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had been accustomed to derive it-
MR. SHUTTLEWORTH, moving the second Resolution, said, in furtherance of the very important purposes for which this Meeting has assembled, I have now the honour to submit to its consideration a motion against the Corn-Laws-(Cheers); and I assure you that I do this with the most perfect satisfaction, because, in my judgment, there is no question of public interest which surpasses in importance that to which this motion refers. Whether we regard the injuries which the existence of the Corn-Laws, under every modification, has inflicted on this country, the inevitable destruction which certainly awaits the continuance of such a system, or the advantages which MR. DAVID HOLT gave his de- would result from its abandonment, cided approbation to the foregoing we cannot fail to be impressed with Resolution, and bore his testimony the conviction that our attention as to the extent of misery and dis- could not be directed to any subject tress just described. He expressed of greater consequence. (Applause.) an opinion that, under present cir-That a system like this should have cumstances, it was not in the power of individual charity to reach as far as the people's necessities, and that nothing could impose an effectually check to the present deplorable state of the working classes but some wise and powerful act of Government, such as those advocated in the Resolution he seconded.
been persisted in, after the mistaken views and principles in which it ori ginated had been fully and repeated
exposed-after it had been incontestibly demonstrated that it involved the grossest injustice on one part of the community for the advantage of another; after it had been shown, that it presented the most formidaMR. LILLY now addressed the ble obstruction to the general prosassemblage. For some minutes he perity of the country, is a fact, which was listened to with patience. He I shall leave those to reconcile to the began, however, shortly to laud the integrity and the wisdom of Parlia measures of Government, and to ex-ment, who are still like Mr. Lilly be press a warm confidence in the pu- hind me-(Cheers and laughter)rity and correctness of ministerial in the habit of making those quali intentions generally. Several mur- ties of our legislature a constant murs were heard. The Meeting ex- theme of amplification and praise It (Loud applause.) With those who hibited symptoms of impatience. had become known that he was one thus highly estimate the merits of of the ill-omened cavalry who acted Parliament, I, for one, altogether dison the 16th of August (this was the agree.-(Great applause.) I am not, 17th,) and he was soon overpowered. however, disposed on this occasion, to The Chairman repeatedly asked a enter upon any general discussion of patient hearing; but remembrance, the merits or demerits of Parlia and his pertinacious recurrence to ment; but confining myself strictly unseasonable language and gratuit- to the connexion which the charac ous opinion, caused such a tremen-ter and constitution of that body dous expression of disapprobation, have with the question before us, I shall say, that its conduct, with rethat he was compelled to withdraw.
spect to corn, entitles it not to any being desirous of extenuating the degree of public approbation or con- evils of taxation. Those evils are fidence.-(Cheers.) It has now been certainly great; but great as they are, busy upon this subject for the last I trust it may be easily shown, that two centuries, and in reviewing its they are not fairly chargeable with proceedings during that period I can the monstrous aggravation of justidiscover scarcely any thing but a fying these laws. Whatever taxes constant and anxious endeavour to are now raised in this country are so promote the interests-to gratify the distributed, that they fall with some sordid feelings, of that particular degree of equality on all descriptions class, of whom, unfortunately for the of commodities;--they fall quite as country, Parliament is almost entirely much on wrought manufactures as composed, to the exclusion on this on agricultural produce, and they subject, of that general consideration cannot, on that account, afford any for the rights and interests of the facilities for the introduction of focommunity at large, which is essen-reign corn. It must be obvious that tial to all just and enlightened legis-in whatever degree we import foreign lation. To raise the price of corn, corn, we must export some other for the purpose of benefiting the article to pay for it; and if taxation growers of that article, seems to me, has operated on all other articles to have been almost the only object equally with corn, the importer of of the numerous laws, which Parlia- foreign corn, receiving his payment ment has enacted for the regulation in those other articles, would be able of the corn trade. Those laws abun- to obtain no more for a given quandantly prove that the corn growers tity of his produce, if he sold it to of this country are also its legi-la- us when we were pressed upon by a tors; and that in that capacity, how-heavy taxation, than he would if he ever elevated may have been their sold it to us, and we had no taxes pretensions to disinterestedness and whatever. Supposing our taxation independence, they are not, upon had raised the price of corn 20 per this subject at least, entirely superior cent, the foreign corn grower would to the control of selfish and sinister have an inducement to that amount influence (Great cheers.) As le- to bring his corn hither; but if, at gislators, indeed, the corn growers the same time, our taxation had have acted, as if they had no interests raised the price of every thing else to consult or recognise but their 20 per cent., the foreign corn grower, own; as if with all the national au- receiving his payment in commodithority, all the national welfare was ties at this advanced rate, would be vested in themselves; as if they in precisely the same situation as if alone were entitled to float upon so- no such advance had taken place. ciety, like Leander on the Helles- This reasoning shows that the taxapont, combining all things in their own tion which enters equally into the bady price of corn, and into the price of all other things, does not expose the At once the pilot, passenger, and bark.” home grower to the risk of injury (Great applause.) The most pro- from foreign competition. The arminent pretext which is urged in gument, therefore, which the advosupport of the Corn-Laws is, that cates of the Corn-Laws derive from the taxation to which the corn grower taxation, must be limited entirely to of this country is subject is so much those taxes which fall exclusively or more burdensome than that to which unequally upon the land. Whatever the corn growers of other countries taxes press disproportionately on are liable, that he cannot bring his agriculture, operate to the amount produce to market against foreign of that partial pressure, as an encoucompetition. I am very far from ragement to foreign cultivation, to
the prejudice of our own; and I am for claiming indemnity; and yet it willing, most freely willing, to admit is principally against these, trifling that such taxes furnish a reasonable as they are, that all the array of claim for indemnity to the full amount Corn-Laws is required as a protecof the injury they inflict, What then, tion. It is principally for these most upon this principle, are the nature paltry imposts that all the calamity and amount of the taxes, for which of a restricted trade in corn is to be the agriculturists are now justified endured. (Applause.) To show the in claiming an indemnity? If this extent of that calamity-to show the question had been proposed in 1815, tremendous disproportion between when the present Corn-Laws were the indemnity paid to the agricultupassed, the answer would have re- rists, and the injury sustained by quired an enumeration of several them-to show, in short, "what most heavy and oppressive taxes, great events from little causes which do not now exist. At that spring," a very brief calculation will time agriculture was burdened with suffice. In 1765, when the popula assessments on farm horses, farm tion of England and Wales was only servants, farm carriages, and on a six millions, Mr. Charles Smith, an variety of other necessaries, to the eminent economist of that time, as the amount of about two millions and a result of a careful, laborious, and inhalf; it was burdened with taxes on telligent investigation, estimated the malt, and other articles of produce consumption of grain at fifteen mil to the amount of about five millions lions three hundred and fifty thouand a half. It was burdened also sand quarters. In 1800 Mr. Chalwith so considerable a portion of the mers estimated it at thirty-three milproperty-tax, as to make the total lions and a half quarters. In 1812 taxation with which it was directly and 1814, when the subject of the chargeable about fifteen or sixteen Corn-Laws was under discussion, millions. As a protection against Mr. Western and Dr. Colquhoun these taxes, the present Corn-Laws estimated it at about forty millions of were passed; the landed interests quarters.. Now, from 1811 to 1821, insisted upon an indemnity, and they a period of ten years, the population of obtained these laws. Since then the United Kingdom increased from they have repealed the taxes for about fifteen and a half millions to which these laws were principally about twenty millions, or short of one contrived as an equivalent, and are third; we may, in my opinion, safely nevertheless now struggling (and take the increase from 1812 and 1814 unless the country oppose them with to the present time, which is a longer a determination which it has not period, at the same, and assuming the manifested yet, I believe they will increase of consumption to be in the successfully struggle) to retain the ratio of the increased population, we indemnity. These taxes having been shall have to add to 40 millions of repealed, the only charges, we may quarters the consumption of 1812 say, upon the land which now re- and 1814, something less than one main to furnish the advocates of the third (I shall call it in round numCorn-Laws with a hook on which to bers twelve millions), to show the hang their case, are an insignificant amount of the present consumption. part of such assessments and rates as This calculation raises the present fall more heavily on the country than consumption to fifty-two millions of on towns, together with that propor-quarters; so that if the price of grain tion of tithe which comes out of the be on an average fifteen shillings profits of stock. These are the only per quarter higher in this than in charges upon land of which I am surrounding countries, then the conaware, that now afford any semblance sumers of this country have to pay of justification to the land-owners to the growers, to whom the Corn
Laws have granted a monopoly of ing classes of the present day, are supply, no less annually than thirty- not at all responsible for any regula. eight millions sterling, over and above tions which interfere with commerwhat the corn produce alone of this cial liberty; they are, in point of country is worth elsewhere. A claim so fact, the classes which sustain the monstrous as this, made by one part of deepest injury from the existence of the community upon another, has, I such regulations, and so far from am persuaded, no parallel in any being called upon to compensate fact of real history. To equal it, we their effects on the interest of others, must have recourse to some narra- they ought rather themselves to be tive of fiction, and no such narrative compensated, for the effect which at present occurs to my mind, which those regulations have had upon their affords a more apt illustration of the own. The tendency of all prohibitive spirit of agricultural aggression regulations, of all protecting duties, which this claim exhibits, than an is to withdraw capital and labour from incident in one of Voltaire's stories, their most beneficial employments, and which represents an Arab chief mag to give them a forced and unnatural nifying his consequence, by declar- direction. If we prohibit the imporing that he was not only the rightful tation of foreign manufactures, we, owner of all that belonged to him- by the self-same act, necessarily proself, but of all too that belonged tohibit the exportation of such of our every body else.-(Immense cheer-own as would be taken in payment, ing.) Another argument which has and we thus lose all the advantage been used in favour of the Corn- that would accrue to us from the exLaws, is founded on those protec- change. It is clear, therefore, that tions and duties which have been the trading part of the community granted for the purpose of giving to has no interest in the continuance of some of our manufactures a mono- a monopolising policy (Applause.) poly of the home market. It is al-While therefore we oppose ourselves leged that, in consequence of these to a system, which gives to one class protections and duties, the corn a monopoly of the home market for growers of this country are compell-corn, let us disclaim all sanction and ed to pay for some of the articles they consume, more than would be the case if a free import of foreign manufactures was permitted. There may, for any thing I know, be still some individuals connected with trade and manufactures, who continue to set a value on legislative patronage; but sure I am, that I am only giving expression to the almost unanimous opinion of those who constitute the trading interests of the (Applause.) In connexion with the country, when I say that it is to be progress of our population, the existdeplored that such patronage was ence of the Corn-Laws presents conever bestowed upon us. If the agrisiderations of most appalling magniculturists claim indemnity for the tude. We have seen that from 1811 existence of these protecting duties, to 1821, the population increased at let them seek the indemnity from the annual average rate of about the few who have been benefited by 450,000. If the increase is to go them, and not from the whole com- on in this, or any thing like this, munity, which had suffered from ratio; if indeed it is to go on at all,' their existence in a degree at least and if, under the operation of a equally with themselves. The trad-system of Corn-Laws, food for its'
approval of another system, which professes to give us a monopoly of the home market for manufactures. Let those who have granted us this monopoly take it back: we have not sought for it-we feel it as an incumbrance - we acknowledge no protection, but that which is afforded by the cheap administration of such laws, as will secure to us the possession of property, liberty, and life.
become manifest that we can no longer, in an equal degree, enjoy these advantages, the influence of these pernicious laws, in depressing our condition, must be constantly more and more palpable. (Cheers.) A recurrence, therefore, to sound principles in the trade in corn is es sential to the continuance of our commercial prosperity. But the freedom of this trade is not only of most serious importance, on account of the extent to which it might be carried, for the purposes of our own consumption, but it is also of great importance with a view to a general trade in it. From the extent and variety of our mercantile connexions, and the advantages we enjoy in the magnitude of our capital, the number of our ships, our excellent har
support is to be raised from our own soil, then it will be necessary to be constantly bringing into cultivation lands which, on account of their inferior quality, are in the present state and circumstances of society, wholly unfit for tillage in any country of the world. As the cultivation of inferior lands is extended with the cost of production, the price of corn must advance, till the consumers' power to purchase it will be exhausted; and then, through a lingering course of misery and starvation, accompanied by the degradation and consequent depravity of the poor, population will be checked. In the mean time, the rise in the price of corn will gradually communicate itself to labour, and through labour to all manufac tured goods, and this rise in the price of manufactured goods will ul-bours, and our insular situation, we timately, in spite of our machinery, and in spite of all other "means and appliances to boot," enable foreigners to undersell us. The high comparative price of subsistence, which the Corn-Laws have hitherto occasioned, must so seriously have retarded our national prosperity, that if it had not been for the pre-eminence of our skill, capital, industry, and machinery, its eflects in checking our progress would have been long ago, what I indulge the hope it is not even yet, fatally apparent. Till recently indeed, we have gone on our course rejoicing; our advance in wealth and power has been distinguished for its rapidity and magnificence; but let not this deceive us — let not the splendour and brilliancy of any past success disturb the accuracy and distinctness of our present views--for
might reasonably calculate that, with a free trade in corn, England would become the granary of Europe, and would thus secure to itself, besides all other concomitant advantages, a principal share in the carrying trade of this bulky and valuable product. An admission of the solidity of these views is now beginning to manifest itself in quarters which, hitherto, in ministering to the cupidity and prejudices of the landed interest, for the purpose, no doubt, of obtaining the sanction of that interest to their own most prodigal expenditure, have either turned a deaf ear, or given a stern and unfeeling denial to all national remonstrances on the subject. Itis nowunderstood that several members of Government are desirous to effect such a revision of the Corn-Lawś as will at once most favourably modify, and perhaps ultimately.remove all restrictions on the corn trade. In corroboration of what is thus thought to be the desire of some of the Mi In the midst of all our success, in the nisters, I beg to quote what Mr. midst of all our prosperity, the Corn- Huskisson said on the hustings in Lis Laws have been destructively counter-verpool, at the late election there. He acting all the advantages we have en- said, “That the commercial meajoyed; and now, when from the in-"sures for which he was responsible creased enterprise of our commercial" had been undertaken by him, that rivals, and from other causes, it has he might show to the landed interest
"The shining there, like light on graves, "Has rank cold hearts beneath it.”—