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pursuit and labour which a study of social and political economy involves, appear to have been lulled by such assertions, and to have acquiesced in the assumption that such authorities possessed a true and substantial existence. The basis of all argument being thus assumed, it was the custom of the speaker to make up his addresses by means of the most extensive and ill-founded generalities. On many occasions, unskilful adversaries ventured to attack his positions; when the false matter thus advanced furnished him with an opportunity of triumph, not because his own reasoning was right, but because that of his opponents was wrong.

The speeches of this statesman, though containing frequent declarations of the benefit to be derived from the free principle, contain also matter which entirely controverts such declarations. This is peculiarly strong, and most conspicuous, on occasions when the important question of Corn Laws was brought under discussion; and when the larger portion of his audience was far less disposed than usual to place confidence in mere assurances, and to relinquish a substance in possession, when merely the shadow of compensation was sketched out to them. It will be my object to select for consideration passages which approach nearest to the principle involved in the question before us. These passages will be chiefly in opposition to the free-trade principle, or to that course of argument, and to those conclusions, which the speaker himself, on other occasions, contended for. By this course, I shall show that this minister had not acquired any view which approached at all near to a clear or well defined view of his subject; and hence I infer, as I have before declared, that he was influenced by the following considerations:

-He beheld a strong passion for change actuating the public mind, and perceiving the difficulty either of resisting or of qualifying or guiding the impulse, he resolved on going with

it. Whether the impulse inclined to a course of truth or of error he did not know, though undoubtedly he entertained a very strong desire to be right.

Yielding to the impulse just mentioned, he introduced, for the sanction of the legislature, various and most important changes in our commercial laws. Soon, however, he appears to have apprehended the injurious operation of that free or competitive principle of trade, to which he had given scope; for, in the year 1825, there occurred a remarkable stop in the application of his policy. This pause occurred on the question of the Irish Linen Trade. The lower rate of duty to which he had recommended that this species of home manufacture should be made subject, was actually inserted by himself in the schedule of duties, and the bill containing it was in committee, when he asked to be permitted to withdraw the new law which he had proposed, and to uphold the value and the stability of the trade, by the preservation of the existing regulation. The reasons he gave for this remarkable procedure, or the abandonment of the free principle, will be found to be in exact accordance with policy to which all freetrade statesmen are so strenuously opposed, and which they so greatly revile, but which is that ancient principle of regulation which forms so conspicuous a part of the British Constitution. From the date when this occurred to the end of his career, Mr. Huskisson was chiefly influenced by the policy of guarding home institutions and interests against the destructive effects of confliction and competition, and for this course he argued strenuously. The policy is more especially enforced in the debate on the Corn Laws on the 18th of April, 1826. In this debate, Mr. Huskisson's renunciation of the free-trade principle is as complete as words can render it.

The view of the case which I have just described, I will now substantiate by evidence. The reader will then have

before him three material points-firstly, the fact of the experiment having been made; secondly, a stop put to the application of the course of the experiment; thirdly, a renunciation by the minister of the free-trade principle.

The citation of this evidence shall form the matter of my next chapter.

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CHAP. II.

Mr. Huskisson argues against applying the Free-Trade principle to the trade in corn. He calls attention to the benefit resulting to a nation by producing corn for its own people, by the sale of which there is demanded and supported a corresponding value, or an equal amount of capital. The proposition the same as that advanced by Adam Smith and other writers. - Mr. Huskisson is shown to have argued two contrary ways, that is, both for and against Free Trade. He argues against the FreeTrade principle in a debate on the growth and importation of sugar. Mr. Huskisson makes an absolute renunciation of Free-Trade principle in the instance of the Irish linen trade. — A powerful attack made against the Free-Trade policy of the Administration on the occasion of a motion of Mr. Ellice, the member for Coventry. — Mr. Huskisson's attempt to vindicate the course adopted by himself and colleagues. — He cites, as a foundation for their policy, a celebrated petition of merchants and traders of London. The matter of this petition examined. — Its defective character shown. Great effort made by Mr. Canning for the purpose of defeating the attack, and upholding the policy of the Administration. - Mr. Canning's effort successful.

THE matter of Mr. Huskisson's to which I will first call the attention of the reader was advanced by him in the Session of 1814, and in the month of May, on the occasion of resolutions on the Corn Laws being moved by Sir Henry Parnell. Upon this occasion Mr. Huskisson argued strenuously against the policy of importing corn from foreign countries; and he maintained strongly the advantage of producing, by means of our own land, our own labour, and our own capital, the corn that is required for home consumption. His argument was as follows:

"Notwithstanding the importance that was attached to the importation of grain, it was an ascertained fact, that in no one year had more than about one-tenth or one-twelfth of the

*

whole consumption been drawn from foreign countries. If no foreign corn had been imported, the nation would have saved sixty millions sterling. It might be said, that without this importation sixty millions' worth of our manufactures would have remained unsold; but then, it is not recollected what those sixty millions would have effected, if they had been expended in the improvement of our agriculture; or, what increased means of purchasing our manufactures they would have given to the agriculturists. If, on being laid out at home, they had produced these natural effects, then, the country would have added to her means of independence, and have created a market of which no external relations could have deprived her."*

If the reader will so examine the matter of this passage as to give to it a mathematical working and application, he will discover that it presents the identical proposition of facts on the superior advantageousness of home trade over foreign trade which I have adduced from the pages of the scientific writers. Here, by Mr. Huskisson, there are the precise two values created and incorporated, which, previously, were assumed and maintained by Adam Smith and other economists. Here there is put prominently forward one sixty millions' value of agricultural productions, and then another sixty millions' value of different or manufactured productions, which must be reared and exchanged within the nation, and bought or consumed by the people of the nation.

Again, on addressing the House on the state of the Corn. Laws in February, 1815:

"What would be the effect, if the agriculture of the country were allowed to fall back, as had been recommended by one honourable member? The capital was so amalgamated and

Speeches of the Rt. Hon. William Huskisson, vol. i. p. 193.

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