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sake of the health and morals of the people, that an additional duty was laid on spirits, which would oblige them to make use of the wholesome and nutritious beverage of porter.

Mr. Shaw of Dublin said, that it was impossible for him to allow this measure to go forward, without entering his protest against what was likely to prove so injurious to the whole body of the distillers of Ireland. It would, in the first place, throw a great superabundance of spirits into the country; and in the next place, he thought they should be very cautious how they interrupted a trade which was likely to be so beneficial. Another measure offered itself, which, he thought, would have a better effect; namely, the stopping of distillation after a certain time. It was to be considered too, that large contracts had been entered into, and this measure would throw a damp on all enterprise or speculation, for which reasons he felt it his duty to dissent from the Resolution.

Sir John Newport said, that no man could more heartily concur in any measure, which appeared likely to obviate the difficulties or distresses of the people than himself, but he could not help considering the present as inefficacious. Some documents should be before the House to enable them to form a correct judgment, and to make it manifest that there was no danger from illicit distillation. The right hon. mover had last night stated from the commissariat returns, the prices infinitely lower than the market prices in the adjoining district, which was certainly no great proof of their accuracy. He was far from wishing to oppose the present measure, except on the ground that it led the House to suppose that they had applied a remedy, where, in truth, they had not. If the prohibition of distillation from corn took place, there would be no suffering, because the distillation in a great measure took place from raw corn, which could be brought to market, and was still applicable to other purposes.

Mr. Parnell said, he concurred in opinion with the hon. member for Dublin, that this measure would not diminish the consumption of grain in the distilleries, but alone injure the distiller. The right hon. gentleman had wholly omitted, in his opening statement, to shew in what manner it would realize the declared object of it. For his part, it seemed to be quite plain, that the distilleries being compelled (VOL. XXII.)

by law to work off nearly as much spirits as it was in their power to make, the same quantity would continue to be made-and that the only result of the Bill would be, to lower the price of spirits in the home market, by shutting up the foreign one. The right hon. gentleman had stated very candidly, that his principal object was to allay the apprehensions which prevailed; but if he really believed that those apprehensions were groundless, he should abstain from a measure which must injure the distillers. He ought to remember that they have necessarily purchased grain at the late very high prices, calculating on being able to obtain a sufficient recompence, by fulfilling the orders they had received for sending spirits abroad-and that, if this vent is taken from them, they will probably sustain a very heavy loss. He ought also to recollect, that if such loss can alone be attributable to the interference of parliament, they will have a just claim upon parliament for an adequate compensation. The right hon. gentleman should also consider, that his measure will deprive Ireland of the benefit of a newly established trade, which promised to be of the greatest advantage to her-for it. could not be expected, that the distillers would again undertake all the risk and expence of retaining their trade, if the just reward of their skill and industry was thus suddenly and capriciously taken from them. At the same time, the hon. memher begged the committee would not suppose, from these observations, that he, as others did, wished the government to stop the distilleries altogether-on the contrary, he gave credit to them for the accuracy of the statement of the quantity of provisions in the country, and believed that it was altogether unnecessary for them to interfere.'

Mr. W. Pole replied to the different objections urged against the proposed measure, many of which he was quite surprised to hear. It was said that no relief/ would follow, as the quantity exported was not so great as to cause any difference in the price of corn; but he could state, that the quantity exported had been from 1-4th to 1-5th of the whole quantity of spirits distilled in Ireland; and it had been increasing during the last six months. He was not so sanguine as to expect all the relief he wished from this measure; but it was a little unfair to say that it was absurd on the face of it.-One hon. gentleman had spoken of it as unjust to the (R)

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lected on spirits distilled from corn. He knew that the objection hitherto was the danger of illicit distillation; but he trust

distillers, but parliament was not bound to consider the interest of a certain number of individuals at the expence of the community. He spoke also of not open-ed that would be found to be considerably


ing the distilleries so soon; but government could not be expected to adopt what would prove injurious to the revenue. to the contracts entered into by the distillers, the very moment the law passed, it would operate in bar of any demands against the distillers; and if that was not the case, he was prepared to bring in a clause to secure them in this respect, as it was not his wish to take any unfair advantage of the distillers.

Mr. Grattan said, that when the question was, whether distillation or exportation should be prohibited, he thought the milder method should be first tried. It was bad policy to make the agricultural system depend on caprice or change of circumstances, unless there was a pressing necessity for it. He agreed, that in the present case, something must be done, and he therefore gave his assent to the milder measure as an experiment.

The Resolution was then agreed to.

DUTY ON IRISH SPIRITS.] The House having resolved itself into a Committee of Ways and Means,

Mr. Wellesley Pole said, that the first Resolution he should have to propose to the Committee, was for laying an additional duty of 2s. 6d. a gallon on Irish made spirits, thereby doubling the duty now paid. Two objects would be promoted by this-the relief of the brewing trade in Ireland, which, according to the Report of the Committee that sat last year, was necessary, as the extensive use of spirits, in consequence of illicit distillation, had very much increased, and thereby the health, morals, and industry of the people were materially affected; and they gave it as their opinion, that the first opportunity should be made use of to lay an additional duty on spirits, in order to render their consumption less general. Another object, which would be promoted by this additional duty, was, the assistance it would give towards effecting the measure he had proposed. The duty now proposed, was higher than had ever been paid; for though a higher duty had been laid on before, it had never taken effect, in consequence of the stoppage of distillation. That duty was 6s. 3d. the present would be 5s. 10d, including the malt duty, which was larger than had ever been col

diminished, in consequence of the measures which had been adopted last year: for by a comparison of the returns made up to the last assizes with those of the last three years, up to the 29th of September, of the number of stills seized, and of prosecutions for illicit distillation, it appeared that they amounted to two-thirds more in the last year than in any former one. In addition to the measures adopted, the permission to small stills to distil would be very efficacious, and would make it unnecessary to resort to those severe and harassing laws which had been suspended for two years, and which he intended to move for the repeal of in the course of this session. He had to observe that the duty in the present case was to be laid only on the stock in hand. He then concluded by moving-"That it is the opinion of this committee, that from and after the 8th day of April, there be laid on every gallon of strong water or spirits made in Ireland a duty of 2s. 6d. per gallon in addition to the duty now paid."


Sir John Newport was extremely happy to see the present motion brought forward, and thought there was no sacrifice which ought not to be made to the great object of preventing the excessive use of spirits among the lower orders in Ireland. He hoped a full and fair trial would be given to the augmented duty.

Mr. Grattan said, that he perfectly concurred in the present measure, which went to prevent the sacrifice of the health and morals of human creatures to the benefit of the revenue. He hoped this measure would increase the consumption of malt liquor, which was so much more wholesome. He considered the low price of spirits in Ireland, the cause of their excessive use, rather than any disposition in the people to intemperance. This duty would go to correct that evil, and he had not any doubt that it would be followed up.

Mr. Parnell said he concurred in the ge neral principle on which this duty was proposed; but he was apprehensive, that illicit distillation was not yet sufficiently put down to warrant so large an addition. He had had the means of ascertaining, beyond all doubt, that the illicit trade was still going on without interruption over immense districts of that country; and that

having been read at the table, his lordship observed, that the statement of so respectable a body of men was highly deserving of attention. The Petition, he understood, was signed by 15,000 persons, whose complaints of the grievances under which they laboured, in consequence of the operation of the Orders in Council, he should feel it his duty to call the attention of the House to on Tuesday the 28th instant, for which day he moved that the Lords be summoned.—Ordered.

EAST INDIA COMPANY'S CHARTER.] Lord Holland presented a Petition from the mayor and burgesses of Nottingham, for opening the East India Trade, which was ordered to lie on the table. His lordship also stated that there was a Petition from the same place to the executive government, against the Orders in Council, which he had had the honour of presenting that morning.

being the case, the additional duty would neither diminish the consumption of grain, or augment the revenues; because it could only operate as a bounty on illicit trade, and the production of spirits run at a cheaper rate than they can be made under the existing duty. He had hoped the right hon. gentleman in proposing a new duty on this most important branch of the Irish Revenue, would have taken a more comprehensive view of the subject than he had done. That he would have stated to the House, that the abuses which had been proved to exist by the commissioners of enquiry in the collection of this duty, had been put an end to. That he would have explained in what manner so great a defalcation as two millions a year, which they had established to have taken place, was in future to be prevented. For unless some better system of collection was resorted to, it was in vain to expect any produce from any additional duty. For, his part, he never could think that any branch of the Irish revenue would be productive, so long as the whole of the revenue patronage was in the hands of the executive government. It was impossible the several boards of revenue could enforce a due discharge of duty on the part of the of ficers under them, so long as every situation was filled up by the lord lieutenant without communication with them, or any consideration of the fitness of the individuals appointed to them. This was not the practice in England; here every board appointed its own officers, and accordingly they felt themselves responsible for the efficient collection of the revenue, and did collect it. Till the same practice was established in Ireland, the taxes would never produce what they ought to yield, nor can there be the smallest prospect of getting over the embarrassments to which the Irish finances at present are subject.

Mr. W. Pole shortly replied, and stated the average quantity of spirits exported from Ireland was between one fourth and fifth of the whole.

The Resolution was then put and carried.


Thursday, April 9. ORDERS IN COUNCIL.] Earl Fitzwilliam presented a Petition from certain merchants and manufacturers engaged in the woollen trade in the West Riding of Yorkshire, against the Orders in Council; which

The Earl of Lauderdale, pursuant to notice, moved for the correspondence between the government and the East India Directors on the subject of the renewal of the Charter. As the papers had already been printed for the use of the East India Committee, and had been before the public through another channel, he presumed there would be no objection to this motion. 2d. He moved for a copy of the military plan of marquis Cornwallis, referred to in the correspondence, for consolidating the forces of the Company with the king's troops. This might be a most important document, and it was proper it should be on the table before the subject came to be discussed. 3d. His lordship next adverted to a statement made by the deputy chairman of the court of directors, in a letter (forming part of the correspondence) to the person who was lately President of the Board of Control, (lord Melville,) that there were papers in the archives of the company, which would be of great use in enabling the government to appreciate the effects of the monopoly with respect to the navigation laws. Whether these papers would make for or against the arguments of the directors, it was fitting that they should be produced; and he, therefore, proposed to move ac cordingly. 4th. Though it appeared from the negociation that it was intended in a great measure to open the trade with India, there might be such rules and regulations established in India with regard to private traders, as to render the privi

of money into the pockets of the directors. To elucidate these points he would move, 1. For the average prices of Bank stock, half yearly, from the 5th July, 1797, to the 31st December, 1811.2. For the rates of dividends, for a like period; with a statement of the amount of increase since 1797; and the time at which the increase took place; and, 3. For the amount of sums paid to the proprietors of Bank stock, over their dividends, since July, 1797; with the amount of each bonus and its date. He could see no objection to this motion. It might indeed be said, that all this information could be gained without bringing the matter before their lordships. He had himself made some calculations, but he knew not whether they were accurate. If they were,

lege nugatory. Of this description, he contended, were the regulations already existing in the company's settlements: but whether he was correct in this opinion or not, it was of great importance that their lordships should be acquainted with these regulations, lest they should only be conferring a privilege, which the company, by means of their local rules, might turn into a humbug on the public. He should therefore move, that they be laid on the table. As they were, or regularly ought to be, transmitted every year from the Indian presidencies to the court of directors, there could be no difficulty in producing them. His lordship, however, expressed his willingness to postpone the last two of these motions, if the noble lords opposite wished for time to consider them. The Earls of Liverpool and Bucking-then the accounts he would move for hamshire expressed a wish that the last two should be postponed; and lord Lauderdale assented. The first two were agreed to.

The Earl of Warwick presented a Petition from the manufacturers of Birmingham against the East India monopoly. It was signed, he understood, by about 16,000 persons.

would shew, that while the people in general were suffering, the Bank proprietors had put nearly 17 millions into their pockets. He thought it was important this should be known, before they discussed a Bill which would nearly go to make Bank-notes a legal tender. In his opinion, there was not a more proper mode of taxation, than to take away part of their wealth from those persons who had profited by the public distress.

On the suggestion of the earl of Liverpool, lord Lauderdale postponed his motion till Tuesday, observing, that when he brought it forward, he would move for similar accounts from the bank of Ireland.

The Duke of Norfolk stated, that as it might have been imagined that these manufacturers had been prompted by the merchants of Liverpool, and other places more immediately interested, perhaps, in putting an end to the monopoly, he had thought it his duty to make some enquiries, whether or not this was the case; and the result had been that he found this Petition Earl Grey said, he understood no opposito have arisen from the spontaneous feel- tion would be given to producing an acing of the people of the town of Birming-count of the total nominal amount of bankham itself, who were convinced that if the trade to India were thrown open, they would be enabled to export much more of their manufactures than they did at present. The Petition was then read, and ordered to lie on the table.

BANK OF ENGLAND.] The Earl of Lauderdale said, if any objection were made to the motion of which he had yesterday given notice, he would abstain from submitting it to the House at present. But he thought it was fitting their lordships should know what was the direct benefit the public had given to the Bank by the restriction of cash payments; what were the causes which rendered it so difficult to procure money for the public service; and by what means the measures of parliament had thrown an immense sum

notes rejected as forgeries at the bank of England, from 1797 to the present time, but that an objection would be made to specifying the number and description of such notes; he should therefore, on Tuesday next, propose his motion in an amended state.

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suffering, owing to the system adopted by the present ruler of the French empire, in restricting the commercial intercourse of this kingdom with the continent of Europe, and to the existence of the British Orders in Council, as they affect our commerce with America; and that many thousands of the labouring part of the community, in the immediate district and neighbourhood of the petitioners, have, by these means, been reduced to poverty and distress, and thereby seduced to temporary acts of violence, to restrain which the strong arm of the law has been necessarily exerted in the conviction and punishment of the offenders; and the petitioners entreat that the House will, under these circumstances, take into their most serious consideration the manner in which these distresses have been increased by the monopoly created in favour of the East India Company by that charter which vests in them the exclusive right of trade and navigation to all countries comprehended between the Cape of Good Hope and the Straits of Magellan; and the

ing, with a few exceptions, entirely shut against British manufacturers, and of the unfortunate misunderstanding with the United States of America, the trade of the petitioners, in common with that of the kingdom in general, has suffered very severe and distressing privations; and that, when the petitioners call to mind the uniform and pertinacious system of hostility which the ruler of the French nation has manifested towards the commerce of this country, together with the unbounded in fluence which his arms or intrigues have procured, they cannot but consider the probability of the usual channels of trade being re-opened as very faint and distant; labouring under the privations of a declining trade, and the pressure of a heavy taxation, the petitioners eagerly look forward to the adoption of some measures by which new markets may be opened, and the industry and enterprize of the nation be brought into proper action; and the petitioners further presume to represent, that, in order to accomplish this desirable end, the East Indies would afford ample and effectual means, were they not exclud-titioners request that the House would ed from that immense tract of country by determine whether it be conformable to the sweeping monopoly of the East India the principles of justice and of a liberal Company, a monopoly which has pro- and enlightened policy, that whilst access duced no benefit to its possessors as a com- to these regions should be allowed, by the mercial body, nor at all advanced the Act of the 37th year of his present majesty interests of the British trade in India, since to all nations in amity with this country, the exports of the Company in English all the subjects of the British empire, not manufactures are trifling and unimpor- clothed with the privileges of the East tant; and that the petitioners cannot re- India Company, are excluded therefrom; frain from expressing their regret that they and that the petitioners are extremely should be the victims of this monopoly, solicitous that all the subjects of Great while the subjects of other nations are Britain and Ireland, without distinction, admitted to reap the advantage of this ex- should on the expiration of the present clusion; and praying the House to take the Charter of the East India Company, be adpremises into their most serious considera- mitted to a full participation in the trade to tion, and to afford relief to the petitioners, all those extensive territories comprehendeither by preventing the renewal of the ed in that Charter, the petitioners being of East India Company's Charter after the opinion that such a measure would afford termination of its present limit, or to employment to many thousands of workmodify it in such way as to the wisdom of men in the different manufactures of the House may seem most conducive to these kingdoms at present reduced to poopen the trade of the East to the mercan-verty and distress; that it would create tile energy and spirit of the empire at large."

A Petition of the mayor and burgesses of the town and county of the town of Nottingham, was also presented and read; setting forth,

"That the petitioners are impressed with the most lively conviction that the trading and manufacturing interests of the British empire are experiencing severe


an additional nursery for seamen, and prove the means of encreasing the riches, the revenue, and the national prosperity of the British empire; and praying the House to take these premises into their most serious deliberation, in deciding upon the further extension of the Charter to the East India Company, and to grant such relief therein to the subjects of this empire, engaged in trade and commerce, as the nature of the case may appear to the

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