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operation, it was therefore natural to pre-, mination to continue the war, it became sume; but this very circumstance was a the duty of the House to investigate their sufficient argument against inquiry. The conduct in the last expedition, in order dilemma then proposed by the noble lord, to ascertain whether they ought to be enwhether or not the people had an oppor. trusted with the farther prosecution of tunity to rise, he was desirous should not hostilities. If he referred to “ the test be entertained. To determine that point, of experience and the evidence of facts," to justify the confidence of co-operation, the favcurite phrase of administration, he would inevitably lead to the most danger- had still stronger grounds for inquiry ; ous disclosures, to the public designation for the incapacity of ministers had been of our friends in that country, their num- already manifested by the expeditions to ber and situation, and of the whole corCorsica, Toulon, Quiberon, and Ostend. respondence on which the confidence of With respect to the weather and the unco-operation was founded, and the prac- favourable winds which had prevailed, ticability of the object presumed ; a pro- that consideration could not be urged in cedure that might not only prove injurious their defence, as ministers had sufficient at the present, but interfere with all fu- time to make every preparation. The ture operations of a similar kind. In object was clear and precise, and lay at candour, therefore, to all the parties the distance of only forty-eight hours concerned, he trusted the noble lord sail. And was it not the duty of adminiswould not press his motion.
tration to run as few risks as possible? If Earl Spencer was at a loss to know on there appeared even a faint chance of what grounds the motion would be made. failure from any inclemency of the weaHe confessed it was one of those difficult ther, why was not the expedition underthings that could be thrown in the way of taken in June or July, when that chance ministers; for on their silence suspicion would have been considerably lessened? was attempted to be thrown, and their The House could not forget the two indisclosure of the circumstances must leadquiries which had been instituted during to serious consequences. He would assert, the American war; and at present the that the expedition was taken up on jus grounds for a similar proceeding were tifiable grounds. The noble lord had much strengthened, since administration, made many omissions, and had dwelt being possessed of unlimited means, both upon such parts of the expedition as in a financial and military view, was of tended to set it in the most unfavourable course more responsible for the use and point of view. The noble lord acknow application of those means. If our object ledged that the expedition bad objects was, to impose and establish a strong gosufficiently important to induce this coun. vernment in Holland, such an object was try to undertake it. He admitted, that not legitimate, as it went to interfere in to rescue Holland, and to cause a diver- the wishes of the people of that country. sion in the forces of the enemy; were The proposed inquiry was absolutely neJegitimate objects. He admitted that the cessary for the vindication of ministers. capture of the Dutch fleet was an advan. After a short speech against the motion tage gained for the country. On these from lord Darnley, and a reply from lord two points, the expedition had not failed; Holland, the House divided : Contents, 6. of three objects, two had succeeded most Not-Contents, 51. completely. The House would call to mind the month when the expedition took Debate on Mr. Whitbread's Bill to replace, and to what good effect it operated gulate the Wages of Labourers in Husbanin favour of the allies. The signal defeats dry.] Feb. il. Mr. Whitbread rose to which the enemy experienced, was one move for leave to bring in a bill to exof the good effects occasioned by this plain and amend the act which regulates expedition ; for it was fair to infer, that the wages of labourers and husbandmen. the forces called into action in Holland, When he had first the honour of making as withdrawn from the French in Italy a similar motion, his proposition was asand Switzerland, tended to weaken their sented to nem. con.* After he had brought efforts and increase the force of the com- in his bill, and only upon the motion for bined armies.
its being read a second time, the chanLord King delivered his maiden speech cellor of the exchequer objected to the in support of the inquiry. He observed, that as ministers had declared their deter
* See Vol. 32 p. 705. [VOL. XXXIV.]
provisions of it, observing, that a thorough | labour. This was highly oppressive to revision of the Poor laws was necessary; the labouring poor. À law therefore apand he pledged himself to bring in a bill peared necessary for enabling the justices for that purpose. The bill was brought to regulate also the minimum of labour. in and printed, but was never brought in this view, he submitted his motion for under the discussion of the House. All reviving his former bill. He wished only its provisions were regarded as impracti. that it might be read a first time, and cable. Finding that the right hon. gen. then printed, and a proper interval altleman had given up all idea of prosecut- lowed for a thorough consideration of it. ing a measure which he formerly seemed The bill would go, not to compel, but to to have so much at heart, he himself was enable the magistrate to do justice to the determined to renew his attempts, and to poor. The law indeed, if enacted, might revive his bill. Those who knew him generally lie dormant, and only be enwould not suppose that he wished the forced in hard times, when the poor were poor to be overpaid. He was well aware oppressed as they now are in several disthat in many places, especially in great tricts. The more he examined the Poor manufacturing towns, those who earned laws, the more convinced he was, that more than was sufficient to provide for the fault lay not in the laws themselves, their families, usually squandered the but in the execution of them. Where surplus away, in ruinous luxuries. But they were well executed, the poor enin every well-regulated community, arti- joyed as much comfort as it was possible ficers and labourers should be paid so as for them to enjoy. But where they were to be enabled to keep themselves and fa. not duly enforced, the poor endured the milies in a comfortable situation. It was most intolerable miseries.
To prevent his creed with respect to the poor, that these abuses was the object of his bill. no excuse should be left them for doing He would therefore move, “ That leave wrong, and that when they offended, se- be given to bring in a bill to explain and verity should be employed in punishing amend so much of the 5th Eliz. cap. 4. as their offences. He hoped the House empowers justices of the peace to reguwould concur with him in that opinion; late the wages of Labourers in Husbanand if so, how was it to be reduced to dry.” practice? The right hon. gentleman Mr. Pitt said, though he disapproved had contended, that nothing effectual of the measure, he would not oppose the could be done by regulations, that all motion. He opposed the measure for must be the result of principle: and that, merly, because he was convinced it would in amending the Poor laws, no regulation not be productive of benefit to the lower could be made respecting the amount of classes: not because he intended to bring wages, but that labour should be left to forward some preferable plan. The meafind its own level. It was impossible, sure now proposed struck him as highly however, that labour should find its own improper. It went to introduce legislalevel, as the laws on that head now stood. tive interference into that which ought to What first gave rise, in his mind, to the be allowed invariably to take its natural idea of the bill he wished to introduce, course. The greater freedom there was was, the situation to which the poor were allowed in every kind of mercantile transreduced in 1795. Their distresses then actions, the more for the benefit of all were nearly the same as they are now; parties. It was likewise always inexpediand very exemplary attention was likewise ent to frame a general law to remedy a then shown by the richer classes to alle particular evil. Besides, the principle of viate their distresses, but, before they re- the bill was inefficacious; and it adopted, it ceived that relief, the pressure under would have no good effect. It proposed which they laboured was extreme. The one standard for the price of labour, withfarmers would not raise the price of out considering whether the labourer was labour: he consulted the Statute-book, young or old, whether sickly or robust, but could discover nothing in it that whether an unmarried man, or a man would compel the farmers to do their duty. with a numerous family to support. The The justices, he found, had no power to distresses of the poor would be best regrani relief; but they were armed with lieved, not by any general law, but by power to oppress the poor, In virtue of parochial aid administered by those who the fifth Elizabeth, c. 4, the justices had were intimately.acquainted with their sithe power of regulating the maximum of tuation. The hon gentleman said, tha:
the Poor laws were quite sufficient, if they they were not sufficiently paid, they com-
presented the following
REPORT. • bill was altogether unnecessary.
The justices were already obliged, under a pe. The Committee appointed to consider of nalty of 101. to do nearly what was means for rendering more effectual the required by the hon. gentleman; and was
provisions of an act, made in the thirit probable that an act was a good one
teenth year of the reign of his present which though enforced by such severe
Majesty, intituled, “ An Act for better
regulating the Assize and making of penalties, had lain completely dormant Bread;" and who were instructed to confor many years? The qualifications of sider of the most effectual means of rethe workman should be considered as well medying any inconveniencies which may
arise from the deficiency of the last Crop Mr. Buxton thought that the measure
of Grain; and empowered to report their would do more harm than good. The
Proceedings, from time to time, to the
House; scarcity was great but, from the benevolent attentions of the opulent, at no time Have proceedel, in pursuance of the orders was the condition of the labourer more of the House, to consider of the provisions of eligible.
the said act; and are decidedly of opinion, Mr. Ellison opposed the motion. By
that the act of the 13th of George 3rd in its the generous exertions of the higher purposes for which it was intended ; that the
present state, is completely ineffectual for the classes, the poorer had been comfortably regulations contained in it are, in many resupported. Why then introduce a law spects, defective; and that the execution of which was unnecessary ?
it would be totally imcompatible with the Mr. Whitbread said, he was ready to present mode of setting the assize of bread by give the higher classes credit for their law, and would answer no object, unless, at a charity; but he thought it an alarming time when bakers are prohibited from making, thing, that so many of the lower classes according to the demand of their customers, of society was doomed to subsist on cha- different kinds of bread, millers should be rity. By an increase of wages some good of flour.
prohibited from manufacturing different sorts might be done. Charity afflicted the
Your Committee proceeded next to consider mind of a good man, because it took away how far it might be proper to recommend to his independence-a consideration as va. the House to adopt such farther regulations luable to the labourer as to the man of and restrictions; and as they understood a high rank. The object of the bill was to prejudice existed in some parts of the country empower magistrates, for a limited time, against any coarser sort of bread than that and within a limited extent, to determine which is at present known by the name of the sum below which the wages of a that the former was less wholesome and nu
the “ Fine Household Bread," on the ground labouring man in full vigour should not be tricious than the latter, they thought it imreduced. But it was said, that the price portant to obtain the opinions of some emiof labour would find its level. How did nent and respectable physicians on this point. it find its level? If labourers found The result of their evidence appears to be,
as his wages.
that although a change of any sort of food, this proposition. They beg leave, in the first which forms so great a part of the sustenance place, to observe, that if the physicians are of man, might, for a time, affect some con- well founded in their opinion, that bread of a stitutions ; that as soon as persons were ha- coarser quality will not go equally far with a bituated to it, the standard wheaten bread, fine wheaten bread, an increased consumption or even bread of a coarser sort, would be of bread would be the consequence of the equally wholesome with the fine wheaten measure, and this increased consumption bread which is now generally used in the me might, in a considerable degree, make up for tropolis; but that, in their opinion, the fine any saving which might result from the use wheaten bread would go farther with persons of the finer pollards. In the second place, it who have no other food, than the same quan- the millers were permitted to make only one tity of bread of a coarser sort.
sort of flour, it is to be apprehended, that Your Committee were next desirous of as- sieves would be introduced into many private certaining, whether a standard bread was families, for the purpose of sifting the flour likely to be acceptable to the people of this to different degrees of fineness: such a pracmetropolis; they have examined for this tice might, in times of scarcity, increase the purpose several considerable bakers, who evils which it would be the intention of paragree in stating, that scarcely any bread is liament to remedy. The quantity of flour consumed in the metropolis but that which is extracted from a bushel of wheat depends made from the fine wheaten four; that at- very much on the skill of the miller, and the tempts have been formerly made in times of perfection of his machinery. The extent of scarcity to introduce a coarser species of bread his concerns, and his interest in his trade, is into use, but without success; and that, in a security that he will endeavour to draw their opinion, the high price of bread would from the grain whatever it will produce; but be considered, by the lower classes of people, the comparative want of skill, and want of as a small evil, when compared with any attention to the nicer parts of the operation, measures which would have the effect of in private families, might lead, upon the compelling them to consume a bread to which whole, to a very great and unnecessary er. they have not been accustomed.
penditure and waste of four. Your Committee then proceeded to inquire, Your Committee are of opinion, that to whether a measure, which compelled the change by law the food of a large part of the millers to manufacture only one sort of Aour, community, is a measure of the greatest would be likely to increase the quantity of delicacy, and on the face of it highly objecsustenance for man. It has been stated to tionable. If a considerable benefit could be, your Committee, that, according to the mode proved to arise from it to the community at of manufacturing flour for London and its large, your Committee might be induced to neighbourhood, a bushel of wheat, weighing recommend it, notwithstanding any incon60lbs. produced 47 lbs. of four, of all descrip- veniencies which might for a time result
from tions, which were applied in various ways it; but from all the consideration your Comdirectly to the sustenance of man; that about mittee have been able to give to this subject, 1 lb. was the waste in grinding, and the re- and from the evidence which has appeared maining 12 lbs. consisted of bran and pollards, before them, they are not satisfied that any which were made use of for feeding poultry, saving would arise proportionate to the disswine, and cattle. It has, however, been advantages that would, in the first instance, suggested, that if only one sort of Hour was necessarily attend upon it. permitted to be made, and a different mode Your Committee have hitherto confined of dressing it was adopted, so as to leave in it their observations to the idea of compelling the finer pollards, 52 lbs. of flour might be ex- the people, hy law, to consume a particular tracted from a bushel of wheat, of the before sort of bread. They are sorry, however, to mentioned weight, instead of 41 lbs.; that this be under the necessity of stating, that, in proportion of the wheat would afford a whole- consequence of the last wet and unfavourable some and nutritious food, and would add to season, the crops have been unusually defithe quantity for the sustenance of man, in cient; and although a considerable importaplaces where the fine household bread is now tion of wheat from foreign countries has alused, 5 lbs. on every bushel, or somewhat ready taken place, and more may be expected, more than one ninth. But as this saving is yet they feel, that they should not discharge computed on a finer wheat, and of greater their duty, unless they strongly recommended weight per bushel than the average of the to all individuals to use every means in their crop may produce, and can only apply to power to reduce the consumption of wheaten those places which have been stated, and as flour in their families, and encourage in the a coarser bread is actually in use in many district in which they live, by their example, parts of the country, the saving on the whole influence, and authority, every possible ecoconsumption would, according to the calcula- nomy of this article. tion, be very considerably reduced.
Impressed with the idea of the importance Your Committee have considered how far of such economy at the present moment, other circumstances might operate, or the your Committee earnestly recommend the saving likely to be made of flour by adopting adoption of a measure, which, from the una.
nimous opinion of those who have appeared The King's Message respecting Advances in evidence before them, would lead to a very to the Emperor of Germany, &c.]. Feb. considerable saving of wheat flour. The evi; 13. Mr. Pitt presented the following dence of the bakers who have been examined
Message from his Majesty : before your Committee, cannot fail to con
“ GEORGE R. vince the House, that in families where bread which has been baked for some hours is used,
“His Majesty is at present employed in the consumption is far less considerable than concerting such engagements with the in those where it is the custom to eat it new. emperor of Germany, the elector of BaThey differ in the proportion of this saving: varia, and other powers of the empire, as some have stated it as amounting to one- may strengthen the efforts of his imperial third, some as amounting to one-fifth, and majesty, and materially conduce to the others only to one-eighth; but when it is advantage of the common cause in the considered that one-half of the bread in London is consumed the day on which it is baked,
course of the ensuing campaign; and his there can be no doubt that a great saving Majesty will give directions that these enwould ensue (perhaps one tenth or twelfth gagements, as soon as they shall have part of the whole consumption in London), been completed and ratified, "shall be laid if the bakers were prohibited from selling it, before the House : But, in order to ensure until twenty-four hours after it was baked. the benefit of this co-operation at an early Your Committee are strongly induced to re- period, his Majesty is desirous of authocommend this measure, from the considera. rising his minister to make provisionally tion that a very respectable physician has such advances as may be necessary, in the given it as his decided opinion, that new hread is far less wholesome than'that which first instance, for this purpose; and his has been baked a certain number of hours: Majesty recommends it to the House to and they think it important to add, that, in enable him to make such provision accord. the opinion of the bakers in the metropolis, ingly.
G. R.” no material inconvenience or detriment to A similar Message was presented to the their trade would arise from the adopting this Lords by lord Grenville. regulation. Your Committee have heard, with very
Debate in the Lords on the King's Mesgreat concern, that from the mistaken appli- sage respecling Advances to the Emperor parts of the country, four and bread have of Germany, &c.] Feb. 14. The order been delivered to the poor at a reduced price; of the day being read, for taking the a practice which may contribute very con- | King's Message into consideration, siderably to increase the inconveniencies aris- Lord Grenville said, he conceived after ing from the deficiency of the last crop. And theuniform votes of the House, on the subthey recommend that all charity and paro-ject of prosecuting the war with vigour, chial relief should be given, as far as is prac- that it would be an idle waste of time were ticable, in any other articles except bread, he to enter into detail on the matter under four, and money, and that the part of it consideration. It had been generally adwhich is necessary for the sustenance of the poor, should be distributed in soups, rice, mitted by parliament, that it was the truest potatoes, or other substitutes. Your Commit” policy of Great Britain to procure the as. tee are of opinion, that if this regulation was sistance of the forces of continental states, generally adopted, it would not only, in a by subsidizing their sovereigns; and upon very great degree, contribute to economize at that received principle it was, that his this time the consumption of flour, but that 'majesty had negotiated with the German it might have the effect of gradually intro- princes, for a certain number of military ducing into use, a more wholesome and nutri- forces for the ensuing campaign. In. tious species of food than that to which the deed, these treaties were in such forwardpoor are at present accustomed.
Your Committee think it important to state ness, that although he could not officially before they conclude, that government, in state that they were concluded, he could conformity to the declaration of the chancel. take upon himself to declare to their lordlor of the exchequer in the last session of par- ships, that by this time the principal of liament, have abstained from all interference them were finally settled, and upon terms in the purchases of corn in the foreign highly advantageous to the country. As markets, and as they conceive the specula- the sending the treaties over here, and the tions of individuals are more likely to produce return of them previous to their final ratian adequate supply of foreign wheat' at the present crisis, than any other measures that fication, unavoidably took up much time, could be adopted, the policy of government in his majesty's ministers had thought it this respect meets with the decided approba- their duty to apply to parliament, to aution of your Committee.
thorize them to make such advances pro.