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that his refusal had occasioned no delay to the sailing of the expedition. He hoped, however, that the practice would not obtain of quoting confidential letters from officers to government, which might often prejudice the service; and concluded with expressing his decided opposition to the motion, Colonel Alexander Hope adverted to what Mr. Grey had said concerning sir Ralph Abercromby's letter on the taking of the Helder; observing, that the men to whom he referred formed no part of the embarkation which sailed with sir Ralph, but arrived on the 9th, and were employed on the 10th; so that the chancellor of the exchequer's statement was still

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York; but that a review of some facts would show where blame ought to rest. In the beginning of the war, the Irish militia force was inadequate to its designed object; and the common methods of recruiting could not supply that defect. Mr. Dundas thought he could do it by draughts from the supplementary militia: the general thought this an ineffectual method, and recommended that of draughting from the present militia of the country. This, he said, was the only sure way to procure an effective force. He censured the reading of letters from officers in the house; and complained that both sir Charles Stuart and sir Charles Grey had been unworthily treated, who would have performed much more essential service to their country had ministers granted them a proper force.

He concluded with calling on all officers to vote for this motion, as the best means of abolishing the practice of reading letters in that house, as ministers might do for their own justification.

Mr. Dundas rose to repel the insinuation that he had aspersed the conduct of the illustrious commander in chief, sir Charles Stuart, and sir Charles Grey; for all of whom, he said, he had ever entertained the highest respect. He said that he had never recommended any expedition to his majesty without also recommending to him to appoint one or other of these gallant officers to it. He denied that his opposition to this motion was to save the character of his royal highness the commander in chief; for that there was nothing in the letter but what was highly to his honour. He would not enter into discussion of the expedition to Holland, but only state, that on the

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return of the army, the flower of it was immediately sent to Ireland to defend it; and he would ask, whether it was blamable to advise that measure, at a season of the year when the long nights render ed an attempt at invasion more to be apprehended, because more practicable, and when Great Britain expected a supply of 10,000 men from the militia of Ireland? As to the production of confidential letters in debate, he held, that a public man ought rather to submit to any calumnies, than to repel them by producing what might injure others; but when no injury could be done by producing such papers, he thought that a public man might use them in his own vindication.

. General Tarleton explained.

Mr. G. Ponsonby said, that the right honourable gentleman (Mr. Dundas) had, on a former evening, asserted the present to be the most glorious war in which this country had ever been engaged; in saying which he had thrown a heavy weight of responsibility on his majesty's ministers now in office, since the necessary consequence of

a glorious war was a beneficial peace. He thought that the whole of the letter ought to be read; and if the right honourable gentleman wished well to the illustrious commander in chief, he ought to produce it. If the letter were pro duced, it might appear that the commander in chief complained of not receiving sufficient notice, or proper supplies; and alleged these as reasons why a force for a foreign expedition could not be prepared in less than two months. The honourable gentleman had asserted that it might be wrong to produce documents unfit for public investigation; but surely it was more wrong to refuse those in which the

conduct and character of others were concerned.

If the present motion was refused, it must be obvious that there was blame somewhere, or it would not have been met in so hostile a manner by gentlemen on the other side.

Colonel Porter said a few words in support of the motion.

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The house then divided, when there appeared, ayes 45—noes151. Majority against the motion, 106.

CHAP. IV.

High Price of Provisions. Report of the Committee of the House of Commons on that Subject. Debate on the Report. Second Report, and Debate on the same. Further Report on the same relative to Ireland. Debates on that Subject. Lord Suffolk's Motion in the House of Lords on the high Price of Provisions and the Extension of Paper Credit. Lord Warwick's, on the same Subject. Mr. Horne Tooke elected Member for Old Sarum. Debates on that Subject. Clergy Ineligibility Bill. Its Progress in the Commons. In the Lords.

HE high price and scarcity of provisions, which had in part arisen from the failure of the crops of the preceding year, and which

still continued, engaged early the attention of parliament. On the 4th of February Mr. Yorke rose in the house of commons to move for · a repeal

a repeal of the act which permitted the mixture of oats and barley with wheat in the preparation of bread; and the motion was seconded by Mr. Alderman Curtis, and carried. On the 12th Mr. Dudley Ryder reported, from the committee appointed to consider of the high price of provisions, a resolution for the purpose of repealing the act of the former session: and on the 16th of the same month Mr. Ryder moved for the house to consider the report of the committee on the high price of provisions. It was necessary, he said, to state the reasons why it would be proper to rescind the act of last session: that act had been passed from a supposition that a great saving might be effected in consequence of mixing a coarser kind of meal with fine flour; but circumstances had since occurred which led the committee to think they were somewhat deceived in their expectations. The committee, however, would not have given up the measure, if the change in their opinion had arisen from temporary difficulties only; because, if it had been likely to have been at tended with ultimate success, it was their duty to have continued it. But there were certain difficulties which could not easily be removed: one of these was, the partiality of the people to the finer sort of flour; and a notion that the coarser kind, as well as that manufactured from foreign wheats, could not be manufactured with fine flour. From these circumstances there was a greater demand in the mar ket for the superior wheat; by which means the price of fine flour was raised far beyond a rea sonable price; and the inferior was though as the best had been some

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time before. The utmost deduction, in consequence of the late bill, was that of six or seven farthings in the quartern loaf; and, as the coarser bread did not go near so far as the white, the loss to the public was greater than any saving could be advantageous. The resolution of the committce applied only to the repealing of that part of the act which respected the mode of dressing flour, by which the bakers would be allowed to mix the bread without being subject to the assize regulations. But the operation of the act of the 36th of the king would be revived, by repealing it altogether; and thus the object of the committee would be attained.

On the 2d of March the house, on the motion of Mr. Ryder, resolved itself into a committee; to take into consideration the second report of the committee on the high price of provisions. After a debate which was little interesting, except for the pleasantries of Mr. Horne Tooke, (which however were irrelevant to the subject,) the resolution was agreed to; and on the 4th the report was ceived, and was in substance as follows:

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That the united kingdom called Great Britain be divided into twelve districts, and premiums not exceeding 12,000l. be offered for the cultivation of potatoes by proprietors and occupiers of land not being cottagers.

That the following premiums be granted in each district; viz. to the person who should cultivate on land, in the present year, the greater number of statute acres of potatoes, for producing not less than 200 bushels per acre, each bushel not weighing less than sixty pounds, the I

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To the next ten greatest, not being less than two acres each, 201. each-making 2001.

That premiums to the amount of 1300l. be offered for the encouragement of the culture of potatoes by cottagers in England and Wales, to be distributed in sums not exceeding 201. for each district in which magistrates act at their petty sessions in the several counties; and to such cottagers who should raise the largest average crop of potatoes per perch, in not less than twelve square perch of land,.... .10

To the second largest
To the third

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That a sum be granted, not exceeding 3000l., for encouraging the cultivation of potatoes in Scotland by cottagers.

That a sum, not exceeding 2000., be granted to the board of agriculture, to be distributed in honorary premiums to such owners of land as should allot the greatest quantities of land among cottagers this year, to be planted with potatoes. On the motion that leave be given to bring in a bill, Mr. T. Jones spoke in opposition.-He thought they would add to the evil arising from the high price of provisions, rather than diminish it.

Peace he conceived to be the only remedy, as the quantity of provisions consumed in expeditions greatly contributed to enhance. their price.

Mr. Jolliffe supported the same opinion. He wholly condemned the proceedings of the committee, and of the board of agriculture; being convinced, he said, that the former had enhanced not lowered the prices of every necessary of life; and that the latter were ignorant of the subject for the discussion of which they were assembled.— What would become of all the pasture lands in the kingdom, together with the cattle and horses which fed upon their produce, since the whole of those lands would, in consequence of the premiums, be turned into potatoe grounds? These resolutions, therefore, would be productive of more evil than good, and cottagers had not sufficient time upon their hands to cultivate their own potatoes.

Mr. Buxton defended the committee; but it did not appear to him that the measure before the house was calculated to promote public utility; and, if carried into execution, would overthrow all the agreements between landlord and tenants.

Sir William Young thought it highly improper to favour one species of agriculture in preference to another, to the detriment of the public good.

Mr. Wilberforce conceived there had been too much argument on abstract principles, without suffcient attention to the cases of general convenience. He considered the proposed premiums as judicious, as a large stock of potatoes was needed, which there was not suflicient encouragement to cultivate.

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To obviate the objections made concerning landlord and tenant, he meant to propose an amendment, that no tenant should cultivate potatoes on land (without the consent of the landlord) not used for that purpose. If the prior resolutions of the committee were rejected, he hoped the house would not reject the resolution of assigning premiums to cottagers.

A member objected to the resolutions, on the ground of the legislative interference relative to agriculture being unnecessary.

Mr. Whitbread also thought this interference ought to have proceeded no further than granting bounties for importations of wheat. He did not wish to arraign the committee on the high price of provisions, but he thought the sudden changes of sentiment which had taken place, particularly respecting the brown bread bill, tended to bring their opinions into disrepute. He believed the premiums proposed (notwithstanding any amendments) would cause much dissension between landlords and tenants, arising from the clashing of oppo

site interests.

On the 10th of March the house went into a committee, to consider the further report of the committee on the high price of provisions.

Mr. Ryder said, the measure recommended by the report was the extension of the bounties upon grain imported into Ireland now payable upon that imported into Great Britain: though the price was not equally high in that country the deficiency was equally great: on this account, however, it would not be possible to make the same regulations, but every thing ought to be done to equalise them as far as was possible. The merchant should be encouraged to

send his cargoes thither, and ought to have a security against loss.After a few more observations of the same tendency, Mr. Ryder concluded with moving, that bounties similar to those granted on wheat, barley, oats, rye, and rice, imported into Great Britain, should be extended to Ireland under certain restrictions.

Sir John Parnell represented the scarcity in Ireland to be very great, and the necessity of relief urgent. He approved the measure of the committee, but thought no time was to be lost in waiting the slow operations proposed in the plan. It was a question of famine, and something was instantly to be done. Though the feelings of the Irish might be gratified by their necessities being thus taken into consideration, they would receive no essential service.

The resolution was then agreed to, and ordered to be reported the next day.

Sir John Parnell gave notice of an intended motion which he should bring forward, not doubting that` the house would support it from justice as well as humanity. It was to suspend, for a limited time, so much of the charter of the EastIndia Company as prohibited the landing of rice in Ireland, brought from the countries under the EastIndia jurisdiction. A seasonable supply of food would then be procured. The first thing in the season produced by Ireland was milk; and if they had any thing to mix with it, they might live comfortably till the ensuing harvest. It would be easy to dispatch orders for some of the ships sent out to India to land their cargoes in Ireland.

Mr. Ryder expressed much plea.. sure to hear these sentiments from

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