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Commons Chamber

Volume 80: debated on Tuesday 3 June 1845

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House Of Commons

Tuesday, June 3, 1845.

MINUTES. BILLS. Private.—Reported.—North Woolwich Railway.

3a. and passed:—Glasgow Markets.

PETITIONS PRESENTED. By Viscount Duncan, from Bath, and by Viscount Newry and Morne, from Carlingford, for Better Observance of the Lord's Day.—By Mr. C. Bruce, and Mr. Morgan, from several places, against the Grant to Maynooth College.—By Mr. Morison, from Inverness, for Reduction of Tolls and Dues levied by Lighthouses.—By Mr. Ferrand, from several places, in favour of the Ten Hours System.—By Mr. Bailey, and Mr. Wilshere, from several places, against Physic and Surgery Bill.—By Viscount Duncan, from several places, for Alteration of Law relating to the Sale of Beer.

Services Of Sir Henry Pottinger

, in rising to submit the Motion of which he had given notice to the House, said, he could assure the House that he did so with very considerable diffidence as to the propriety of the course he had adopted. He confessed he had expected that Her Majesty's Ministers would have saved him the trouble of bringing the subject before the House; but seeing that they had not done so, and entertaining strong opinons on the question, he thought it his duty to interfere. He was aware that the very Motion implied a degree of censure on Her Majesty's Ministers, it he were correct in the opinion he had formed, which was, that a public officer, entrusted with the most important duties, who had performed them to the perfect satisfaction of every individual acquainted with the country which formed the scene of his services, remained to this time unrewarded for those important services; and the object of the present Motion was to call upon the House to mark their sense of them by such a reward as might be deemed becoming their magnitude. He knew how hard it was for any individual in that House to bring forward any question to which Her Majesty's Ministers declared themselves opposed; and it was on that ground he felt he had taken upon himself a responsibility from which he could only be freed by finding that the House concurred with him generally in the course he had adopted, and sanctioned the Resolution he was about to propose. If he were asked whether he knew anything of Sir H. Pottinger or his friends, his answer was decidedly that he did not. He had never had any communication with Sir H. Pottinger; he had only seen him in a public place, and consequently, whatever might be the result of this Motion, that gallant officer could not be held responsible for the opinions which he might express. The House would bear in mind that these opinions of his were not of this Session or the last; he had expressed them in that House on the 14th February, 1843, when Her Majesty's Ministers brought forward a Motion of Thanks to the naval and military officers who conducted the war in China, and spoke in a high strain of panegyric on the conduct of Sir H. Pottinger as the director of those operations. He ventured on that occasion to inquire of the right hon. Baronet, whether it was the intention of Government to take any notice of the services of Sir H. Pottinger, so as to afford the House the gratification of testifying their sense of his merits. The right hon. Baronet then stated his deep regret that he could not submit a Motion for a Vote of Thanks to the House, because there was no precedent for it in the case of any one employed in the diplomatic service of the Crown. If there was no precedent at that time for such a Motion, the right hon. Baronet had subsequently bound himself to such a precedent by supporting the Motion which he had submitted to the House with respect to the conduct of Lord Ashburton in concluding a Treaty, which appeared to him of the utmost importance to the welfare both of England and the United States. The Motion which he was now about to make was supported by fifty precedents. It would be impossible for him to recount to the House all the signal services of Sir H. Pottinger during a career of thirty-seven years in the East India Company's service. The Government, in withholding from that gallant officer such a reward as he was well entitled to, not alone on that ground, but as the director of the operations of our fleet and armies in the Chinese war, which he had conducted to so successful an issue, was acting against the known wishes of ninety-nine out of every hundred commercial men in the country. He could not help suspecting that some overpowering reason must exist to prevent the right hon. Baronet from doing an act of justice to an individual whose claims were in every way so preeminent. If Sir Henry Pottinger had not been employed in China, he would have been appointed to one of the governments in India at ten or twelve thousand a year; and, if the House would attend, he would tell them how he had actually been rewarded. On the ratification of the Chinese Treaty, he received the Civil Grand Cross of the Bath, and was nominated a Member of the Privy Council. These were honours, but what were the substantial rewards? He (Sir H. Pottinger) had enjoyed an appointment as Chief Commissioner in China for two years, at a salary of 5,000l. a year, and his whole permanent income was 490l. a year. His successor, Mr. Davis, who had nothing to do with the most important negotiations, enjoyed a salary of 6,000l. a year; while the man who had achieved all the good, who had opened the vast Empire of China to our commerce, remained on a paltry pittance of 490l. a year. This was surely not enough for a man who had so served his country, and through whose means, putting higher considerations out of the question, twenty-one millions of dollars had been paid by way of ransom into our Treasury. If precedents for granting pensions for such services were asked for, he could refer to many such, granted in consideration of diplomatic services, compared with which those of Sir Henry Pottinger were certainly neither less successful nor less brilliant. Such were the pensions enjoyed by the late Sir Gore Ouseley and the present Sir Henry Willock, to whom he meant nothing disrespectful in saying that Sir Henry Pottinger's services at least merited an equal testimonial of gratitude from the country. These examples showed that the House had upon former occasions acknowledged in this way the value of diplomatic services; and he hoped, therefore, that he had removed the objection which might be raised, that there was no precedent for such pensions. They were recognised by Parliament, and by legislation they had been respected. For extraordinary circumstances it was always competent for Her Majesty's Ministers to propose pensions for official and diplomatic services. Sir H. Pottinger had performed most important services; and he put it to the House whether those services had not been admitted by every individual in the country, not excepting Her Majesty's Ministers themselves. He would put it to the House whether Sir H. Pottinger had not concluded his negotiations in a most surprising and satisfactory manner with the most cunning and artful people on the surface of the globe. Had not those services been performed in the most meritorious manner by Sir H. Pottinger's zeal and steady and unflinching conduct, after every preceding plenipotentiary had failed in carrying out the wishes of the Government? And was it nothing that Sir Henry Pottinger was the first man to conclude a commercial Treaty with the people of China, attended with so many advantages to this country—a Treaty which he (Mr. Hume) contended did the greatest honour to Great Britain; extending as it did the advantages which we received ourselves to every country on the face of the civilized globe? He spoke not his own sentiments only, for he believed that there was not a man in England who appreciated the blessings of peace but eulogized the character and conduct of Sir H. Pottinger. But he would particularly refer the House to the opinions expressed by Her Majesty's Ministers themselves. And first, he would quote the expressions used by the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government, on the 14th February, 1843, who on the occasion of a Vote of Thanks for the Army in China being proposed, in which Sir H. Pottinger's name was not included, remarked—

"With respect to Sir Henry Pottinger, I think that the opportunity which I took on a former occasion of publicly acknowledging the sense entertained by the Government of the services of that distinguished man, must exempt the Government from the suspicion of wishing to throw any slight upon him.…… And now, when others concerned in the same expedition are to receive a mark of public gratitude, I should be sorry to allow the opportunity to pass without repeating the sentiments I then expressed. I wish it had been consistent with usage to have included the name of Sir Henry Pottinger in the Vote."*
Again regretting that he could not vote him thanks, Sir Robert Peel continued—
"I can well enter into the feelings of this distinguished man—distinguished not only for his civil qualifications, but for his military service—when he sees this public acknowledgment of the brilliant achievements of his brothers in arms, and feels that he cannot partake in the thanks of Parliament.…… We have, however, entreated him to remain until we can benefit by his opinions and advice upon many important matters connected with the adjustment of our future relations with China; and I assure the hon. Gentleman, that if Sir Henry
*Hansard's Debates (Third Series), Vol. lxvi. p. 572.
Pottinger will recall his decision, and remain permanently in China, he will possess the entire confidence of Her Majesty's Government; and we should think that we had succeeded in making the arrangement of all others the most beneficial to the country."*
The gallant officer's merits were various. He was distinguished for his civil services in India, and on account of them alone he deserved the gratitude of the country. He would beg leave to remind the House in reference to Sir Henry Pottinger's claim to honours as a civil servant, of the opinion of Napoleon on such a subject, to be found in Alison's "History of Europe." The hon. Member read the following extract:—
"In the Council held to frame the 'Code Napoleon,' it was proposed by Count Mathieu Dumas that the order of the Legion of Honour should be confined to military men. 'Such ideas (said Napoleon) might be well adapted to the feudal ages, when the chevaliers combated each other man to man; but it is science and skill which now determines the fate of nations. What is it now which constitutes a great general? It is not the mere strength of a man six feet high, but the coup d'æil, the habit of foresight, the power of calculation, in a word—civil qualities, founded on a knowledge of human nature, and suited to the government of armies; and the general who can now achieve great things is he who is possessed of shining civil qualities. The tendency of military men is to carry everything by force; the enlightened civilian, on the other hand, elevates his views to the perception of the general good. I have no hesitation therefore, in stating that, if a preference was to be awarded to one or the other, it belongs to the civilian. But if you confine honours to military men, you sink civilians into nothing.' Moved by these profound observations (says Alison), the Council agreed that the proposed honours should be extended indiscriminately to civil and military distinctions."
The right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government had not been alone in his testimony to the distinguished services of Sir Henry Pottinger. When Lord Aberdeen laid upon the Table of the Lords the supplementary Treaty with China, his Lordship said—
"And now he begged leave to advert to the very distinguished man whose labours had given these benefits and advantages to his country. He alluded to Sir H. Pottinger. It was impossible for their Lordships to imagine the difficulties and obstructions which Sir H. Pottinger had to encounter during this
*Hansard's Debates (Third Series), Vol. lxvi. p. 573, 574.
most arduous negotiation. Acting in a country so entirely new, and so entirely different from any in which his experience had previously been engaged, he had contrived (great and complicated as the difficulties were by which he was surrounded), by the energy of his character and by the activity of his mind, to surmount them all. And, what was most remarkable, in a country where suspicion and distrust were proverbial, he contrived to establish complete confidence amongst those with whom he had to negotiate, almost to a miracle. Great as were the benefits that had been secured to this country, he did not hesitate to say that they were mainly attributable to the personal energy and ability of Sir H. Pottinger. He was now about to leave the situation in which he had effected so much good; and he (the Earl of Aberdeen) was quite sure that his retirement must be the subject of deep regret to that House and to the Government, who would find it exceedingly difficult adequately to supply his place. They would, however, adopt such measures as would, he hoped, render the loss of this admirable public servant as little severe as possible."
But another Cabinet Minister (Lord Stanley), at a public dinner at Liverpool, had borne the following testimony to the merits of Sir Henry Pottinger:—
"I know not, Gentlemen, how far it is generally known, that though undoubtedly, at that time to the right hon. Gentleman was not entrusted the superintendence of any military and naval movements, yet to him a large discretion was given by the Government, which fully confided in his talent and ability, of saying at what period those naval and military arguments had attained to such a height as to lead to the introduction of more polished diplomatic intercourse, to say at what time the arms of Britain should be stayed, and how soon the process of negotiation might commence. And when that period arrived, honourable alike to the arms of Britain and to the humanity and forbearance with which they were wielded, Her Majesty's Government had but the gratifying task, step by step, of applauding and approving the discretion, the temper, the judgment, and the forbearance with which those delicate negotiations were subsequently conducted by the right hon. Gentleman. In that department the right hon. Gentleman was more peculiarly responsible to another Member of Her Majesty's Government; but I had the satisfaction in another point of view of being brought universally into connexion with the right hon. Gentleman. I saw his untiring labours and his zealous assiduity in forming or founding a new Colonial society—in supervising the foundation of a Colony where all was new and strange—where obstacles were to be encountered from mutual prejudices, from ignorance of each other's habits, from omissions upon the one side, and upon the other from unreasonable demands and exorbitant expectations; and I saw the right hon. Gentleman with satisfaction, in his civil as well as in his diplomatic correspondence, carry on 'the even tenor of his way' with the one fixed intention, and that boldly conceived and boldly executed, of obtaining the greatest advantages consistently with the honour and the good faith of his country. Gentlemen, there is one point to which the right hon. Gentleman, in his address to you to-night, has peculiarly adverted, although he has modestly abstained from stating the full share which he has had in it. I allude to that decision to which he came, and it is due to him I should say he came to it and acted upon it upon his own responsibility, and without instructions—not only not to demand exclusive privileges (for that he was prohibited from doing), but for inserting as a stipulation in the Treaty, that all other nations should alike partake of the commercial advantages which had been gained by this country by the power of British arms, and by the prudence of British negotiation. … And, Gentlemen, I say it for myself—and I know I may say it also, for I have heard the sentiment repeated over and over again, for my right hon. Friend the Earl of Aberdeen—that it was to him and to me, in our several departments, a subject of the deepest regret when Sir Henry Pottinger's earnest entreaties induced us, or rather, I should say, compelled us to accede to a very strongly expressed desire of his, after so many years' service in distant countries, to return to his native land, there to enjoy, in the midst of his countrymen, the well earned honours which I am proud to see have been bestowed upon him; and, I can use no more emphatic language—
'To read his history in a nation's eyes.'"
He was at a loss to comprehend why any change should have come across the minds of Her Majesty's Ministers, who had pronounced those glowing eulogiums; and in the full confidence that he had made out his case, he would now conclude by moving—
"That this House will, upon Tuesday, the 24th day of this instant, June, resolve itself into a Committee, to consider the following Resolution:—That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, that She will be graciously pleased to grant such a pension as She shall think proper, to the right honourable Sir Henry Pottinger, Baronet, K.C.B., as a reward for his eminent public services, and especially for having, as Her Majesty's Plenipotentiary in China, brought the war in that country to a conclusion by a peace alike honourable and advantageous; and to assure Her Majesty that this House will make good the same."

seconded the Resolution. After passing a glowing eulogium upon the civil and military services of Sir H. Pottinger, the noble Lord, admitting the difficulty of dealing with Motions of this description, declared himself prepared in consideration of those great services, not merely to the British nation, but to the cause of Christianity, to take this case out of the ordinary rule of civil routine. His opinion of the gallant Officer was fully confirmed, not only by distinguished and competent authorities upon the matter, but by the commercial prosperity which followed upon his eminent and successful services. In conclusion, the noble Lord begged to say, that this Motion was in no degree intended as a reproach to Her Majesty's Government.

I trust that the great anxiety which I feel for the success of this Motion, and the official connexion formerly subsisting between Sir Henry Pottinger and myself, when President of the Board of Control, may be a valid excuse for my speaking after the Mover and Seconder, without waiting to hear what may be said by the right hon. Gentleman opposite, in reply to the proposal made by the hon. Member for Montrose. And I must beg to premise, that I do not understand why my hon. Friend has anticipated, as a matter of certainty, that it is the intention of Government to oppose him on this occasion; for my part, I see no reason to come to such a conclusion; and I, for one, do not intend in the least to reproach the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Treasury, on account of his having allowed this proposition to be made by an independent Member of Parliament, instead of originating it himself. On ordinary occasions, indeed, the Ministers of the Crown are expected to make proposals of this nature; and if they do not make them, it is presumed they have some objection which would induce them to give a negative to them, if brought forward by others. But I can easily conceive a case in which the Minister may fairly wait to see what is the feeling of the House of Commons, before he considers himself justified in making a demand upon the national purse. Such I take the present case to be; and what I hope and believe is, that the Minister is only waiting for a decided expression of our opinion, in order to recommend to Her Majesty a compliance with the view taken by the hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume), in regard to the suitable mode of rewarding the services of Sir Henry Pottinger. I do not pretend to be acquainted with precedents sufficiently to enable me to state the exact position in which the House of Commons now stands, in regard to the granting of such pensions. I would rather treat this as an extraordinary case, to be dealt with in an unusual manner; but, believe me, the House need not fear that, by adopting this proposal, we shall establish an inconvenient precedent. Ages may roll over the heads of our successors, before any similar service can possibly be performed; indeed, there is no human probability of a like duty devolving upon any one—there is no other China to be opened to the civilized world—there is no other third of the habitable earth, hitherto shut upon us, which now remains to receive the fruits of our industry and enterprise. What Sir Henry Pottinger has done cannot be done again; and if it were to be done again, it would be hard indeed to find a man so able and so willing, so peculiarly qualified to do it. My hon. Friend the Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume) has alluded to the peculiar services of Sir Henry Pottinger, previously to his being selected for the China mission; and I shall venture to give a somewhat more detailed sketch of them. Sir Henry Pottinger entered as a volunteer in the Indian navy, when only fourteen years of age, in 1804; but soon quitted the navy and entered into the military branch of the profession, in which he speedily distinguished himself, so much, that he was chosen to accompany the important mission, sent by Lord Minto into Scinde, in 1809. His zeal and activity, whilst so employed, recommended him to the late Sir John Malcolm, who ordered him, in company with Captain Christie, to explore the countries between India and Persia; and of this useful mission, undertaken in the years 1810 and 1811, he published an account, which made him known to the literary world, and gave him a claim to the discharge of still more important duties. In the Mahratta war of 1816 and 1817, he was appointed political assistant to Mr. Elphinstone, and served under that most distinguished functionary during the whole of that eventful period; and such was the opinion entertained of him by Mr. Elphinstone, that on the close of the war, he was appointed to superintend a portion of the conquered countries, a duty which he performed for seven years. He was next appointed Resident in Cutch; and the prince being a minor, administered all the departments of that province, having the power of life and death, and being absolute master of the country. In 1831, he was sent by Lord William Bentinck to Scinde, and negotiated with the Ameers the Treaties that opened the navigation of the Indus. He returned to Cutch, and was again sent to Scinde in 1838, to frame with the Ameers the new Treaties rendered necessary by the preparations for the Affghan war. So eminent were his services during this critical period—so materially did he contribute to the complete and easy success of all the operations attendant upon the first passages of the Indus by the British army, that, when high honours were distributed to the principal civil and military functionaries at the triumphant close of the campaign, it was my pleasing duty to recommend Sir Henry Pottinger for a Baronetcy; and Her Majesty graciously conferred that distinction upon him. In 1840, he returned home; and, never shall I forget the effects produced, when, at a splendid entertainment given to Lord Keane and some of his companions, Sir Henry Pottinger acknowledged the attention paid to him, and apologized for his inaptitude in public speaking, from the fact of his having been for six-and-thirty years constantly employed in the service of his country, without having once left India. The quiet but manly modesty—the unaffected, the prepossessing simplicity of his manner and address, bespoke the superior qualities which we have since learnt fully to estimate; and made an impression not obliterated, in my mind at least, even by his subsequent exploits. In the early part of next year, 1841, my noble Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, requested me to offer to Sir Henry Pottinger the important duty, the faithful and successful discharge of which, it is now proposed to reward. And here I must be permitted to mention what has, naturally, been hitherto known only to my late Colleagues and myself, that when this offer was made, Sir Henry Pottinger, though being in a most delicate state of health, did not hesitate at once to accept it, provided his medical advisers permitted him to do so; and when he had obtained their reluctant sanction, requested me to inform my noble Friend that he would undertake the office, stipulating only that the sole responsibility should rest with him—that he should have no Colleague—and that his instructions should be as precise as the nature of the circumstances would permit. And I must add a fact which will not fail, I am sure, to be duly appreciated by the right hon. Gentlemen opposite, that Sir Henry Pottinger, in accepting (his delicate and difficult service, after so long a career of distinguished duty, made no sort of bargain for himself—he did not hint a word at any future reward, in case of success. He spoke only, and that but shortly, of his resolution to do his best, and his hopes of not failing. But although he forgot his own claims, that is no reason why they should not be remembered by us. He had, during his long and varied service, many an opportunity of making an Indian fortune; but he has always thought more of his duty—more of his country than of himself; and after forty years of noble labour, he has returned home with little more than a name—a glorious name indeed, that will ever be connected, imperishably, with one of the fairest and purest triumphs, not only of his own great country, but of civilization itself. Sir Henry Pottinger has indeed been duly honoured by his most gracious Sovereign; but those honours, in the sense in which we are speaking, although, no doubt, properly valued by him, prevent him from pursuing the course of Indian service, and are a positive injury to him. I believe I may say that had he not gone to China, he would have again filled some very high and lucrative situation in India. I have heard he would have been appointed a Member of Council; but what part can he now accept? He, a Privy Councillor, a Grand Cross of the Bath—can he go to a residency and receive orders from his inferiors in rank and service? No, and so it is; he is, we may say, crushed by his laurels; and after all he has done, is to retire with the pay of a Lieutenant Colonel; for though he has the brevet of a Major General—that is his rank. He that has opened China, and her 300,000,000 to British commerce, is to be left in a condition which, I lament to say, will not enable him to hold his proper place—I may almost say any place, in his own country—in that country to whose glory and prosperity he has so largely contributed! It is superfluous to dwell upon the value of his services in China—they are acknowledged by the whole world, and not only ourselves, but other nations have already hastened to reap the benefit of them. The liberality by which our success was made useful to our great rivals, has been said, and truly, to be without a parallel in the annals of nations; and although the instructions given to Sir Henry Pottinger gave him a latitude of action in that respect, yet much was naturally left to his own management and discretion. The hon. Mover has briefly alluded to the expressions of gratitude which Sir Henry Pottinger has received from various public bodies. I will venture to repeat them more in detail. Sir Henry Pottinger has re- ceived Addresses, 1st, From the European and Native Inhabitants of Bombay, with Plate; 2nd, From the Chamber of Commerce of Bombay; 3rd, From the Merchants of London, with Plate; 4th, From the East India and China Association, with Plate; 5th, From the Merchants of Liverpool, with Plate; 6th, From the Mercantile Associations of Liverpool; 7th, From the Mayor and Burgesses of Liverpool; 8th, From the Merchants of Manchester; 9th, From the Mercantile Associations of Manchester; 10th, From the Mayor and Burgesses of Manchester; 11th, From 14,000 Operative Workmen in Manchester, signed in nine hours; 12th, From the Merchants of Glasgow; 13th, From the Lord Provost and Council of Glasgow, with the Freedom of the City; 14th, From the Lord Provost and Council of Edinburgh, with the Freedom of the City; 15th, From the Merchants of Belfast; 16th, From the Mayor and Burgesses of Belfast; 17th, From the Merchant Tailors' Company of London, with the freedom of the Corporation; 18th, He has had official intimation that the Freedom of the City of London has been voted to him, and is to be presented to him in a gold box at an entertainment. In addition to these honours, he has been publicly entertained at London, Manchester, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Belfast; and I would close this enumeration with alluding to the most remarkable meeting, perhaps, ever assembled to do honour to a public man; I mean the dinner at Merchant Tailors' Hall — where men of all parties, Members of the late and present Cabinet—the heads of the commerce and trade of this vast metropolis, united to pay a just tribute of admiration and respect to this distinguished man. Far, far better than any words of my own can be, were those generous praises then bestowed upon him by one best able to appreciate him—I mean Lord Aberdeen. That nobleman, in a speech worthy of himself, and which I had the happiness to hear, thus spoke to the merits of Sir Henry Pottinger:—

"I have for three years been in constant correspondence with Sir Henry Pottinger, and it is no more than truth to declare that I think no mail ever arrived from China without bringing to me fresh reasons to be deeply sensible of his merits, and his just claims to the gratitude of his country. You may readily imagine, that in a country like China, so distant, so different in almost every respect from those of which we have any knowledge, with every desire on the part of the Government at home to assume responsibility, to give every kind of assistance, to provide by instructions for all contingencies; yet very much, under such circumstances, must always depend upon the judgment and discretion of the person who, on the spot, is to administer the instructions he may receive. I believe there never was a man in whom a Government and the country might more safely repose confidence in such a situation than Sir Henry Pottinger. And permit me to say, that when difficulties arose, as difficulties numerous and weighty did arise unforeseen and unexpected, by his ability, by his firmness, by his perseverance and energy, he was enabled to meet and overcome them all."
Such were the words of Lord Aberdeen; and if, after this eulogy, any testimony to the benefits conferred upon the country by the exertions of this gentleman should be thought wanting, I do not know that I can do better than quote the language used by the Lord Provost of Glasgow at the great entertainment given to Sir Henry Pottinger in that city. His words were—
"The manufactures of our city—the trade of our port—our intercourse with the East, have been much extended in consequence of his efforts; and although we cannot thank him in the high-flown language of the natives of the oriental regions where he has resided so long, we can thank him with great sincerity and cordiality of feeling, and tell him in the plain honest language of British merchants that he has done us good, and we are grateful for it."
Sir, the British merchants have shown their gratitude; it remains for the British House of Commons to show theirs. They are distributors, not only of honours, but other rewards; and though it behoves them to be anxious guardians of the public purse, and though the Ministers of the day must be more especially sparing of such grants, yet I have little fear of the result, and in the hands of the House and of the right hon. Gentleman opposite, I most willingly leave the decision on this appeal.

said, the speech of the right hon. Gentleman was a conclusive answer to that of the hon. Mover. It might have been inferred from the speech of the hon. Gentleman, and from his unjust and uncalled-for observations, that there was a disposition on the part of Her Majesty's Government to underrate the exertions and the merits of Sir Henry Pottinger. The House, however, would recollect that there had not been an opportunity afforded in that House on which he had not freely admitted those exertions and merits. He did, however, state that he had not included the name of Sir H. Pottinger in the vote to Sir Hugh Gough and to Sir W. Parker, because it was so rare that the thanks of the House had been voted for civil or diplomatic services, and because there were often political considerations mixed up with diplomatic services; and he did not propose to vote the thanks of the House also to Sir Henry Pottinger, rather on account of the danger of establishing, or of rather continuing a precedent set by the hon. Gentleman himself, than from a desire to underrate the eminent services of this honourable man. He would put aside for the present the question of the pecuniary reward, though the hon. Gentleman thought that no recognition of public services would be complete without a pecuniary reward. When the present Government succeeded to office, Sir H. Pottinger was not personally known to them, but he was known by name and repute; and they wrote out to assure him that he should have the same full and unbounded confidence from them as he had had from their predecessors. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Montrose drew an invidious distinction between Sir Henry Pottinger and Mr. Davis. The hon. Gentleman said, that Sir H. Pottinger had only an allowance of 6,000l. a year, and that he had been distinguished for his military services, and that the same remuneration was given to Mr. Davis; but it was not because they gave a particular salary that they distinguished the individual; the salary was attached to the office, and not given to the man. Why, then, did the hon. Gentleman draw the distinction between the merits of Sir H. Pottinger and Mr. Davis? [Mr. Hume: I drew no distinction.] When the Govenment heard that Sir H. Pottinger wished to retire, they did not seek the patronage of the appointment; they besought him to remain. The health, however, of Sir H. Pottinger obliged him at length to retire, after a service in India alone of forty years. The Government were then bound to appoint a successor, and in that appointment they were influenced by no improper motives. They thought it important to select a man having personal experience of the country and the character of its inhabitants; and if the hon. Baronet the Member for Portsmouth (Sir G. Staunton) were in his place, he would admit that no improper motives had influenced the choice. In the course of his duty Sir H. Pottinger had shown the greatest discretion and moderation; the Government gave him the most ample credit for that exhibition of justice and moderation, which had obtained for him the complete confidence of those who would not otherwise have dealt with the "barbarians," as they called us; they gave him equal credit for the discretion and forbearance with which he treated some of his own countrymen, and they knew not which to praise the most, his moderation towards the Chinese, or his firmness towards his own contrymen. With respect to the hon. Gentleman's remarks on the admission of other countries to the benefits of the improved intercourse with China, no doubt Sir H. Pottinger was desirous of extending those benefits to all nations; but it was due to his noble Friend Lord Aberdeen, and to the noble Lord whom he succeeded, to say that one of the first acts of the present Government was to send out a despatch, dated 4th of November, 1841, to the same effect as a previous despatch of the noble Lord opposite, in which the Government said, "To secure a well-regulated trade is all we desire with China;" and further, "We seek no exclusive advantage; we demand nothing we will not willingly see enjoyed by the subjects of other States." No doubt Sir H. Pottinger, without those instructions, would have acted upon their spirit. I believe, however, that those instructions were conformable to the previous instructions of the noble Lord opposite. Let it be said, therefore, to the credit of the whole country and of all parties, that there was no wish, that there was not, on the part of any one, a desire to secure for ourselves in our intercourse with China, any peculiar or exclusive privileges. One desire was manifested by the noble Lord as the representative of the late Government; by his noble Friend as the representative of the present Government; and by Sir Henry Pottinger himself. Let it be known, then, throughout Europe and the world, that there was no party, that there was no man in the country who wished, on the termination of hostilities in China, to secure any narrow advantage, or one in which all nations should not participate. It would be inferred from the speech of the hon. Gentleman, that the Government had withheld from Sir Henry Pottinger something which they had it in their power to confer. He (Sir R. Peel) had not stated that Sir H. Pottinger had had the dignity of a Baronet conferred upon him on account of his services in China — that dignity was conferred for his long services in India; but, for his services in China, the Crown had conferred upon him the highest and the most honourable distinction in its gift—except the Garter, which it could not bestow—when it created him Grand Cross of the Bath. The hon. Gentleman might think this an inadequate reward; but the value which Sir Henry attached to it was, because it was a proof of the approbation and the favour of a gracious Sovereign. Again, Sir Henry was made a Privy Councillor. The hon. Gentleman said, that this honour was useless unless it was accompanied by a grant of money; but, he believed, that Sir H. Pottinger was proud of it, not from any personal vanity, but, as an additional mark of his Sovereign's approval. Further, when from the state of his health, Sir Henry was about to return home, the most marked and significant terms were used to convey to him the grateful acknowledgments for his services to his country. Except the particular reward which the hon. Gentleman advocated, there were no rewards and no honours which were withheld. The hon. Gentleman said that they might have conferred a peerage; but he was not quite sure that hereditary honours were always a suitable reward for services in such a case as this. He then came to the question of the pecuniary reward. It would be inferred from the speech of the hon. Gentleman, that the Crown had the power of granting a pension to Sir H. Pottinger, and that this power had not been exercised. Such was not the fact. If the Crown had the power of granting a pension, he would not have hesitated to advise the Crown to confer it; and he would have been tenfold more ready to do so after the disclosure by the right hon. Gentleman of the facts which the modesty and forbearance of Sir H. Pottinger had hitherto concealed from the Government. The Crown had the power to grant the pensions to Sir Gore Ouseley, and in the other cases referred to; but it had not the power in this case. It was all very well for the House of Commons to say that the Crown was niggardly; but who imposed those limitations on the Crown? Why, the House of Commons and the hon. Gentleman. The Crown could not grant a diplomatic pension to any one, whatever might be his merits or services, unless he had been in the diplomatic service for fifteen years, and had actually served for ten years, nor could the Crown appropriate more than 2,000l. for any such pension. Now, what was the power of the Crown to grant pensions on the Civil List? For claims on the Royal beneficence, for personal services to the Crown, for eminent public services, and for useful discoveries in science, Her Majesty was limited to grants amounting to 1,200l. per annum in the whole. But it was asked, why had not the Government come down to the House, and asked for a special grant of an additional pension? Why, there was not a week in which a similar and really meritorious claim could not be made. Take the case of the family of Sir W. Nott, who, after an exhibition of constancy and valour and success which entitled him to reward, returned broken in health, and unable even to receive the expression of public gratitude, or to be presented to his Sovereign; who left two daughters, to whom the East India Company had granted 100l. a year each; what a case might be made out for him? Or, again, the daughter of an eminent Professor who died the other day in the execution of his public duty at the Royal Society. The House must admit these claims; but it had not given the Crown the power of meeting them; and there were numbers of unobtrusive cases, not so marked as Sir H. Pottinger's, but highly deserving—men, for instance, who devoted the best years of their lives, not to the acquirement of money, but the perfection of mechanical science—and left their families in distress. Was the Minister to be always coming down to the House for a special grant? A period might come when the Legislature might extend the discretion of the Crown; but meanwhile he (Sir R. Peel) was unwilling to establish a precedent capable of so extensive an application. The general rule was, that while public servants remained in health pensions should not be granted, the Crown having offices to bestow, implying great trust and confidence, and carrying a proportionate reward. Sir W. Parker, for instance, was still retained in the service of the Crown; and at the first opportunity for the employment of Sir H. Pottinger, he (Sir R. Peel) should think no man better qualified for a mark of the favour of the Crown, and no one fitter to be entrusted with the public service. The question now was, whether the House was to make a precedent of a special grant, usurping the prerogative of the Crown to reward public servants. On the whole, however, considering what appeared to be the general feeling of the House—considering that Sir H. Pottinger was withdrawn from India, and thereby lost the advantage of continued service in a diplomatic capacity—considering that the grace and favour of the House of Commons ought not to be impeded by the servants of the Crown—believing that they had done their duty in opposing their own personal wishes, which must be in favour of the liberal reward of a public man, he (Sir R. Peel) should be sorry there should be any division of opinion on the subject, and therefore he should not oppose a compliance with the wishes of the House. He should take upon himself to advise Her Majesty to make a provision for Sir H. Pottinger, as a reward for his eminent public services.

was rejoiced at the conclusion at which the right hon. Baronet had arrived; and if he added a word it would be to express his own opinion on the question, that instead of any reproach falling on Government for neglecting Sir H. Pottinger, it had been forward to recognise his merits and reward his services. He hoped, therefore, that nobody would think there was any party in the House disposed to find fault with the right hon. Gentleman and his Colleagues for the course they had pursued. If Sir H. Pottinger had not been employed sufficiently long to entitle him to a pension, he (Lord J. Russell) apprehended that the eminence of his services ought to make up for any brevity in their duration. He admitted that the general rule had been correctly stated by the right hon. Baronet; but he held this to be an extraordinary exception. It was impossible to state the services of Sir H. Pottinger more strongly than they had been admitted by the right hon. Gentleman; but with regard to the instructions under which Sir H. Pottinger had acted, as respected exclusive privileges of trade, it was but fit to state that his noble Friend (Lord Palmerston), in one of his original despatches to Captain Elliot, had used these words:—"You will bear in mind that the British Government does not desire to obtain for British subjects any exclusive privileges of trade, which could not be extended to the subjects of every other power." In this spirit the Treaty had been concluded by Sir H. Pottinger, and he (Lord J. Russell) was happy now to find that his merits were not only universally acknowledged, but were to be substantially rewarded.

could not allow the discussion to terminate without stating his great satisfaction with the determination at which the right hon. Baronet had arrived. That determination was as honourable to Ministers, as it must be gratifying to the gallant Officer. He, too, acquitted them of any backwardness in originating the proposition for a pension. He admitted the force of the observations of the right hon. Baronet; the result must be even more satisfactory to the gallant officer, his hon. friend, than if the subject had not been made a matter of discussion; the reward would thus appear, not merely the gift of the Crown, but the suggestion of the Representatives of the Commons of England. He apprehended that no inconvenient risk would be incurred by the establishment of this precedent; for the case stood on strong, but purely exceptional grounds. The concession would come within the spirit and principle of the Statute, though it might not fall within its strict and technical letter. If Sir H. Pottinger had resided only for a few years longer as our Minister to China, no difficulty could have arisen; and the short ness of his services was the only objection to the just reward of them. The truth was, that he had performed great public services in a briefer period than was contemplated by the Act. As to other cases of unknown merits and obscure claims which deserved, but did not obtain, a pecuniary acknowledgment, it might be observed, that rewards were not bestowed so much on the principle of personal desert, as on that of the amount of public benefit conferred. Two stipulations made by Sir H. Pottinger with the noble Earl at the head of Foreign Affairs had been alluded to; but to him Sir H. Pottinger had proposed a third, with which, as the reasons for it were too apparent, he could not refuse to comply: it was, that as he had just returned from India on account of ill health, and as he much feared it might still farther suffer from his new duties, he should not be asked to remain on the Chinese station after he had rendered the good service he hoped to perform by the accomplishment of his mission. The only circumstance that excited any regret or doubt in his mind, when he took leave of Sir H. Pottinger, was his apparent situation, from which it appeared but too plain that he was unfit to contend against the unwholesome climate which his desire to perform a great public duty had induced him to brave. He had carried out his instructions to the very letter. It was impossible for any man placed in so responsible a situation, to have acquitted himself in a manner more honourable to himself, or satisfactory to his country. The vote which they were about to come to would be alike honourable to all parties concerned in it: to his hon. Friend who had originated the Motion—to the Government who had supported it—to the House of Commons who had given their unqualified approval of it—and to the individual who was the subject of it; and he was sure that there had seldom been a vote which had been more satisfactory to the country at large than that which they were about to come to would be. It might be said that pecuniary rewards were not those to which such men as Sir H. Pottinger would look; but it was conformable to human nature—it was expected and approved of by society—and was in accordance with the practice of the country. When a great victory was obtained by a general or an admiral, he was rewarded by a pecuniary grant; and such a proceeding was sanctioned, not only by custom, but sound policy. He must, in conclusion, say that he was glad to find that the hon. Member for Montrose, who, it was well known, carefully watched the expenditure of public money, was so sensible of the merits of Sir H. Pottinger, as to become the originator of the Motion before the House.

eulogized the conduct of Sir H. Pottinger. That gallant officer was no party to the Motion before the House; and it was, therefore, the more honourable and gratifying to him.

, representing, as he did, the town which gave birth to Sir H. Pottinger, might be excused for bearing testimony to his merit, and saying that he most cordially supported the Motion before the House.

said, that the family of Sir H. Pottinger were connected with the county of Cumberland; and he might, therefore, plead a similar excuse to that of the hon. Member for Belfast for adding his meed of praise to the encomiums which had already been passed on the conduct of the gallant officer. He approved of the manner in which grants of public money were now made by the Crown; and he thanked the Government for the course which they had taken on the present occasion.

was sorry that the right hon. Baronet had not communicated his determination to him an hour before the House sat, as he should then have been prevented from encroaching so much as he had done upon the time of the House. He was pleased beyond measure to find that the Government had come forward to sanction the proposition which he had made. The course which the right hon. Baronet had taken was most prudent and praiseworthy; and, as he had given his assent to the Motion, he (Mr. Hume) hoped it would be carried nemine contradicente.

Resolution agreed to.

Peculiar Burdens On Land

rose to bring forward the Motion of which he had given notice. If it were not for the peculiar aspect of the House, which imported premature dissolution, he might congratulate himself upon the successful issue of two Motions on that (the Opposition) side of the House. He did not observe on the opposite Benches the antagonists whom he was in the habit of seeing there upon all agricultural questions. There certainly was one of them in the gallery (Sir John Tyrell), of whose presence they had had a most unequivocal indication. He was sorry to be obliged to allude to that hon. Gentleman in his absence, and also that he was compelled to bring forward his Motion, notwithstanding the paucity of his usual opponents. The notion of there being peculiar burdens on land was now the last of the agricultural fallacies. The right hon. Baronet the Secretary of State for the Home Department, in his speech the other night, had proved that wages had risen as the price of bread had fallen; he had shown that cheap bread did not produce cheap wages; and he had also told his agricultural friends pretty distinctly, that employment did not depend on the home market. The hon. Baronet had, in fact, swept away all the minor fallacies like so many cobwebs, and had left this great master fallacy of the peculiar burdens upon land, as a solitary remnant of the wreck, to tell of the disappearance of its former comrades. He should not be surprised to find the right hon. Baronet, ere long, using language towards his hon. Friend the Member for Stockport similar to the compliment which the right hon. Baronet the First Lord of the Treasury had paid to the hon. Member for Montrose, when he said—

"I admire the hon. Member for his zeal and his industry; and, differing, as I do from that hon. Gentleman on political questions, I do say that he has rendered great services to the country. I am a political opponent of that hon. Gentleman, who never gave me a vote in his life; but I am only anticipating the judgment of a grateful posterity when I say that, actuated by high, pure, patriotic, disinterested motives, he has rendered important services to the country."
Mr. M'Culloch had said—
"Land is a species of property that cannot be concealed; it is visible to every one; and the fair presumption consequently is, that it will be more heavily taxed than the capital of the manufacturer or merchant, which it is frequently very difficult to trace."
The allegation that the land pays the larger portion of the burdens of the State, might be true if applied to Austria, where the land paid 37,000,000 out of 73,000,000 of florins to the revenue. It might be true in the case of France, where the tax on land amounted to no less than 268,000,000 of francs in the year 1842; but it was not applicable to this country. In France, all classes joined in legislating for the landed interest; but in England they had the landed interest legislating for itself; and the result always showed that it had no great desire for burdening itself, except as little as possible. It was on that account that those who were brought up in the school of the Corn Laws avoided as much as possible any discussion on the subject of the peculiar burdens which it was alleged were imposed upon them. They knew the weakness of their case perfectly well, and they, therefore, did not come near the House when the question was to be discussed there. They shrunk from discussion; they ran away; they did anything rather than meet the question. And why? Because they knew how rotten was the case which they had to support. They had a bold way of speaking among themselves, that really meant nothing at all, while they shrank from any inquiry into the question in a place like that House, where they knew that they would be met and answered. But he did not wonder at it. The history of the protection, the continuance of which was insisted on by the landed interest in that House, was such as to leave them no other alternative. He would ask of hon. Members to bear with him for a few moments while he went through a review of the proceedings of the protectionists for the last few months. It was well known that the Chancellor of the Exchequer would have a large surplus to deal with at the commencement of the present Session, and the landed interests did not neglect the opportunity — in accordance with their usual policy—of seeking to acquire a portion of it for their own benefit. The landowners did not lose one moment in making their demand. He did not forget the great meeting, as it was called, which was held at Freemasons' Hall, of which the Morning Post of the morning following said that it contained—
"Nine hundred selected representatives of the agriculturists of Great Britain, at great personal expense and inconvenience, met to record their unqualified condemnation of the free trade tendency of modern legislation, and their firm determination to permit no Minister to infringe one iota of the small fraction of protection still left to them."
It also added that—
"The speeches were pregnant with matter," and spoke of "facts and arguments of the most irresistible character; no tameness, no hesitation, no paltering—a glorious combination of all that is great and good against all that is insidious, and factious, and detestable."
But what were the objects of their hoslity? Listen to the sentiments of some of the speakers. Lord Beaumont said—
"A Parliament, which he was ashamed to call agricultural, had passed three fatal measures—the Corn Law, the Canada Corn Bill, and the Tariff—and for this sacrifice on their part there had been no gain to compensate it, no removal of burdens."
Mr. Miles said—
"All classes taken in detail by the Tariff, and all injured."
And, again, speaking of the Canada Corn Bill he said—
"If they combined to make an attack upon that abominable measure, they would do much to remove a source of past injury, pregnant with future danger."
The Duke of Buckingham spoke of "hopes and expectations blighted — but, thank God, a stop had been put at last to the plunder of the agriculturists." Happily these things were of no sort of consequence. It was but a safety valve, an agricultural saturnalia; but the liberties which were taken with the good name of the right hon. Baronet opposite (Sir R. Peel) were made up for by the most implicit acquiescence in his policy. The right hon. Baronet sets the Buckingham election against the Duke's speech—the vote for the Budget against the repeal of the Tariff and the Canada Corn Law—and has the best of the bargain. But the mischief done by meetings of this sort in the country were incalculable. People ran away with false notions, coupled them with great names, and fancy that they were ruined because Lord Beaumont and the Duke of Buckingham told them so, instead of seeing that they were suffering under the consequences of their own legislation. An instance of this was afforded by the Herefordshire agricultural meeting. He was always proud of his own county. And they appeared to have there a happy knack at out-Heroding Herod, whether they dealt with corn or Catholics. Some of their calculations were perfectly "impayable." Mr. Passingham said, that "agricultural property was depreciated at least 25 per cent. by Sir Robert Peel's measures." Mr. Hainworth "calculated that by the Corn Law and the Tariff as much as 60,000,000l. had been taken from the agricultural capital of this country." Mr. Delme Radcliffe—
"appealed to the agriculturists throughout the length and breadth of the land, whether their interests had not been spurned and despised by the very Ministers whom they had raised to power. They might say with the eagle, killed by the shaft feathered from his own wing—
'Keen are our pangs, but keener far to feel
We nursed the pinion that impelled the steel.'
There was no difference between Sir Robert Peel and Mr. Cobden, or rather the only difference was this—that the one was an important foe, the other all powerful for mischief."
And Mr. Heathcote, extending the compliment to that side of the House, said, "there was little hope in a change of Government. Sir Robert Peel and Lord John Russell, like Herod and Pontius Pilate, had long ago shaken hands to be- tray the truth." Lord Salisbury, who was more reasonable, said—
"The only object of the agriculturists was to secure that protection which every other trade enjoyed in proportion to the peculiar burdens of taxation which they had to bear."
Mr. Ryder, who was the only man who talked common sense, gave an answer to the "sixty millions" of depreciation by saying—
"That there were only 3,700 beasts imported, being but one week's supply for London, and 227,000 quarters of Canada corn."
He then added, that—
"When it was understood that the Ministers had a surplus, and intended to remit a portion of the existing burdens of the country, he (Mr. Ryder) and others looked carefully over the list of those burdens, and he confessed that they could not lay their fingers upon one which specifically bore upon the agricultural interests; at, least there was but one—the Malt Tax—and that it was clearly impossible for the Minister to abandon."
The condition of Hertford served as the type of the confusion that existed as to the results of their own legislation. But who could pity them? If they could fix prices, they were justly responsible for not fixing them more satisfactorily. If they could not, why not tell the farmers that they had been labouring under "an awful delusion," and that their prosperity must depend upon that of the country. He would next come to the meeting, which had been held at Chelmsford, of the Protection Society for the county of Essex; and really the confusion at the tower at Babel was but a joke in comparison to that which was witnessed there. They did not know why they were called together — who called them—what they were called for—or what they were to do when they had come. [The hon. Member read the account of their proceedings, which corresponded to his description.] When they had declarations of that sort emanating from gentlemen in the country, who, he supposed it would be admitted, were interested in the question, he would ask hon. Gentlemen in that House, whether it were not time to have done with the nuisance? The whole question was reduced to this: Had the landed interest, or had they not, peculiar burdens affecting them, and which they were entitled to call upon the Legislature to remove? He asked them to discuss that question. He asked them to enter into it that evening, fully, and fairly and man- fully. Would they do so, or would they shrink from the discussion again, and let another Session pass by—for it could not be more — without the courage to face the inquiry which he demanded? They were told by an hon. Friend of his, in a recent debate, that improvements were necessary in agriculture, and that they could not expect to have them made as long as the present system of protection continued. They knew that they could not improve the land without capital; that they could not get capital until the cultivators had the protection of leases; and that men would not take leases until they knew what was to be done with the Corn Laws. He was speaking a few days since to an extensive farmer in his own neighbourhood, whose name he would not, for obvious reasons, mention. That gentleman told him that he had long been opposed to a repeal of the Corn Laws; but he added that nothing could be more injurious to agriculturists than the perfect uncertainty in which the question now existed. Hon. Gentlemen opposite never had a better Parliament for deciding on the matter for their advantage than the present; but if they refused doing so, how many years, he would ask, would they assign for the existence of the present law? Were not the opponents of free trade losing ground every day. Did not an hon. Member opposite (Mr. Escott) make an admirable speech the other night against the Corn Laws? The Gentleman to whom he had before alluded mentioned a remarkable instance of the value of improvement in agriculture. He had told him that on an Essex heavy land farm, the average produce under the old system of two white crops and a fallow for twenty years, ending in 1833, was twenty bushels of wheat and twenty-four bushels of barley; while under the new system, on an average of eleven years, the produce was—wheat thirty bushels, and barley forty-two bushels. Now what was the obstacle to making this great improvement general? It was clearly the Corn Law. He asked for an inquiry into the fact. He wanted nothing more; and surely the House was entitled to know something about those burdens on agriculture of which they heard so much, and which were taken as the basis of their most important legislation. When the right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel) introduced the foundation of the present legislation in February, 1842, he said—
1. "You are entitled to put such a duty on foreign corn as is equivalent to the special burdens which you impose upon agriculture. 2. But an additional protection to agriculture can be vindicated only on the ground that it is for the interest of the country in general."
But the interests of the country gentlemen had been of late completely given up by the right hon. Baronet the Home Secretary. If hon. Gentlemen were capable of following the argument of the right hon. Baronet, they must perceive that it went to the extent which he alleged. They appeared, however, not to be willing to believe either the right hon. Baronet or him (Mr. Ward); but he would tell them that their case was equally damaged by themselves in refusing inquiry, and in the extravagance of their own pretensions—pretensions which were most absurd and untenable. He would just recall some of the arguments. Lord Abingdon said that "the land bears all the burden of taxation;" and when he was interrupted in his remark by some expression of surprise, he qualified the statement by adding, "at least, in the ratio of four to one." Then came the hon. Member for Somersetshire, who asserted that "the land pays half of the Income Tax;" and he was followed by the hon. Member for Norfolk, who contended that the land paid the whole of the poor rates. The Duke of Richmond said, that the land paid all the charge of the Church and of the administration of justice, from the constable to the workhouse chaplain. "On what principle was the landed interest required to pay for the apprehension of every prisoner, for his maintenance in prison, and for his prosecution?" The landed interest did not do this: the county rates did it; and the county rates were part of the poor rates, one half of which was paid, not by the land, but by other property. Then came the Duke of Newcastle—"the Premier that is to be," "the coming man," who thought that—
"As far as my recollection serves me, not one good measure has passed since the entrance into office of the present Administration. The amor patriæ extinct—the amor sui its substitute. Land utterly neglected..… The cultivator of the soil is in utter despondency and alarm. He has long been the most ill-used and most neglected of our fellow-subjects. He knows not how to act. He feels, from sad experience, that he, who is the mainstay of the country, is buffeted about in bewildering uncertainty, knowing that he is not protected or encouraged, but milked like his own cows, or shorn like his own sheep, to pay, mayhap, some Popish Endowment or other misapplication of his contributions."
That was a touching picture, wanting nothing but truth to give it sublimity. But was it the fact that the land bore all the burden of taxation? On referring to the gradual increase of the Customs, he found that the amount in the following years stood thus:—1596, Elizabeth, 50,000l.; 1613, James, 148,000l.; 1689, William III., 781,000l.; 1763, George III., 2,000,000; 1815, 11,000,000l.; 1842, 22,850,000l.; giving a rise from 50,000l. to 23,000,000l. in two hundred and fifty years, a pretty effective contribution to revenue. But they were told that land paid more than half of the Income Tax. By the Papers moved for by the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, he was able to make the following analysis of the Income Tax:—
REAL PROPERTY—ENGLAND AND SCOTLAND—ANNUAL VALUE.
£.s.d.
Land — England and Wales40,167,0885
Scotland5,586,527133
£45,753,6151810½
Tithes1,960,33000
Manors152,21600
Total land£47,866,1611810½
OTHER PROPERTY.
England and Scotland—Houses, factories, wharfs, business premises, &c.38,475,73800
Quarries240,48300
Mines2,081,38700
Iron Works559,43500
Fisheries58,11400
Canals1,307,92300
Railways2,598,94200
Other Property1,776,29600
Total Annual Value£47,098,28800
M'Culloch stated in his last work on "Taxation" that Schedule A having produced 2,150,412l. 10s. 9d., at 7d. per 1l., must have been assessed on 73,728,430l., instead of which, the real property return proves the annual value of property included under Schedule A to be, 95,284,497l.; of which land paid as nearly half as possible.
Schedule A—Net duty received April 5, 1843, £2,150,412 10 9.
Land one half1,025,2065
Add Schedule B — Tenants' profits298,76300
Total paid by land£1,323,9695
Net duty received under Schedule D. April 5, 1843—Trades and professions1,466,98598
Under Schedules A and B — Land1,323,9695
£143,0164
So that land, instead of paying all the Income Tax, or half, actually pays less by 143,016l. than the amount received from trades and professions. Then came the argument of his hon. Friend the Member for Norfolk, respecting the poor rates being paid by the land. In the last Report of the Poor Law Commissioners, he found it stated that—
"There is no doubt that the yearly produce of the rateable property of England has undergone a very great increase since 1813; and that its annual progress is now rapid. The total annual value of real property assessed to the Property Tax in 1815 in England and Wales, was 51,898,423l., whereas the amount in 1843 was 85,802,735l. It is further to be observed, that the increase in the annual value of rateable property arises, not only from the improved cultivation of the land, and its consequently increased productiveness; but also, to a great extent, from the large number of new houses and other buildings (such as manufactories and warehouses), as well as railways, canals, wharfs, &c., which are constructed from year to year. Accordingly, land, as such, pays a smaller proportion of the local rates in each successive year; and a larger proportion falls on the other sorts of rateable property. This fact appears from the table inserted in our Ninth Annual Report, par. 27, which shows, that whereas the proportion of the poor's rate falling upon land was 69 per cent., and that falling on other property was 31 per cent.; in 1826, the proportion falling on land was only 52 per cent., and on other property 48 per cent., in 1841."
By a reference to the present year, he was told, it would appear that the proportion paid by the land was still smaller. Mr. M'Culloch, in his recent "Treatise on Taxation and the Funding System," has the following remarks:—
"Exclusive of tithe, the land is burdened with an extra weight of other taxes. Poor rates and county rates of all descriptions have always fallen much heavier on it than on any other species of fixed property; and, though within the last few years some of the more striking anomalies in their assessment have been removed, they still continue to press with disproportioned severity on the land. Moneyed fortunes also, and funded and other moveable property, are exempted from all local burdens. An individual may have 100,000l. engaged in trade, or vested in the public funds, in mortgages, or in stock of the Banks of England or Scotland, without being subject to tithe, or to any of those taxes for the poor and other local objects that fall on the owner of the smallest patch of land, as well as on most other descriptions of fixed property. There may be reasons to justify this exemption; but the fact of its existing proves sufficiently that land and other fixed property is peculiarly affected by taxation. It will be afterwards seen that the malt tax, though of course it falls directly on the consumers, is, in its indirect operation, particularly injurious to agriculture; and, being a grievance peculiar to this department, it would entitle the agriculturists, had they no other claims to urge, to a countervailing duty on the importation of foreign corn. Such being the case, the agriculturists are clearly justified in demanding, in the event of the free importation of corn being permitted, that it should be burdened with a fixed or constant duty sufficient to countervail the peculiar charges that would fall on the land, were the ports unconditionally opened. It is impossible to refuse them this, without trampling on every fair principle. Such protection is not given to the agriculturists as a favour, but to keep them where they have a right to be kept—on the same level as the other classes of their countrymen. If they be relieved from these peculiar burdens, the necessity for the countervailing duties will of course cease, and they may, and indeed should, be repealed forthwith; but the equalization of taxation at home should, in all cases, precede the repeal of duties on importation. It is not possible, perhaps, to form any very accurate estimate of what the countervailing duty should amount to; but it would not, we apprehend, be difficult to show that, by fixing it at 5s. or 6s. a quarter on wheat, and other grain in proportion, the justice of the case would be satisfied, and the interests of the agriculturists and those of the public conciliated, and most effectually promoted. A duty of this amount would preserve all parties in the same relative situation after the opening of the ports as previously; and would treat them, as they should ever be treated, with equal and impartial justice."
As to the tithe, he would leave it altogether out of the question; for he regarded it as a charge to which the land was liable, before the title of the oldest Norman Baron commenced. He trusted, therefore, that he should never see the example of Ireland followed, and 25 per cent. of this tax sacrificed to the landlords, who had no claim to it. With respect to the malt tax, that certainly was a very fair subject for inquiry. As for the poor rates, he differed entirely from the opinion of Mr. M'Culloch, and he saw nothing that justified such a dis- tinction being drawn. The valuations and the deductions for poor rates were the same on different descriptions of property, and if landed property paid more, it was because that description of property was more valuable. He had gone over this subject with great care, and he had been most anxious not to deceive himself on the point, and had made the strictest inquiry into the matter. He would take a parish with which he was connected, and which was partially agricultural, and which contained a comparatively large town, namely, Ware, in Hertfordshire, where a great trade in malt was carried on; and he found that, the same principle as regarded rating existed with respect to both description of property. He found that farms containing 697 acres were assessed at 725l., and were rated at 576l. 14s., deductions being made for insurance, repairs, &c. There had been for the last two years three poor rates at a shilling in the pound each year, being for each rate 28l. 16s. 8d. for the year, or 86l. 10s. for the whole period. The surveyors' or highway rate, at eightpence in the pound, one rate each year, was 19l. 4s. 6d.; church rates, at fourpence in the pound, 9l. 12s. 3d. The county rate, assessed at 1½d. in the pound, with the police rate, assessed at 1¼d. in the pound, upon the rental of 725l. was paid out of the poor rates. Another farm, containing 148 acres, was assessed at 219l. 10s. 6d., and rated at 174l. 5s. 6d.; and the rates amounted to 34l. 17s. 6d. On the other hand, he would take a malting establishment in Ware, belonging to the same owner as the former property, which was rated at 202l. Another malting house was rated at 149l. 10s.; and a third at 135l. Now, it appeared these paid 40l. 19s. rates per annum. Maltings were rated according to the quantity, the steep at 2l. per quarter, so that if a malting steeps 50 quarters, it was rated at 100l. Malt steeps were rated at about 2l. per steep, of which 110 belonged to one firm, and were rated at 220l. Now, this certainly might be considered equal to the rating of land in the neighbourhood. On inquiry, also, he found that the same was the case in the neighbouring districts of the county. The tendency, however, was rather to benefit the land unduly at the expense of the other interests. For instance, this was particularly the case as regarded railways. The rates upon that description of property had be- come an enormous abuse, and the spread of the evil could only be prevented by expensive legal process. Indeed, in assessing railways, the first principle seemed to be that a railway had no remedy. The rating was taken on the profits of capital and stock. This was different from other interests; for all other stock in trade was specially exempted. He would instance what he meant, in the case of the Birmingham railway, with respect to which the rates were arbitrarily increased in 1843 not less than 18,000l. a year. The average rateable value of the land in parishes through which it runs, was 30s. 3d. per acre. The whole rate per mile for the railway was from 800l. to 2,000l. a year, or from 80l. to 2,00l. per acre. He would take the parish of Milton, where the railway paid 2,000l. per mile, or on ten acres, while the rate on the whole of the rest of the parish was 1,355l. Again, take the Great Western: he found that in the parish of Burnham, Bucks, the railway paid rates of 2,920l. per mile, or 292l. per acre. This was a double injustice, for the county and all the other rates increased in proportion with the increased assessment in the poor rates, and the tithes also increased in the ratio of the increase of the other rates. As for the highway rate, he would ask any gentleman connected with land, whether he could imagine an instance of any man who would take a farm which had not a road to it. Need he then say, that these roads improved the value of land; and the landowners certainly met with more than an equivalent advantage for the expenses of this rate. But if they took all the rates chargeable on land, and charged them on the Consolidated Fund, they must do the same with regard to all rates payable in towns. Why was the agricultural county of Kent to be exempted from the payment of its police, and not the parish of Marylebone? Why were the inhabitants of London, where, indeed, all the Members of the House resided for a certain portion of the year, to be made to pay sewer and other local rates, while you exempted the country districts from any such payment? It was clear, if you adopted the principle, you must apply it equally to both parties. When the Duke of Richmond complained of the expense to the counties of the administration of justice, and that that charge ought to be defrayed out of the Consolidated Fund, was he aware that if this were adopted, they must change the whole system which now existed? If the Government were charged with the expenses of the gaols, they certainly must have the control over those who filled the gaols; and the whole system of unpaid magistrates must be put an end to; and they must have stipendiary magistrates throughout the country, as in France and Prussia. This might be a very good suggestion, and the arrangement might be desirable, but he did not believe that the noble Duke calculated on such a result. But even supposing that they could make out some part of their case, and show that some inequalities existed which fell on them more than on others, and that there were some little disparities which ought to be equalized, the Committee into which he hoped they would consent to go was a proper place to investigate the matter. But they must satisfy him that these claims of protection by the landed interest, in consequence of the existence of such burdens, really existed before he could come to Mr. M'Culloch's conclusion. But now he must really refer to the exceptions which existed as regarded landed property from burdens which were imposed on other interests. He did not like to trouble the House again in going into this subject at length, as he had so often gone into it on former occasions; but they should recollect that there never was a country in which land was so excepted from heavy burdens, which fell upon other interests. Take, for instance, the legacy and probate duty. There was none on real property. The total amount raised since 1797 upon other property was about 60,000,000l., and of this amount not one shilling was derived from the land. Then, again, take the house duty. In 1825 there were 527,000 houses assessed, and 136,000 farm houses were excepted. If subject to the same payment of the duty from 1803 to 1834, when this tax was repealed, the Revenue would have received 5,000,000l. more than it had. Again, there was formerly a tax upon horses used in husbandry; this duty was repealed in 1822, and the Revenue lost 470,000l. a year. There were also a great number of other exceptions to the payment of the duty on horses belonging to those connected with the land. In the first place, the exception from the duty was made on horses ridden by occupiers of farms at less than 200l. a year. Then this exception was increased to those under 500l. a year rent; then for all horses ridden by bailiffs; then for all horses occasionally let out for hire; then upon all brood mares. Another exception from taxation was in connexion with fire insurances; 3s. in the pound was the ordinary fire insurance duty, but there was no duty on insuring farming stock. Again, 1l. 11s. 6d. was charged as a tax upon each saddle horse used in any other trade, but on farmers' horses there was none. Again, with respect to servants, farmers paid no charge for husbandry servants occasionally used as domestic servants. They had also been relieved from the duties on sheep dogs, tax carts, and horses drawing them. There were also no tolls on lime, manure, &c. They had been exempted from the tax on tiles used for draining; they had also been exempted from the tax on stewards, overseers, bailiffs, and clerks employed under them. No window duty was charged under 200l. a year rent. The total reduction, then, of taxes affecting the agricultural interest between the years 1816 and 1834, according to the able table made out by the hon. Member for Montrose, amounted to nearly 13,000,000l. According to the same document, if they had been made to pay the probate and legacy duty since 1797, the exemption from taxation would have amounted to from 70,000,000l. to 72,000,000l. Now, what were the burdens? Why was labour employed on land entitled to exemption not given in any other business? He might be told that they should not touch this particular branch of industry—that it was unwise to tax the means and the elements of production. No doubt this might be sound; but then the exemption should be universal, and they should extend it to labour employed in manufactures, in mines, collieries, factories, and all equally valuable, but not equally encouraged, because they had not got the ear of the Legislature. If there were exemptions, they should be fair and equitable between one interest and another, and not as now standing out in odious contrast. Now, with respect to the land tax, the revenue of the country was 51,000,000l.; the land tax amounted to 1,817,000l. This tax was originally imposed at the rate of 5s. in the pound on the rental. If they now took the rental of the country at the amount generally taken, namely, 47,000,000l., this tax would now produce upwards of 9,000,000l. Last year they would find that the customs, the excise, and stamp duties, with half of the assessed taxes, produced 46,042,135l., out of a total income of 57,137,991l., including 5,387,455l. property tax, of which land did not contribute more than 1,323,969l., including the charge of the tax on tenants' profits. It was obvious from these facts that the landed interest had exemptions from taxation to a much larger amount than was their due proportion. But even supposing that they were entitled to some exemptions, the present mode of levying a duty on corn was the very worst that could be adopted. This had been the opinion repeated over and over again by many of the most able public servants. It had been so stated by Mr. Porter, by Mr. M'Gregor, and by Mr. Deacon Hume. Was the hon. Member aware that Mr. Deacon Hume had been repeatedly praised by the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government, as one of the first and most able men in the public service? All these Gentlemen said, that this mode of giving compensation was a double injustice; and he would venture to say, that the landed interest could not find a single man who had the slightest pretence to the character of a statesman, who would defend these laws. It had repeatedly been found that able men had gone to the Board of Trade with opposite feelings, and had come out of it at the end of twelve months advocates of the principle of free trade. They might not at once go to the full extent, as they became hampered with party feelings and interests. Now, take the case of the right hon. Member for Newark, the late President of the Board of Trade, who at once admitted the soundness of the principles of free trade; and the only exceptions that he made had connexion with party considerations. Take, again, the noble Lord now at the head of the Board of Trade. He (Mr. Ward) had seen a report of a recent conversation that had passed in another place between that noble Lord and the Duke of Richmond, and he never saw sounder doctrines of free trade principles more clearly put forth. It appeared to him that the only person that the advocates of extreme protection could select for their Minister was the Duke of Newcastle; and if he wrote ano- ther letter, he was just as likely to become Pope as Premier. He would ask what arguments he might expect from the Government after the opinions of the two right hon. Gentlemen opposite the other night? He could not conceive that they could adduce any arguments against his Motion after what had passed. In former years inquiry was objected to in consequence of the fear of shaking the agricultural interest; but those two right hon. Gentlemen had given notice that there was something unstable in the system of protection. But after the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Home Department, the other night, had said that he could not hold out the hope of continued protection, and the First Lord of the Treasury had said that the system was such that it was perfectly mad to suppose they could go on with it, and had also taken credit to himself for what he had done during the last four years, in which time he had made cautious but extensive changes, such as circumstances had rendered requisite to the commercial interests of the country, and that he would persevere in the same course although it should cost him the support of every member of the agricultural interest; after this, he could not conceive what ground of objection there could be to his Motion on the part of the Government, as the first step to further proceedings might well be preceded by inquiry. The hon. Member for Dorsetshire said that he did not like the first stone to be taken out of the arch, the end of which would strip every particular interest of protection. This was why he (Mr. Ward) wished in the first instance to apply the principle to land; for this he wished to give the agricultural body some interest in removing protection from all others. He was sure, if this was the case, they would become active free traders, and if they took away protection from corn, the landed interest would take care to have it removed from tea, coffee, sugar, timber, and all other articles of consumption. Why then not join with him, and take the first step to get rid of protection? By doing so they would get rid of a shame and a disgrace, which they would soon find that it was impossible for them to continue. He would ask what had they gained by protection? Was it wise that any distinct class should put itself forward to demand claims in opposition to the interests of the great body of the people? All the most sensible men in that interest admitted that they could only claim protection on the ground of being subject to peculiar burdens. Even the hon. Member for Essex admitted that the question was, whether land was not exposed to peculiar burdens, and he challenged a full and fair inquiry into this subject. Would they go into it as men, or shrink from it as cowards? He did not care which course hon. Gentlemen took; in the one case he was confident as to the result, and in the other he must leave the country to draw their own conclusions. The hon. Gentleman concluded with moving—
"That a Select Committee be appointed to inquire whether there are any peculiar burthens specially affecting the Landed Interest of this Country, or any peculiar exemptions enjoyed by that Interest, and to ascertain their nature and extent."

felt that he laboured under some difficulty in replying to the speech of the hon. Member, who upon this as upon all questions of this kind, had brought a great number of details before the House; but before he proceeded further he might be permitted to observe that the hon. Gentleman had set an example which he hoped would be followed throughout the course of a debate on a subject which often gave rise to much heat and animosity, namely, that he had spoken with much good humour. With respect to the speech of the hon. Member, he (Mr. Herbert) felt that if there was any confusion on the subject before, the hon. Gentleman, by the course he had that night taken, had added to the amount. Although a considerable change had taken place in public opinion as to the effects of the measures brought forward by Her Majesty's Ministers, which they had been told would introduce ruin to the agricultural interest, and which they had also been told had been brought forward at a most improper period, he was glad to find that the complaints on this subject were subsiding. He was often surprised to hear the principles of free trade, in themselves abstractedly true, advocated on such very different grounds, and he suspected that the nature of the argument was oftener adapted to the audience to which it was addressed, than to the subject itself. This was so often the case, that men are often at a loss to understand what object the free traders had in view. The noble Lord the Member for the city of London, the other night, in proposing his Resolutions, suggested four plans that could be adopted, but they all involved the principle of protection. From the line of argument taken by the hon. Member that evening, it was clear there must be a wide difference of principle between him and the noble Lord; whereas between the Government and the noble Lord there was only a difference in degree. If any one had come into the House during some parts of the speech of the hon. Member, he would have found it difficult to say on which side the hon. Gentleman intended to argue. He denied that the hon. Member had succeeded in showing that the landed interest of this country enjoyed advantages over the same interest in other countries, or in this. The noble Lord distinctly admitted there were burdens on land which must be relieved before they altered the Corn Law. The hon. Member adverted to the circumstance that in France the land tax was much greater than it was in this country. This was true as regarded the land tax; but the hon. Member forgot to state that there were no tithes in France. The hon. Gentleman said that it was little to the credit of the landed interest of this country that the land tax was not equal to that of France, and that such a state of things was calculated to be productive of mischief. He thought if he mad any comparison with France on the charge of the selfishness of the exemption of land from taxation, he should have mentioned the distinction existing between the property of the nobility and the non-nobility of that country, which produced such strong feelings of alienation in the minds of the lower classes as was one of the main causes of the Revolution. As for tithes, the hon. Gentleman, when he referred to authorities as to their nature, rather surprised him that he did not allude to the opinions of Mr. M'Culloch, Dr. Adam Smith, or Dr. Paley; all those authorities distinctly stated that tithes were a tax and a burden on land. He was not stating his own opinion, but that of those high authorities. On rich soils tithes did not fall so heavily; but on poor soils they took a larger proportion of produce, raised with an additional outlay of capital, and these latter were the lands which would most suffer in case of a repeal of the Corn Laws. The hon. Gentleman had referred to the last Report of the Poor Law Commissioners, in which it was stated that the poor rates had diminished on land in consequence of the rating of railways, and of the demand for labour in the manufacturing districts, and that this state of things was likely to continue. He was glad that such comfortable news could be communicated to agricultural Gentlemen, who looked with such despondency on what had recently occurred; but what the hon. Member now proposed had for its object to take away all chance of relief and improvement from them. He was not certain that the argument of the hon. Gentleman on this subject was a fair mode of discussing the question. It was admitted on all hands that the manufactures of the country were now in a state of great prosperity, and that there was such a demand for hands and labour that the rate of wages had risen; and that, so far from persons being out of work, it was found difficult to get workpeople. But he begged the hon. Member to recollect, that when there was a large demand for labour in the manufacturing districts, they had to obtain workpeople from the agricultural districts; and, if there was any falling-off in the demand for manufactures, or when the manufacturing labourers became old and infirm, they had to go back to the rural districts, from whence they came, and become chargeable to these districts. This was a great burden on the land. He said nothing of highway rates benefiting and town, the country equally, but borne exclusively by the latter. The hon. Gentleman expressed his astonishment at the emptiness of the House, and yet admitted that they discussed the Corn question on the Tariff, on the Sugar Duties, and on the Resolutions of the noble Lord the Member for London. He thought they should better perform their duties as legislators by endeavouring to pass practical measures of legislation, instead of discussing theories, on the application of which every man entertained a different view. If they discussed the Corn question on three or four nights instead of fifteen, they would infuse much more vigour into their debates on that subject, and would be able to apply their minds to other questions in which their constituents took just as great an interest as in the Corn Laws. The hon. Member for Wolverhampton said the other night, that he had treated the Members of that House with disrespect in saying, "Give me the names of your Committee, and I'll tell you their Report." If evidence was required, or a question on which party feeling had no bearing, a Committee of that House was a good tribunal for receiving it; but on such a question as the Corn Laws, on which all men have preconceived and definite opinions, the moment the Committee was struck each party would anticipate the result, and the Report would have no other effect than to bring discredit on the Committees of that House. He was sure that if the agricultural party continued in the path which they were now taking, exerting themselves manfully in the work of improving the land by the investment of capital — abstaining from making complaints, and rejecting the seductive proposals of the hon. Member for Stockport, who proposed to better their condition by reducing the price of produce, he was sure that in a short time their temporary difficulties would be overcome.

The right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down said, there was no one in that House who had not a distinct opinion on the question of the Corn Laws. Judging from the speech of that right hon. Gentleman, there was one exception to that rule—the right hon. Gentleman himself. He must acknowledge he was completely at a loss to determine what was the drift of the right hon. Gentleman's argument. He could not tell at that moment whether the right hon. Gentleman maintained that tithes belonged to the landlord or the Church. The right hon. Gentleman argued the question of tithes as if they were then collected under the old system; but as at present levied, tithes were no more a burden on the landlord than on the shopkeeper. He had found himself in cathedral cities defending the right of the clergy to the tithes, as opposed to the landlords. Again, as to the poor rates; if the manufacturer did not pay rates on the straps of his machinery, neither did the landlord on his standing corn. The hon. Member for Essex cast a jealous eye on such establishments as Storr and Mortimer's, and asked why they were not assessed to the poor. But if the proprietors of such establishments read the pamphlets of protectionists distributed at Pall Mall, they would find the capital in land set down at 250,000,000l., while that allowed to manufactures and trades was but 80,000,000l. Let the hon. Baronet go into any shop in the Strand, and ask the owner what proportion his taxes (he left out his assessed and window taxes, which were paid to the State)—but what proportion his payments for paving, lighting, watching, and sewerage, bore to the rental, and he challenged the hon. Baronet to say that the shopkeepers of the towns did not pay local burdens to quite as great an extent as the farmers. He should recommend his hon. Friend (Mr. Ward), if he made this Motion next year to omit the word "exclusive," as applied to burdens on the land; for the common sense of the country treated such a proposition as nothing more than a thing to be laughed at. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Herbert), played a part which did not sit well on him, that of a sophist, and his fallacies were perfectly transparent; and if the Government had no better case than that presented by the right hon. Gentleman, they must suffer as great a disaster that night as on any previous debate during the Session, and that was saying a great deal. Granting that agriculture paid all the taxes, still the protection they claimed was no advantage to them. If protection was admitted to be an impediment to trade, and to the development of the resources of the country, it could not be a benefit to agriculture. The noble Member for London proved, as one of the leading principles of his Resolutions, that protection was the bane of agriculture. The right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government gave his unqualified approval to that proposition. He believed that amongst enlightened agriculturists two opinions would not be held on the subject in twelve months hence. He hoped that higher ground would be soon taken than this bandying of injustice from one interest to the other. He knew the opinion was spreading rapidly (and he did not speak from any public demonstration), that manufacturers, merchants, shopkeepers, and landowners, had but a common interest. He could never believe that a system which tended to restrict trade, and to retard the increase of wealth and population, could be beneficial to farmers and landed proprietors. He should conclude by a remark as to Mr. M'Culloch, who had been quoted by the right hon. Gentleman. He wished to speak with respect of men of science, and he was willing to admit that, as a pains-taking statistician, Mr. M'Culloch had done considerable service; but, as an authority on political economy, he was not aware that that gentleman had added a single new idea to the science. He had been a commentator on Adam Smith, and, like the commentators of Shakspeare, he made dark what was before light. On the Bank of England, and on the Corn Law question, this gentleman had a strange facility in shifting his views to the exigencies of parties and politicians. And when he was quoted as an authority on political economy, he begged it to be understood, that he at all events did not bow down to Mr. M'Culloch.

said, that he for one lamented that the Speaker was occupied by the duties of the Chair; not but that he fully appreciated the value of the right hon. Gentleman's services in maintaining the dignity and authority of that House so ably as he did, but because the House and the country stood sadly in need of men possessing such experience and ability as the right hon Gentleman had in the discussion of this most important subject. The hon. Member for Sheffield had made free use of the fashion set by the noble Lord the Member for London, who had declared that in his estimation protection was the bane of agriculture—a fashion which it appeared the two right hon. Baronets, Secretaries of State, desired to follow. Now if these right hon. Gentlemen were really of opinion that protection was injurious to the best interests of England, he (Mr. Newdegate) could not but pity those right hon. Gentlemen, who had for years knowingly contributed to perpetuate the infliction of injury upon their country. One, however, most important and necessary element of this inquiry had been touched upon, though but slightly, by the noble Lord, on the discussion of his late Resolutions; namely, the effect of the present high value of our currency upon the interests of agriculture. That this point must form an element of the proposed inquiry, no one could doubt who had read the financial statement of the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government, when introducing the Property Tax in 1842. With reference to the rental of land, he said—

"Now I cannot doubt that the return of peace and the cessation of war prices must have had a considerable effect in reducing the rental of land; and, taking into consideration the effect of the restoration of the currency, the rental of land may probably at first have fallen far below that amount; but still, when I look at the improvement which agriculture has received from mechanism, and the application of science to land, I cannot but entertain a conviction that the present rental of land must be equal to the rental in the year 1814."*
And he (Mr. Newdegate) would presently show that the right hon. Baronet was not far wrong in his reckoning. He had also the authority of the right hon. the Home Secretary for stating, that in 1815 the Corn Laws were intended to compensate the landed interest for the loss anticipated to their property from the contemporaneous alteration of the currency then introduced. This important question, therefore, could not be fairly excluded from the inquiry proposed by the hon. Member for Sheffield, which he (Mr. Newdegate) would have supported, had there been information provided upon which the Committee could proceed to a free and impartial inquiry. Such, however, was not the case; and he (Mr. Newdegate) had that Session moved for Returns to remedy the defect, until the obtaining of which he must oppose the constitution of a Committee of Inquiry. He did expect, as the hon. Member had so long turned his attention to the subject, that he would have brought forward some analysis of the increase of the various kinds of property in the country, on which he would have based his propositions for inquiry. For himself, he thought he could not better test the subject than by taking the Returns which had been moved for by the hon. Member for Wolverhampton with respect to real property, together with the Poor Rate Returns. He thought these Returns threw much light on the question, but they failed in one thing. All factories, warehouses, wharfs, and buildings of every description were clubbed together in one mass as houses. Now it was evident, that buildings and premises adapted and used for the purposes of trade or commerce ought not to be assessed in the same ratio as houses used merely for residence, since from their site and application, they had an extraneous value. The basis of all assessment was the rent, for which the property to be assessed could be fairly let by open competition, and that was the system under which railways were assessed, and he maintained that was a just one. They were structures for the conveyance of goods and passengers; worth what they would let for to be used for conveyance, and ought to be assessed upon that value. The defect in the hon. Member for Wolverhampton's Returns was, that they did not afford the means of judging whether this system
* Hansard's Debates (Third Series), Vol. lxi. p. 441.
was applied justly to the various kinds of house property—if he might so term it. But with this imperfection, he would take a glance at the real state of the question with regard to the increase of the value of land as compared with other descriptions of property. From these Returns it appeared that the value of real property in 1843 was 95,284,497l. while in 1814 it was 60,138,380l., being an increase of 35,146,167l. In 1843, the rent of land in England, Wales, and Scotland was 45,753,615l.; in 1814, it was 39,405,705l., being an increase of 6,347,810l. But in this increase was included 1,539,670l. of tithe which had been commuted into rent charge. The hon. Member for Stockport had asked, on whom did the burden of the tithe fall? He would answer, that where the tithe was commuted, it fell upon the landlord; but where it was not commuted it fell upon the tenant. He did not mean to say that allowance was not made for it in the rent; but wherever it fell it must be considered as a burden upon the land. He would now come to the rent of houses for the same period. In 1843, the rent of houses was 38,475,738l.; in 1814, it was 16,259,399l., being an increase of 22,216,339l., to be set against the increase in the value of land of 4,813,945l., which was the real increase in the value of land after they deducted the commuted tithes. With these facts before them, he would ask whether the Legislature of the country could have shown any peculiar favour to land? The increase on other kinds of property, such as iron-works, canals, &c., was also at a per centage infinitely greater than the increase in the value of land; and was in some of them equivalent to the enormous increase that had taken place in the value of house property: the details of these he had in his hand, but with which at that late hour he would not trouble the House. How stood the question with reference to the assessment for the poor rates, and for the property tax, which was upon the full value of the property? The real property subject to the Property Tax in England and Wales, in 1843, was 85,802,735l.; assessed to the poor rates in 1841, 62,540,030l.; so that there was property exempt from poor rates to the value of 23,262,705l. For the same periods the land assessed to the Property Tax amounted to 40,167,088l.; to the poor rate, 32,655,137l., leaving exempt from poor rate, 7,511,951l. At the same time, the houses were assessed to the Property Tax at 35,556,399l., and to the poor rates at 23,286,401l., leaving exempt from poor rates, 12,169,998l. The result of this was, that while land was assessed at four-fifths of its value, house and all other kinds of property was only assessed at two-thirds; and when they considered that this assessment formed the basis of all local taxation, they could not deny that local burthens must press more heavily upon the land than upon any other description of property, to say nothing of those which pressed upon the land exclusively. The information regarding local taxation was so imperfect, that an estimate of its amount could scarcely be formed; but he would not shrink from the inquiry. So soon as proper information could be obtained, for he found that everything that was left vague was, through some inadvertence, perhaps, but certainly through the misrepresentations of hon. Gentleman opposite, placed to the disadvantage of the land. His estimate of the peculiar burdens upon the land was, that they amounted to 12,000,000l. sterling at least. They had high authority for saying that they amounted to 18,000,000l. at the close of the war, and he believed that the land had benefited by the reduction of taxation, not in the same proportion, but in the same manner as other descriptions of property. Still there remain heavy burdens peculiar to land, among which he might mention the tithe, the county rate, and the land tax. The tithe he estimated at more than, 3,000,000l.; the land tax, deducting that proportion paid in towns, at 1,000,000l.; and the county rate, setting that proportion paid in towns over against the borough rates paid by farmers where their farms were included in the borough rate, at 800,000l. The excess of the poor rates paid by land over every other description of property he could not ascertain; but he believed it was more than 1,000,000l. The average of the malt tax for the last three years was between 4,000,000l. and 5,000,000l., making a total, with some other items, of upwards of 12,000,000l. sterling. He might observe also that a new burden was gradually growing up, and that it was becoming more intense in its application to the land. The debts on the turnpike trusts of this country amounted to 8,000,000l. sterling, and there was accumulated interest on the trusts of more than 1,000,000l., making 9,000,000l. in all; and, as the tolls now ceased to meet the exigencies of repairs and the payment of interest owing to the absorption of traffic by the railways, the different parishes would be called upon to contribute at a greater expense than before to their maintenance. He had shown a rough estimate of the burdens upon the land; he had shown that for the last thirty years the application of capital to the land had scarcely at all increased its value; although in that total value was included the additional rent of a large quantity of land, which had been brought into cultivation under Inclosure Acts during that period. Let them now consider what were the benefits which application of capital had produced to the community. In 1841, the quantity of corn consumed in this country was estimated at 61,460,879 quarters by Mr. M'Culloch. In 1814, it was 43,580,000. There was therefore an increase of production in thirty years of 18,000,000 of quarters—in the population of the country an increase for the same period of 10,000,000, (nearly 11,000,000,) and their production had been greater in proportion to the increase for the population that demanded it. How then could hon. Gentlemen accuse them of neglecting their estates? How could they say that agriculture was at a standstill in the country, whilst the average price at present was not two-thirds of that at the former period;—whilst the product of the land, by care, by science, and by the application of vast capital, had thus increased? Protection was said to be the bane of agriculture, because it produced uncertainty. That uncertainty was a great evil, and was caused by those who kept up a continual and bitter agitation on the subject of the Corn Laws. He knew no means of producing steadiness of price better than the system which they now pursued; for under it the price of wheat in this country had been steadier than in any other country in Europe, except Sweden. He should add that in the last Returns he had given, the importations in both cases were in very nearly a similar ratio to the total amounts; so, if deducted, they did not affect the general result. He was sorry to have obtruded upon the House so long; but when he was told that the landowners were beaten — when they were told by those in power that they only waited a fit opportunity to go further in the course which they had adopted, and which might be a just one if it were applied to all trades, professions, and systems; but so long as restriction was characteristic of our monetary system, so long did he think it was just to give protection to agriculture. Hon. Gentlemen, Members for agricultural counties, who were willing to leave things as they were, might submit to these continual taunts which were thrown out against them. For himself, he felt that he had no part with them. If he and his friends did wrong, let their constituencies declare it — if right, he trusted they would support those who supported them. The hon. Member for Sheffield appeared to think that they had no other argument than the peculiar burdens of agriculture; but they who had been taught in a different school knew that there were other principles in relation to this subject that were not only weighty in themselves, but were just and applicable, and of continual operation. They thought it was better that the country should be independent of foreign supply, rather than see the food of the people made the subject of speculation and of commercial exchange. And here he could bear testimony to the statement of the hon. Member for Stockport, that with him and those with whom he acted, the question was not a matter of price, but was a matter of exchange. They wished a new medium of exchange between themselves and their customers, to take corn as the medium of the barter; they found their American customers and others not able readily to pay them in bullion, so they had intimated that they would take corn in exchange. This was the whole root of the matter. He (Mr. Newdegate) well knew this was the real measure of their philanthropy, that for the sake of their own trade they would subject the food of the people to all the vicissitudes of commercial speculation. Without any wish to avoid or prevent honest inquiry in the present deficiency of adequate statistical information, he felt it his duty to oppose the proposition of the hon. Member.

heard with regret that it was the intention of Ministers to oppose the present Motion; he must say, he thought a more unwise proceeding on their part could not be imagined. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary at War said, he could not see the object of this Motion, as all the information that could be gained by the Committee, was already before the House. His hon. Friend had stated the object he had in view distinctly. Repeated assertions of the most contradictory tendency were made from both sides of the House: it was the object of this Motion to put an end to these, and to place correct information on the subject to which it related before the House. The right hon. Gen- tleman's speech, in fact, went to show that no confidence could be placed in any Parliamentary Committee whatever. Looking to the uncertainty in which this subject was enveloped—seeing that it was difficult to discover even from the speeches made by hon. Gentlemen on the opposite side of the House, whether they thought there were any peculiar burdens on land or not—he could not conceive any inquiry from which more useful or important results might be expected. If he wanted a convincing reason for a Committee, he had only to look to the speeches of the hon. Gentlemen who had just sat down: they gave the House one set of figures, while in the Eleventh Report of the Poor Law Commissioners he found that the calculations were entirely different. He would recommend his hon. Friend to embrace in the Motion an inquiry into the local taxation of the country; for that object alone it would be well worth while to go into Committee. In the Report of the Poor Law Commissioners, the produce of the public taxes, exclusive of Excise and Customs, was stated at 15,000,000l., while the amount of the local taxation was given at 10,000,000l.—not less than two-thirds of the former. He thought it might fairly be admitted that many of the local taxes pressed with greater severity on the land than on any other interest; those of the poor rates and county rates especially. It was impossible to imagine a state of greater confusion than that in which the local taxation of the country was now plunged, as explained in the Report to which he had referred; it stated that there were not less than twenty-two different rates of local taxation. Yet, although this Report had been before the House since 1843, no legislative measure had yet been taken on the subject. The right hon. Baronet (Sir James Graham) said he had enough to do without taking that subject in hand; he (Mr. V. Smith) admitted it, and he hoped the right hon. Gentleman did not suppose that he spoke in censure; but he addressed this argument especially to the landed Gentlemen themselves. Instead of putting their fingers into the public purse, he would recommend them to consider what improvements might be made in the distribution of the local taxes. Hon. Gentlemen connected with the agricultural interest should come before a Committee and state their case. If they would adopt the course of proceeding which he recommended, they would no longer need to cling to the skirts of a Minister whom they accused of betraying them, though he confessed he thought the accusation overcharged; for they needed the right hon. Baronet, and wanted to make use of him, while he wanted to make use of them. Instead of bringing forward mock Motions and sham debates, let them come before a Committee and face their opponents. They had made Motions respecting auction duties and drawbacks on malt, which had resulted only in the drawback of the Motions. Let them advance at once with a fair and open front, and meet his hon. Friend in such a Committee as he proposed. Instead of living at the expense of the country, let them make good their case in that House. They might then live in defiance of those before whom they were now obliged to tremble, and to whom they were now forced to crouch.

said, every argument addressed to the House by the hon. Member for Sheffield was to be found in print; but he could not see how the right hon. Secretary at War could reconcile his observations with those of the Home Secretary. The hon. Member for Stockport had alluded to an argument of his on the subject of rating stock in trade; but he had sat four hours with the Representatives of twenty-three counties, and they had all stated that they were betrayed by Her Majesty's Government. The story went of the right hon. Secretary at War, that when he went to see his yeomanry a week or two since, he was not well received by any except his own troops, who were called "the winners." But, to revert to the question of rating stock in trade; he would call the attention of the hon. Member for Stockport to the great inconvenience that would arise from quarterly examination of stock. He denied the proposition that the agriculturists were benefited by the reductions that had taken place in the duty on rapeseed, wool, and other articles; and argued that it afforded no ground, therefore, for a reduction of the duty on wheat. The case of the reduction on wool might be a very good pistol for the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government to present at the head of the Duke of Richmond; but it was not one which went on all fours. What he asked for was, that the dish should be held even as he was not of those who wished for free trade in manufactures rather than he did in corn. Last year he had great confidence in the consistency of Her Majesty's Government, and would have gone into the Committee if they chose it; but things had altered since, and he could not now agree to the Motion. If the hon. Member for Manchester were in his place, he would admit that as to the duty upon cotton, he had expressed his assent to the repeal of that duty. He had no objection to give them the turn of a scale in the foreign market. But then he claimed a fair protection for himself; he was not ashamed to say that he thought if wheat was 50s. a quarter, greater social benefits would follow. There would be a greater employment of labour than if it were 40s. a quarter under the head of barter, when they had no security that Foreign Governments would act upon the same principle. He felt the greatest confidence that if any such inquiry should now be adopted, the landed interest would be able to support all its statements; but the present Motion, like that of the noble Lord the Member for London, had no practical object, and ought, therefore, to be rejected; and when it was said, as an argument for it, that whilst the present uncertainty existed they could only half cultivate the land, he must tell them that it was they who prevented the fair application of capital to the land by continuing this agitation on the subject.

said it was an undoubted fact, that the land in England was taxed in a far smaller proportion to the State than it was in most of the other countries in Europe. It must be obvious, however, that the present tendency of legislation was to free commerce from its trammels; and agriculture must also share in the benefits of that release. England had long been pursuing a most vicious line of policy. The legislative powers had been confided to the landowners, and it was now high time to release commerce and agriculture from the shackles imposed on them by the landed classes. At all events, inquiry was imperative on the House; and he, therefore, should vote for the appointment of a Select Committee.

The House divided:—Ayes 109; Noes 182: Majority 73.

List of the

AYES.

Aldam, W.Bannerman, A.
Baine, W.Barclay, D.

Baring, rt. hn. F. T.Leveson, Lord
Barnard, E. G.Mangles, R. D.
Berkeley, hon. C.Manners, Lord J.
Bernal, R.Marjoribanks, S.
Blewitt, R. J.Marshall, W.
Bouverie, hon. E. P.Martin, J.
Bowring, Dr.Mitcalfe, H.
Bright, J.Mitchell, T. A.
Brocklehurst, J.Morris, D.
Brotherton, J.Morison, Gen.
Cavendish, hon. C. C.Napier, Sir C.
Cavendish, hn. G. H.Newport, Visct.
Chapman, B.O'Connell, M. J.
Childers, J. W.O'Ferrall, R. M.
Christie, W. D.Ord, W.
Clay, Sir W.Palmerston, Visct.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E.Parker, J.
Collett, T.Pattison, J.
Cowper, hon. W. F.Pechell, Capt.
Craig, W. G.Philips, G. R.
Crawford, W. S.Philips, M.
Curteis, H. B.Plumridge, Capt.
Dalrymple, Capt.Pulsford, R.
Dawson, hon. T. V.Rawdon, Col.
Dennistoun, J.Redington, T. N.
D'Eyncourt, rt. hn. C. T.Repton, G. W. J.
Duncan, Visct.Ricardo, J. L.
Duncan, G.Ross, D. R.
Duncannon, Visct.Rumbold, C. E.
Dundas, Adm.Sheridan, R. B.
Dundas, F.Smith, rt. hn. R. V.
Dundas, D.Stansfield, W. R. C.
Ellis, W.Stanton, W. H.
Elphinstone, H.Stuart, Lord J.
Escott, B.Strickland, Sir G.
Ewart, W.Strutt, E.
Fitzwilliam, hon. G. W.Tancred, H. W.
Forster, M.Traill, G.
Fox, C. R.Trelawny, J. S.
Gibson, T. M.Tufnell, H.
Gill, T.Villiers, hon. C.
Granger, T. C.Vivian, J. H.
Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.Walker, R.
Hawes, B.Warburton, H.
Heathcoat, J.Watson, W. H.
Hill, Lord M.Wawn, J. T.
Hindley, C.Williams, W.
Howard, hn. C. W. G.Wilshere, W.
Howick, Visct.Wood, C.
Hume, J.Worsley, Lord
Hutt, W.Wrightson, W. B.
Langston, J. H.TELLERS.
Layard, Capt.Ward, H. G.
Lemon, Sir C.Cobden, R.

List of the

NOES.

Acland, Sir T. D.Bankes, G.
Acland, T. D.Baring, T.
Acton, Col.Barrington, Visct.
Allix, J. P.Baskerville, T. B. M.
Antrobus, E.Beckett, W.
Arbuthnot, hon. H.Bell, M.
Arkwright, G.Bentinck, Lord G.
Astell, W.Blackburne, J. I.
Austen, Col.Blackstone, W. S.
Bailey, J.Blakemore, R.
Baillie, H. J.Boldero, H. G.

Borthwick, P.Drummond, H. H.
Botfield, B.Duncombe, hon. A.
Bowles, Adm.Du Pre, C. G.
Boyd, J.Eaton, R. J.
Bramston, T. W.Emlyn, Visct.
Brooke, Sir A. B.Farnham, E. B.
Bruce, Lord E.Fellowes, E.
Bruce, C. L. C.Filmer, Sir E.
Bruges, W. H. L.Fitzmaurice, hon. W.
Buck, L. W.Fitzroy, hon. H.
Buckley, E.Flower, Sir J.
Bullet, Sir T. Y.Fremantle, rt. hn. Sir T.
Bunbury, T.Gardner, J. D.
Burrell, Sir C. M.Gaskell, J. Milnes
Burroughes, H. N.Glynne, Sir S. R.
Campbell, J. H.Gordon, hon. Capt.
Cardwell, E.Gore, M.
Carew, W. H. P.Goring, C.
Cholmondeley, hn. H.Goulburn, rt. hon. H.
Christopher, R. A.Graham, rt. hn. Sir J.
Chute, W. L. W.Granby, Marquess of
Clayton, R. R.Greenall, P.
Clerk, rt. hn. Sir G.Greene, T.
Clifton, J. T.Grimsditch, T.
Clive, hon. R. A.Grimston, Visct.
Cockburn, rt. hn. Sir G.Grogan, E.
Cole, hon. H. A.Halford, Sir H.
Colvile, C. R.Hamilton, J. H.
Compton, H. C.Hamilton, W. J.
Copeland, Ald.Harcourt, G. G.
Corry, rt. hon. H.Harris, hon. Capt.
Courtenay, LordHayes, Sir E.
Cripps, W.Heathcote, J.
Darby, G.Heneage, G. H. W.
Davies, D. A. S.Henley, J. W.
Dawnay, hon. W. H.Hepburn, Sir T. B.
Deedes, W.Herbert, rt. hn. S.
Denison, E. B.Holmes, hn. W. A'C.
Dickinson, F. H.Hope, hon. C.
Disraeli, B.Hope, A.
Douglas, Sir C. E.Hope, G. W.
Douglas, J. D. S.Hotham, Lord

ERRATA.
Folio 48, line 20, for "only 500l. a year in Wales," read "only 350l. a year in Wales."
Folio 198, line 1, for "that the words proposed stand part of the Question," read "that the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."

Hussey, T.Plumptre, J. P.
James, Sir W. C.Pusey, P.
Jermyn, EarlRashleigh, W.
Johnstone, H.Round, C. G.
Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H.Russell, J. D. W.
Jones, Capt.Ryder, hon. G. D.
Lefroy, A.Sanderson, R.
Legh, G. C.Sandon, Visct.
Liddell, hon. H. T.Scott, hon. F.
Lincoln, Earl ofShaw, rt. hon. F.
Lockhart, W.Smith, rt. hn. T. B. C.
Lygon, hon. Gen.Smythe, Sir H.
Mackenzie, T.Somerset, Lord G.
Mackenzie, W. F.Sotheron, T. H. S.
McGeachy, F. A.Spry, Sir S. T.
McNeill, D.Stanley, E.
Mahon, Visct.Stewart, J.
Mainwaring, T.Stuart, H.
March, Earl ofSutton, hon. H. M.
Martin, C. W.Tennent, J. E.
Martin, T. B.Thesiger, Sir F.
Maxwell, hon. J. P.Thompson, Ald.
Meynell, Capt.Thornhill, G.,
Miles, P. W. S.Tollemache, J.
Miles, W.Tower, C.
Mordaunt, Sir J.Trench, Sir F. W.
Mundy, E. M.Trollope, Sir J.
Neeld, J.Trotter, J.
Neeld, J.Turnor, C.
Newdegate, C. N.Tyrell, Sir J. T.
Nicholl, rt. hn. J.Verner, Col.
Norreys, LordVernon, G. H.
O'Brien, A. S.Vivian, J. E.
Pakington, J. S.Waddington, H. S.
Palmer, R.Walsh, Sir J. B.
Palmer, G.Wellesley, Lord C.
Patten, J. W.
Peel, rt. hn. Sir R.TELLERS.
Peel, J.Young, J.
Pennant, hon. Col.Lennox, Lord A.

House adjourned.

Errata

Folio 48, line 20, for "only 500 l. a year in Wales," read "only 350 l. a year in Wales."

Folio 198, line 1, for "that the words proposed stand part of the Question," read "that the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."

INDEX