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that sacred covenant, without committing a breach of faith; and if they committed an infraction of the commercial part, they violated the whole. If they selected any particular article (that, for instance, relative to the spirits intercourse) as a subject for revision, they would establish a precedent, which they might hereafter deplore; for though the Parliament of Ireland did not exist, the people of Ireland were in being; and thousands of petitioners might then come to the bar of that House, demanding a revision of other articles, which appeared to affect their interests. The act of union constituted the marriage articles between the two countries, and none of its provisions could be broken without annulling the contract. The right honourable gentleman, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, had, on a former occasion, observed that there might be some articles in the act of union, of so ambiguous or unintelligible a nature, as to call for explanation ;
but he denied that the article to which the bill referred was one of that description. It was in vain to say, that the clause respecting the intercourse of spirits with Scotland, bad been new modelled. Why should it be inferred, because Parliament altered the law, as it respected Scotland, that therefore they should repeal it as it respected Ireland ? If the Parliament of England set up a court of equity in its own cause, and dealt out what it was pleased to denominate justice, but which was, in reality, no more than what its discretion prompted, nothing could be imagined more unfair or more impolitic, and nothing could be conceived more calculated to destroy the confidence which ought to subsist between the two countries.
It was supported by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. W. V. Fitzgerald, Mr. Shaw, Mr. Hawthorne, and Lord Castlereagh. The object of the bill, it was said, was to open the intercourse between the two countries, on terms consistent with the act of union. Lord Castlereagh confirmed the statement made respecting Mr. Pitt's opinion on the subject. At the time of the union, it was intended that the trade in Irish spirits should be free. Mr. Finlay moved an amendment, “ that the House should go into the committee that day three months.”.
The House divided : Ayes 41, Noes 63; Majority against the amendment 22. Tellers for the Ayes, Mr. Brand and Mr. Wm. Smith.
Noes, Mr. Robert Shaw and Sir George Hill. The original motion was agreed to, and the bill went through the committee, and finally passed.
February 27. 1815. IN the preceding session of 1814, Sir Henry Parnell introduced
certain propositions respecting the corn laws. The House went into a committee on the 5th of May, and the following were the resolutions.
“ 1. That the exportation of corn, grain, meal, malt, and flour, from any part of the United Kingdom, should be permitted at all times, without the payment of any duty, and without receiving any bounty whatever.
« 2. That the several duties, now payable in respect of all corn, grain, meal, and flour, imported into the United Kingdom, should cease and determine; and that the several duties in the following schedule shall be paid in lieu thereof." When imported from the province of Quebec, or the other British
colonies in North America.
74 50 37 24 If at or above
37 24 But under
77 52 . 39 25 If at or above
77 52 39 25 When imported from any other foreign country If under
84 56 42 28 If at or above
42 28 But under
44 If at or above
87 58 44 29
Mr. Huskisson moved as an amendment, to substitute a graduated schedule, as follows. When imported from any foreign country, except the province of
Quebec, or the other British colonies or plantations in North America.
Price. Duty. Price. Duty. Price. Duty. Price. Duty. If at or under,
S. per quarter 63 to 64-24 42 to 43-22 32 to 33-13 22 to 22-12 At these prices and upwards
As the grain advances in price one shilling, the duty to decrease in the same proportion.
When imported from the above provinces and colonies, one-half of the said respective duties.
The same duty on each boll of oatmeal imported.
One-third of the said duty payable on each cwt. of wheat, meal, or flour.
“ 3d. That all foreign corn, grain, meal, and flour, should at all times be imported and warehoused free of all duty, until taken out for home consumption; and should at all times be exported free of all duty."
These resolutions were debated at considerable length in the committee. On the second resolution, Mr. John Foster objected to the graduated schedule proposed by Mr. Huskisson, and submitted as an amendment, “ That the protecting duty should cease and determine when wheat arrived at 100s.; rye, pease, and bea at 66s.; barley, at 50s.; and oats, at 33s., except when imported from our American colonies. On a division, the numbers were, for Mr. John Foster's amendment 60, against it 81 ; majority against it 21. The resolution in its original form was then agreed to. Numerous petitions were presented to Parliament, from the manufacturing districts in England, against any alteration in the corn laws. The petitions from Ireland were numerous, and were all in favour of the resolutions. On the report of the committee being brought up, the Chancellor of the Exchequer moved, that it should be taken into consideration that day three weeks ; to which Gen. Gascoigne moved to substitute the words “ six months,” instead of “ three weeks,” on which the House divided. Ayes 116, Noes 106; majority for the amendment 10. The bill was consequently lost. In this session, (1815,) the subject was again revived, and the House went into a committee on the corn laws; and the reports made in the preceding sessions, also the report of the committee of the House of Lords on the corn trade, were referred to the committee ; and on the 17th, Mr. Robinson proposed the following resolutions :
Resolved, that any sort of foreign corn, meal, or flour, which may by law be imported into the United Kingdom, shall at all times be allowed to be brought to the United Kingdom, and to be warehoused there, without payment of any duty whatever.
Resolved, that such corn, meal, and flour, so warehoused, may at all times be taken out of the warehouse, and be exported, without payment of any duty whatever.
Resolved, that such corn, meal, or flour, so warehoused, may be taken out of the warehouse, and be entered for home consumption, in the United Kingdom, without payment of any duty whatever, whenever foreign corn, meal, or flour, of the same sort, shall by law be admissible into the United Kingdom for home consumption.
** 4. — Resolved, that such foreign corn, meal, or flour, shall be permitted to be imported into the United Kingdom for home consumption, without payment of any duty, whenever the average
80s. per qr.
prices of the several sorts of British corn, inade up and published in the manner now by law required, shall be at or above the prices hereafter specified, viz.
26s. But that, whenever the average prices of British corn shall respectively be below the prices above stated, no foreign corn, meal, or flour, made from any of the respective sorts of foreign corn above enumerated, shall be allowed to be imported, or taken out of warehouse for home consumption; nor shall any foreign flour be at any time imported into Ireland.
Resolved, that the average prices of the several sorts of British corn, by which the importation of foreign corn, meal, or flour, into the United Kingdom, is to be regulated and governed, shall continue to be made up, and published in the manner now required by law; but that, if it shall hereafter at any time appear, that the average prices of British corn, in the six weeks immediately succeeding the 15th February, 15th May, 15th August, and 15th November, in each year, shall have fallen below the prices at which foreign corn, meal, or four, are by law allowed to be imported for home consumption, no such foreign corn, meal, or flour, shall be allowed to be imported into the United Kingdom for home consumption, from any place between the rivers Eyder and Garonne, both inclusive, until a new average shall be made up and published in the London Gazette for regulating the importation into the United Kingdom for the succeeding quarter.
“ 6.- Resolved, that such corn, meal, or four, being the produce of any British colony or plantation in North America, as may now by law be imported into the United Kingdom, may hereafter be imported for home consumption, without payment of any duty, whenever the average prices of British corn, made up and published as by law required, shall be at or above the prices hereafter specified, viz. Wheat
67s. per qr. Rye, Pease, and Beans
44s. Barley, Beer, or Bigg
22s. But that, whenever the prices of British corn, respectively, shall be below the prices above specified, corn, meal, or flour, made from
any of the respective sorts of corn above enumerated, the produce of any British colony or plantation in North America shall no longer be allowed to be imported into the United Kingdom for home consumption.
“ 7. — Resolved, that such corn, meal, or flour, the produce of any British colony or plantation in North America, as may now by law be imported into the United Kingdom, shall at all times be permitted to be brought there, and warehoused, without payment
any duty whatever. * 8. --- Resolved, that such corn, meal, or flour, so warehoused,
may at all times be taken out of the warehouse, and exported, without payment of any duty whatever.
• 9. - Resolved, that such corn, meal or flour, so warehoused, may be taken out of warehouse, and entered for home consumption in the United Kingdom, whenever corn, meal, or flour, of the the like description, imported direct from any such colony or plantation, shall be admissible for home consumption ; but not otherwise.
These resolutions were opposed by Mr. Phillips, Mr. Marryat, and Sir William Curtis. They were supported by Mr. Brand, Mr. Ellison, Sir F. Flood. The resolutions were then agreed to. On the 22d, the report was taken into consideration : it was opposed by Colonel Gore Langton, who divided the committee; for the Speaker leaving the chair, 197, against it 6. The House then went into a committee; the three first resolutions were agreed to, the fourth, which fixed the price at which wheat should be imported, was opposed by Mr. Baring and Mr. Whitbread; it was supported by Mr. Ponsonby, Lord Binning, and Mr. Rose. The debate was adjourned to the next day, when the resolution was supported by Sir John Newport, Lord Jocelyn, Mr. Frankland Lewis, Lord Proby, Sir Nicholas Colthurst, Sir John Stewart, Sir Egerton Bridges, Mr. Lockhart, Lord Compton, Mr. J. C. Grant, and Mr. Huskisson; it was opposed by Mr. Protheroe, Sir William Curtis, Mr. Horner, and Mr. Baring, who moved an amendment, proposing 76s. as the price above which corn might be imported from foreign countries; this measure to be of a temporary nature: on this the House divided, and the numbers were, for Mr. Baring's amendment 65; for the original motion 109. On the next day (27th), the report of the committee was brought up, when it was opposed by Mr. Barclay, Sir R. Peel, Mr. Phillips, Mr. Marryat, Mr. Baring, and Gen. Gascoigne; it was supported by Mr. Yorke, Mr. Fitzgerald, Lord Lascelles, Mr. Courtnay, Sir George Warrender, and Mr. Grattan, who spoke as follows:
Sir, the question before you, complicated, and comprehensive, and doubtful as it appears, may be, notwithstanding, reduced to three plain considerations ; whether we can contend with foreigners in the trade of corn; whether we can supply, in that article, our own consumption, and whether we can at all times command a sufficient supply of that article from foreign nations ? To the first question, the persons examined by the corn committee have given a flat, positive, and decisive negative. They concur to affirm, that we cannot contend with foreigners in the market of corn, and they support their assertion with evidence, which is incontestible, on the low price of labour abroad; the tithes, the taxes, the poor rates, the cesses, the high price of labour, and the various charges which attend tillage at home; but this evidence is necessary no longer, the question is decided by the fact : we