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That the proposed grant be reduced by Lord King presented a petition, praying the sum of 1731., being the salary of the for the repeal of the Corn Laws, from governor of Dartmouth, who was non- certain persons in Gloucestershire, calling resident, and not a military man.
themselves members of the Anti-Bread The Chancellor of the Exchequer said, Tax Association, No. 2. His noble friend that allusion having been made to gover- near him had just stated, that this was nors who were not military men, he wished not a contest of interests. He admitted it to be understood, that the government that it ought not to be such a contest; of the Isle of Wight had never been con- but he was afraid it was a contest between sidered a military appointment, that offi- principles that would lead to prosperity cer discharging the ordinary duties of a and a course of policy that had been too lord-lieutenant. The father of the earl long pursued, and would be, he was of Malmesbury had been for a long time afraid, still longer persevered in. The plan employed in diplomatic situations—a sort that was forthcoming had been too of office in which it was well known the long in concocting to be very
beneficial. individuals seldom made fortunes. He He expected to see no self-denying ordihad received the reward of a pension and nance issue from that House. The plan a peerage from his royal master, with the would be something that would not very reversion of a part of that pension to his much displease the landed interest. It son. That portion of the pension the would not be what the people prayed for. present lord Malmesbury had resigned for He would contend, however, that until the government of the Isle of Wight, an that which was just and right was done, office which would cease at his lordship’s this question would not be suffered to rest. death, as it had in fact been abolished by Lord Teynham thought it was beneath the act of 1817.
their lordships' dignity to receive a petiMr. W. Smith supported the amend- tion from a society calling itself the Antiment, thinking that by putting an end to Bread-Tax Association. He hoped the one of these sinecures, he should accele- noble lord would withdraw it. rate the extinction of abuses so often and Lord King presented the petition as the so justly complained of.
petition of the persons who signed it, The House divided: for Mr. Rickford's though it was indorsed Anti-Bread-Tax amendment 15; for the original resolu- Petition. tion 45. The other resolutions were then The Earl of Lauderdale said, that when put, and agreed to.
he saw that the indorsements of the pe
titions were all “ Anti-bread Tax PeList of the Minority.
titions," and understood that there were Baring, Alex. Smith, W.
several, all drawn up in the same words ; Dawson, A. Thompson, C. B.
and when he recollected the speeches of Easthope, J.
Wood, John Ilarvey, D. W. Wood, Ald.
his noble friend, he was at no loss to conLennard, B. Waithman, Ald.
jecture who was the author of these peLombe, E. Warburton, H.
titions. Maberly, J.
Lord King replied, that whoever might Monck, J. B. Hume, J.
be the author, he was not. The petitions Pendarves, E. W. Rickford, W.
must, however, give his noble friend con
siderable pleasure, as they must convince HOUSE OF LORDS. him, that other persons could make as Wednesday, February 21.
great mistakes in matters of political
economy as he had made himself. Corn Laws.] Lord Holland present- The Lord Chancellor did not know ed a petition, praying for an alteration of whether the noble lord had drawn up the the Corn Laws. He wished it to be un petitions, or had only indorsed them for derstood, that he gave no opinion what their lordships' acceptance; but there was ever on the subject. He entirely agreed nothing in the indorsement which should with the noble marquis, that nothing was prevent their lordships from receiving the more erroneous than to consider this as a petition as the petition of the persons who conflict between different interests. They signed it. had all necessarily one interest, and all Ordered to lie on the table. found their security in the prosperity of each other.
CATHOLIC EMANCIPATION.) The Earl
of Mountcashel presented a petition from prosperity of the landed interest; but, it a barony in Tipperary, signed by thirteen was impossible that any man could shut magistrates, and most of the respectable his eyes against the fact, of which any inhabitants, against granting any further man might be convinced by reason and concessions to the Catholics. The noble argument, that the Corn-laws were founded earl, in presenting the petition, complained in error, and imperiously called for reof the influence exerted by the Catholic vision. It was said, that the question priests over their flocks. The people, he must be settled in one way or other; but said, were indifferent to the subject of he was of opinion that it was one of those Catholic emancipation. There would be questions which admitted of being settled many more petitions, such as that which only in one way. So long as a great porhe now presented, if the people did not tion of the population had reason to conlive under apprehension for their safety. plain of the conduct of government-so He had known instances where individuals long as the government stepped between were prevented from speaking out by their the people and their food-he was satisfears.
fied that this question could not be settled. : Viscount Clifden wished to say a word The petitioners prayed for a free trade in about the Catholic priests. He had heard corn, subject to a reasonable protection, from an assistant barrister, who was in the by a duty on importation proportioned to county of Waterford at the time of the the exclusive taxation borne by the agrielection, that there was no ground of culturist. He called upon ministers to complaint against the Catholic priests. carry that principle into full effect; and They had exerted their interest in favour not to continue to the landed interest a of their own party. And why not? Did greater protection than they extended to not the Protestant clergy interfere at the mercantile and manufacturing interests. Reading and in Surrey; and was it to be He was sure that such a measure would tolerated in them, and treated as a crime satisfy the mercantile and manufacturing in the Catholics ? As to the Protestants interests, even if the impost on the introbeing ready to petition against the catho- duction of corn were somewhat greater lics if they dared, it was his firm convic- than it ought to be. Unless the trade in tion, that the vast majority of the Pro-corn was made as free as the trade in matestant landed proprietors of Ireland were nufactures, the mercantile and manufacin favour of Catholic emancipation, from turing interests would labour under the a conviction that their security depended most unjust disadvantages; since they on its being carried. The Catholics had would have to compete not only in the suffered from
abuses; and it was not foreign, but in the home markets, with the surprising that they should be exasperated. manufacturers of other countries, where He begged their lordships to reflect se- provisions were cheaper, wages lower, and riously on the state of Ireland, and ask taxation less than in this country. There themselves how all these things could end ? could not be a stronger proof of the monFor himself, he would express his con- strous state of the existing laws, than the viction, that until the question was settled necessity under which ministers felt themin favour of the Catholics, there would be selves of violating those laws by a temponeither peace nor tranquillity in that rary abrogation of them, when the apcountry.
proach to famine was apprehended. That Ordered to lie on the table.
system of laws could be little calculated
to protect any class of his majesty's subHOUSE OF COMMONS.
jects, which ministers were obliged to abWednesday, February 21.
rogate, whenever it came into operation in
favour of the individuals supposed to be Corn Laws.] Lord Milton presented protected. sundry petitions from Yorkshire, praying Sir E. Knatchbull expressed his satisfor an alteration in the Corn-laws. To the faction at the temperate tone in which the petition from Leeds--one of the wealthiest poble lord had introduced the present and most intelligent manufacturing towns subject, and he trusted that, when the in the country--he wished particularly to discussion of the Corn-laws took place, it call the attention of the House. Un- would be characterized by similar modedoubtedly, the prosperity of the country ration. There was one expression of the depended, in a great degree, upon the noble lord, however, to which he could not help alluding. The noble lord had discussion to terminate without complainintimated that ministers had stepped in ing of the high tone taken by the noble between the people and their necessary lord in presenting the petitions, and of the food. Now, much as he was disposed to insinuations which he had thrown out resupport the claims of the landed interest, specting those who were supposed to have he could assure the noble lord, that if he taken upon themselves the care of watchbelieved it to be the intention of the go- ing over the interests of the landowners. vernment to step in between the people The noble lord had made use of several and their food, he, for one, would no very extraordinary observations, many of longer give them his support,
which he did not at that moment feel himMr. Duncombe said, he had been asked self able to advert to; but there was one to support the cause of the petitioners; in particular which struck him very forcibut he never could consent to advocate bly. The noble lord had said, that the measures, which, in his opinion, involved government had by their measures interthe ruin of the landed interest. If his fered between the people and their food. majesty's government should propose an. Now, he considered that to be a very misalteration of these laws, by which the in-chievous statement to go forth to the terests of the landowners would be pro- world, as he never saw any attempt to inperly protected, he would give the altera-terfere ; nor could there be any attempt to tion his support; but if the interests of interfere between the people and their food, that class should not be sufficiently at- unless when it was proposed to take that tended to, he certainly would not coun- course which would have the effect of detenance the change.
stroying those who were the true cultivaMr. Whitmore expressed his pleasure tors of the soil producing that food. If at hearing the noble lord state so plainly they were about to permit an importation and so temperately the objects of differ- of foreign grain, at such a duty as would "ence between the parties interested in the inevitably drive all the poor lands, and corn question. The moderation so strong perhaps, a great part of the rich, out of ly exhibited upon that occasion, would go cultivation, then, indeed, they would be a great way to quiet the fears of the agri- interfering with the people and their food, culturists, and to satisfy them that the and plunging one of the most important violent changes which they apprehended interests of the state into irretrievable were not desired by those who called for ruin. It had been said, and said truly, that a modification of the Corn-laws.
there never was an instance in which great Mr. Marshall said, that the persons importations of foreign grain were permitwho suffered most from the operation of ted, that the country into which they the Corn-laws had borne their distresses came was not ultimately brought into a for a long time with great patience; and condition approaching to a scarcity. The that they now entertained strong hopes of true way to avert these evils, and to afford -being relieved from the miseries incidental that relief to all classes of which they to the continuance of the present system seemed to be so much in want, would be to of restriction-hopes which he earnestly encourage, by every means in their power, trusted would not be disappointed. the progress of agricultural improve
Mr. Phillips said, that the great evil ment. By that means they would be able arising from the prohibitions of the im- to give support to thousands, thrown out of portation of grain was, that it prevented employment by the use of machinery, and manufactures from being carried out of the afford that relief to the destitute of the macountry, in return for the grain that might nufacturing classes which it was clear could be brought in. There could not be a not now be given by the manufacturers greater mistake than to suppose that the themselves.—One word as to what had introduction of foreign grain would be in- fallen from an hon. member on the subject jurious to the agriculturist : seeing that no of the market to be opened for the machange could take place in the commerce nufactures of this country by the repeal of of the country that would give it fresh ac- the Corn-laws. He had lately conversed with tivity, and contribute to the prosperity of a person who thought proper to purchase two the manufacturing classes, without pro- hundred thousand quarters of Polish oats. ving beneficial to the holders and oc- When that individual went to pay the price of capiers of land.
those oats, how did the House suppose that Sir T. Lethbridge could not allow the payment was made? Why, they would probably say, in British manufactures. In hard- | tion to send out a commission to the coware? No. In bales of cotton goods ? No. iony, it would prove wholly useless. No In silks, in stuffs, or any other productions justice could be done by such a commiswhich were fit for the market in the north sion; and he made that assertion upon of Europe ? No. The seller demanded the strength of the best, because it was hosand received payment in English sovereigns. tile, testimony. The last question he had So much for the encouragement the trade put to a hostile witness before the last comand manufactures of the country were to mittee was- “ Do you think the trading in receive from the repeal of the Corn-laws. slaves at the Manritius in the year 1820 Nothing could be more absurd than to to have been as notorious as the sun at propose the repeal of these laws for the noon-day?" The answer was, “ I think it purpose of encouraging manufactures. The is.” Then came the point, that, although only effect resulting from the repeal would the trade was, as it had been thus debe the destruction of the agricultural in- scribed from the mouth of a hostile witness, terests of this country, and the driving the as notorious as the sun at noon-day, it people to look for their main supply of was equally notorious that, although great grain from other countries; from countries numbers of ships had been captured, and not yet made agricultural, but which soon no less than two thousand five hundred would be, and which countries never could slaves taken, not a single individual had become customers for English manufac- ever been punished. So prevalent, indeed, tures. He protested against any attempt was the feeling in favour of slavery, that to destroy what he must always consider it was declared there was an impossibility the most important interest of the state. in procuring conviction. In case it was
not the intention of the government to ŚLAVE TRADE AT THE MAURITIUS.] send out a commission, the hon. member Mr. F. Buxton, in rising to move for the observed, as we understood, that he had Committee of which he had given notice, an equally strong objection to a commissaid, that as the subject had been already sion at home; and he begged, therefore, discussed in all its details, and as he did to ask what was the intention of governnot anticipate any opposition, he would ment upon the subject? content himself with merely moving“ That Mr. W. Horton replied, that he was not a Select Committee be appointed, to in prepared to give a perfectly satisfactory quire whether the Slave Trade has existed explanation of the matters referred to by at the Mauritius and its dependencies, to the hon. member, in the absence of his what extent, and the causes thereof." right hon. friend. He was not, however,
Mr. W. Horton begged the hon. gentle- aware that it was the intention of governman not to press the appointment of such ment to send out a commission to the a committee in the absence of his right hon. Mauritius; and, as to a committee at home friend, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs. upon the subject, it was not, in his opinion, There were many things connected with by any means likely to be productive of the subject which would render it very beneficial results. desirable that his right hon. friend should Mr. Buxton then withdrew his motion. be present.
Mr. F. Buxton expressed his surprise, NORTHAMPTON ELECTION-CONDUCT that, after that right hon. Secretary had, OF THE CORPORATION.] Major Maberly, nearly nine months ago, declared his opi- in rising to bring forward the motion of nion in favour of inquiry, and declared that, which he had given notice, relative to the after the charges he had heard, a parlia- petition from Northampton, complaining mentary inquiry ought to take place, there of the conduct of the Corporation of that should be any opposition, or hesitation in borough, felt himself placed in circumconsenting to the appointment of a com- stances of no ordinary difficulty. Under mittee. As he had had no opportunity, no circumstances, indeed, did a public achowever, of any immediate correspondence cuser find himself in a very grateful powith that right hon. gentleman, he would sition ; but, upon the present occasion, he consent to postpone his motion for the felt all the usual unpleasantness of such present, upon the consideration of the hon. an office, with the addition of 'no slight Secretary consenting to reply to two, or embarrassment, arising from considerations even one, question. He was convinced, in that personally affected himself; for, in the first place, that if there was any inten- this case, while he knew, on the one hand,
that he had been intrusted by his con- , to the following effect:-“You are hereby stituents with the execution of a duty of summoned to attend the corporate assembly, the most serious nature, and involving to be held by the mayor, &c. of the great responsibility in its discharge, hecould borough in Northampton, for determining not conceal from himself, on the other, on certain propositions to be submitted on that with those gentlemen against whom the following subjects; namely, the grant he was instructed to bring the charge that of a sum of money not exceeding 1,0001. he was about to submit to the House, he to be applied, under the directions of a was necessarily placed in a situation of committee, towards paying the ordinary direct and hostile collision. But he felt legal expenses of one of the candidates that he should not perform the duty he for representing this borough in parliaowed to those constituents, if he did ment,” &c. &c. This vote was objected not attempt to expose what he thought, to by two or three gentlemen who were on the part of the corporation of North- present; on which the mayor read to the ampton, a gross dereliction of duty, he was meeting the opinions of three legal gentlenot the less anxious to guard against the men on the subject; and concluded, upon imputation of being actuated (for in- that authority, by informing the corporaterested in this case he was, nor could he tion, that the property they were about to be otherwise) by private or political rancour vote was their own, and that they might and malevolence. All he regretted was, grant it without fees or scruple. On this, that the two petitions which had been pre- the money was voted; the three gentlesented on this subject had not been in- men in question alone protesting against trusted to abler hands, and that his con- the grant.-- This being the state of the stituents had come to him to redeem the case, he had no hesitation in saying, that, pledge he had given of bringing forward so far as common sense and reason were this case, if they should persevere in their concerned, here was a palpable abuse in intention of submitting it to the House.- the application of the corporate funds. The circumstances of that case might be He might be told, that this money
the thus simply stated. The corporation of property of the corporation, which posNorthampton, a rich and powerful corpo- sessed as full a dominion over it, as any ration, at the last general election, availed individual could exercise over his own themselves of that influence which they private funds; that some of these corporaconceived their wealth and power entitled tion funds were fairly and honestly apthem to exercise in this manner :-A few plied to the charitable purposes for which days previous to the dissolution of the last they had been originally assigned or beparliament, a gentleman, of no little con- queathed; and that other portions were sideration in the county, at a meeting of disposable by the corporation, under the the borough corporation for conducting terms of their investment, at the pleasure some ordinary business, brought forward of that corporation. But, against such a motion for granting 1,0001. towards de doctrines he should altogether protest. fraying the costs of any gentleman who The power which the corporation of should come forward, in the ministerial in- Northampton assumed was one which, if terest, to represent the borough in parlia- permitted, would leave the minority of ment. The vote was agreed to ; and, in every corporation a poor, plundered, and consequence, a deputation from the despoiled body, in cases such as the preborough was despatched to various places sent. The corporation of Northampton to find such a candidate. A committee were placed in this dilemma. If the mawas formed; and, according to report (for jority of a corporation have a power of he had no positive proof of the fact), an binding the minority, in such an instance agreement was entered into with the can- as the present, then he did not know what didate who offered to this effect, that he case could possibly arise, in any corporashould find a portion of money to meet the tion in which the majority might not bind expenses of the election ; the corporation the minority. But, taking the other horn undertaking to provide, partly by private of the dilemma, and acting upon the subscriptions, and partly out of the cor- principle that a majority of a corporation porate funds, for the remainder. Sub- had not an unlimited power of binding the sequently to the election, and about the minority, he would contend, that a corporamiddle of the last month, a circular was tion ha no such power; that they had issued to every member of the corporation, I a power only of binding the minority in