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It was supported by alderman Waithman, sir Ronald Ferguson, and alderman Wood, but was lost in a, division by 170 votes against 24. The agriculturists did not seem to be better pleased than their adversaries with the omission of the subject of the Corn-laws in the Speech; and, when the report on the Address was brought up, Mr. Western said, that the operation of the Address, as it now stood, would prove exceedingly injurious, by giving the sanction of parliament to the opinion, that the manufacturers were suffering from the undue gains of their fellow countrymen and neighbours, the agriculturists. Now it was most material not only that parliament should do all in its power to guard against the propagation of such an error, and so prevent its injurious effects, but that the House should specifically pledge itself to an investigation of the causes which had led to this state of perplexity and distress, and which, ever since the year 1815, had placed this country in a situation perfectly unparalleled. He conceived that the first duty of the present parliament was, to undertake the charge of that investigation.—to undertake the duty of tracing the causes which had led to such an extraordinary state of distress for the last ten years. He therefore moved as an amendment—"That yourMajesty'sfaithful Commons feel it their duty to represent to your Majesty, and at the same time to express their deep regret, that the Agricultural classes, though not suffering in the degree they did a few years ago, particularly in the year 1822, are yet in a state of severe pressure, from the heavy burthens to which they are exposed. They will endeavour to trace the causes which have led to
the dreadful alternations of prosperity and adversity which all the industrious classes have experienced since the termination of the war in the year 1815, and they trust they shall discover the means of restoring the agriculture, commerce, and manufactures of the country to the same condition of prosperity and progressive improvement in which they were steadily advancing antecedent to that period."—The amendment was opposed by sir John Sebright as unseasonable, considering that the whole question of the Corn-laws would soon be before the House; and it was not pressed to a division by the mover.
On the presentation of a petition, lord Liverpool repeated in the House of Lords the declaration which had been made by Mr. Canning, in the debate on the Address, that ministers were prepared to propose a general measure regarding the Corn-laws, but that it would be unfair towards the country and towards parliament to bring it forward before the Christmas holidays. It had been fully understood that parliament was not to meet for business till after Christmas, and that it had been convoked in November merely for a special purpose. It would, therefore, be unjust to enter upon business which it had been negatively intimated would not come at present under the notice of parliament; and, independently of other considerations, the complicated interests involved in the subject would, of themselves, have prevented ministers from entering upon it, until they were sure of a full attendance.
On the motion of lord Lauderdale, an Address was voted to his Majesty, praying him to order his
and he could not conceive why a law should be retained, which it seemed to be even meritorious to violate. The bill having been introduced, passed both Houses without any farther notice.
On the 23rd of November, the House being about to resolve itself into a committee of supply, Mr. Brogden, who, for many years, had been chairman of that committee, declined the honour of being re-elected at present. Among the bubble schemes of 182/5, Oft£ had been formed for purchasing and working the iron mines of Arigna. Although equally evanescent as most of its perishing companions, it enjoyed for a while, like them, the services of a Board of Directors, and the profits of the sale of fictitious shares. In an evil hour, Mr. Brogden had allowed his name to be set down as a director of the company. It was asserted that the original speculators had agreed to pay 10,000/. for the mines; that they had charged them to the company for which they acted as having been purchased for 25,000/.; and that the 15,000/. thus raised by knavery, had been divided among the directors and their dependents. Alderman Waithman, who seemed to have marked out these speculations as the peculiar objects of his parliamentary castigations,had introduced them into the debate on the address, and had pointed out the omitting all mention of the dishonesty in which they began, and the bankruptcies in which they ended, as one great deficiency in the royal Speech. In particular, he expressly declared, that.if Mr. Brogden should be again proposed to fill the situation which he had recently held, he would oppose his election, until certain transactions, in which he
had been engaged, should have been explained.
Mr. Brogden, on that occasion, stated, in answer to the alderman, the history and particulars of his connection with the Arigna company; admitting that unjustifiable transactions had undoubtedly been resorted to in the conduct of its affairs, but averring his total ignorance of any thing improper having been even contemplated, and confirming his assertion by the fact, that a committee of the very proprietors against whom the fraud had been directed, had, after due inquiry, not only fully acquitted Mm, hut reported that he had conducted himself throughout with strict honour and integrity; a judgment which had subsequently been ratified by four or five general meetings of the share-holders. On the motion that the Speaker should leave the chair, with the view of the House resolving itself into a committee of supply, Mr. Brogden now said, that, for two parliaments, he had enjoyed the honour of filling the chair of the committee of ways and means; and, during the whole of that time, he was not conscious of having done any thing contrary to the station which he individually held in society, or derogatory to that with which he had been honoured by the House. However, for some time back, he had been assailed by calumnies and aspersions the most unjustifiable and unfounded: prejudices must naturally have arisen against him, both within and without the walls of parliament; and though he had repelled them in quarters to which he had access— though he had been thanked and applauded for his conduct by those who best knew his character—still the attacks against him had been