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Statements Illustrative of the Policy and Probable Consequences of the Proposed Repeal of the Existing Corn Laws

Statements Illustrative of the Policy and Probable Consequences of the Proposed Repeal of the Existing Corn Laws

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Excerpt from Statements Illustrative of the Policy and Probable Consequences of the Proposed Repeal of the Existing Corn Laws: And the Imposition in Their Stead of a Moderate Fixed Duty on Foreign Corn When Entered for Consumption

The announcement that government has determined to grapple with the question of the Corn Laws, and to propose placing them on the footing best calculated to secure the rights and promote the interests of all classes, should give universal satisfaction. It is obvious, indeed, that the consideration of this great question could not have been much longer delayed without great public injury. Though it had not been taken up by ministers, it would have been forced upon the attention of parliament by the petitions of the manufacturing population. The opinions of the latter as to the injurious influence of the existing law are, no doubt, in many respects extravagant and absurd; still, however, there is enough of substantial truth in their statements and complaints to entitle them to the respectful and serious attention of the legislature. The preservation of the wealth, power, and prosperity of the empire depends essentially on our being able to maintain our manufacturing and commercial ascendancy; and it is difficult to imagine how any regulations can be justified that are certainly opposed to the prosperity of manufactures and commerce, and are believed by many to be pregnant with their ruin. In the situation of this country, a question involving such considerations is not one that can be either shirked or trifled with. The legislature consists principally of gentlemen connected with and dependent on the land; but this should make them cautious how they give any countenance by their proceedings to the common opinion that they are actuated on this question by selfish considerations.

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