions. It was assembled in deference business; and among other instances, had to the constitution: it was assembled specified one in which it was assembled because his majesty's ministers had for the purpose of providing means to advised a breach of the law on a subject obviate an apprehended scarcity. But of great and peculiar importance. His that was quite beside the present question. majesty's ministers conceived, that having The present case was simply this.violated the laws, they were bound to call ministers having adopted certain measures parliament together to sit in judgment on which appeared to them to be expedient, their acts, and either to indemnify them although in violation of the law, parliafor what they had done, or put an end to ment had been assembled to say whether the continuance of the violation. His they had done right or not. A period majesty's ministers conceived that on might be very unfit for the consideration the very same day on which they advised of a permanent alteration in the law, a violation of the constitution, they ought which was extremely fit for the consideraalso to advise his Majesty to call parlia- tion of the propriety of a temporary exment together as soon as they could con- pedient which had grown out of an urgent veniently be assembled. It was on that occasion. He perfectly admitted to the ground, and for that purpose, that par- noble lord, that the question respecting liament had been summoned to meet; the Corn-laws must be looked at with and he was sure it was not surprising to more or less reference to the question the majority of the House, or to the respecting the currency. But what he country at large, that it was not proposed maintained was, that those two questions to parliament, at the present time of the questions of such magnitude-could not year, to proceed to the permanent settle- be advantageously considered at the ment of such great questions as those present inconvenient season ; and that it connected with the corn and the currency. was much more wise, therefore, to postIt was never usual to bring on important pone them until the ordinary period. questions such as those, within a few days The noble lord had reproached him with of an expected adjournment. The noble lord not having in the committee on small must be aware, that from the circumstance notes directed any inquiries, to ascertain of this being a new parliament, important how far the comforts of the agricultural questions could not, for some time, be labourers in Scotland had been affected proceeded with to any great length; and it by the introduction of one-pound notes. would be extremely unfair and injurious The fact was, however, that so remote to the country, to bring forward any im- was the period at which those notes had portant measure which could not be pur- been introduced into the Scotch circulasued to its termination. The noble lord said, tion, that nothing could now be known of that all this was a pretence; and that his the effect which had been produced by majesty's ministers had not made up their them; and therefore that he should have minds with respect to the plan which they been laughed at if he had put any such intended to propose regarding the Corn- questions as the noble lord had suggested, laws; and that it was because they were He was satisfied that neither by the House not ready, that they did not come forward. nor by the country would his majesty's He could only say, in answer, that his government be censured for not bringing majesty's ministers were prepared and forward the subjects of the currency or agreed with respect to what measures the Corn-laws, at this particular period. they should bring forward, with a view to Mr. E. D. Davenport maintained, that the permanent settlement of the Corn- the first subject that ought to be conlaws; but that they thought it would not sidered, was the best mode of placing the be conducive to the interests of the coun- currency on a more stable footing; and try; they thought it would be calculated that with regard to the price of corn, or to occasion a most injurious division of of any other commodity, it was useless to feeling and conflict of opinion, if they discuss it, while one of the principal brought forward such a subject at a time elements of that price remained unfixed. the last year.
When he reflected on the manner in absurd titles, but though they had been which the currency had been mismanaged exposed to this species of abuse, no reduring the last ten years ; the fluctuations taliation had been exercised by the landwhich had taken place in it; and the way lords. The language used by the meeting in which, by such means, large classes of at Manchester was scarcely less violent; the people had been robbed, without and the only place which had discussed knowing how they were robbed; he felt the question with temperance and moderathat it was the question which, before all tion was Leeds, where several gentlemen others, ought to receive the grave con- had argued it with a degree of talent and sideration of parliament; and he pledged information which would not have dishimself, after the holidays, to call the graced the best speakers in that House. attention of the House to it, and to show For himself, he could only say, that howthat it was the fluctuations in the currency, ever closely he might be connected with and not the speculations of individuals, the landed interest, he had always acted that had produced the gigantic evils with upon a thorough conviction, that the which the country had been visited during interests of commerce, manufactures, and
agriculture, were intimately combined. Colonel Torrens expressed his satis- The House then went into the comfaction at the postponement of the con- mittee. sideration of the corn question. The appearance of things indicated the pro- CustomS AND Excise INFORMATIONS.) bability of a scarcity; and, if so, by the Mr. D. W. Harvey said, that the two mospring, the evil of protracting the existence tions which he intended to bring forward that of the present laws on the subject would evening, were so connected with each other, be too manifest to be denied by any one. that he would take the opportunity of
Mr. Benett objected to the post- making at once all the remarks with which ponement, and observed, that ministers he deemed it necessary to introduce them. were bound to state to the House the One of the motions was only the revival of course which they intended to propose a motion, which he had himself introduced on the corn question. As long as this in 1820, and which he had intended to was unknown, the country would be kept have followed up by another motion, had in a state of suspense, highly injurious to not his right to sit in parliament been cut all parties. No man was safe in entering away by a decision which convinced him into any transaction connected with the that the conclusions drawn by election purchase or sale of land, while he was committees were not always infallible. ignorant of what might be the future pro- Since the year 1820, no notice had been ceeding on that question. He therefore taken of the subject to which he had called regretted the delay, and for the very same the attention of the House, though it was reasons on which the gallant colonel had one of great importance, and referred to founded the expression of a contrary abuses, which were deeply rooted in the sentiment. It was said, that every day system of the law as at present adminiswould show more and more the impolicy tered, and which operated injuriously on of those laws. He expected that various the individuals who were made the victims meetings would be held in different parts of them. There could not be found a of the country, some to obtain their repeal more decided proof of the advantages and others to obtain protection for the arising out of the interference of parlialanded interest. At those meetings he ment, than that afforded by the results of anticipated that violent and intemperate his motion. It appeared that from the language would be used by both parties, year 1816 down to the year 1819, both and more particularly by that party which inclusive, being a period of four years, sought to alter the present system. That previous to any notice being taken of the this would be the natural effect of post- number of prosecutions instituted under poning the discussion, no man of any the customs and excise laws, the average reflection would venture to deny. Various number of informations filed each year was meetings had been held at different places; 700; whilst during the year in which atand he must particularly mention the tention was called to the subject, and one held in the Common-hall of London, during the year immediately following, the in which the landlords had been branded average number did not exceed 250. with the name of monopolists, and other From such a statement of facts, he in