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kingdom for the purpose of overturning power to ministers, who had used it so the government. The suspension had leniently. That such was the case, was been continued in 1799, on account evident, from the opinions of the people, of the critical situation of Ireland; but who had not expressed the smallest disnow their lordships were desired to con- content at such a power being so entinue it still farther, without any reason trusted. whatever being adduced. Since the re- Lord Holland said, that if the legislavolution, the Habeas Corpus act had only ture should continue to act upon the been suspended three times : on account principles which the noble earl had adof the assassination plot in the reign of vanced, we should never again enjoy the king William; in 1715, and in 1745; blessings of liberty. The noble earl had the two last being periods of actual rebel said, that the Habeas Corpus should be lion ; but even then, so jealous was par- again suspended because the people made liament of this great bulwark of our li- no complaints of the manner in which berties, that they would only consent to ministers had exercised the powers ensuspend it for three months. From the trusted to them. As long, then, as the present mode of proceeding, he began to country remained in a state of tranquillity, fear that this was only a prelude to mak. the same arguments might be used; and ing the suspension perpetual. When was if discontents should arise, then it would there a likelihood of putting an end to it? be said that the constitution was in danIf we might believe what had been said in ger, and that it was necessary to allow another place, not until Jacobinism was persons to be taken up upon suspicion, extinguished. He professed he did not that we might defeat the purposes of the understand what was meant by Jacobinism. seditious. At any rate, as long as the reIt was a term of abuse indiscriminately public of France subsists, so long the Hathrown on every person who differed in beas Corpus act must be suspended. Was sentiment from ministers. If, however, it to be borne, that a valuable privilege there were really 80,000 of these incorri- should be for ever withheld from the peogibles, as had somewhere been said by a ple without any reason, or for reasons certain great master of this kind of poli. completely puerile? When it was allowtical arithmetic; and if what had been ed on all hands that nothing but extreme said on another occasion was true, that necessity could justify the measure prothe principles of Jacobinism, once imbibed, posed, was it not incumbent to show that were never to be eradicated, long indeed, that necessity existed? But, supposing he feared, it would be, before this great the country was in a very critical state, bulwark of our liberties would be restored. what remedy would the present act apply? He condemned the great length of time The only powers it would legally vest in which had elapsed since the imprisonment government would be, to retain in custody of the 29 persons now immured in different those whom they meant to try; but for gaols, some upwards of two years, with whose conviction, though there could be out being brought to trial. He also re- no doubt of their guilt, sufficient evidence probated the sending them from prison to could not, at the moment, be obtained ; prison, which operated as a punishment or to retain those in custody, who could before conviction.
be easily convicted, but the evidence The Earl of Carlisle said, that no man, which would be given upon whose trials it more sincerely regarded the Habeas Cor- would be highly impolitic to disclose. If pus act than he did. He revered it as the ministers had only made use of these Palladium of our liberties, the fortress of powers, and if there was a call for the our freedom, but he did not wish to see it measure, he should certainly vote for it; made use of as the strong-hold of rebel- but they had acted on very different prinlion. He, for one, was perfectly ready ciples. Of the seven years of the war, for a limited time, on an ascertained emer. the Habeas Corpus act had been suspendgency, to part with all the advantages of ed five; and of the multitudes who had ihis great instrument of security of per- been imprisoned in virtue of that suspen, son, in order to possess its full benefits sion, few had been brought to trial, and when the danger should have passed only one convicted. Neither was that away. The horrid principles which had person guilty of treason against this counoccasioned the suspension appeared to iry, or connected with any societies, or be weakened; but were not yet extinct. any, individuals of consequence, in the He saw no danger in trusting such a kingdom. None of his machinations could ever have brought about rebellion fences. But, granting that the conduct or insurrection. What harm would have of ministers had been mild and lenient, followed from his going over to the enemy yet to keep up a notion that security was with a paper which was signed by no- owing not to the protection of the law, body? Ought the constitution to be but to the mercy of a few individuals, suspended for years because O'Coigley must be attended with the most fatal was condemned? He contended, that consequences. Men, in ceasing to owe government had a right to retain in cus. obligations to the constitution, must lose tody only those whom they intended to all affection for it, and see without regret try; and he would put it to the con- another erected in its stead. Judge science of their lordships, whether more Blackstone had recommended, that we harm would have accrued from bringing should surrender our liberties for a while to trial the twenty-nine persons now in in order to secure them for ever ; but he gaol, than had accrued from suspending had added, that the occasion should be the Habeas Corpus act? But it was said urgent indeed, and that even then we to be merely used as a measure of pre- should not consent to part for any length caution to protect the constitution from of time with the Palladium of the constithe evil designs of the many turbulent tution. men who longed for its overthrow. The Lord Eldon* said, that the noble lord had rational principles on which the French argued, that there was only one solitary revolution was commenced, the plausible, conviction, and that in that person's case though pernicious doctrines which had there was no treason produced against been professed in its later stages, and the this country, But the fact was, that the splendid success which had attended the person convicted was proved to have arms of the republic, might have dazzled been planning, with disaffected bodies of many, and made some in this country men in this country, the destruction of long to see the visionary theories of free- the British interest in Ireland ; and surely dom reduced to practice. But was it not the noble lord need not be told, that a likewise probable that the horrid crimes person attempting to sever the crown of which had been committed in the name Ireland from that of England, was guilty of liberty, and the final subjugation of of an overt act of treason. The noble France to a military government, had lord had argued, that none should be apmade many incline to arbitrary power, prehended but such as could be brought and adopt tory and high church princi- to trial; but he should know, that cases ples, who were formerly animated with a might occur, in which for want of two hatred to slavery? It was one of the witnesses, persons could not be legally great evils of the French revolution that convicted, though no doubt remained of it had brought the cause of freedom into their guilt. But would the noble lord say discredit; and there could be no doubt because in this country a person could that the ancient spirit of Britons had been not be put upon his trial for high treason nearly abandoned, since they had patient without the testimony of two witnesses, ly borne the most alarming abridgment of that therefore no danger existed? With their privileges, and the most flagrant in regard to what had passed at Maidstone, fringement on their rights. If one set of would the noble lord argue, that, because causes had operated, why might not ano- csufficient legal proof could only be ther? The prerogative had less to fear brought against one of the men who were at present from the encroachments of the put upon their trial, the legislature should people, than at any former period. Much not have endeavoured to prevent the mishad been said of the leniency with which chief? He would venture to say, that to government had exercised its powers. the suspension of the Habeas Corpus He was old fashioned enough to think act was owing the preservation of the that the good treatment of the subject crown in the house of Hanover; and that should not be at the discretion of any indi- by it late and former conspiracies had been viduals, but should be secured to him by broken to pieces. law. The imprisonment even of twentynine persons was no strong mark of le.
The House divided : Contents 30: Note niency. He should like to know whether Contents, 3. they were kept in custody to be tried, or merely to deprive them of their freedom, * Sir John Scott: created baron Eldon, and to punish them for their supposed of. July 18, 1799.
Proceedings in the Commons respecting The fact was, that it was from the Baltic, the Deficiency of the last Crop of Grain.] and from America, that we received in Feb. 18. The House having resolved it. ordinary the supplies of grain which the self into a Committee on the Report res- country required. Before pecting the Assize of Bread, and the De France did not grow any considerable ficiency of the last crop of Grain, [See quantity of grair above that which she p. 1403.]
consumed; and the produce of the NeLord Hawkesbury said, that there was therlands was consumed by the inhabitants, one proposition which he wished to sub- by the United Provinces, and by the peo. mit to the committee; but before he made ple in the less fertile districts upon the it, he would offer a few observations upon Rhine. The present scarcity was certhe state of the country at the present tainly alarming; but the danger was much time. The origin of this committee was exaggerated. This might be proved by certainly to be found in governor Pow. the statement of a few circumstances. nall's bill ;* but even in 1773, the pro. The consumption of grain in the country moters of that bill were of the same opi. must be estimated from the number of nion which the best informed men now the consumers, and the amount of the entertained, namely, that little relief consumption of each individual. The could be obtained in a time of scarcity by number of consumers of wheaten bread interfering with the conduct of millers, or depended much upon the abundance of subjecting them to different regulations the crop, and the consequent price of from those which now directed them. wheaten bread. On an average, one third There was but one proposition which he of the people did not consume wheaten had now to make. He thought that this bread. A great majority of the people in was a subject on which little could be Scotland, Westmorland, Cumberland, done by measures of legislation, on which the North Riding of Yorkshire, part of much more might be expected from the Lancashire, of Wales, Cornwall, and the private influence of gentlemen, by exam. northern parts of Devonshire, consumed ple in their own families, and by recom- bread made of oats, barley, and other mendation to others, than by any proceed- grain. Now, as to the quantity of wheat ings of parliament. Upon the subject of consumed, a quarter of wheat in the year the present scarcity, there was one argu- for each man was the general calculation. ment which had often been useil by gen. This allowance would require between tlemen on the other side of the House ; eight and nine millions of quarters, to namely, that the war was the cause of the supply this country for a year. The present scarcity. Did gentlemen mean by produce of the country varied in differsuch an assertion that the state of hostili. ent year3 ; but the average computies in which we were placed with some tation between very high and very low countries in Europe, prevented the im- seasons might come nearest the truth. portation of grain which otherwise might This average did not feed the country; have been imported into this country ? Or for the average importation for several did they mean that the war increased the years back might be estimated at one consumption of corn in the country twentieth of the whole consumption. The As to the supposition that the war pre- deficiency of the late crop might be esvented the importation of corn, it was a timated at one third of the usual crop, known fact, that the average importation which must be added to the one twentieth for the last seven years was as high as usually imported, in order to estimate that of any preceding period. In 1796, what importation would be necessary this the importation was greater than was ever season. It must, however, be considered, known before : and amounted to nearly that there was in the country a stock in 900,000 quarters of grain. The war, hand from the preceding harvest sufficient then, could have no direct influence in to supply one inonth. But if we also take preventing the importation of corn. But the foreign corn in the country at the it might be said, that it operated by an in- same period, there was certainly much direct influence, that it prevented us from more than would be consumed in a month. importing corn from countries where we considering all these circumstances, the could be supplied, because with these probable amount of the importation nécountries we were in a state of hostility. cessary this season, would be about
600,000 quarters of wheat; whereas in * See Vol. 17, p. 697,
1796 the importation was more than [VOL. XXXIV.]
800,000 quarters. The millers and others | There never was an instance of a highly skilled in the subject, had recommended flourishing state, which had attained the some regulations as to the use of new period of its grandeur, producing enough bread; and had computed, that by such to maintain its inhabitants. If we looked regulations there might be a saving of back to the republic of Rome, we should one fortnight of the whole consumplion. find this observation confirmed. As soon It had also been stated, that millers, when as it attained power and greatness, it was the price of grain was high, and conse obliged to have recourse to other counquently when bread was dear, extracted tries for supplies of grain. Sicily was its from the grain a greater quantity of flour first granary, and afterwards Egypt. The than they did at other times. This would crop then, in this country, was not suffiford a second saving. A third would arise cient for the supply of its inhabitants: from the use of substitutes for bread. As and when this and the ordinary importathe price of grain, even in those countries tion failed, the best method that could be from which we could receive a supply was adopted was, the use of substitutes. It was high, it was to be feared that the high indeed difficult to introduce them. It was price of grain in this country was inevita- difficult to change old habits; but for ble; but from a review of all the circum- such a purpose the attempt ought to be stances, it might be collected, that there made. ' If this plan were adopted, this was no real danger of scarcity. It was country contained in itself the means of clear, that this country did not feed itself. feeding its inhabitants. At present the For several years back, the importation of method of feeding it was not the most grain had amounted annually to 400,000 economical. Great economy might be quarters. This might appear strange introduced, and every person would rewhen we recollected the vast sums ex-joice, that by the efforts of individuals pended in bounties for the exportation of (and it is but respectful to mention the grain. So late as the administration of name of count Rumford) this economy Mr. Pelham, not less than 500,000l. were was already reduced by many to practice. stated to be paid annually in bounties on It appeared from his calculations and the exportation of grain. What had caused statements, that one third more suste., the difference? Had the agriculture of the nance might be derived from many arti
country diminished ? No; the improve- cles of provision, without abridging the ment of our agriculture had kepi pace luxuries of the rich than was usually drawn during this disastrous war, as some gen. from them. The use of substitutes was tlemen had called it, with the increase of particularly to be recommended in chariour trade, the extension of our commerce ties and in parochial relief. This would be and the augmentation of our power. The one means of introducing them; and inclosure of waste lands had certainly though their general introduction might been one principal means of improving not be effected at once, yet it must be rethe agriculture of the country. Now, du- collected that this was not the first year of ring seven years of the most prosperous scarcity that we had felt ; that it would peace that this country ever enjoyed, the not be the last: that within these five number of inclosure bills which passed the years it was the second time that a scarHouse amounted to 227. Whereas, du- city had occurred. Thus it appeared, ing the last seven years of war, the num- that though inclosures had been going on ber had been 479.' Let us also attend to rapidly, and agriculture had been improvthe improvement which had taken place ing, the increase of population bad out run in husbandry. This could not be doubted them. The noble lord then moved, “ That to have taken place in many districts, leave be given to bring in a bill to prohi. particularly in the low lands of Scotland, bit any person or persons from selling, or and in the border counties. If, then, the offering for sale, any bread which has not agriculture of the country had kept pace been baked for a certain number ofhours." in improvement with its trade and com. Mr. Hobhouse was glad that this submerce, why had such a change taken place ject had at last been taken into considerain the adequacy of the produce of the tion. He admitted that the scarcity was
country to the support of its inhabitants? principally to be attributed to the defiIt must be imputed solely to the immense ciency of the crops, but insisted that the increase of population, and to the increased war not only increased consumption, but consumption of the individual inhabitants, cut off some of the means of supply, by in consequence of their increased wealth. shutting many of the ports of Europe
against us, and rendered every article of He made a handsome panegyric on the import dearer, by the advanced price of liberality of the country, which had so freight and insurance. With respect to generously come forward in relief of the the proposed remedy, he approved it, as poor. The different classes were more far as it went, and was glad to hear that nearly linked together; and the poor seme others were in contemplation. He were now taught to consider those as their thought, however, that little could be ex- friends and benefactors, whom they repected from positive laws, and that more garded before with an invidious and angry was to be done by exhortation, by ex- eye. ample, and by charity properly dis- Mr. W. Bird thought that the noble tributed. He had no doubt that the lord went too far in saying that any man affluent would exert themselves upon the who connected the war and the scarcity present trying occasion. He would him together, was no good subject. He, for self make every effort.
one, must be of opinion, that though the The Speaker said, he found it stated in war was not the cause of the scarcity, it the report of 1795, on the testimony of a had occasioned the continuance of that miller, that excellent bread might be scarcity. As we could not depend upon made of the whole wheat, without taking a large supply from abroad, it behoved us away any of the bran : for he had him to decrease the consumption of corn. He self seen bread made of that kind. thought it little better than a mockery, He had now to state, on the authority of merely to recommend the use of stale a person, to whose exemplary life he bread, and that the rich should not distri. owed the first of all obligations, that the bute their charity to the poor in bread. For best bread was made of the entire his part, it was not the poor whom he wheat. On mentioning the different classes wished to see deprived of the use of into which the ancients divided their bread; he would rather recommend a bread, he said, that the first was made saving in this article to the rich, who of the finest flour; the second was a abounded in superfluities. Let the rich mixture of that flour with the pollard; but deny themselves this supply for a and the third class the whole month or two, and they would serve the flour with the bran: that, of those three poor effectually, and bring down the kinds of breads, the first and second blessings of thousands upon them. seemed to have been little used; but that Mr. Wilberforce said, it appeared to the third sort was in general use, from its him, that if the whole grain were used, if excellent effects. On experiment, it was not universally, yet in part, it would serve found by chemists that this sort contained to lengthen out the supply. He also a vast quantity of essential oil; and in thouglit, that the legislature were warthis consisted the true spirit of the wheat: ranted in interfering, and particularly. not that which was fiery and caused fer. that in all parochial relief of bread or mentation, but that which was mild and flour, it should consist only of that made nutricious. It was also proved that of the whole grain. He did not believe damaged wheat might be amended by a that the scarcity arose from the war, or commixture with good. The cultivation from any increase of population, but that of potatoes ought to be encouraged. it was owing to the unfavourable season. This might be brought into consump- There were various sources whence the tion about July and August, and might country might look for supplies. The first fill up the time between the old and of these was importation. Although no new harvest. He next alluded to the rise one ought to speak slightly of the supply of butchers' meat. From the lower parts to be derived from importation, yet the of the country, which had been flooded means of relief now proposed were as from the continual rains, great quantities likely to be beneficial as that to be derived of cattle were destroyed and sent up early from importation. Another mode of to market; in order to remedy that evil, æconomy was, that of bringing animal he wished the country to get a little re- food in the shape of soup into more gepose. This might be done by the use of neral use. Economy in the use of flour, swine, the increase of which he recom. was required in those shops in which rolls, mended. He would also recommend the fancy biscuits, &c., were displayed. If the importation of rice. This was a food use of oats were prohibited, except for the suitable to sedentary persons, and might food of man (allowing for the demand that be sold for three-halfpence the pound. would be made for the cavalry, mail.coach