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New Tariff-Preliminary Statement of Sir Robert Peel, before going
into Committee-Speeches of Messrs. Labouchere, D'Israeli, Hume, Gladstone, E. B. Roche, and G. Palmer - Motion of Major Vivian, respecting alleged Suppression of Information by GovernmentDebate, and Division thereon-Motion of Lord Howick against extension of differential Duties--It is opposed by Mr. Gladstone and other Members, and rejected by 281 to 108— The House goes into Committee on the Bill-Debate on Reduction of Duties on Agricul. tural Produce~Mr. P, Miles moves an Amendment respecting Duty on live Cattle-He is supported by Mr. R. Palmer, Earl of March, and Mr. G. Heathcote Opposed by Mr. Gladstone, Lord Norreys, Mr. Gally Knight, and others-Speeches of Lord John Russell and Sir Robert Peel -- Mr. Miles's Amendment lost by a Majority of 267-Other Amendments moved by Major Vivian and Mr. VilliersRejecled— The Committee discuss the Items of the Bill seriatim-Various Amendments relating to Butter, Potatoes, Timber, CottonWool, and other Articles, withdrawn or negatived - The Bill goes through Committee-Read a third time on 28th June- Remarks of Lord John Russell on that occasion - Declarations of Sir R. Peel respecting Commercial Measures of Foreign States—Debates on Customs-Duties Bill in the House of Lords - It is introduced by a Speech of Lord Ripon-Earl Stanhope moves its rejection- The Duke of Richmond supports the Amendment-Lords Clanricarde and Monteagle speak in favour of the Bill—The second Reading carried by 59 to 4-In Committee, Amendments moved by Earl Stankope are rejected ; and third Reading carried by 52 to 5 Debate in the House of Commons on Sugar Duties—The Chancellor of the Exchequer moves to continue existing Duties for one year-Mr. Roebuck moves an Amendment to equalise Foreign and Colonial DutiesIt is defeated by 59 to 18—Another Amendment for reduction of Duties, proposed by Mr. Labouchere—Speeches of Mr. Gladstone, Mr. Hume, Lord John Russell, Mr. Roebuck, and Sir Robert PeelMr. Goulburn's Resolution is carried by 245 to 164.
tas being now virtually dis- early part of the Session the posed of, the exertions of the Go- alterations in the Tariff or Cusvernment were next directed to toms-duties. A complete table of carrying into effect the other great the changes proposed, had been branch of their financial scheme, printed and circulated very shortly
after the intentions of Govern. Committee of the House had perment had been announced ; but formed an important service, by further consideration, and the re- directing general attention to the presentations of parties concerned, state of the Tariff and the Importhaving subsequently induced them duties." to concede certain modifications in The general object of the preparticular items, an amended copy sent Government was to simplify of the Tariff was afterwards placed the existing law:in the hands of Members, pre- “We have applied ourselves to viously to the 5th of May, on the simplification of the Tariff-to which day it was announced that make it clear, intelligible, and as it would be moved to go into far as possible, consistent; and that Committee on this important sub alone, without reference to the ject.
amount of duty is, I apprehend, On that day the proceedings in a great public object. We have the House of Commons were com- also attempted, speaking generally, menced by an elaborate prelimi- to remove all absolute prohibitions nary statement on the part of the upon the import of foreign artiPrime Minister. The_delay in cles, and to reduce duties which bringing forward the Tariff, he are so high as to be prohibitory said, had been unavoidable, from to such a scale as may admit of a the nature of the propositions fair competition with domestic prothemselves ; for it was the duty of duce. There are instances in which Government, in first considering that principle has been departed the subject, to avoid communica- from, and where prohibitions are tion with parties personally in- maintained, and in ose cases, we terested ; but the proposal having justify departure from the rule been once made, parties had a fair upon special circumstances; but right to be heard with reference to the general rule has been, to abothe important commercial changes lish prohibitions, and reduce proaffecting their interests. To the bibitory duties within the range amended copy of the Tariff he of fair competition. Our object appealed for proof, that the Mic has been, speaking generally, to nisters had been swayed by no un. reduce the duties on raw materials, worthy motive; that they had which constitute the elements of neither deferred to powerful ina manufactures, to an almost nominal terests suggesting alterations with- amount ; to reduce the duties on out reason, nor neglected weaker half-manufactured articles, which interests. He cast a glance re- enter almost as much as raw matetrospectively upon the legislation rials into domestic manufactures, relating to this subject :
to a nominal amount ; and with “ In 1787, Mr. Pitt consoli- reference to articles completely dated the Customs-laws. During manufactured, our object has been the war, it was the practice under to remove prohibitions and reduce financial pressure, to raise the prohibitory duties, so as to enable Customs duties in discriminately; the foreign producer to compete and many of the present anomalies fairly with the domestic manufacarose from that practice. In 1825, turer; and I still entertain that Mr. Huskisson made important confident belief and expectation, changes; and in 1839 a Select which I expressed on first inti
mating the intentions of the Go- duties on foreign wood entered for vernment with respect to this home consumption, it has been Tariff, that the general result of imported into this country, and it, if adopted by the House, will then re-exported to France and be materially to diminish the charge Germany, and, finally, re-imported of living in this country. If you hither as furniture, on a payment of say to me, Why, you cannot 20 per cent. ; so that the cabinet make such a saving on this parti- trade of this country has been cular article, as to constitute any transferred to Germany and France; material item in the expenditure but by the reduction, I anticipate of a family,'I am quite willing to that England may in turn ex. admit that, with respect to parti- port furniture. The reduction of cular articles; but, speaking of duties on dye-woods and ores, the general effects of the Tariff as will be of the greatest benefit to proposed by Her Majesty's Govern- the trade. The high duty on ment, I contend, if there be any copper ore operates in such mantruth in the principles either of ner, that copper smelted in bond in trade or of arithmetic, the inevita- this country cannot be used here ; ble result must be--and a great while copper is imported which advantage it will prove to all classes has been smelted in France and of the community-to make a con- Belgium with our own fuel.” He siderable reduction in the present gave an instance of the effect: price of living in this country, as 'A foreign power was desirous of compared with the price of living entering into a very large contract in other countries. It has been for the building of several steamsaid, that it would be better to ships. Application was made to take fewer articles, and deal specie this country; and the only objecfically with them : but the im- tion made to entering into a conmense advantage of dealing gene- tract for the building of these rally with a great number of articles steam-ships here, to a very large is, that to him who has to suffer extent, was, on account of the exindividual and partial injury, you pense of coppering and fastenings, give a compensation by reductions and preparing the steam-boilers in on other articles.”
this country, as compared with He then went over in detail France and Belgium. A demand some of the chief alterations pro- was made to give a drawback on posed in duties on what might be the amount of copper required, or considered raw material :
to permit a quantity of copper to “ For instance, there are seve- be introduced from foreign counral kinds of seed-produce, the free tries duty-free, equivalent to the importation of which would be of amount needed for those vessels. great advantage to the agricultural It was impossible to accede to those interest. In 1840, the clover- demands ; although it was stated seed imported at 20s. duty pro- by the parties concerned, that the duced 141,0001. revenue; an ex- contract must be transferred either tent of importation, considering to Rotterdam or some place in the high duty, which proves how Belgium. I believe that course great the necessity for it had has not been taken ; I believe the been. The duties on woods came decision as to the place in which next: in consequence of the high the contract shall be entered into has been suspended, until the de- duction they had begun at the termination of this House shall wrong end; and that they ought have been made known; and I to have dealt more largely with have every reason to believe, in the Corn-laws, and the duties on case there should be an adequate articles of provision : reduction of the price of copper in His answer was, that they had this country, as compared with the materially reduced the price of the price in other countries, that that necessaries of life. At that mocontract, instead of being trans- ment, under the old law, the duty ferred to a Continental port, will on foreign wheat would have been be taken in this country.' The 27s. a quarter; under the new like advantages would result from law it was 138. He found that beef, the reduced duties on oils and fresh or slightly salted, was absoextracts, which are extensively lutely prohibited; he proposed to used in our manufactures; while admit it at 8s. a hundred-weight. one of the chief, spermaceti oil, Lard, an article important in the has risen from 601. or 701. per tun consumption of the poor, and for a few years ago, to 951., or even to manufacturing purposes, would be 111l. per tun; and in the United admitted at 28. a hundred-weight, States, it can be procured for simi. instead of 8s.; salt beef at 88. inlar purposes at 3s. or 4s. a gallon. stead of 128.; hams at 14s. a hunComing to timber, he reminded dred, instead of 28s.; salmon, now the House of the celebrated dictum prohibited, would be admitted at of Mr. Deacon Hume, that we 10s. a hundred-weight; and her, have abundance of untaxed coal, rings, a fish in which the poor abundance of untaxed iron, and were most interested, would be that we only want abundance of admitted at 10s. the barrel instead untaxed wood, in order to be of 20s. This part of the measure provided cheaply with the three had created some apprehension in great primary raw materials of the north of Scotland, under the employment and necessary con- apprehension of which a person sumption. He thought that to had written to him thus: - Noradmit an unlimited competition way produces, I think, as many with the Colonies in an article herrings as we do.
Go to the of so much importance to them, Baltic, and you may purchase would be open to grave objec- herrings at 7s. 6d. to 8s. a barrel, tions; but the permission to im- while ours cost from 18s, to 20s. port colonial timber free from duty, I presume the Norwegian herrings would keep in check any demand can be landed in Ireland at 11s. to which might be made on Parlia- 12s. per barrel ; ours cannot at ment, in case they felt disposed to less than from 20s. to 22s. I afford additional facilities for the a free-trader in every other reimportation of Baltic timber.
spect - (Cheers and laughter) On articles of foreign manufac- but with respect to herrings, I ture, he proposed to lay an amount caution you against the general of duty, generally speaking, not to ruin which you are about to inexceed 20 per cent. At present, flict on those engaged in that the amount of the duties was as branch of trade.' That was a very high as it was during the war. fair example of the general feeling It had been said, that by that re- created by these reductions. He
could not help replying to his cor- protection. In proof, he read. respondent, “That he has not con- letter from a smuggler : vinced me that I was about to 6. This is a letter, of course not inflict ruin on the working classes addressed to me (Laughter)-but of the north of Ireland, by enabling I guarantee it to be a bona fide them to get for 10s. a barrel of letter, addressed by a man of large herrings for which they must at means and capital, in regular interpresent pay 20s.""
course with this great city as a But why should not the inha- smuggler. It is dated December, bitants of the north of Scotland be 1841. After offering his services able to compete with the Norwe- on the goods from a certain port, gians for the supply of Ireland ? he adds, I am also able to for
“I say, reduce the duty on ward to you every week blondes timber ; enable the fisherman to and laces (I mean,
articles manubuild a better kind of boat, in factured at Lille, Arras, Caen, order that he may go further to Chantilly, &c.) at a very low presea, and navigate in rougher wea- mium by the indirect channel, ther, and then he will be well able (Laughter.) The goods would be to compete with foreign fishermen. delivered in London the same week He has as much industry, as great of the reception here, by a sure skill; and by exposing him to a and discreet individual : my means certain amount of competition, you are always free of losses and daapply a stimulus to greater exer- mages, or I would not use them. tion than is now called for from Here follow the prices at which I him. Reduce the price of other might at present undertake the raw materials he requires, and the passage: effect will be still greater in the same direction.”
Blondes, by pieces, accord
ing to value In the same way, he showed the
Blonde veils, according to effect of the reduction on vege- value
8 or 84 tables. After mature considera- Laces (Lille ditto) 8 or 83 tion, Government had come to the
11 to 12 Kid gloves
12 to 13 conclusion, that the duty on hops was extravagant; and it would be And generally all silk goods, as reduced from 8l. 4s. to 41. 10s. gros de Naples, satins, gros des Taking then the whole Tariff, not Indes, gros de Paris, jewellery, &c., an individual article like corn, it for which articles prices would be would be seen that the cost of sus- to be determined, but certainly a tenance was greatly reduced. He great deal under your Custom-house quoted a letter from an attaché at duties.” Now, certainly, could there the Court of Berlin, which ex- be a more lucid exposition that you plained that, with the municipal are not confering a benefit on the or octroi duties, the cost of living domestic manufacturer of this counto the poor in the large Conti- try, by imposing duties on the for nental towns was very nearly as reign manufactures, which can be great as in this country. But high avoided ? Is it not clear, that it duties were, in fact, a mere de would be more beneficial to the dolusion; they did not protect the mestic manufacturer that he should home manufacturer, for the smugo know the extent of the competition gler robbed the fair trader of the to which be is subjected ; that he