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sented ; so far from having fixed prived of this right of examinaany new, or private, or arbitrary tion. He then went into a destandard, the questions were full fence of the mode, in which the of references to the Liturgy and right had been exercised in the the 39 articles. The 48th canon present instance.
Lord Calrequired an examination of cu- thorpe, lord Grey, and lord Lansrates before they were licensed, down, without questioning the but prescribed no particular mode right of the bishop, expressed of examination; and that which their opinion, that the conduct he, in the exercise of the discré- he had pursued was calculated to tion which the law gave him, had disturb the peace of the church. adopted, seemed to him to be the Lord Harrowby did not see, how best calculated to detect devia- parliament could be appealed to tions from sound doctrine. The in such a transaction: the proper canon, which gave him his dis- tribunal was elsewhere. The cretionary power, was part of the motion, that the petition be laid law of the land, and till the law upon the table, was then negawas altered, he could not be dem tived.
Agricultural Distress-A Committee appointed on the Motion of Mr. Gooch- The Corn Averages-State of Manufactures--Mr. Baring's Proposition with respect to the Currency-Cash Payments Bill-Lord Liverpool's View of the increased Consumption of the Country-Lords' Report on Foreign Trade- Alteration of the Duties on imported Timber—The proposed Revision and Modification of our Commercial Code-Mr. Owen's Plan-Mr. Scarlett's Poor Laws Bill.
THE agricultural distress of deration the petitions relative to
the present year, was not the distress of the agricultural inferior to that of 1820. No new interest. Sir Edward Knatchcauses of embarrassment had bull seconded the motion. Both sprung up: but the price of corn of these gentlemen, at the same still continued low, landlords were time that they exhibited in very still reluctant to reduce their strong colours the difficulties rents within natural limits, and under which the landlord and farmers still laboured under all farmer laboured, disavowed any the difficulties arising from that wish to tamper with the currency, diminution or destruction of their or the national debt; but they capital, which the change in the were of opinion, that something price of their commodities had might be done in the way of dioccasioned. Numerous petitions minishing our expenditure, and for relief were presented to par- that the necessary taxes ought to liament; but it was easier to de- be so modified, as not to lay an mand than to discover a remedy. undue share of the burthen on Some wished the government to the cultivators of the soil. Sir alter the standard of the cur- Edward Knatchbull thought also, rency; some suggested the pro- that some benefit might be depriety of expunging part of the rived from a better system of national debi; some placed their taking the averages, from making hopes in the removal of taxes; and a small addition to the duty on some had a perfect faith in the imported oats, and from the omnipotence of high protecting adoption of a graduated scale of duties. All called for inquiry; protecting duties. and the ministers thought, that Mr. F. Robinson stated, that, inquiry ought not to be refused when a proposition similar to the to those who suffered. On the present was introduced in the 7th of March, Mr. Gooch moved, former year, he had opposed it ; that a select committee should because he was convinced, that be appointed, to take into consi- the existing distress was not attributable to any defect of the plain terms avowed to be so; and law, and that, when no specific great pains had been taken to remedy was proposed, it was un- persuade them, that it was the wise to agitate so delicate a sub- only system under which the inject. He thought, however, that terests of agriculture could be the feelings of the most import- promoted. They seemed to beant part of the community were lieve, that every species of agrientitled to sympathy and respect; cultural produce might be im. and, therefore, in agreeing to the ported duty free. The case was present motion, although he was not so. Various kinds of agripursuing a course inconsistent with cultural produce had been subthat which he had before adopted, jected to duty since the year he did not conceive that he was 1812, and now yielded a consisubjecting himself to reproach, derable revenue. It was so with or doing that for which he ought foreign sheep and other live to feel any shame. With regard stock, cheese, butter, seeds, and to the objects to which the atten- a great variety of articles, on tion of the committee should be which a duty was imposed, that, directed, he had the satisfaction without prohibiting their importo find, from the speeches of the tation, rendered it highly advanmover and seconder, that it was tageous to the revenue. If all not in contemplation to disturb these were to be excluded, the the laws relative to our currency, revenue would sustain a loss of or to look for relief through the about 600,0001., raised from what medium of any operation on the was generally supposed to pay public debt. On the subject of no tax at all. He concluded taxation, he did not object to with congratulating the House this being brought within the on the temperate manner in scope of the intended inquiry. which the gentlemen who esBefore the committee decided, poused the agricultural cause, however, that the principal or had brought the matter forward. the only relief was to be derived Entering upon the inquiry in this from this source, he hoped they spirit, they might be enabled to would consider how far this deci- accomplish much that would be sion might affect public credit; useful; and should their endeaand whether, if savings should be vours fail of realizing any great made by means of retrenchment, improvement, they would at least the amount of those savings be attended with the good effect ought not rather to be applied to of showing, that the grand spea reduction of the debt than to cifics, which were sometimes so an immediate diminution of the loudly vaunted, were either imtaxes. There were still many practicable, or, if practicable, inpersons who maintained, that the expedient. Perhaps if this cononly permanent relief was to be viction were spread (and there derived from the establishment of were no means so effectual for high protecting duties on every spreading it as that of showing species of agricultural produce. that it resulted from the inquiries Indeed it could not be doubted of a parliamentary committee), an that this was the direct object of object of no small value would be the petitioners; it was almost in attained.
In the subsequent discussion, of the soundest views; and, at the no opposition was made to the same time that it admits abstract appointment of a committee, but principles in all their extent, moa great diversity of opinions were difies them by due regard to the expressed on the causes and re- circumstances of the times. It medies of the existing evil. Mr. is a pleasing monument of the Ricardo, in a very acute and per- rapid progress, which enlarged spicuous speech, exposed with potions on very abstract subjects logical accuracy the incoheren. have made, within the last few cies and errors of those who had years, among that class of the preceded him in the debate. He community, on whose opinions particularly reprobated the no- the improvement of our legislations, that taxation was the sole tion and the excellence of our or even principal cause of our internal public economy chiefly embarrassments, and that great depend. benefit was to be expected from
The committee appointed in high protecting duties; and he the former session, to take into maintained, that the great prin- consideration the mode of deterciple, upon which we ought to mining the corn-averages, had act, was, to make the price of gone into evidence at consideraour corn approximate as nearly ble length; and the result of as possible to the price of corn their inquiries was, that Mr. F. in other countries. "He could not Robinson proposed on the 26th concur with those, who enter- of February, a resolution, and tained gloomy views of the state afterwards introduced a bill, by of the country: our difficulties, which considerable changes were he thought, were nearly at an made in the then existing system. end, and we were now beginning By that system, the average was to revive. He expressed also taken in each of the twelve magreat apprehension from the ap- ritime districts, and from these, pointment of a committee; be- collectively, the general average cause he feared, that it would was fixed. But, to form the look for relief to increased re. average of each district, the strictions on importation; and average was previously taken in declared, that if restrictions each town of that district-that were to be imposed, he preferred is, the total of the corn sold in a fixed to a graduated duty. each town, as well as the total
Mr. Gooch's motion being care of the price paid for such corn; ried unanimously, a committee the one divided by the other, conwas appointed. Among the mem- stituted the average for the town; bers were lord Castlereagh, Mr. and the same division as to the Gooch, Mr. F. Robinson, Mr. corn and the price in the ag. Brougham, Mr. Ricardo, Mr. gregate of those towns, conHuskisson, and Mr. Curwen. stituted the average of the The result of their deliberations district. In like manner, by was, a report, which we have dividing the total of the corn by given in a subsequent part of our the total of the prices in the volume, and which is one of the twelve districts, the average of most valuable documents ever the kingdom was fixed. Thus laid before parliament. It is full the general average depended
upon the average of each of the woollen and cotton manufactures, towns comprehended in each dis- the working classes found regu. trict; and hence it was clear, that lar employment, and received a the price of corn, in a particular liberal remuneration for their town of any district, might have labour. Other branches of ina very undue influence upon the ternal industry were not equally general average. This influence prosperous. The iron trade was was found, in some instances, to still in a very depressed state ; operate very unjustly; where and petitions setting forth the speculators had gone to particular decay of the principal branches towns to purchase corn on such of industry in Birmingham, were, terms as to produce a fictitious at an early period of the session, price. Such cases had, in- laid on the tables of both Houses. deed, occurred not unfrequently. These petitions excited consiHence, it was perfectly evident, derable discussion, of which one that the object of the law as to remarkable feature was—that averages was defeated; that ob- many of the country gentlemen ject being, to ascertain the ge- insisted on the necessity of layneral bona fide price of the arti, ing exclusive burthens on the fund. cle. He proposed, therefore, to holders; and several of them did abolish the plan of taking the not hesitate to say, that the averages from the twelve mari- public faith should be broken, time districts, and to substitute and the interest of the debt rethat of taking them from mari- duced. The ministers always time counties and towns, fixing avowed an open hostility to these the general average from the ag- desperate schemes ; as well as to gregate of the corn sold in the every project of tampering with whole, divided by the total of the the currency. price paid for it. The object of On the 5th of March, Mr. this arrangement was, to defeat Curwen made a motion, which he such speculations, as had been avowed as preparatory, to the entered into within the last year imposition of a duty on the transfor the purpose of unduly influ- fer of stock. The Chancellor of encing the settlement of the the Exchequer opposed it; deaverage. It was proposed also scribing it as a scheme for the to include Ireland, and the Isle of destruction of public faith, and Man in the returns. Many other the ruin of individuals. From minor alterations were made. The the common burthen the stock. general object of the measure holder claimed no exemption; clearly was, to calculate the for twenty years he had subaverages, so as to diminish them mitted to the property tax within apparent amount-in other out complaint; but to a specific words, to raise the importation tax he did, and fairly did, object. price.
It was said, that the stock-holder The improvement which had had in fact bought in considerabegun, in the course of the pre- ble sums under a depreciated ceding year, to show itself in the currency, which he now claimed state of our manufactures, still to be repaid in gold. Certainly, continued. In Yorkshire and during those years of depreciated Lancashire, the seats of the currency nearly one-fourth of