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clearly to ascertain the views of the gentleman who moved the amendment. If he rightly understood its purport, it was to this effect—that the corn laws be abolished; that no duty whatever should afterwards exist upon corn; and that all duties existing upon any manufactures should at the same time be entirely repealed. Mr Cobden. All protective duties. The Chairman. What I am in doubt about is, whether Mr Cobden wishes that the removal of the protective duty on grain should be gradual or instantaneous. Mr Cobden. I should not deem it necessary to express any opinion upon that point; and none was expressed in the former petition. The Chairman said, though he could not, as an individual member, consider the request for a delay as unreasonable, he thought that to adopt it in the form of an amendment, coupling it with instructions and conditions, would embarrass the course of the chamber; and he thought it better, therefore, to come to a decision at once upon these two views, rather than adjourn upon instructions, evidently upon diversified views. Mr Rupert Ingleby (copper merchant) o in the event of adjournment, that the petition should be printed, and a copy sent to every member of the chamber. After some further discussion, Mr J. C. Dyer suggested that both motions should be withdrawn. The Chairman said, he had offered that suggestion to Mr Cobden in private, and that the chamber should adjourn, having passed the first resolution (that it would petition), but Mr Cobden had declined to accede to it. Mr Cobden said, personally he had no objection; but he was in the hands of the meeting. Mr James Fernley (cotton spinner and manufacturer) hoped both motions would be withdrawn, and the meeting be adjourned. Mr Cobden would consent to that, if the petition were identical with that of last year. He subsequently consented to withdraw his motion; to which Mr Ashworth, the seconder, also consented.—Mr William Neild, as the mover of the original resolution, consented to withdraw it: and the meeting, having given its consent to the withdrawal of both motions, passed a resolution, on the motion of Mr Richard Roberts, “ that the meeting be adjourned to this day week [next Thursday], at the same place and hour.”—On the motion of Mr. Roberts, seconded by Mr J. C. Dyer, thanks were voted to Mr G. W. Wood, for his able and impartial conduct in the chair. The proceedings then closed, a few minutes before four o'clock, the chamber having been assembled about five hours.
sECT. xi.-DEBATE IN THE MANCHESTER CHAMBER of commerce, 13TH DECEMBER, 1838, CoNTINUED ON THE 20th DECEMBER.
The special general meeting of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce and Manufactures, adjourned from Thursday week, the 13th instant, was resumed on Thursday last; and so great was the interest excited in the town and neighbourhood, by the discussion of the former day, that, in the interval, we are informed, ten or twelve gentlemen became members of the chamber. The attendance on Thursday last was even more numerous than at the former meeting, and we should consider it the largest meeting of the chamber for the last eight years.
On the motion of Mr George Sandars, seconded by Mr* Alderman M-Vicar, George Wm. Wood, Esq., M.P., president of the chamber, was again called to the chair. He stated the circumstances under which the meeting was originally convened and adjourned, and said that the directors had felt it their duty to meet as early as possible after the previous Thursday, to consider the course which they had adopted anterior to that meeting, and the observations made in the course of the discussion at that meeting; and they had desired him to state, that, finding that objections were made to the concluding paragraph in particular of the form of petition, as laid before that meeting, and that objections were also taken to the prayer of the petition, asbeing somewhat informal; they had considered that matter, and had desired him to report that they wished to substitute for the two concluding paragraphs of that petition, the one which he would now read.—[We give the two cancelled paragraphs first, followed by that proposed to be substituted.]
“Your Petitioners address your honourable house on this subject in no spirit of partizanship. They do not desire the exclusive advantage of a class, but the equal good of all; they wish to see “the trade in corn conducted, as far as possible, on the principles of other trades, in a sober regular course, and not by perpetual jerks and impulses arising out of extraordinary emergencies, to see it flow in a regular equable current, supplying the real wants of the country, without overwhelming it.” “Your petitioners hope, that your honourable house will take measures in accordance with these sentiments, and with the opinions they have ventured to offer to your notice. “And will ever pray, &c.”
* In the interval between the two meetings, the municipal elections for the recently incorporated borough of Manchester took place.
“Your petitioners address your honourable house on this subject in no spirit of partizanship. They do not desire the exclusive advantage of a class, but the equal good of all. They desire not to retain for themselves any protection which they protest against allowing to others; but are anxious to see every department of our national industry left to rest on its own resources and native energy. Considering therefore, as upon the strongest grounds they do, that the operation of the corn laws is disastrously injurious to all their fellowcountrymen, who earn their daily bread by their daily labour; —that it is sapping the foundations of our national prosperity, by the unjust advantage it confers on the rival manufactures of other countries;–that it is thus vitally opposed to the prosperity of our commerce and manufactures;–and considering, moreover, that our agricultural prosperity is closely connected with those two branches of national strength, and must flourish as they flourish, and fall as they decay—your petitioners earnestly conjure your honourable house that the existing corn laws may be repealed.”
The matter was now before the chamber, to be dealt with as should be thought most expedient, and likely to promote the success of the great object under consideration. The directors had no desire or idea of dictating to the general meeting what ought to be the form in which they should express their sentiments; but they did consider it their duty to be prepared with some form of petition which they considered suitable to the occasion. It was for the chamber to deal with their suggestion and recommendation as it merited ; and they wished the chamber to consider that they acknowledged, in this meeting, the most unlimited power to act independently of anything they had suggested ; not doubting that an assemblage, so intelligent, respectable, and enterprising, would do that which would be befitting this body, and the town with which they were so closely connected.
Mr J. C. Dyer said he felt himself deeply concerned in the issue of this question, which he thought called for the most so and dispassionate consideration of the whole country. e thought we were in that state of danger, as to the competition now setting in against our commercial and manufacturing prosperity from abroad, which called for the most prompt, united, and energetic exertions, on the part of the whole people—(hear)—in order, without delay, to remove the cause of this danger. Being entirely ignorant as to the course which other gentlemen might intend to take, he had hurriedly written a paragraph, to be added to or incorporated in the petition prepared by the directors. He did not offer this out of any disparagement to that petition, or any want of feeling of respect or high consideration for the directors, but feeling that j. etition did not contain that energetic expression of public feeling which either did or ought to pervade the public mind. či. He had heard much said on the subjects of “extreme opinions,” and of “moderation.” Moderation in private life was extremely laudable and desirable; it added to the courtesies of society, and was in every way commendable; but upon public questions, where the principles of justice were concerned, he held that much-lauded moderation as objectionable. He thought that much mischief arose from the use of the word when misplaced. The “moderados,” the “juste milieu,” and the “moderates,” in his mind, all stood in wrong positions. He thought that for a man to promote the well-considered and most permanent interests of his country, he ought not to stand half-way between right and wrong—(hear, hear); for though that mischievous position might prevent the perpetration of new wrongs, it was also very liable to prevent the removal of old ones. He thought that such a position was to be mischievously obstructive to the progress of improvement. He was not an advocate for “extreme opinions,” if by the term was meant violent agitation of an unlawful and unprincipled nature; but he was for those extreme opinions which urged forward directly, though without violence, the whole energies of society for the removal of abuses. (Hear.) He was extremely anxious to see this greatest of all abuses removed, and he wished to see the question stripped of all extraneous matter, which might easily be done, for it was a simple question between the whole community, whose capital, talent, and industry were respectively employed for the purpose of reproduction, on the one hand; and, on the other, that class of men who obtain rents inordinately raised beyond what they ought to be, by the prevention of fair competition with the open markets of the world, by means of a landlords' monopoly. All persons, then, whether engaged in olum
or in manufacturing industry, or in the various professions of life, in shopkeeping and other branches of trade, as well as the master manufacturer and the eminent merchant—in short, every person whose talent, capital, and labour were conjointly or individually devoted to the production of national wealth, the supply of the national wants; those parties were all deeply interested in obtaining food from every part of the world at the cheapest rate, and which is the most accessible to us, in exchange for the export of our manufactures. The landlords, to whom the benefit of the monopoly was secured, had a certain number of persons dependent on, and fed by them, and these were neutral in the question; these persons cared not whether food were dear or cheap, but all our domestics, and the parties employed by us, were interested in our prosperity. If we fell, they fell with us; therefore it was the “lords of the soil,” who like vampires lived upon the blood of the nation, and were solely interested in keeping up the monopoly. The universal people were interested on the other side. The acts of legislation upon this subject were specimens of extreme ignorance and selfishness, eminently disgraceful to the legislature that passed them; and, as an individual, he would not consent to shrink from the expression of the indignation which he felt, in consequence of the mischief thereby inflicted upon the country. }. WaS said that we ought to offer a boon in return for the granting of this great and essential right—that we must concede the repeal of protective duties on manufactures. He would say, that the first duty of all legislatures was to provide for the supply, from the best markets, of cheap and ample food for the whole people. This we should demand as a principle of justice, and not of compromise. If our manufactures could stand competition, having all protecting duties repealed, he should be rejoiced to see them so placed, and he thought legislation ought so to be directed as to come ultimately to that condition; but he did not think it right for us to mix up the two questions. Whenever any imposts upon manufactures operated injuriously or to the disadvantage of any class of men, even of the landlord class, then he should be glad at once to see them relieved from such impost. That we were now in a condition to remove all protective duties from manufactures was not true. He was happy to say that it was so with respect to the great manufactures of this town and district; but there were other branches of manufactures in other parts of the country, for the removal of all protection from which it would be cruel for us to pray. Take, for example, that large class of manufacturing industry employed