LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

In Whig Society 1775-1818
Lady Melbourne to Frederick Lamb, 27 February 1815

Chapter I.
Chapter II.
Chapter III.
Chapter IV.
Chapter V.
Chapter VI.
Chapter VII.
Chapter VIII.
Chapter IX.
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27th Feby. 1815.
Dearest Frederick,

I received yr. Letter fm. Vienna of the 12th, & according to my calculation you will probably be at Paris about the time this Letter reaches it,—I read with pleasure your favorable prognostics respecting finance, & I am sure if my easy sailing could accomplish it, there would be no fear but where all the Crew are not agreed & counteract one another, the sails are often tightened even to breaking but we will talk over these matters & it is a great comfort to have any one to whom one can talk to without reserve—for tho’ you are interested in the subject—you
are not selfish & that makes the great difference—but I won’t bore about it now.

We are in the midst of violence & dissensions respecting this Corn Bill which to me, from the first, has appeared the simplest question that could be agitated—& all their reasons & calculations on both sides seem to puzzle the question. I look upon experience as the surest guide on all such questions, where at the first setting out much must depend on Theory. Now for a number of the most flourishing yrs. we lived under the operation of a Corn Bill & everything respecting importation & exportation went on to the advantage of both growers & consumers—two successive yrs. of bad Harvests all over Europe raised the price to such a sum, tht. the Corn Bill remain’d on the shelf, & could not be brought into action. The War & depreciation of the currency kept up the prices—when the first ceased, & there was also a large produce the prices fell. Does it not seem wise whilst the depreciation of the currency continues to raise the price at which Corn may be imported—so as to bring that trade again under the action of that same Corn Bill, which had succeeded so well—by raising the price according to the circumstances of the times. I have gone more at length into this than I had any idea of doing & it may perhaps bore you but I must mention one circumstance more. The ports are now shut from the average of the Corn having sunk below this original Corn Bill I mention—which some of our great Political Œconomists asserted could never happen, but then this is only for those [or three] mths.—& a very small rise, will, at the expiration of that time, open them again. The cry raised agst. high rents has very
little to do with it, so you need not think that I am influenced.