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the honour of being in the direction at the time, when t case of the petitioner was under the consideration of the I rectors, he could only speak upon the subject from the i formation of others, who were in the Direction at the peri in question; but from what he had heard, he conceived tr his brother Directors could assign the most justifiable reaso for their conduct. He thought it right, however, to st: to the House, that Mr. Fowke was not in a situation of pn sing distress; if he had not a fortune himself, his son was an affiuent situation, ar.d he understood that, much to 1 credit, he made his father a very liberal allowance. I mentioned this merely to let the Houle feel that the cafe Mr. Fowke was not so far pitiable as that he ought to I considered as a person in a situation of pinching penury.The Alderman added, that most undoubtedly what he h: stated, did not alter the justice of the case. With regard I that, t he House would r.eceiiurily proceed as the circumstanci to be stated in the report of the Committee should render pr( per; and as it appeared to be tlie general inclination oftl House, that the petition should be referred to the consid« ration of a Committee, he had not, for one, the smallest ot jection. The Alderman, however, observed, that the Coui of Directors were at present full of business; and the Hou( would have their table covered with frivolous petitions should they discover a disposition to encourage the presen tation of such as might be offered by the complaining part 0 the Company's servants. ■Burke Mr. Burke remarked, that the honourable gentleman hai taken a curious ground of defence for the Court of Directors arid very well accounted for unaccountable things, and as signed the best of all possible reasons for faying nothing, !>ecause he had nothing to say. What had been the honourable gentleman's argument against entertaining petitions complaining of grievances? but that the couVitenancing one statemeni of a grievance would occasion the introduction of others. Could there be a better argument to encosrage the House oi Commons to countenance petitions of that nature, than the broadly stating, that if they listened to one complaint of a grievance, they would be called on to listen to others that would not otherwise have been brought forward? In arguing that Mr. Fowke, though poor himself, had a wealthy son, who made him a liberal provision, the honourable Member had completely opened the policy of the East-India Company and their Board of Directors. If brothers were affectionate, parents tender, children pious, and friends kind, the EastIndia Company were to do nothing; they looked upon themselves as absolved from all pledge of their public faith, and free from every engagement. After putting this in the tTongeir point of view, Mr. Burke alluded to the case of Mr. Latin, and said something respecting that gentleman, which wt&J not correctly understand.
Mr. Alderman Le Mesurier declared, that he saw no rea- Mr. Aid. Sea whatever toliave rendered it necessary for the right ho- Le Mesuaænble gentleman to answer his arguments in terms so ex- rler> tirmely tevere. He was not ready, on the part of the Directors, isa man had a good brother, a tender parent, or a dutiful son, to assign that as a reason for denying him justice, nor had he said any thing which amounted to such an arguteat. With regard to his private character, he trusted it ns as little liable to impeachment on the score of want of fewrolence, humanity, or philanthropy, as that of the right tanonrable gentleman, or any other honourable gentleman ^ that House; and he could not recollect a syllable of his . former speech which warranted such an attack as the right boaourable gentleman had thought proper to make against him.
The Speaker put the question, which was agreed to.
Mr. Burke then named his Committee, and, before he fetMr.Burke i<wn, took an opportunity of declaring that he never had Mi thought of impeaching the private character of the honourable gentleman, than in what he had said before; indeed tahad no intention of criminating any one of the Direc
The usual orders for giving the customary powers to the Committee were made.
The House having resolved itself into a Committee on the ^-commitment of the Corn bill, the Speaker left the chair, sndMr. Bramston took his feat at the table. The Commit
then proceeded to debate the several clauses, and Mr. 'yir, Mr. Harrison, and other gentlemen, proposed difkfnt amendments.
The first point debated - was, whether the exportation price fcould be 46s. or 48s.; in the discussion of which, Mr. ^4tr, Lord Sheffield, Mr. Pitt, Mr. Powys, and many Cerent Members, took part. *At length, the Committee tilled for a division, hut it was afterwards agreed to take it * the discussion of the table of prices.
Each clause occasioned a discussion, and a division took .?ace upon that which confiscates the ship or vessel, on board cswhich a certain quantity of grain or meal shall be found, *kn not exportable.
Instead of this clause, Mr. Alderman Curtis proposed a per,)!tyof treble the value of the corn, and a penalty upon the "Mage, at the rate of tool, for 100 tons measurement of (hip or vessel in which such corn or meal should be found.
I 2 Lord
Lord Lord Sheffield argued against the original clause, and havii Sheffield, contended that it would operate as a very great hardship u on the ship owners, said, that he would divide the Coi mittee in savour os the amendment proposed by the lionou able Alderman.
Sir Peter Burrell spoke against the original clause. M Ryder, Mr. Pitt, tlie Attorney General, and Mr. Rose, we against the amendment.
At length, the Committee divided, and negatived tl amendment, there being for the original clause, Ayes, 64; Noes, 39. Majority 35. After the division, the Committee proceeded, until the came to the table regulating the prices of grain, for openin and (hutting the ports; and that part of the table being reac which enacts, " That the ports shall be opened for the irr "portation os foreign corn, when the price os British coi "(hall amount to 48s. or upwards," Mr. Mr. Powys objected to the admission of foreign wheat ?o*yj. until the produce of this country should be at the averag price of 52s. instead of 48s. The present bill was founde unfortunately upon the corn bill of 1773, which repeale. the corn laws that had existed for upwards of a century be fore, and under which old laws the trade had flourished but since the repeal of them by the act of 1773, theprincipli of which was followed in the present bill, that trade had beer destroyed, and we were now become a corn-importing, instead of a corn-exporting country. Mr. Mr. Ryder remarked, that it would be incompetent for th« Ryder, honourable gentleman to move his amendment in the present Committee; the only mode which could, at that time, receive an adoption, must be a motion to negative the whole table.
Mr. Mr. Powys contended, that it was the fame thing, as the Powys. Committee perfectly understood his object. He moved to
have the table omitted. Mr. Mr. Ryder ascribed the increase of importation, alluded to Ryder, by the honourable gentleman, to the increase ot wealth, of population, of luxury, of horses, aud of distilleries. He contended, that the price by which Ri rfish corn was proposed, by the table, to be protected, would not operate to the discouragement of agriculture. He observed, that all the productions of the earth had increased in price in proportion with that of wheat, and that a farther increase would not operate substantially to the benefit of the land!.older, since such increase must ultimately tend to raise the wages of manufacturers and labourers, which would be severely felt by the landholder, and operate injuriously to our commerce, by
nisii^r the price of our manufactures in foreign markets.— TieWI was calculated to prevent an artificial scarcity, and tsbep the price of wheat at a price neither too low for the jrcwr, nor too high for the consumer.
Lord Carysfort was of opinion that the cheapest possible *"Ord sade of procuring corn for the consumption of the country, aryl 0 aitt arise ftom making the importation and exportation free; foch, however, was not the object of the present bill; its cWl was to secure, for the people, corn, not at the lowest price, but at such a moderate price as might insure the growth u the country to be adequate to its consumption; the whole of which object was hazarded by fixing a lower price for the importation of corn than fifty-two shillings; and less could aotfail to discourage the tillage of this country, and render Di dependant on other countries for support.
Mr. Pelkam contended, that the principal object of the Mr. Houfe ought to be the supplying the country with corn of Pelhtm. in own growth, which could not be effected, as England *u situated, unless the growing of corn were forced by
".'juries, or by an admission of exports when the prices ioold prove higher than proposed by the bill.
Mr. Tuhcnty conceived that a free trade would prove too Mr. :**at a venture, since the House ought not to risk the exist- Pulteney. enceof the people upon any theory, however plausible. He i ought that is the farmers were suffered to be crushed, the poor would also be crushed; and therefore he should close *ith the proposal of the honourable gentleman to increase lot price.
Mr. Bastard asserted, that forty-eight shillings a quarter Mr. *is not more than a saving price to the farmer, and as, by B«st*r<.
present bill, they never could expect to obtain more, if it should pass, though they might possibly get considerably ■"•is, he was convinced that it would destroy the growing of c°rn» and that farmers would turn their tillage into pasture, • to prevent which circumstance to the country, he should S'vehii vote for negativing the table.
Mr. Puwyt begged leave to trouble the Committee with a Mr. calculation which he had received from several quarters, and Powys. *hich would prove, beyond all argument, that a farmer waid not gain upon 48s. the quarter; since, admitting that wgave only twenty shillings rent for an acre, his tillage 3«lother expences would amount to six pounds three fhil'"|s and five pence; to repay which, calculating that an jere would produce three quarters, at the highest price in the 'Mi viz. 48s. the farmer would have to* defray these ex^neej of seven pounds three (hillings and five pence out of 1)0 more than seven pounds four shillings.
Lord Lord Sheffield contended, that if foreign corn was admit' Sheffield, to be imported when the price was not at 48s., every enci ragement would be taken away from tillage. He next m: some observations on the advantages which America a Ireland would possess over this country in the growth their corn, and shewed the strong necessity which wcu arise to guard against the operation which their impoi might have upon our agriculture; but necessary as it veou prove to guard against them, it would speedily he doub necessary to guard against the advantages which Fram would have over us in the growing of her corn, unfetters by tythes and absurd corn laws. The advantages of oth< countries would soon put a period to our tillage, unless w had protecting prices, and fifty-two shillings he conceived t be the lowest which ought to be granted. Mr. Fox. Mr. Fox maintained, that arguments from experienc were to be relied on with the greatest safety, and experienc warranted a high protecting price; for, from the old practic ef bounties, and under the old laws, the price of wheat hai decreased, until the bill of 1773, after which time it increased and the country, instead of exporting, commenced, to; considerable degree, the injurious practice of importing corn Those who cultivated corn, ought to know, that should the) be unfortunate in their crops, the price would rife sufficiently to indemnify them, and, by such means, encouragement would be given to tillage, and the poor ultimately benefited by a greater plenty. T he only security to the poor, mull ensue from encouraging the tillage of the country, and that was alone to he done by granting bounties, or high protecting prices, which would operate as bounties. The country was oppressed by tythes, the collection of which was harsh and inglorious, and he anxiously wistied that some gentleman in the House would attempt to relieve the country from that species of barbarism, ami discouragement to every agricultural improvement. Mr. Pitt. Mr. Pitt argued for the table, being convinced that the system upon which it went, fixed the price high enough for the encouragement of tillage, and at the same time guarded against any serious inconvenience to the consumer.
The question w.is called for, and put, when the numbers were, For the Table,
Ayes, 53; Noes, 59. Majority 6
The remainder of the hill was agreed to be postponed, the House was then immediately resumed, and the Committee ordered to (it again on T hursday.
The House adjourned.