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HEAR BOTH SIDES! I c. R M. Talbot, Esq., at the Bridgend meeting last week, said he had been requested to move the first resolution which was to be proposed for the meeting's consideration, and lie had great pleasure in doing so. Before he came to the resolution, with the permission of the meeting he would make a. few re- marks oil its purport, and refer to the satisfaction he felt at seeing such an assemblage; because their attendance in that hall convinced him that they were alive to the lirpo tance of the subject they were to discuss. The advantages of meetings like this were not small. In the first place, they strengthen the 1 9 hands of the county's representatives (cheers). He did not hesitate to say that if the inhabitants of every county in Eng- land and Wales were to meet and express their opinions upon this bill—that for the repeal of the Navigation Laws—it must fall to the ground (cheers). Now, what were those Navigation Laws that the gentlemen present assembled there to talk about ? lie might be excused if he shortly alluded to them, as the meeting was held in an inland town; and he knew many gentlemen who were present to whom the subject of the Navi- gatian Laws was not so familiar as it was to many others of the inhabitants of the county. Those laws were comprised in a great variety of statutes, but the intention of all of them was the same, namely, the keeping up of the supremacy of the ma- ritime dominion of Cireat Britain. These laws were enacted by Parliament at various periods and they contained numerous provisions, all tending to one object. Por example, the pro- duce of the East Indies cannot be brought to this country in foreign snips; the trade with our colonies can only be carried on in British ships. A variety of restrictions were imposed upon foreign vessels, with the view of having the owners of British vessels properly remunerated and protected, and to secure fair wages to the British seaman and to the British ship- wright. lie firmly believed that those-laws had had that effect; and when he stated to the meeting the present amount of the British shipping interest, lie thought they would agree with hi:n that its vvelfare was a consideration not to be lightly passed over (hear). There are more the 200,000 men who draw their daily bread from serving on board the mercantile navy of Great Britain (hear). Those men had families to support; and he should not be very far wrong if he took the total amount of persons who are dependent upon the mercantile navy for their subsistence at 50",0uO, He thought the meeting would agree with him that the withdrawal of protection from that branch of our trade in which in so many were interested was a serious matter (cheers). If Parliament should legislate in any manner t would injuriously affect the interests of 509,000 of our foliow-Creatures, ho thought they would all fint eventually thai they were all in the iai-tie boat together (hear). He was sure they would not leave their brethren sink without holding out a helping hand (cheers). There are registered British vessels whose tonnage amount to no less than three millions of tons therefore, the property that would be affected by any change in tha Navig ition Laws was vast. Let us not see this change effected without protesting against it. Let us call on the legis- lature to pause ere they lay the axe to the root of that tree under whose shadow they have so long flourished (great cheering) The present state of the bill is this It has gone through nearly every stage in the House of Commons, and no w stands for the third reading after Easter. There is every probability of its being read a third time. But if we have a few such meetings as the one lie then saw, he was quite satis- tied that in the House of "Lords that bill would receive its quietus. He ought to apologise for appearing before the meet-, ing and for attempting to lead the opinions of those present. Ha felt it was rather his duty to follow than to lead. Still he was asked to come forward this day, and he never would hrink from performing any duty which it pleased his constituents to impose upon him. It was his business to represent them in Parliament, rather than to dictate to them. They were to form opinions rather than be instructed by him and to give him their advice instead of asking him for his. Intimately con- nected with the Navigation Laws was the subject of Free Trade. In point of fact, to repeal thf Navigation Laws was to establish free trade in shipping (hear). They had tried the experiment of free trade in corn; and he asked them whether they felt any desire to extend to the shipping interests the disadvan- tages unier which they (tha agriculturists) were now suffering. What was the effect of free trade? Cheapness. Cheapness was the God of the free traders. For that they were prepared to sacrifice the prosperity of this great country. lie confessed, he knew it was an unpopular opinion; but he could not help saying that he preferred high prices, with hign wages and high profits, to low prices, low wages, and low profits (cheers). lIe was glad that in that sentiment the meeting coincided with him; but such was not the sentiment of the freetraders. The object'of the free traders was to reduce everything to the lowest possible price—to let us have everything cheap to buy in the cheapest and sell in the dearest market is a principle- they advocate. That is a truism which no one will attempt to controvert; but there is a fallacy involved in it, because he who buys cheaply must eventually sell cheaply too. Itia impossible to avoid that consequence for any lengthened period. Bo surely as the price of corn fell so would the price of everything e*se; and the ulti- mate result would be low prices in every branch of our manu- factures and commerce. Now there were many other points connected with the subject which this meeting had to discuss some of which would be entered upon by the gentleman who was to follow him (Mr. Talbot). He would, therefore, not detain them much longer, but would, read the resolution which he had to move.— Guardian. Mr. Cobden. at the dinner given to him at Wakefield on the 11th inst., said—I feel that it is from me the apology should come that I have not long ago had the opportunity of meeting the electors of the West Riding at home. I ought to have paid mv respects to you immediately on my return from the conti- nent, to have thanked you, and my friend in the chair especi- ally, for the most prominent and responsible position he filled on that occasion in nominating me and returning me while I .was thousands of miles away, conferring on me the most dis- tinguished honour that could be conferred on a citizen of this country. But, gentlemen, since my return home I have found myself occupied in public avocations; 1 believe that my pursuits have been your pursuits; that myaini has been your aim; and I have felt assured that, dealing as I have done with a body of intelligent men, you have been satisfied, willst I was in pursuit of what I humbly conceived my duty and your welfare.- You would be satisfied that I should pursue my duties in Parliament, and be content to be together in spirit, though we were absent in bodv. Your excellent chairman has been good enough to associate my name with three principles—free trade, economy, and peace. I bag it to be distinctly understood that in meeting you here to-day—in having the privilege of exchanging senti- ments with you-we do not meet for the glorification of any individual or ourselves, but to do homage to those principles which your chairman has enumerated (cheers)—to render, if possible, more secure the attainment of the first of those princi- ples, and to pave the way for carrying out effectually and speedily. the other two. I am not going to make a free trade speech; but an attempt has been made- to show that free trade iji corn- for that is about the limit of our triumph as yet—that free trade in corn, which we have had for some tiina short of three months, is a failure. Well, I don't know what we expected free trade in corn to do that it has not done for us, as fai as it could pos- sibly have done fur us. Did anybody ever ask themselves this question—What would have been our position now if we had not carried the repeal of the Corn laws just at the time we did? I have talked to men conversant with these matters, and I have pu- tlii,, question to them—Supposing the old sliding scale to have remained in operation now, what would have been the price of corn at this moment? And the general opinion I hear is that wheat would be at 70s. a quarter. What would then have been the condition of Yorkshire? Just what it was in 1839 after the failure of the harvest in 1838. Your towns would have been crowded with paupers, and your1 capitalists would have been meeting together to try and avert impending ruin as they did in 1839. Now what is the condition of-things? I don't say that trade is as good as it might be, or as I hope it will be; but taking-the condition of the mass of the working population now, and comparing this with what it was in 1838, IS40, 1842. 1S42, and 1843, I say there is now a state of great prosperity (cheers); nay I doubt very much whether that por- tion of the labouring classes of this county and Lancashire which is fully employed in the mechanical arts, in manufac- tures, and in other pursuits—I speak, particularly of skilled workmen—ever in their lives were in the possession of a greater amount of comfort in exchange for their labour than they are at this moment; because you have now not merely food, but rai- ment and all those huiimii luxuries which are happily within the reach of the working classes, cheaper than, as a whole, at any time when the trade of this district was peculiarly prosper- otis. AVhen we o back to 1835 and 1833, for instance, though there was great prosperity, the price of many articles of clothing 'was then much higher. than now; cotton goods were about doable what they now are. The working classes are doing hltèr than their masters at present; but, however, I hope to see their employers' deriving a full and adequate reward for -tlii-,ir ski!l and capital. But'we did not. profess that free tralo in corn was a sort of alchemy that was to discover the philosopher's stone, or cure all diseases; we never said so. Our opponents have said that of us, to try and make us ridi- culous. We never said that free trade in corn would prevent the evils that follow excessive speculation in railways (cheers). There is a sore place in almost every family and counting-house, arising from these railway speculations (cheers). We never said free trade in corn would heal those sores (cheers). We never said it would prevent civil wars on the continent; or, if civil Wars arose on the continent, we never said that free trade in corn would prevent them acting injuriously on our foreign trade. We never said that there would be no potato rot if we had a free trade in corn. None of those evils that have fallen on us did we ever profess to avert or cure; but what we did say is this, thatgwhether foreign or civil war happens, or railway speculations turn out disastrous, or potato rot conies, you will be a great deal better able to bear all those evils with free trade in corn than you would have been under the old sliding scale (cheers). We never said more than that, and, if so much as we professed has been done, who has a right to say that free trade has been a failure (cheers) ? But then we are told there is great difficulty and embarrassment in certain portions of the agricultural districts. I think there has been a great deal too much of outcry about distress in the agricultural districts (cheers). I think it a disgrace to certain portions of these districts that they have made any outcry at all during the greater part of 1^47 and 1848. The farmers of England were placed under more fortunate circumstances than ever they had been in this country within the memory of man. They had capital crops and unprecedentedlyhigh prices; at least, prices without a precedent since the war. Bear in mind that when in former times they had a high price for their corn it was from a deficient. crop, but during 1847 and 1848 they were in the glorious position that the scarcity and high price of corn arose from the failure of the potato, while they had capital crops of wheat. They never had such an opportunity of actually coining money as in the'spring of 1848 and during the whole of 1847. 111 Hampshire corn was selling at C5 the quarter 100 shillings the quarter was refused in Chichester market; and now those people are meeting and declaring that they are all ruined because they have had three or four months' bad trade. It is disgraceful both to farmers and landlords to make that outcry. You had 18 months of bad trade, you had,, more; at the very time they were getting this price for their wheat you were carrying on your business at a lots. In Lan- cashire losses during those 18 months must be measured by the extent of the manufactory. If it was large, the loss was about one thousand pounds, and if smaller, the loss was about one- half or one-third o that sum per month. Yet, you do not come whining to Parliament; you stood manfully during the storm, and were ready to go to work with the first gleam. -We do not pretend to say that the farmers will not have a difficulty in gp- ing through the transition state—-monopoly to free trade. It is in the very nature of things that, if you have been trying on evil courses for thirty years,, the ordeal of getting into a right course must cause one pain. A man does not recover from a fever-without going through a very painful state of languor. We expected there would be this difficulty in transition so did our oppbsers, or why did they give us the work of a seven years' battle ? They have no right, though, to turn round upon us, and say, Look at the difficulties we have in our ar- rangements with our tenants and landowners to meet this new- state of things." We told them they would havedifiî. ulties precisely such as the manufacturers in 1817; they had to look about them; they had to adopt a new system of business, make larger returns in quicker time, they had to produce more from a given quantity of machinery and in a given space of time; and we tell the farmers and landowners too, they must go through precisely thesanle process, they must have their energies quickened, they must make their land more productive, they must come t) terms with each other by which they may have the utmost possible production out of the soil. All these we intend they should do—it is for their interests, as well as ours, that they should and whilst they do not, but, instead of that, go whining to Parliament, and talking of transferring the taxes off their shoulders on to o-,irs they indulge in such child's play, they make themselves simply ridiculous in the eyes of men of business, and we have no sym- pathy for any of their pretended distress. They say they can- not compete with foreigners in the pro. uce of corn. I speak to or the backbone and muscle of the clothing districts of; England, You have no protection, and if you wanted any, I should vote against your having it. But there is this difference between your case and that of the farmers. You are obliged to sell your cloth so cheap that when it is gone to China or New York it must compete with the producers there even after the con- sumer pays the cost of carriage and a heavy duty. Your pro- duction is so good that the consumer prefers to buy yours, paying those charges in addition. The farmer, on the contrary, has only to compete with the foreigner when his corn is brought into this market after incurring the expense of carriage. The farmer, therefore, is always sure of getting a higher price for his corn than the foreigner, and you are always certain of getting a lower price rux Tef.ui' The farmers may have difficulties,'but they cannot be allowed to indemnify themselves out of your pockets; if they cannot make their trade answer. I have been watching with some anxiety the course the farmers' friends have taken in Parlia- ment. I thought when they found themselves deprived of pro- tection they would at once begin to.join with the free traders in reducing the of the country they have not done so, for this reisoi--tlicv bel:le,e still, or find it their policy to affect to believe, they can put their hands into your pockets and indemnify themselves. I -want the agriculturists and land- owners to be convinced" that to go back to protcctinn in any shape is impossible. We are not now talking the language of a party, but of every party, and there is no party in existence which has a leg to stand on in West Yorkshire which is in favour of a return to protection. When the constituencies of 8 rural counties are satisfied that if they maintain a taxation they shall pay their share out of their own pockets, and shrill not indemnity themselves by putting their hands into your bread- baskets, they will join with us in reducing the taxation and ex- penditure ot the country as the only means by which they can enable themselves to meet the competition of foreigners. Up to this time they have not, joined us,, and I have been, confess, astonished to see the unanimity with which county members uphold the extravagant expenditure of the Government. I made a motion, which I put in a very modest way—I merely proposed that in the opinion of. the House of Commons we should return as speedily as possible to the amount of expendi- ture which was found sufficient for us fourteen years ago, and upwards of a hundred county members went into the lobby against me, and the county constituencies therefore sent up members in favour of high taxes. Well, if they won't help us to reduce the expenditure, we will take care that they only have low prices to pay high taxes', and if they continue to pay high taxes, it shall be their own fault. It is not considered etiquette to attribute mütive for the votes given in the House of Commons. We must not state what we know to be the fact as t,- what influences votes in Parliament. It is actually for- bidden us to say that the counties are represented by the aris- tocracy, whose families are connected with the service by land and by sea, and that the members of those aristocratic families keep up an enormous expenditure for the army and navy in order that their younger sons may-finds berths. It is considered very improper that any of these allusions should be male, and therefore as there is a rule that motives should not be attri- buted, don't let it be supposed thatT have imagined anything like what I have stated. We will suppose, then, that these farmers and small freeholders are the men who suppose they have all the interest. We must suppose, looking into our army list, that the staff appointments are all held by the relatives of the farmer and 40 freeholder. We have 150 admirals; we never can' employ more than fourteen of these at a time, and we must suppose that these admirals are all of them near con- nexions of the tenant-fanners. It will -not be considered had taste to have assumed .that. Then, if these farmers and 40s. freeholders will support high taxes, because their brothers and sons may be admirals, majors, and colonels—if they choose to keep up such establishments fur their interest, we are not going to let them pay for them out of the bread-basket. Our friends in the southern counties will perfectly understand that we see through the whole case—vha.t we know exactly how the land lies. If the tenant-iarmers and the people of the middle class- in the south of England, really want to reduce' taxation—if they want any amelioration in. those laws that affect them with respect to game, with respect to occupancy', or in any other way in which legislation can be to their interest, they must join us, but not to°impose an Ss. or l«s. duty. When I see the farmers getting up a row in South Hampshire, and carrying down a Mr. Shaw to be more prominent than the squires themselves in clamour- inrr for protection, I pity them; they are positively past all hope of salvation. The farmers are a class of the most depend- ent, politically, on the face of the earth. They every now and then burst into a sort of saturnalia. These political bondsmen .-they mean iiatiiilg-it, ends in nothing. The landlord is mere.y asked to go to his agent, and say--tell all the fanners on such an estate they must vote for such a man, and they do it. The whole thing is effected by a wink or a nod. It re- quires no noise. Besides, the farmers form a very small part of the electors even in a county. We have a return before Par- liament of the different kinds of qualifications, and in the most rural the proportion of occupying tenants is about one-eighth or one-seventh, and in Lancashire not more than one-tenth. To set up for themselves without the middle classes is the most hopeless, helpless, childish thing, that human beings could re- sort to. If they want a reduction of taxation, we will help them to obtain it. My friend Bright has proposed to get rid of the game laws for them. But they don't help him much. It is something like the malt-tax over again. The few men that will support Mr. Bright will be the free traders; they are the only friends the farmers have in the House of Com- mons (cheers). You know what my motion about retrench- ment lB. It is a very simple case. I put it before Parliament, and I was sorry you found your representative in so small a minority. But I beg you distinctly to understand that I was in good company (cheers). I had Lancashire with me—I had the metropolis with me—I had Edinburgh and Glasgow with me—I had Middlesex with me. Of all the large towns, only Liverpool—" a strange anomaly," seeing that financial reform commenced there—and Sheffield, rather peculiarly situated- (a laugh)—plumped against me (cheers). Sheffield voted against me under peculiar circumstances, which you will un- derstand; but that won't occur again (cheersh I am very anxious that you in the West Riding should understand this, and if you .will take the trouble to analyze the places whence my supporters came, you will find that enlightened and free public opinion was with me on that motion, as certainly as it ever was with Mi. Villiers before Sir It. Peel took up free trade in corn and I may boldly say, that I never expect to be in a majority in reducing our expenditure to the standard of 183-J. Government will take care of that as they did on the Corn-laws they will do the work themselves (cheers). If we were in the majority, the Queen would have to send for us, and that would not suit. them (cheers). Some Government must do it for us. To be sure our right hon. friend and neighbour Sir Charles Wood has only made a beginiiiil g-tlittt is his policy. It is intended only as an encouragement for us to go on. Perhaps he could not do more this time, but it is quite plain what he means if you persevere, especially in the West Hiding. A great deal more will be done next year, and it will be all done as soon as possible (loud cheers). What I pro- posed was to go liack as speedily as possible to the expenditure of 183;). No answer was given to the facts I stated, viz., that the successive increases of our expenditure for armaments had all been occasioned by special circumstances which have passed -tw,iy (cheers). I stated other changes, which I hope will engage the,-&tt,entiou,ol the West Riding. I want to enlist you in two or three practical questions, but which our opponents will call ut9,pias (cheers). Utopias ? The West Killing has a knack of making utbpias realities (cheers). The \e8t Riding made Clarkson's Utopias for the abolition of the slave trade a reality (cheers). The West Riding made Wilberforce's Utopias for abolition of shivery a reality. You made what was called madness in 1839 reality in 1849 (cheers). I-want you to take up my other lltOpiiiS. One of them is to reduce the expenditure by means which seem to follow naturally out of our free trade Struggle. I want you to raise the cry for colonial reform (cheers). Depend on it, you are as much interested in carry- ing out reform in our colonial system as the colonies them- selves, or as you are in your own municipal affairs, because it is only by the reform of your colonial system that you can ever hope largely to reduce your present expenditure, or be in a position to be safe against an overwhelming expenditure from any accidental cause that. may arise. You may have another war in CaftVaria or New Zealand. We must have our colonies put in a totally different position; we must raise the cry of self-government f*r the colonies." Don't give a feeble re- sponse to that, under the idea industriously spread abroad, that something tending to a dismemberment of the empire is in- volved in giving your colonial fellow-subjects self-govern- ment. As Englishmen they are entitled to it. If you separate yourselves from the dominant class—if there be a dominant class, for it is hardly fashionable to say there is- (cheers)—if you don't separate yourselves from them in their attempt- to keep the colonies as a field of patronage for their younger sons, and that the aristocracy may nominate th' Go- Z, vernment, you will have wars without end with your colonial fellow-subjects. English people, whether in North America, at the Cape of Good Hope, in New Zealand, in Australia,, or in the West Riding of Yorkshire, will govern themselves (cheers). You cannot take up a newspaper from any point of the compass without meeting complaints in every direction. I do not wish to be thought attacking the noble lord at the head of the Colo- nial-office. I do not attack Lord Grey. I have a high respect for his personal honour, and for his moral courage and inde- pendence. He was one of the first that boldly advocated our principles of free trade (cheers). Some of you recollect he abandoned office rather than lend himself to compromise on the slavery question (cheers). Such a man is entitled, to our respect. I make no charge against Mr. Hawes, a man of busi- ness from amongst ourselves, wh.o industriously and honour- ably fills an office under Government. What 1 do find fault with is, that men should allow themselves to be put into an office to do impossibilities it would require omnipotence and omnipresence almost to be able from a street in London to govern more than forty dependencies in every latitude. Sup- nose we bad to send up to Sir George Grev to have his autho- rity tor everytnmg we in, —v™ rate such a thing? And yet we have railway transit that performs the distance between this and London in six horns, and by the telegraph, that will communicate with the metro- polis in a minute, you can talk with the Home-office, and yet you would not tolerate its interference in Wakefield, Leeds, or Manchester. How, then, do you think that in Downing- street they can govern the people of New Zealand and Aus- tralia ? Before they can exchange communications, ten to one the object of those communications will have passed away. It is utteriy absurd, and it is impossible for the inte; est of the colonics, with the inalienable right of Englishmen and the rights of our own interests, that they should be kept in a state of pupilage Any longer. If the colonies require our soldiers as a police, they must pay for it; they must pay every farthing required for their own defence:and their own government; nor would they grumble to do so if we only gave. them self-govcrmnent. No doubt I hear Lord John Russell meet Sir \V. Molesworth on this subject with an. objection which, with all deference and respect, has shown me more than, anything else that Lorå John is not quite equal to the position in which he is placed. I refer to the puerile levity with which lie treated those profound, ar- guments and most carefully collected facts wlli(I-I,. Molesworth and others brought forward on this subject. lIe said twice since, You want something totally different from me; you want to dismember the empire; you to this great united empire a smaller empire by getting rid of your colonies one by one. You are going the right way to accom- plish your object." Is it right to treat this question in such a spirit ? What is fri -e trade for, if it be not carried out to its legitimate ends ? There are some statesmen of our days who think the only object of the Reform Bill or the abolition of the Corn Laws was to put them in power, and that when once in power they are to remain there. The country is to be satisfied that they 'are there. They console themselves with the belief that the country wants nothing but that they shall be the re, an 1 they are utterly incompetent, or, what is the same thing in effect, they are to carry out legitimately those prin- ciples by which they have acquired power, and of-which they profess to be the champions. Our colonies are subjected to an enormous expenditure in order that Government may exercise the patronage. We have five colonial governors und a governor in our North American colonies with salaries amounting to L17,000 ayear, while the United Stales, with 30 governors, paid only £ li,300, our colonies having a population of 2,000,000, and the United States 20,000,000. The last, ap- pointment made by the United States was a governor of Cali- fornia, with a salary of L600 our last appointment was the governor of Labuan, with t2,000 a-year. The hon. gentleman then urged at great length the necessity of greatly reducing our arm amenta,' insisting on the policy of arbitration instead of war. He also urged the formation of a convention between England and France and America, to prevent the indefinite increase of our naval force, and concluded an eloquent speech by calling °n his friends to attend to the registration, as the best means of carrying out their pacific economical views, lie sat down amidstloud cheering.

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