Page:English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists of the nineteenth century.djvu/207
THE CORN LAWS.
of her miraculous accouchement. A rougher and coarser piece of workmanship, if possible, will be found in Gambols on the River Thames, February, 1814 (published also by Tegg), which commemorates the memorable frost of that year.
The Corn LawsOn the 17th of February, 1815, Mr. Frederick Robinson, vice-president of the board of trade", moved for the House of Commons to resolve itself into a committee of the whole house, for the purpose of considering the state of the corn laws. This having been done, he proceeded to lay before the House certain resolutions, three of which related to the free importation of grain to be warehoused and afterwards exported, or to be taken for home consumption when importation for that purpose was allowable. The fourth and most important stated the average price of British corn at which free importation was to be allowed, and below which it was to be prohibited, and this for wheat was fixed at eighty shillings per quarter. An exception was made in favour of grain produced in the British colonies, which might be imported when British grown wheat was at sixty-seven shillings. All the resolutions were read and agreed to, with the exception of the fourth, and this in the end also passed in the face of every amendment.
On the 1st of March, Mr. Robinson brought in his bill "to amend the laws now in force for regulating the importation of corn." By this time very numerous petitions against the bill were coming in from the commercial and manufacturing districts; riotous proceedings also took place on the 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th of March, in the course of which the mob cut to pieces many valuable pictures belonging to Mr. Robinson, destroyed and pitched his furniture into the street, and did a variety of mischief to the property of other well-known supporters of the measure. The riots (which were of a most formidable character) were only quelled by the number and determined attitude of the military and constables. In spite, however, of the unmistakable unpopularity of the measure, and of the strenuous opposition to it both in and out of Parliament, the bill passed the House on the 10th of March, and the Upper House on the 20th.