Sivut kuvina

this House--and in a very full House- 1 he told the greatest commercial constituonly by a majority of 10 votes. . I may ency in the world absolutely impeded its say that the division upon that question prosperity. Are you surprised, then, that displaced the Government from their seats, there should be an important party—a because, although they did not resign office party that, from their numbers and their upon that point, yet, on finding themselves great and ramified interests, may be a few days afterwards upon another sub- fairly called a national party—who were ject, and in a very thin House, in a discontented with the recent legislation to minority, they did feel it their duty to which I have alluded ? Lord Derby, how. resign; and the noble Lord opposite, in a ever, had made up his mind that nothing statement which he subsequently made in could justify a return to the abrogated this House, referred to the division upon system unless the labouring classes were my Motion as that which had mainly de- largely and permanently suffering. What cided the opinion of the Government. then was the conduct of Lord Derby in Well, under these circumstances, the Earl 1851 ? He was called upon unexpectedly of Derby being recommended to the notice to form a Government. He had to announce of bis Sovereign by the then Prime Minis- a policy which, while it showed sympathy ter of the country, was called upon to form with those great classes in the country, a Government. Now, look to the position the sufferings of which are always proved of Lord Derby at that moment. He was by hon. Gentlemen opposite, would be conat the head of a party in Parliament, one sistent with the principle he had laid down principle of whose conduct was that it was for his Government, that they should not unwise to disturb the repeal of the corn disturb the existing laws unless the worklaws which had taken place in 1846, unless ing classes were suffering from their adopcalled for by the nation in an unmistake- tion. The programme of Lord Derby was able manner. He had recommended that one of compromise and of conciliation. course while there was a most powerful How moderate it was I will show by reparty in the country discontented with the calling it to the consideration of the House. advice which he gave; and are hon. Gen- In 1851 did Lord Derby come forward and tlemen to be surprised that there should be say, “ We must return to the sliding scale a strong party in this country favourable of 1846 ?” On the contrary, he said "I to what they call protection, notwithstand will propose, as regards the agricultural ing the course which we might feel it our interest, now suffering so much, that we duty to take in either House of Parliament? shall have a countervailing duty, such as We must remember that the farmers of has been approved of by men of the highEngland, according to the statement of the est character and authority upon such subhon, and learned Member for Wolverhamp-jects. You acknowledge the agricultural ton, had at that very time lost upwards of interest is subject to certain peculiar 90,000,0001. in one year. Well, it might burdens as regards taxation, and to cerbe perfectly wise, just, and beneficial, that tain restrictions as regards their industry. a body of English producers should lose Well, I open books of great authority more than 90,000,0001. in a single year; in political economy, and they tell me but this I will venture to say, with great that a countervailing duty is the legitideference to all those lights of political mate compensation under such circumeconomy whom I see opposite, that you stances. I know that one of the most may rely upon it, that so long as human na- distinguished statesmen of the day, and ture remains what it is, a large body of pro- an undoubted free-trader—the noble Memducers will not lose millions without feeling ber for Tiverton (Viscount Palmerston) very much discontented at the legislation --when he consented to the repeal of which has caused such loss, and without the corn laws, yet, speaking as a stateschallenging the justice of the legislation of man, repeated his regret that in the paswhich they are the victims. But you had sion of the moment the opportunity had something more than this. You had the been lost of raising a revenue and of acgreat colonial interests of this country complishing other national objeccts by the in a state of absolute ruin ; and, in ad- imposition of a countervailing duty. Then, dition, you had the great shipping in- in 1851, a moderate countervailing duty terest subjected to unrestricted compe- was the proposition of Lord Derby, and tition by a Minister who, at the same not an attempt to disturb the settlement time, did not remove those burdens and of 1846. The policy of Lord Derby havrestrictions which, only six months ago, ing been expounded in a speech in his

[ocr errors]

place in Parliament, a record remains mortifying to any party - namely, the which an uninformed sneer will not dis- noble Lord's failure in forming a Governturb. [3 Hansard, cxiv. 1003.] What, ment—to rally the spirit of my friends in then, was the conduct of Lord Derby with this House-in perfect concurrence with regard to the sugar duties? [ The right Lord Derby's advice, and in complete hon. Gentleman was here interrupted by sympathy with all his counsels, I resolved, some conversation among hon. Members as I communicated to my friends at the on the Opposition benches.] I hope that, time, that I would not bring forward any as the Government are on their trial, hon. question in this House concerning the inciGentlemen will do me the honour, as an dence of taxation on agriculture, because honest jury, to listen to my statement. such a course might be liable to misconDid Lord Derby propose any recurrence to ception—the Government might be pressthe laws which had been repealed in 1846 ed, and consequences might occur which under the protest of the late Sir Robert we wished to prevent. Well, in 1852, Peel ? Not in the least. All Lord Derby when Parliament met, although at that proposed was, that the descending scale of time, from political causes, independent of duties should be arrested, and that only the general feeling of this House, it is very for a time, while the Colonies were suffer- possible that if I had brought forward a ing from the great trial through which Motion on the incidence of taxation upon they were passing. Again, I will ask, did agriculture, I should have carried it, or Lord Derby propose to re-establish the at least should have been defeated by a abrogated navigation laws ? On the con- majority so slight that the Government trary, Lord Derby declared that any re- would have been shaken to its base, I currence in that respect would be im- scrupulously refrained from giving notice possible, after the removal of those re- of any such Motion. I did not wish the strictions which the noble Lord opposite controversy to be prolonged in this House. himself condemned. Lord Derby did not I looked to the inevitable and impending succeed in forming a Government in 1851. dissolution of Parliament, which would It, therefore, became necessary to consider take place, as I thought, under the ad. his position with regard to this question; vice of our opponents, as the event that and, after due cousideration, it was his would undoubtedly settle the question for opinion that it would be extremely unwise ever. Well, what did occur ? Why, that and injurious to bring forward in Parlia- occurred which no imagination could bave ment, in that or any subsequent Session, supposed. There were internal dissensions any Motion which directly or indirectly in the Government—a Government so facontinued the great industrial controversy voured by its opponents that we would not which had been so long maintained. He advance, scarcely even to do our duty, lest was aware that there was a party in the we might inconvenience them—the Gocountry wbich would not allow their course vernment fell to pieces from internal disto be dictated or their feelings to be regu- sension, and Lord Derby, by the advice of lated by a mere Parliamentary party. It the noble Lord opposite, was again sent for was not for him to tell men who were suf- by Her Majesty. Well, what was the confering, they were never to obtain relief; duct of Lord Derby under these circumbut he said, what I think he was entirely stances? It was a result that we did justified in saying, adopting what I con- not anticipate, and, what was more, that ceive to have been a wise and proper we regretted; but I will ask the House course, that if the nation was aggrieved, -I will not say as men of honour, but an early opportunity would occur for the as men of common spirit-could we posnation to relieve itself. He considered sibly have refused the duty which was after his failure in the formation of a Go- almost thrust upon us? Our political opvernment in 1851, that, so far as moral ponents wished us to occupy their places; certainty was concerned, the dissolution this House wished us to undertake the of Parliament must take place under Government; I may safely say, that there the advice of the noble Member for the was no section of men in the country who City of London; and be looked to that dis- did not wish to see some Government formsolution, under the auspices of his political cd; and I suppose that no body of men opponents, as the proper occasion on which ever acceded to office with such complete to conclude for ever this great controversy. absence of party passion and party feeling: After having done my best—under circum- Well, that being the state of the case, I stances which must, of course, have been was very much surprised, as our position


regarding our antecedents was pretty accu- | received with derision by the noble Lord rately known, to find that the hon. and the Member for the City of London. He learned Gentleman opposite (Mr. C. Villiers) exhausted all his powers of amiable cyni. the stormy peterel of Protection, who al. cism upon that measure. He revived and ways appears at a particular crisis, came reorganised the Opposition; and, as if the forward and wished to know, on the first trumpet of political warfare could not sound day of my taking my seat after my re- in that ear without his wishing to take the election, whether the Government was about trenches of the enemy, I really thought the to propose a recurrence to a protective po- Government were to be upset on the Militia licy?' The same inquiry was made in an- Bill about a month after they had acceded other place of my noble Friend (the Earl to office. There is no form of ridicule and of Derby). Our answers were in complete no prophecy of disaster which the noble harmony with all we had said before, Lord and others did not bring to bear upon namely, that we had acceded to power by the absurd scheme of a militia raised by no Motion connected with this subject, on voluntary enlistment. Yet the party which no Motion of our own, and under circum. had perpetrated enormous mischief” stances which we could not possibly have sisted in their course; and they carried anticipated; that there seemed to be a their measure, which has met with eminent unanimous feeling, both in the House and and unprecedented success, and has given in the country, that we should administer to this country a powerful and popular public affairs; that it was not our intention force. But no sooner had we provided for to propose any recurrence to the abrogated the defence of the country than we thought laws; but that, in consistency with all we it our duty to carry out the recommendahad said, but still more in deference to the tions of the Commission with respect to feeling of that great party out of doors, Chancery reform. We had the honour and who had a right to look to us for the con- advantage of a Colleague whose great abil. stitutional opportunity of declaring their ities were not perhaps adequately appreopinions, we should at an early opportunity ciated by his country, though his unrecommend Her Majesty to ascertain the rivalled learning was universally acknowsense of Her people, and that this decision ledged; but we found in Lord St. Leoof the country upon the subject would be nards, when he had accepted the responfinal.

sibility of a Minister of the Crown, not Now, Sir, before I arrive at the dissolu- merely a learned lawyer, but a man with tion, I may, perhaps, be permitted to state the grasp of a vigorous statesman; and, what was the conduct of the party who acting under his advice, and animated by had perpetrated for six years enor the determination which we found inmous mischief,” when they were-almost spired him, of accomplishing those great against their consent, and certainly with reforms, the basis of which depended not too great confidence in their own abil- upon Parliament's immediately carrying ities—obliged to become Ministers of the out the recommendations of the ConimisCrown. We found, when we acceded to sion, we resolved that we would face a office, that there were reasons which ren- critical and derisive Parliament, and would dered an immediate appeal to the sense of not only propose measures, but endeavour to the people most inconvenient to the public carry them. Well, how were we received ? service; and although we wished, and wil. Why, even one whose generous support of lingly pledged ourselves to the House, that the Government I never can forget, and that appeal should take place at the earliest whose amiable and popular character in this opportunity possible, still we found that it House men on all sides acknowledge with was necessary to administer previously pleasure-even the accomplished and noble the affairs of the country for a certain Lord the Member for Tiverton (Viscount time. There were technical reasons which Palmerston), could not help warning us, rendered the lapse of at least two months though in a sunny and friendly way, not inevitable. The lapse of double that time to embark in a Chancery suit. Her Mawould have allowed us to carry measures of jesty's Ministers, however, did embark in the greatest importance to the State. The that Chancery suit, and I am proud to say two measures which we considered of pa- it is the greatest and most successful Chanramount importance were, the one for the cery suit—and I believe, also, the most podefence of the country, the other for the pular with the people of England—that reform of the Court of Chancery. The has ever been witnessed. Well, Sir, the measure for the defence of the country was party which had perpetrated

such «

" enormous

mischief” had pledged itself to the country a Motion, when the sufferings of the cultito advise Her Majesty to dissolve Parlia- vators of the soil were most severema Moment. I have come to the dissolution of tion which, without pledging the House to Parliament—but there is a chapter in the anything, asked them only to inquire, in a history of the last Parliament which I must Committee of the whole House, into the complete before I refer to the consequences incidence of local taxation with regard to of that appeal to the country.

the agricultural classes. That there might Sir, I have shown the House what has be no mistake as to the nature of the mea. been the course of the Protectionist party sures which I proposed, I mentioned in the in Parliament with respect to those three observations with which I prefaced the Mogreat measures which are popularly de- tion to what extent I wished to proceed on scribed as the three great measures of free that occasion. I will not trouble the House trade-the repeal of the corn laws, the with details. It is enough for me to say, repeal of the sugar laws, and the repeal that the proposition was temperate in tone, of the navigation laws. I have shown the and moderate in conception; that it was inHouse that from the moment those three tended to show sympathy for those who were measures were carried, we never in any suffering, and suggested a change of the way whatever attempted in this House to incidence of taxation, which I think was disturb that settlement. In sympathy most advisable, with regard to the estabwith those who were suffering out of the lishment charges of the Poor Law, and House, we brought forward measures rela- some other items. It was a proposal which ting to them which were of a remedial cha- was watched with great interest out of racter, but which in no way disturbed or doors by those who were suffering, as a challenged the principles upon which those test of the feelings and sympathy of this laws were based. Now, what was the con- House. On that occasion I received the duct with respect to these subjects of the distinguished and memorable support of great party on the opposite side-or rather, the right hon. Member for the UniverI would say, of the united sections which sity, in one of the ablest speeches which have combined prematurely to terminate even that able speaker has favoured the the course of a Ministry who have pledged House with. As a vindication of my own themselves to bring forward measures in course, of the line which I took for nearly the new Parliament which all have ad- three years in this House, what, on Februmitted they wish to consider ? I will ary 19, 1850, the year before the first show the House that these sections per- break-up of the Government of the noble petrated as enormous mischief as we did Lord the Member for London, was the view ourselves. Now, Sir, I will take the fol- | taken of my conduct by one of the most lowers of the late Sir Robert Peel. They eminent Members of this House, between may not be numerous; but, certainly, if we whom and myself there is no political symlook to their great ability, their extensive pathy, and who naturally looks with any. experience, and their powers of debate, thing but a friendly feeling to the movethey must always be listened to with great ments of the party with which I am conrespect in this assembly. Far be it from nected ? Mr. Gladstone said, on a Motion me to misinterpret or misrepresent their for a Committee to consider a revision of conduct. I will not even examine the lists the Poor Laws in Hansard to ascertain how many of the “ He thought that there was a connexion befollowers of that eminent personage voted tween the two proposals which was fatal to the upon the Motions of a remedial character revival of protection.

The present Moduring the last Parliament. I will treat tion, if not perfect, was at least an approximation them with fairness. I will take as their a tax inherited by the landed interest, and that,

to justice. But it was said that a poor-rate was representative one whom they will hardly their property having come to them on this condihesitate in acknowledging as their princi- tion, they had no claim to be relieved from the pal organ. I will take that distinguished payment. And how did the matter rest with rostatesman and accomplished leader the gard to their inheritance ?. They did inherit poor

rates with their land, but they also inherited with right hon. Member for the University (Mr. it a protective system which had given to this Gladstone). As the humble representa- property an artificial value."— [3 Hansard, cviii. tive of a party which has perpetrated 1207.]

enormous mischief” during the last five I am not giving this as my opinion, neither years, let me say what I hare done which am I asking the House to agree with that has at least received the sanction of that opinion—I am not quoting these words distinguished individual. I brought forward with the view of asking you to sanction


that opinion – I am quoting them to so much afraid. So far, therefore, with show that, in the opinion of one of the respect to the opinions of the followers of most distinguished Members of the House, Sir Robert Peel on the course of the Prowho has no political sympathies with me, tectionist party, in reference to the first but is rather inclined to look at anything great question of the repeal of the Corn from me so far with a jealous and critical Laws. But to pursue the investigation-eye, he saw nothing productive in that doing justice to the followers of Sir Robert course which I pursued of the enormous Peel, by selecting again their most accommischief we are said to have perpetrated, plished champion-let us see what was the but that he thought it a most praiseworthy course they took on the second of these and judicious course, and to which, with great tests—namely, our policy with referwinning eloquence, he almost gained the ence to our sugar-producing colonies. On assent of the House; because, certainly, May 31st, 1850, only two Sessions ago, to his speech I attribute the triumph of the question of our sugar-producing cothat division. The right hon. Gentleman lonies, and the great distress they were said

then experiencing, was brought before the “ But, while he rejoiced in the full evidence House. I am not sure whether it was that a large portion of the community were in the then brought forward by the Secretary of enjoyment of at least an equal, or more than aver- State, I believe rather it was brought forage, share of comfort, yet the condition of the farming class and of the agricultural labourer in ward by the late Member for Essex (Sir a large portion of England, to say nothing of Ire- E. Buxton), and the whole Protectionist land, was such as to demand the attention and party supported the policy he recommended. consideration of the House."

What did the followers of Sir Robert Peel, We are told now we must not make who now, it seems, disapprove our cona hypothetical allusion to the possibility duct, do to meet that Motion ? Sir," of any class having been injured by re- said the right hon. Gentleman the Member cent legislation ; yet here we have the for the University of Oxford highest and most free-trade authority in “We recollect the crisis through which the the House telling us that the condition of West Indies have passed, presenting a great inthe agricultural interest was such as to plaining merely, but absolutely ground down and

dustry and great interest not suffering and com“ demand "_" demand," mind you—the reduced to total ruin by the legislation of this attention and consideration of the House. House." The right hon. Gentleman went further, We must not refer to recent legislation and said

but in terms of studied panegyric- we are “ If he spoke of them as justice, prudence, and going to re-establish the Sliding Scale, if compassion prompted, he need not wait for the for a moment we suppose that recent legis. financial statement of the year in order to do so. lation, with the great blessings it accom

Yet it was impossible to avoid the conclusion that a severe struggle was going on, and that plished, has been attended with injury to the farmers, as a class, were exerting themselves certain classes! Yet the right hon. Genmanfully. .. Now, he was desirous that tleman thus alluded to the total ruin which the llouse should show a disposition to give aid tho sugar-producing colonies incurredand encouragement to the tenantry and yeomanry and by what? By the legislation of this of the country in their struggle on their own behalf, and on account of the vast national interests

House. “ We are forced," said the folconnected with maintaining our domestic agricul- lowers of Sir Robert Peel, in the language ture. · ... He trusted something to that spirit of the right hon. Gentleman, because of liberality and conciliation which induced men to concede something to those over whom they Gentleman wisely followed so distinguished

every one of the friends of the right hon. had obtained a great triumph."

a leaderThat is the language, the beautiful and un

“to the conclusion of my hon. Friend the Member exceptionable language, of the right hon. for Droitwich, to which my hon. Friend opposite Gentleman. But surely it is not the right is

, I believe, prepared to adhere, as well as I am hou. Gentleman who will rise to-night and myself, to extend to the British West Indies that say that in the Motion I then brought for- protection which is now vanishing before their ward I was perpetrating enormous mis- eyes, for such time as may be necessary for the

production of those useful public works that may chief, since the right hon. Gentleman has lead to ultimate cheapness of production ; while left on record, in his brilliant oration, the at the same time I ask you still more to adopt opinion that the course I was pursuing was

this course on behalf of that class for whom you one which, showing sympathy with suffer- have before made such sacrifices, and who are ing classes, would absolutely prevent a re- from which they were originally raised by your

now fast sinking back to that degrading condition currence to that protection of which he is philanthropy and benevolence."

« EdellinenJatka »