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Indian planters had made out their case, nobody who read the report could deny. It appeared from that, that several estates in Jamaica had been abandoned, and that others were likely to be abandoned unless some relief were afforced to the colonial trade. It should not be forgotten that the West Indian posssessions of this country yielded an income of between cight and nine millio::s, spent in this country; that the revenue in customs, excise, &c. on West Indian produce, amounied to five millions and a half annually; that the West Indian trade employed one-third of the shipping of the country; and that British manufactures to the amount of six millions were consumed in the West Indian market. When the committee had b:en first. appointer, he had apprehensions that if the landed gentlemen took a narrow view of the question, it would not be easy to carry the measure into effict. But as he did not impute the opposition of these gentlemen to any nar. row vicus of ad an'age to themselves, he was not witli. out hope ibilt they would view the matter in another light; and that a provision to prohibit the distillation from corn till barley should sink to any given price, and then to allow it to be used in distilleries till it rose to a certain price, would be considered as a sufficient security for their in. terests, and induce them to acquiesce in the measure. This was the best mode of relieving the West Indian merchan's, whom every body allowed to be in a situation requiring relief. No person but the late chancellor of the exchequer for Ireland had suggested any other remedy, viz. by lowering the duties on sugar; but that right honourable baronet must have been aware, that the last ad. dition of three shillings per cwt. had been laid on by the late administration. About 400,000 quarters of malt were consumed in the distilleries, and three millions and a half in the breweries; and if it was not for the improvement in science, the quantity of barley consumed in the breweries would be double what it is. It appeared that this country in:ported to the amount of 750.000 quarters of corn annually; and though he thanked God that he had no apprehension of a scarcity, yet he thought they ought to be apprehensive of the rise that might take place in the price of bread. A right honourable gentleman opposite (Mr. Ponsonby) had said, on a former night, that this measure would be a violation of the act of union; and that they ought not, under the temptation of an im
-mediate convenience, to su:pend the provisions of that act. No man more anxiously than himself wished that the articles of union between the two countries should be preserved from violation, so far as the principles of good faith required ; but why was it necessary to adhere to the letter of these articles, in opposition to a measure of great public utility ? 'All that was asked of Ireland was, that at a period of great distress to a valuable part of his majesty's subjects, whilst this country with a view to their relief suspended the distillation from corn, Ireland should suspend its export of spirits to this country. The right honourable gentleman then recapitulated his various ar. guments, and concluded with expressing a hope that the measure, in the guarded shape lie had suggested, would be acceded to.
Sir W. W. Wynne understood from all the accounts which could be collected, that there was no appearance of a scarcity of barley, or any other kind of grain, and therefore he saw no occasion for the present measure.
Mr. Barham argued, that he knew our usual con. sumption of barley; and that Mr. Young, Mr. Wakce field, and others, examined on the part of the landed interest, agreed, that there hall, during the last year, been a deficiency to the extent of a fourth, if not of a third. Taking it, however, at the lowest computation, and that it amounted only to a fourth, it remained that we must either bring down our consumption to our crop, or get an importation sufficient to make up the deficiency. In either case, the barley-grower could have no business with the mode of effecting this olject; and if an adequate im. portation could not be commanded, what better mode of diminishing the consumption to the extent of our crop could possibly be devised, than stopping the distilleries from using that article of necessary consumption? The price of barley, however, bad risen from day to day til this measure was talked of; and would, bui for it, have risen in a much higher ratio. This, he confessed, was not a measure of necessity so much as o! precaution. He should ask bis honourable friend, the member for Hampshire, what was there held a remunera ing price for barley land? If that honourable member has concluded the treaty for 'bis farm in that county which was lately out of lease, probably he could swisty rhe house on this bead; at all events, he could undoubtedly inform them, that be Vo4. 111,-1808.
had been offered more than double tbe former rent. This he himseli (Mr. Barham) could assure the honse, he bimself had recrive!, aye, and more than double, for a farm in that heighbourhood. He was glad to take a remunerating rent where it could be had; for as so little remune. sation was to be got from the West Indian property, it was necessary to take it where it could be procureil. The bonourable member for Norfolli could also, probably, inform the bousc, what was the remunerating rent in that county. He was confidentially informed, and believed, that within these few years, the rent of barley land liad risen from three shillings to fifteen an acre, In Essex, lie had been informed by an honourable member now present,' thin rents of sich lands were wild and extravagant. The remunerating rent in Wales, he was informeil, though probably nit in tlie immediate neighbourhood of the hononrable baronet (sir W. W. Wynne), was four, five, and six times the former reiit. Having stated what was e teemed the remunerating rent for barley lan:) to the landlord, he should himself mention what was supposed, in general, to be a proper remuneration for the farmers ; and Diis, after paying ihe landlord, : &c. and providing for their families, was neither more nor less than such a profit as shonlù ecable them, in the course of a few years, to rurchase their tarms: the fact being, that of late years, the greater number of tarins sold had been purchaseci by the occupiers of them; and nothing being more common, than for landlords desirous of disposing of their estates, to divide them into farnis of 2001. or 3001.a year, and sell them to the tenants themselves. The price of lands, hic contenuled, was too high, the profits of the farmers too great, the price of provisions (xorbitant; and there was nobody to pay for this bui thai industrious and labouring class, who, when their strength and energy were exhaused, must expect in rell'il to 'cad their days in a work hout. If this measure bad gone before three different conmittees, it might have appeared worse ard worse, but could never have appeared in a difereni light from that which it now exhibited. The West Indian proprietois were a hidy who coniribuind more than any ob to the exigencies of the sta'e. They supplied about 17,000 pen to ilie navy, and added to the cornmerce and manufactures of the country more than any other descrip. tion of mca; Lilc, at the same time, from the regula.
tions which had been adopted, they harlly received, for their exertions, and as a return for the immense capital employed by them, a single farthing. This, it was to be observed, was not the act of Buonapite, but of the government of this country. The amount of sugu ime ported into this country from our colonies was 290,00 hogsbeads; the consumption amounted only to 200,009; but in addition to this excess quantity of 90,000 hogsheads, an addition of 60,000 bogsheads was forced in by the operation of our acts.
Half of Jamaica was at this moment 'under, foreclosure, and the remainder would soon be in a similar state. It was not to be expected that the blacks would continue tame observers of what was going on; and the most dangerous consequences were to be apprehended. The agreement with the West Indian proprietors, the honourable member contended, had not been kept. They had ful6lled their bargain, in sup- , plying this country wiili the necessary quantity of sugar, and their reward was ruin; the landled proprietors of the kingdom had failed in furnishing the neces-ary supply of grain, and they were rewarded with a high price! The real cause of opposition to this measure consisted in a desire for exorbitant gain. Here the landed proprietors were the stronger party ; but when it came to be a question with the people of England, they would learn to change their tone. The ancient table was here reversed ; the stomach, which had long been fed by the exertions of the limbs, now refused to support them in return. He was afraid, it was in vain for him to think, that gentiemen who were adverse to the measure troin the motives he had mentioned, would be induced to forego their hostility. The should find, though conviction might flash on them for a moment, that the poet was correct wiien he stated,
A man convinced against his will,
Is of the same opinion still. He observed with surprise, that this was made a sort of party question by gentlemen with whom he commonly acted. They seemed to think it would be of consequence for them to beat ministers, even in a question like this. But did they really suppose, that a failure in this ineasure would cause ministers to change their situations, or would enable them (the opposition) to change theirs ! It waquestionebly would have no sucht effect. They would,
for the moment, become the dupes of a set of men who uniformly voted against them, who were then laughing in their sleeves at ibeir credulily, and who, the moment they had gained their end, would skip over to theother side, and by their more than usually sedulous and obsequious attendance on the will of ministers during the remainder of the session, would endeavour to atone for their desertion in this single instance, which was dictated solely by motives of self-interest. There was one thing, however, connected with this subject, to which he wished to call the attention of the house, and of his right honourable friend (we presume, Mr. Ponsonby). Last night he had rcceived a letter, at least the letter was addressed to him in the same way as it bad been usual to send, letters on parliamentary business, conceived in different shades of earnestness, according to the urgency of the subject. In this letter his attendance was particularly and earnestly requested in the house of commons this day, when the sugar business would come forward, and an early division take place. He mentioned this circumstance, conscions as be was that the letter was in the same hand-writ. ing as usual, that his right honourable friend might have an opportunity of explaining the matter. If any person had presumed to practise an imposture, and to hold out the recommendation of a particular measure where no such recommendation was intended, be considered it to be a most unwarraniable and unjustifiable act.
Mr. R. Dundas concurred in the general principle laid down by his right honourable friend (the chancellor of the exchequer for Ireland) as to the propriety of not interfering witli the corn law's, an interference which could not beroductive of any beneficial consequence. But at the same time, he must allow that there were extreme cases, in which it would be necessary to resort to such interfer. ence. The question therefore was, whether the present circunstances of this country were such as to consiitute a Cise of that description. The late crops of barley and outs had been short, but not the crop of wlicat. Though there were no darger of scarcity at present, yet they ought I , look to the future: and in the event of a short crop this season, they would not be justified in not leaving to the executive gov rnment, the power of giving to the public consumption that amount of corn which was consumed in the distilleries. He did not agree either with