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wished to see this fundamental view of the question powerfully urged. There were strong interests opposed to this, for the landowners knew the present system to be necessary for the support of their high rents. They asked only what it was monstrous injustice to refuse, that they might be allowed to take cheap food for their cheap manufactures. It was no way surprising that the central and richest portion of Europe should cease to take our manufactures, seeing how pertinaciously we had refused to take their produce in return. The outlets of the Rhine and the Elbe ought to send us their corn, cattle, and other commodities, as well as wine and other Juxuries. The chamber had been long and interestingly employed in discussing this subject, and he could not help urging that it was a question too important to be handled with nice delicacy, through fear of shocking the nerves of our rulers. It was a question of national vitality, for it was evident that our manufactures could not flourish, unless we took food freely in exchange for them. We were fettered not merely by a corn law-we must remember that we had also beef, pork, mutton, and fish laws, all tending to burden manufactures and keep up rents. He would have them always to keep in mind the injustice of this monopoly, and to demand and to be content with nothing short of its absolute ropeal. Nothing but universal agitation would effect their object, and it was strange that Manchester, and the country at large, should have remained so long asleep on the verge of such awful danger, as that with which we were threatened from the corn laws. Though painful, it was necessary they should look the subject fairly in the face. He had observed the thoughtful looks of members, while Mr Smith was detailing his alarming array of facts, illustrating the falling off in our exports. Still he knew, from sources of information on which he could rely, that no power in Europe could yet compete with England, if she had only a fair chance. But what could we do under our present heavy burdens? We ought to struggle to regain that superiority which we possessed, and to demand most strenuously those concessions from government, which were necessary to the salvation of the country. In reference to the prohibition of the import of beef, pork, &c., alluded to above, it was worthy of remark, that in the preamble of the bill enacting it, Huskisson's customs consolidation bill, it was actually stated to be for the encouragement of trade! (Hear and laughter.) Could anything more atrocious in legislation be conceived ? It rested with the British people to send representatives to parliament, who would legislate on principles better calculated to promote the

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true interests of the country. They had not hitherto done 80, and the more was the shame. We had some trade with the south of France, because we took their wines, and with Italy, because we took her silk. With the United States we had an extensive trade, because it supplied us with cotton. We were also allowed to take trunks of trees, and, in fact, anything from Canada and elsewhere which we could not eat. But our trade, it was evident, could not but be very limited, where our imports were confined to luxuries and raw material. There was no raw material so important as beef and bread. Let food be received from abroad, and then full employment will be obtained ; and when the essential wants of the working classes shall have been supplied, he would not grudge the rich their luxuries, but first of all let them provide for the ample feeding of the people. It was said that our island could produce corn enough for the whole of its population. Perhaps it might yield as much as would keep the people in existence, but to be only half fed was to be but half alive; and he would repeat, that an ample supply of food ought to be provided. (Hear.) It was giving the people food that would most effectually restrain vice. He felt that he ought to apologize for these generalities. It was by going into details that the subject was best elucidated and enforced, and there were many gentlemen present who could make their knowledge bear upon it. Our trade with northern and central Europe and the United States, would have been at present double what it is, had we all along taken food from these countries in exchange for our manufactured goods. He did not think it was yet too late to recover our ground, provided that a universal and energetic demand should now be made for our relief. Perhaps it was not expedient for him to make any further remark, but he would suggest, that the chamber might make its influence more effectually felt in this matter, were it to take the lead in calling a public meeting for the discussion of the subject. If there were any arguments to be brought against the abolition which they advocated, he thought a very small amount of knowledge and of talent would be sufficient to confute them, and to induce a large majority of the people to enter zealously into their views. A petition emanating from a public meeting would have more force. He lamented the tardiness of the steps taken by that board for the repeal of the corn laws, but he rejoiced to see the feeling which now existed on that subject, and he hoped they would not relax their efforts till their object was accomplished. He thought if it were put to any plain man who went to a baker's shop for bread, whether he would have two

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or three loaves for his 2s., he would only laugh at the folly of the question ; and the absurdity of doubting in regard to the policy of the corn laws was equally glaring. If they asked the manufacturer whether he would have a glut of unsaleable goods in his warehouse, with his people only in half work, or have a brisk demand and his people fully employed, they might easily guess the answer. If they wished manufactures to prosper, they must take every means to obtain a repeal of the monopoly of food. It was lamentable to think that they should be obliged at that time of day to send lecturers throughout the country to enlighten the people on a subject which bore so deeply on their interests. In reference to the gloomy anticipations as to the results of foreign competition, he would again say, that if the question were now to be taken up as it ought to be, the danger might yet be avoided ; and he did wish to see the petition express the opinion, that it was opposed to the eternal principles of justice, to continue a monopoly in the trade of corn and other articles of subsistence.

Mr Cobden (of the firm of R. Cobden & Co., calico printers, employing one thousand hands, author of pamphlets, * Russia” and “ England, Ireland, and America, by a Manchester manufacturer”) said, that it appeared to him, whilst listening to the petition just read, that the chamber had gone back from the opinions expressed in the petition of last year upon this important subject an opinion that he confessed had been much strengthened by the remarks that fell from the chair. (Hear, hear.) The chamber had last year advocated an absolute freedom of trade. (Mr C. read from a printed copy of a petition that had been sent from the board last year, a passage praying that the trade in corn and in all other commodities might be freed from all protective duties, leaving only such taxes as might be deemed necessary for revenue ; and that every obstacle to the free operations of capital and labour, might, as far as possible, be gradually repealed.) It did appear to him, that if at a time like the present, when considerable interest, and indeed excitement, existed upon the subject, the chamber should send a petition less decided in its tone and character than last year, a very unfavourable and unjust opinion would be formed of the zeal and intelligence of that board. (Hear, hear.) With these views he hoped the petition might undergo some alterations. Indeed, looking to the mass of valuable facts just given to them by Mr Smith, and which, he was sure, had made a strong impression on the minds of all present, as well as to the clear and forcible arguments of Mr Dyer, coupled with the fact that had been elicited of some discrepancy in the minds

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of the directors ;-looking to these circumstances, together with the fact of the evident haste with which the petition had been drawn up, he could not help recommending that an adjournment of this meeting for a week, in order to afford time for the preparation of another petition, would be advisable. (Cheers.) The ground taken up last year, that of demanding a total repeal of all protective duties upon corn, and at the same time of deprecating all protection upon foreign manufactures, was the only one consistent with justice or safety to ourselves. Look at the different operation of protective duties upon manufactures and the products of land. He would suppose that in his own article of prints, by means of a prohibitive law, the profits could be raised a thousand-fold their present rate. How long would it be before such an amount of capital flowed into the trade, as, by competing with the present owners of printing machines and print-works, would reduce the profits to the same level as other tracles? (Hear.) In a country such as this, where a boundless extent of capital was yielding only three or four per cent., it was folly to suppose that by artiticial means any trade could long be made to pay more than an average rate of profit. The effect of all such restrictions could only be to narrow the field of industry, and thus in the end to injure instead of benefiting the parties intended to be protected. But look at the very opposite position in which the owners of land stood. He would suppose that a law could be passed to raise the price of wheat to a thousand shillings a bushel. Now what would be the effect of this, but that the capitalists who now get their ten per cent, profit in London or Manchester, would immediately send their sons to bid fifty per cent. over the farming tenants of Norfolk; and if these were still in the way of getting higher profits than other trades, then other competitors would again appear to bid fifty per cent. over them, until Lord Leicester's farms had reached the full market price, and yielded only the ordinary rate of profit of all other trades. (Hear, hear.) But mark the difference in the situation of the landowner and the calico printer. Whilst additional mills and print-works might be erected, to meet the demand for, and share the profits upon calicoes and prints, not one acre of land could be added to the present domains of the aristocracy. Therefore every shilling of protection on corn must pass into the pockets of the landowner, without at all benefiting the tenant or the agricultural labourer; whereas, on the other hand, no extent of protection could possibly benefit the manufacturer. He felt ashamed to make observations so trite to the intelligent body around him. They

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were quite unnecessary, because they knew very well the laws which governed the rate of profit upon capital according to the field of operation. Yet they constantly heard in the House of Commons, the Marquis of Chandos and others urging the policy of high duties for the protection of tenants and agricultural labourers! The landlords had been living upon the capital of the farmers nearly ever since the peace; and when he heard them talking of benefiting their tenants by protective duties, he thought of the saying of Voltaire with reference to the monks of his day—“ that he wondered they did not laugh in each other's faces from under their hoods when they met in the streets ;" he wondered the landlords did not burst into laughter when passing the corn law, under pretence of benefiting the tenants and labourers. (Hear, hear.) A good deal had been said by Mr Smith, and by the worthy president, upon the subject of the past history of the corn laws. He thought they had very little cause to rail at the aristocracy, on account of their protective laws, previous to 1825, for the legislature had given about as much protection to the trades as they desired-silk, lace, and gloves were all virtually prohibited. The landlords did not even allow themselves to export their wool, and even if found within a certain distance from the sea shore, it was liable to seizure. But in 1825, Mr Huskisson introduced the principle of free trade, and declared that the cabinet of Lord Liverpool would not sanction any duty for the purpose of protection, beyond thirty per cent. Mr Huskisson distinctly avowed, that, if that protection was not sufficient, the trade ought not to be pampered with a higher rate of duty. When, in 1827, the same cabinet was forced, reluctantly, to take up the subject of corn, and were urged, by Mr Whitmore and others, to apply the same principle to that which they had applied to manufactures, Mr Canning, in the name of the ministry, was driven to the admission, that if the trade in corn was to be legislated upon at all, it ought to be regulated upon the same principle as other commodities. But when they brought forward their corn bill, the ministers were found to have abandoned their own principle altogether, and instead of an ad valorem duty of only thirty per cent., they imposed a graduated scale of duties, fluctuating according to the prices in the home market, and which has been equal to an ad valorem duty of one hundred per cent., upon an average, ever since. He quite differed from the opinion expressed by the worthy president, that the corn law of 1827-8, under which the country now suffered, was a relaxation of the one which was passed in 1815. On the contrary, he was prepared to shew that the law of 1827-8 is an aggravation of that of 1815; in

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