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the average price throughout England.
In ancient times, when roads were few, the site of Eton on a navigable river gave it a local advantage in the purchase of corn, and the wheat is always stated to be of "middling quality -a term too indefinite very safely to be relied on. The Eton College prices are by no means the average prices even of that market; and the variations between the Eton and the Oxford tables prove the great inequality, and demonstrate a degree of uncertainty attaching to both, which baffles all accuracy of induction or of safe calculation.
It was not until 1797 that any approximation was made to accurate official returns of the average price of corn throughout England, yet quantities did not even then enter into the account, except in the maritime districts, and it was reserved for the new system of taking the averages, which was introduced in 1821, to supply that more accurate information on which reliance may now be placed.
In corroboration of the steadiness of the price of wheat for the last five years, compared with former periods of equal duration, it may not be inexpedient to present the House with a table, dividing the whole time between 1797 and 1833 into terms of five years each, showing also the average price of each year, of each term of five years, the highest and lowest weekly price in the several terms of five years, and per centage of each variation.
[See Table opposite.]
Figures thus establish the assertion, resting on the concurrent testimony of the most experienced witnesses, that the price of wheat for the last five years, under the
present corn law, has been more steady than for any other period of five years since 1797, beyond which time no official returns of accuracy can be produced.
The committee of 1821 declared, "that they were not insensible to the importance of securing this country from a state of dependence on other, and possibly hostile countries, for the subsistence of its population." At that time the annual growth of wheat was by them considered equal to the annual consumption. Your committee have come to an opposite conclusion with respect to the present time, and find that a diminished supply of home-grown corn, with an increasing demand, has rendered this nation now annually dependent for a portion of its supply on importations from abroad.
The political considerations which weighed with the committee of 1821, remain unchanged; and if it be not prudent to run the risk of rendering the dense population of these islands in a great degree dependent on the supply of breadcorn from abroad, the protection now given to corn, the growth of the United Kingdom, may be justly regarded as an insurance against famine, and against the danger of that reliance on foreign countries for the staff of life, which might be found inconsistent with the safety and permanent interests of the people, and ultimately fatal to our national independence.
In the century prior to 1793, according to the returns, which it is admitted are imperfect, 50s. a quarter was the average price of wheat, and England, for a great part of that century, was an exporting country. At this moment the average price does not exceed 54s. a quarter; and in the last five
years ending on the 1st of January, 1833, the importation of wheat from abroad, annually averages 1,145,000 quarters.
The present price of meat, as compared with corn, is high; but this has been in a great measure attributed to an extensive loss in the flocks of sheep, occasioned by rot, which recently prevailed among them for two or three years consecutively.
On the whole, it must be admitted, that the difficulties are great, and the burdens heavy which oppress the landed interest; but contracts, prices, and labour have a strong natural tendency to adjust themselves to the value of money, once established, and it is hoped, that the balance may be restored which will give to farming capital its fair return.
Your committee has endeavoured to trace the injurious effects of past legislation; and, to prove the caution necessary in future measures, it may be urged that they have stated many evils, but have failed to suggest remedies; it should, however, be remembered, that legislative measures, once taken and long established, can rarely be abandoned without danger, and that to retreat is occasionally more dangerous than to advance.
In conclusion, your committee avow their opinion, that hopes of melioration in the condiition of the landed interest, rest rather on the cautious forbearance, than on the active interposition of Parliament. August 2, 1833,
CORRESPONDENCE with his MAJESTY'S AMBASSADOR at PARIS, and COMMUNICATIONS from the FRENCH AMBASSADOR in LONDON, in 1830, RELATIVE to the FRENCH EXPEDITION against ALGIERS.
No. I. The EARL OF ABERDEEN to LORD STUART DE ROTHESAY.
Foreign Office, March 5, 1830.
My Lord-The extensive scale of the preparations for the expedition against Algiers, and the declaration in the speech of his most Christian majesty upon this subject, have naturally engaged the attention of his majesty's government. Your Excellency is already aware of the sincere desire which his majesty entertains that the injuries and affronts which have been endured by the king of France from
the regency of Algiers may be duly avenged, and that his most Christian majesty may exact the most signal reparation from this barba
rous state; but the formidable force about to be embarked, and the intimation in the speech to which I have alluded, appear to indicate an intention of effecting the entire destruction of the regency rather than the infliction of chastisement. This probable change in the condition of a territory so important from its geographical position cannot be regarded by his majesty's government without much interest, and it renders some explanation of
the intentions of the French government still more desirable. I have communicated these sentiments to the duke de Laval, and have received from his Excellency the most positive assurances of the entirely disinterested views of the cabinet of the Tuileries in the future disposal of the state of Algiers. Notwithstanding his Excellency has promised to write to his government in order to obtain the means of making an official communication, I have thought it right to instruct you to bring the subject under the notice of M. de Polignac, It is probable, that the French Minister may be desirous of affording all the explanation we can desire. The intimate union and concert existing between the two countries give us reason to expect that we shall receive the full confidence of the French government in a matter touching the interests of both, and which in its result may be productive of the most important effects upon the commercial and political relations of the Mediterranean states. I am &c.,
Lord Stuart De Rothesay, G.C.B. &c. No.II-LORD STUART DE ROTHESAY to the EARL OF ABERDEEN. Paris, March 8, 1830.
My Lord-I have been honoured with your Lordship's letter of the 5th instant, and have lost no time in communicating with the Prince de Polignac upon the subject to which it relates.
His Excellency informs me that a communication from the duke de Laval upon the same subject had reached him a few hours before, that he had not yet sought the King's orders, but that he should
do so without loss of time, and hopes they will enable him to address a communication to that minister, containing a satisfactory answer to the questions put forward by my government respecting the objects of the expedition, and the future destiny of the regency of Algiers in case of success.
He said that in the mean time he could enable me to convey to your lordship the assurance of his most Christian majesty's readiness to deliberate with his Majesty and with his other allies respecting the arrangement by which the government of those countries may be hereafter settled in a manner conducive to the maintenance of the tranquillity of the Mediterranean and of all Europe.
I have the honour to be, &c.,
STUART DE ROTHESAY. The Earl of Aberdeen, K.T. &c.
No. III.-The EARL OF ABERDEEN to LORD STUART DE ROTHESAY.
Foreign Office, March 23, 1830. My Lord-The duke de Laval has communicated to me, by order of his court, the copy of a despatch which his Excellency has received in answer to the inquiry which you were instructed to make into the real views and intentions of the French government in undertaking the expedition now preparing in the ports of France against the regency of Algiers.
The explanations afforded by this despatch, so far as they relate to the causes and general objects of the war have been satisfactory to his majesty's government; and this satisfaction has been increased by the voluntary offer of M. de Polignac to render these explanations still more precise and clear in those
points where it may be thought necessary to do so.
His Majesty has long been sensible of the gross outrage and repeated insults which his most Christian Majesty has sustained by the conduct of the government of Algiers, and his Majesty has always expected that for such conduct the most signal reparation would be exacted. The additional objects which a sense of accumulated in juries has induced the French government to give to the intended expedition are such as his Majesty cannot but approve. They are such as his Majesty has himself proposed and for the attainment of which he has himself made considerable sacrifices.
I am further commanded by his Majesty to express his confidence in the disinterested views of his most Christian Majesty, and in his desire to render the consequence, of this enterprise generally beneficial to the states of Christendom. It appears, however, that the character of the expedition is of no ordinary description, for, if I correctly interpret the despatch of M. de Polignac, it is undertaken, not so much for the purpose of obtaining reparation, or of inflicting chastisement, as of carrying into execution a project which may possibly lead to a war of extermination. Under these circumstances, the declaration of his most Christian Majesty, that, in the event of the destruction of the Algerine state, he will concert with his allies the means of most effectually securing the objects proposed, can scarcely be considered as affording that entire satisfaction which we may reasonably expect to receive.
In the developement of the intentions of the French government, as afforded by the despatch of M.
de Polignac, I will not conceal from your Excellency, that the entire silence respecting the rights and interests of the Porte has been observed with some surprise. It is difficult to imagine that under any change of circumstances these claims should be neglected by his most Christian majestys. It is true that many of the states of Europe, and France and England amongst the number, have long been accustomed to treat the regencies as independent powers, and have held their governments to be responsible for their conduct; but we have neither forgotten their relation to the Porte nor the species of sovereignty which the sultan still exercises over them. It is only very recently that his most Christian Majesty has renounced the intention of availing himself of the mediation and authority of the Turkish government, in order to effect a reconciliation with Algiers. These Barbary states are still vassal and tributary to the Porte, and when the power of the vassal ceases to exist, it is reasonable to suppose that the rights of the sovereign may meet with attention. The solicitude which his most Christian Majesty has always shown for the preservation and welfare of the Turkish empire forbids us to think otherwise.
Whatever may be the means which shall be found necessary to secure the objects of the expedition, the French government ought at least to have no difficulty in renouncing all views of territorial possession or aggrandizement. The expressions of a former despatch from the French minister, and the substance of which was communicated by the duke de Laval to his Majesty's government, were sufficiently precise in this respect, and it is therefore to be presumed that