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circumstances in which the mem- legal documents in a court of law, ber for Clare stood. The ques- he thought the benefit of a doubt tion then was, as Mr. O'Connell's should have double weight in a peculiar case of having been case like that before the House. elected before the passing of the During the discussion, the act, but not having taken his seat friends of Mr. O'Connell insisted till after, was wholly passed over, much on the ungraciousness of --that is, altogether unprovided appearing to legislate against an for in the act, -whether there individual, and the danger of imwas not some clause in it, which, pressing the public mind with the interpreted according to the spirit idea, that the measure was not of the whole measure, might entitle to be executed in the same conhim to partake of all its benefits. ciliatory and liberal disposition in The Solicitor-general had admitted which it seemed to have been that the spirit of a part of that act brought forward. But if the law was in favour of Mr. O'Connell's neither included, nor
was inpresent claim; and who could know tended to include, the case in questhat spirit better than the framer tion, there was no reason why of the bill? If so, then nothing Parliament should make a new act, less than express, explicit, unques- or dispense with the plain provitionable exclusion in the preceding sions of the existing act, out of clauses could deprive him of his mere condescension to Mr. O'Conright. Now the preceding clauses nell. Whether was it more fitting contained not one word of Mr. that the law should bend to him, O'Connell's exclusion, in fact did or that he should be subject to the not allude to him at all; therefore, general rule of the law? The claim he was not only in justice entitled of Mr. O'Connell, said Mr. Peel, to the benefit of any other doubt in was undoubtedly an individual one, his favour, but to the advantages but not strictly a personal one. He to which the strict and plain rule happened to be the only Roman of statute construction would en Catholic that was returned to Partitle him. As the member for liament previous to the passing of Clare would have been admissible the late act for the relief of his under the 10th section of that majesty's Roman Catholic subjects; bill, had it stood alone, so under and if the case had been that of that section he must be still ad- lord Surrey, the new member for missible, unless expressly excluded Horsham,* instead of the member in the preceding sections, by apt for Clare, the House of Commons legal words. All legal documents, would have dealt with it precisely be they wills, deeds, contracts, or in a similar manner, upon similar acts of Parliament, were thus in- grounds, and in reference to the terpreted; for if, in the case of a operation of the law under which doubtful expression in any of them, he was elected. Mr. O'Connell one or two words, additional or being a Roman Catholic when he explanatory, would make the whole
was elected, was disqualified by passage or document plain and clear, the spirit would be taken • This nobleman, son of the duke of into account, and the construction Norfolk, had been elected for Horsham
during the Easter recess and was the would be in conformity to it. If first Catholic who took his seat in the such be the case with respect to House of Commons. VOL. LXXI.
the operation of the then existing Ferguson, would have been in the law, as generally understood, from bill, though Mr. O'Connell, and taking his seat. He himself knew, his election, had never existed. at the time when he was returned, The question, however, was that such was the meaning given pressed to a division, when the to the law then in operation; and Solicitor-general's resolution was there was, therefore, nothing unjust carried, by a majority of 190 to 116. in telling him, that, as he was elected Next day Mr. O'Connell apunder the former law, by that law peared at the Bar. The Speaker he must abide, and that he was by communicated to him the resolution it excluded from sitting in this of the House, and asked him, House. They would justly say to whether he was ready to take the him, “ We deprive you of nothing, Oath of Supremacy. Mr. O'Conwe leave you in the state you were nell requested permission to look in before the passing of the late Re at the oath; it was handed to him, lief bill. We have certainly for and he answered, after a short the future relieved you, in
“ I see, in this oath, one aswith all Roman Catholics, from sertion as to a matter of fact which the necessity of making the De. I know is not true, and see in it claration against transubstantiation. another assertion, as to a matter of That bill was undoubtedly intended opinion, which I believe is not true. to place all Roman Catholics in that I therefore refuse to take this oath." respect upon an equal footing; but - This was followed up by the Soli. it was not a bill intended to apply to citor-general moving that the your personal case; it was not in Speaker should issue his warrant to tended to relieve you from the the Clerk of the Crown to issue a necessity of taking the Oaths of Ab- writ for a new election. Mr. Spring juration and Supremacy, prescribed Rice, on the other hand, moved as by those former acts of Parliament, an amendment that leave be given which were the law of the land at to bring in a bill to relieve Mr. the time when you were elected. O'Connell; whereupon general It is by the operation of the former Gascoign gave notice that he would law that you are now excluded ; move for leave to bring in a bill, to and as you were elected previous alter and amend the Catholic Bill to the passing of the Relief bill, it itself. The amendment was supis abundantly plain that there ported principally on the ground is no injustice in now excluding that it was imprudent to produce you, and no necessity has been in Ireland, at this moment, the shown to induce us to go out of agitation of a new election, but it our way to perform in your regard was ultimately withdrawn. The an uncalled-for act of grace and motion of general Gascoign was favour.” The fact was, that Mr. never made; and the motion for O'Connell was elected at a time a new writ was agreed to without when the passing of that act was a division. contemplated neither by him, nor The last parliamentary result of by his constituents; and he had no the measures which had been thus right to have it applied retrospect- carried through in regard to Ireland, ively to his case, and for his
was a motion for Parliamentary liar benefit. The clauses which Reform. We have already noticed exclude Mr. O'Connell, said Mr. the agility with which the majori
ties of both Houses wheeled round and especially to secure the inat the word of command from terest of the Protestant commuthe minister, and the little regard nity against the influx and increase that was paid to public opinion of the Roman Catholic party; and in revolutionizing the internal one mode of securing it, and at the arrangements of the country. On same time to purify the representathe 2nd of June the marquis of tion, would be, to abolish the Blandford moved a series of resolu- borough-market, which had now tions, which went to declare that been thrown open to Catholics as there existed a number of boroughs well as Protestants. The resolutions, the representation of which could however, were rejected by a majority be purchased, and others in which of 401 to 118. In truth, the motion the number of electors was so small itself was intended to be rather in as to render them liable to the in- the nature of a notice, than made fluence of bribery ; and that such with any design of having the a system was disgraceful to the topics which it embraced fully discharacter of the House of Com- cussed, at that late period of the mons, destructive of the confidence session. It was supported by some which the people should repose in of the old reformers, though on very it, and prejudicial to the best in- different grounds from that dislike terests of the country. He sup- of frec-trade, and apprehension of ported the motion on the ground Catholic influence, which animated that late events had shown how the mover. They confessed they completely the representative body would be less favourably inclined could be separated from the feels to reform, if they could think it ings, the wishes, and the opinions would produce a House of Comof the people. An imperious ne mons unfriendly to what was cessity had been added to the called free-trade, or to the liberal already existing propriety of putting principles which had granted down the boroughmonger and his emancipation. Mr. W. Smith, in trade; all the rights and liberties of voting for the resolutions, expressed the country were in jeopardy, so his high satisfaction that the Relief long as majorities were to be ob- bill had produced one effect, which tained by a traffic of seats and ser its best friends had not anticipated, vices. After what had happened, the the transforming a number of the country demanded some statutory highest tories in the land into provision to secure its agriculture, something very like radical reits manufactures, and its trade; formers.
C H A P. VI.
Motion for a Committec to inquire into the State of the Silk Trade
Motion rejected— Reduction of the Duties on the raw MaterialThe Budget—Prorogation of Parliament.
THE House and the country the middle of March, and that
were so engrossed by the mea the total number of unemployed à sures and discussions relative to persons connected with the trade, Ireland, that scarcely any other amounted to upwards of four thouproceedings worthy of being re- sand two hundred. There were, corded took place during the ses- it appeared, twenty-six mills standsion. In the mean time, however, ing still in Congleton. In 1824, the manufacturing part of the po the average wages were 12s. 8d. pulation were suffering great dis- per week; in 1828, 4s. 7d. In tress; and in some places they aggra- Paisley, there were two-thirds more vated their sufferings by combining mills at work in 1824 than in to remain idle; rather than work at 1828. the average rate of wages the wages which were offered was 155. in 1824, and only them; and both causes led to 8s. 1 d. in 1828. In Macclesfield frequent riotous proceedings, and to there were fifty-two mills employed the destruction of the property of in 1824; in 1828 sixteen of them their employers. The silk weavers were standing still. At Taunton, in Spitalfields and Bethnal Green in Somersetshire, of seventy mills particularly distinguished them- that were employed in 1824, fifty selves in this work of violence. were now standing still, and wages
On the 14th of April, Mr. Fyler, were reduced seventy per cent. In one of the members for Coventry, Spitalfields, in 1824-5, Gros-debrought the state of the silk-trade Naples was paid for at the rate of before Parliament, by moving for 10d. a yard, it was now 6d. ; lusthe appointment of a select com- tring was 1s. a yard, it was now mittee to inquire into its condition, 8d.; other fabrics, which were then and the cause of its decline. The for at the rate of 1s. 2d. a yard, motion was founded on the dis were now 9d. In 1824-5 there tress which was acknowledged on were seventeen thousand looms all hands to prevail, and on state- employed in Spitalfields, while at ments which were said to prove the present day there were only both that the decline of the trade nine thousand. The rate of wages was still progressive, and that its averaged at the former period origin was to be sought in the re 17s.; at present it amounted to cent changes in our commercial only 9s. Figured and fancy goods, legislation. It was mentioned that, in 1824-5, produced an average of in Coventry, the number of silk 22s. a week wages; that rate was weavers out of employment, had now reduced to 14s. In 1824-5 increased by five hundred since one-third of the whole manufac
ture of Spitalfields consisted of gate amount was 8,072,000lb., fancy goods; but now 'of nine being equal to an average
in thousand looms employed, only each year of 2,691,000lb. The two thousand were engaged in the imports, therefore, of raw and manufacture of fancy articles. In thrown silk had been increasing Dublin, in 1824-5, there were one every year from 1815 till 1824, thousand two hundred broad silk and it must therefore be obvious, looms employed, and there were that the silk-trade could not be now only two hundred. In 1824-5 said to have flourished in consethere were nine hundred and sixty- quence of the introduction of these six ribband-engines employed ; new principles.
On the contrary, that number was now reduced to in 1826 and 1827, there had been one hundred and forty-four. In a decrease in the importation of 1824-5 the total number of broad the raw material, as compared with weavers in employ was two thou- 1824 and 1825, of 1,149,153lb. sand one hundred and ninety-six ; In the mean time, under these in 1828 the number employed was new regulations, the imports of only four hundred and forty-four. the manufactured article had been In 1828 the wages were thirty- increasing. In 1828, they amountfive per cent less than in 1824. ed to 676,973). 19s. 6d., which In 1824, there were ten mills in was a most rapid increase ; for in full work; at present there were 1826, they had amounted only to only two, and those only partially 445,0001., and in 1827, lo 555,0877. employed. In 1824 the hands Taking one-third of the quantity employed in throwing were two as the amount brought into the thousand two hundred ; in 1828 country by smuggling, two-thirds there were only one hundred and remained for legal importation, thirty-eight. In 1824, the wages which, at a fair calculation, would were 8s., in 1828 they were only give 1,000,000l. of money, as the 58. This was said to be the actual amount of labour displaced from state and progress of the trade; and the industry of this country : and, it could be imputed mainly, if not taking into account the difference solely, to nothing but the enor- between the price of labour in mous amount of foreign silk goods this country and in France, there imported under the new system. was lost to the industry of this For ten years previous to the country, in depriving our labourers introduction of that system, the of the manufacture of the raw artiquantity of the raw material im- cle into an article of use, no less a ported had been regularly increas- sum than 1,066,233. Hence our ing. In the years 1815, 1816, silk mills and looms were standing and 1817, the aggregate amount still; the weavers were starviny; of the import of raw and thrown and it was quite certain that many silk
4,007,000lb., being even of the masters were giving equal to an average in each year up the trade, and becoming mere of 1,336,000lb. In the years importers. 1818, 1819, 1820 the aggregate 'The ministry opposed the apamount was 6,592,000lb., being pointment of a committee, on the equal to an average in each year ground that it confessedly “pointof 2,194,000lb. In the years ed at a return to the prohibitory 1821, 1822, and 1823, the aggre. system, which they were deters