« PreviousContinue »
sake of the health and morals of the peo-, by law to work off nearly as much spirits ple, that an additional duty was laid on as it was in their power to make, the same spirits, which would oblige them to make quantity would continue to be made-and use of the wholesome and nutritious beve that the only result of the Bill would rage of porter.
be, to lower the price of spirits in the Mr. Shaw of Dublin said, that it was home market, by shutting up the foreign impossible for him to allow this measure one. The right hon. gentleman had stalto go forward, without entering his pro-ed very candidly, that his principal object test against what was likely to prove so was to allay the apprehensions which preinjurious to the whole body of the dis- vailed; but if he really believed that those tillers of Ireland. It would, in the first apprehensions were groundless, he should place, throw a great superabundance of abstain from a measure which must injure spirits into the country; and in the next the distillers. He ought to remember place, he thought they should be very cau. that they have necessarily purchased grain tious how they interrupted a trade which at the late very high prices, calculating was likely to be so beneficial. Another on being able to obiain a sufficient recommeasure offered itself, which, he thought, pence, by fulfilling the orders they had rewould have a better effect; namely, the ceived for sending spirits abroad and stopping of distillation after a certain time. that, if this vent is taken from them, they It was to be considered too, that large will probably sustain a very heavy loss. contracts had been entered into, and this He ought also to recollect, that if such loss measure would throw a damp on all en- can alone be attributable to the interterprise or speculation, for which reasons ference of parliament, they will have a he felt it his duty to dissent from the Re- just claim upon parliament for an adequate solution.
compensation. The right hon. gentleman Sir John Newport said, that no man should also consider, that his measure will could more heartily concur in any mea deprive Ireland of the benefit of a newly sure, which appeared likely to obviate the established trade, which promised to be difficulties or distresses of the people than of the greatest advantage to her—for it himself, but he could not help consider- could not be expected, that the distillers ing the present as inefficacious. Some would again undertake all the risk and documents should be before the House to expence of retaining their trade, if the enable them to form a correct judgment, I just reward of their skill and industry was and to make it manifest that there was no thus suddenly and capriciously taken from danger from illicit distillation. The right them. At the same time, the hon. memhon. mover had last night stated from the ber begged the committee would not supcommissariat returns, the prices infinitely pose, from these observations, that he, as lower than the market prices in the ad- others did, wished the government to stop joining district, which was certainly no the distilleries altogether on the contra. great proof of their accuracy. He was ry, he gave credit to them for the accu. far from wishing to oppose the present racy of the statement of the quantity measure, except on the ground that it led of provisions in the country, and believed the House to suppose that they had ap- that it was altogether unnecessary for them plied a remedy, where, in truth, they had to interfere. not. If the prohibition of distillation Mr. W. Pole replied to the different ob. from corn took place, there would be no jections urged against the proposed measuffering, because the distillation in a great sure, many of which he was quite surpris. measure took place from raw corn, whiched to hear. It was said that no relief could be brought to market, and was still would follow, as the quantity exported applicable to other purposes.
was not so great as to cause any diferMr. Parnell said, he concurred in opi-ence in the price of corn ; but he could nion with the hon. member for Dublin, state, that the quantity exported had been that this measure would not diminish the from 1-4th to 1-5th of the whole quantity consumption of grain in the distilleries, but of spirits distilled in Ireland ; and it had. alone injure the distiller. The right hon. been increasing during the last six months. gentleman had wholly omitted, in his He was not so sanguine as to expect all opening statement, to shew in what man- the relief he wished from this measure; ner it would realize the declared object but it was a little unfair to say that it was of it. For bis part, it seemed to be quite absurd on the face of it.-One hon. gen. plain, that the distilleries being compelled tleman had spoken of it as unjust to the (VOL. XXII.)
distillers, but parliament was not bound | lected on spirits distilled from corn. He to consider the interest of a certain num- knew that the objection hitherto was the ber of individuals at the expence of the danger of illicit distillation; but he trustcommunity. He spoke also of not opened that would be found to be considerably ing the distilleries so soon ; but govern- diminished, in consequence of the meament could not be expected to adopt what sures which had been adopted last year: would prove injurious to the revenue. As for by a comparison of the returns made to the contracts entered into by the dis up to the last assizes with those of the last tillers, the very moment the law passed, three years, up to the 29th of September, it would operate in bar of any demands of the number of stills seized, and of proagainst the distillers; and if that was not secutions for illicit distillation, it appearthe case, he was prepared to bring in a ed that they amounted to two-thirds more clause to secure them in this respect, as it in the last year than in any former one. was not his wish to take any unfair advan- In addition to the measures adopted, the tage of the distillers.
permission to small stills to distil would Mr. Grattan said, that when the ques- be very efficacious, and would make it tion was, whether distillation or exporta- unnecessary to resort to those severe and tion should be prohibited, he thought the harassing laws which had been suspended milder method should be first tried. It for two years, and which he intended to was bad policy to make the agricultural move for the repeal of in the course of system depend on caprice or change of this session. He had to observe that the circumstances, unless there was a press-duty in the present case was to be laid ing necessity for it. He agreed, that in only on the stock in hand. He then conthe present case, something must be done, cluded by moving—" That it is the opiand he therefore, gave his assent to the nion of this committee, that from and alter milder measure as an experiment. the 8th day of April, there be laid on. The Resolution was then agreed to. every gallon of strong water or spirits
made in Ireland a duty of 2s. 6d. per Duty on Irish Spirits.] The House gallon in addition to the duty now paid.” having resolved itself into a Committee of Sir John Newport was extremely happy Ways and Means,
to see the present motion brought forward, Mr. Wellesley Pole said, that the first and thought there was no sacrifice which Resolution he should have to propose to ought not to be made to the great object the Committee, was for laying an addi. of preventing the excessive use of spirits tional duty of 2s. 6d. a gailon on Irish among the lower orders in Ireland. He made spirits, thereby doubling the duty hoped a full and fair trial would be given now paid. Two objects would be pro- to the augmented duty. moted by this--the relief of the brewing Mr. Grattan said, that he perfectly contrade in Ireland, which, according to the curred in the present measure, which went Report of tbe Committee that gat last to prevent the sacrifice of the health and year, was necessary, as the extensive use morals of human creatures to the benefit of spirits, in consequence of illicit distilla- of the revenue. He hoped this measure tion, had very much increased, and there would increase the consumption of malt by the health, morals, and industry of the liquor, which was so much more wholepeople were materially affected; and they some. He considered the low price of gave it as their opinion, that the first op- spirits in Ireland, the cause of their ex. portunity should be made use of to lay an cessive use, rather than any disposition additional duty on spirits, in order to ren in the people to intemperance. This duty der their consumption less general. Ano- would go to correct that evil, and he ther object, which would be promoted by had not any doubt that it would be folthis additional duty, was, the assistance lowed up. it would give towards effecting the mea- Mr. Parnell said he concurred in the gea sure he had proposed. The duty now neral principle on which this duty was proposed, was higher than had ever been proposed; but he was apprehensive, that paid ; for though a higher duty had been illicit distillation was not yet sufficiently laid on before, it had never taken effect, put down to warrant so large an addition. in consequence of the stoppage of distil. He had had the means of ascertaining, lation. That duty was 6s. 3d. the present beyond all doubt, that the illicit trade was would be 5s. 10d. including the malt duty, still going on without interruption over imwhich was larger than had ever been col- mense districts of that country, and that
being the case, the additional duty would having been read at the table, his lordship neither diminish the consumption of grain, observed, ibat the statement of so respectaor augment the revenues; because it could ble a body of
men was highly deserving only operate as a bounty on illicit trade, of attention. The Petition, he understood, and the production of spirits run at a was signed by 15,000 persons, whose comcheaper rate than they can be made under plaints of the grievances under which they the existing duty. He had hoped the laboured, in consequence of the operation right hon. gentleman in proposing a new of the Orders in Council, he should feel it duty on this most important branch of the his duty to call the attention of the House Irish Revenue, would have taken a more to on Tuesday the 28th instant, for which comprehensive view of the subject than day he moved that the Lords be summonhe had done. That he would have stated ed.-Ordered. to the House, that the abuses which had been proved to exist by the commissioners East INDIA COMPANY'S CHARTER.] of enquiry in the collection of this duty, Lord Holland presented a Petition from had been put an end to. That he would the mayor and burgesses of Nottingham, have explained in what manner so great for opening the East India Trade, which a defalcation as two millions a year, which was ordered to lie on the table. His lord. they had established to have taken place, ship also stated that there was a Petition was in future to be prevented. For unless from the same place to the executive gosome better system of collection was re- vernment, against the Orders in Council, sorted to, it was in vain to expect any pro- which he had had the honour of presentduce from any additional duty. For, his ing that morning. part, he never could think that any branch The Earl of Lauderdale, pursuant to noof the Irish revenue would be productive, tice, moved for the correspondence beso long as the whole of the revenue pa- tween the government and the East India tronage was in the hands of the executive Directors on the subject of the renewal of government. It was impossible the seve-| the Charter. As the papers had already ral boards of revenue could enforce a due been printed for the use of the East India discharge of duty on the part of the of- Committee, and had been before the public ficers under them, so long as every situa- through another channel, he presumed tion was filled up by the lord lieutenant there would be no objection to this mo. without communication with them, or any tion. 2d. He moved for a copy of the consideration of the fitness of the indivi. military plan of marquis Cornwallis, reduals appointed to them. This was not the ferred to in the correspondence, for conpractice in England; here every board solidating the forces of the Company with appointed its own officers, and accordingly the king's troops. This might be a most they felt themselves responsible for the important document, and it was proper it efficient collection of the revenue, and did should be on the table before the subject collect it. Till the same practice was es- came to be discussed. 3d. His lordship tablished in Ireland, the taxes would never next adverted to a statement made by the produce what they ought to yield, nor can deputy chairman of the court of directors, there be the smallest prospect of getting in a letter (forming part of the corresover the embarrassments to which the pondence) to the person who was lately Irish finances at present are subject. President of the Board of Control, (lord
Mr. W. Pole shortly replied, and stated Melville,) that there were papers in the the average quantity of spirits exported archives of the company, which would be from Ireland was between one fourth and of great use in enabling the government to fifth of the whole.
appreciate the effects of the monopoly The Resolution was then put and with respect to the navigation laws. Whecarried.
ther these papers would make for or
against the arguments of the directors, it HOUSE OF LORDS.
was fitting that they should be produced ;
and he, therefore, proposed to move acThursday, April 9.
cordingly. 4th. Though it appeared from ORDERS IN COUNCIL.) Earl Fitzwilliam the negociation that it was intended in a presented a Petition from certain mer.
great measure to open the trade with chants and manufacturers engaged in the India, there might be such rules and rewoollen trade in the West Riding of York- gulations established in India with regard shire, against the Orders in Council; which to private traders, as to render the privja lege nugatory. Of this description, he of money into the pockets of the dicontended, were the regulations already rectors. To elucidate these points he existing in the company's settlements : would move, 1. For the average prices but whether he was correct in this opi- of Bank stock, half yearly, from the 5th nion or not, it was of great importance July, 1797, to the 31st December, 1811.that their lordships should be acquainted 2. For the rates of dividends, for a like with these regulations, lest they should period; with a statement of the amount only be conferring a privilege, which the of increase since 1797; and the time at company, by means of their local rules, which the increase took place; and, 3. For might turn into a humbug on the public. the amount of sums paid to the proprietors He should therefore move, that they be of Bank stock, over their dividends, since laid on the table. As they were, or re- July, 1797; with the amount of each gularly ought to be, transmitted every year bonus and its date. He could see no obfrom the Indian presidencies to the courtjection to this motion. It might indeed of directors, there could be no difficulty in be said, that all this information could be producing them. His lordship, however, I gained without bringing the matter before expressed his willingness to postpone the their lordships. He had bimself made last two of these motions, if the noble lords some calculations, but he knew not wheopposite wished for time to consider them. ther they were accurate. If they were,
The Earls of Liverpool and Bucking. then the accounts he would move for hamshire expressed a wish that the last would shew, that while the people in getwo should be postponed; and lord neral were suffering, the Bank proprietors Lauderdale assented. The first two were had put nearly 17 millions into their agreed to.
pockets. He thought it was important The Earl of Warwick presented a Peti. this should be known, before they discussed tion from the manufacturers of Birmingham a Bill which would nearly go to make against the East India monopoly. It was Bank-notes a legal tender. In his opi. signed, he understood, by about 16,000 nion, there was not a more proper mode of persons.
taxation, than to take away part of their The Duke of Norfolk stated, that as it wealth from those persons who had promight have been imagined that these ma- fited by the public distress. nufacturers had been prompted by the On the suggestion of the ear) of Livermerchants of Liverpool, and other places pool, lord Lauderdale postponed his motion more immediately interested, perhaps, in till Tuesday, observing, that when he putting an end to the monopoly, he had brought it forward, he would move for thought it his duty to make some enquiries, similar accounts from the bank of Irewhether or not this was the case ; and the land. 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 notes rejected as forgeries at the bank of trade to India were thrown open, they England, from 1797 to the present time, would be enabled to export much more of but that an objection would be made to their manufactures than they did at pre- specifying the number and description of sent. The Petition was then read, and such notes; he should therefore, on Tues. ordered to lie on the table.
day next, propose his motion in an amend.
ed state, BANK OF ENGLAND.] The Earl of Lauderdale said, if any objection were
HOUSE OF COMMONS. made to the motion of which he had yesterday given notice, he would abstain
Thursday, April 9. from submitting it to the House at present.
PETITIONS FRON WALSALL AND Not. But he thought it was fitting their lord
THE RENEWAL OF ships should know wbat was the direct The East India COMPANY'S CHARTER.] benefit the public had given to the Bank A Petition of the merchants, manufacturers, by the restriction of cash payments; what and other inhabitants of the borough and were the causes which rendered it so diffi- foreign of Walsall, was presented and cult to procure money for the public ser- read; setting förth : vice ; and by what means the measures “That, in consequence of the usual of parliament had thrown an immense şum markets upon the continent of Europe be
ing, with a few exceptions, entirely shut suffering, owing to the system adopted by against British manufacturers, and of the the present ruler of the French empire, in unfortunate misunderstanding with the restricting the commercial intercourse of United States of America, the trade of the this kingdom with the continent of Europe, petitioners, in cominon with that of the and to the existence of the British Orders kingdom in general, has suffered very in Council, as they affect our commerce severe and distressing privations; and that, with America ; and that many thousands when the petitioners call to mind the uni- of the labouring part of the community, form and pertinacious system of hostility in the immediate district and neighbour wbich the ruler of the French nation has hood of the petitioners, have, by these manifested towards the commerce of this means, been reduced to poverty and discountry, together with the unbounded in tress, and thereby seduced to temporary fluence which his arms or intrigues have acts of violence, to restrain which the procured, they cannot but consider the strong arm of the law has been necessarily probability of the usual channels of trade exerted in the conviction and punishment being re-opened as very faint and distant; of the offenders; and the petitioners enlabouring under the privations of a de: treat that the House will, under these circlining trade, and the pressure of a heavy cumstances, take into their most serious taxation, the petitioners eagerly look for consideration the manner in which these ward to the adoption of some measures by distresses have been increased by the which new markets may be opened, and monopoly created in favour of the East the industry and enterprize of the nation India Company by that charter which be brought into proper action; and the vests in them the exclusive right of trade petitioners further presume to represent, and navigation to all countries compreibat, in order to accomplish this desirable hended between the Cape of Good Hope end, the East Indies would afford ample and the Straits of Magellan; and the peand 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 ad. premises 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 an additional nursery for seamen, and large.”
prove the means of encreasing the riches,
the revenue, and the national prosperity of A Petition of the mayor and burgesses the British empire; and praying the of the town and county of the town of House to take ihese premises into their Nottingham, was also presented and read; most serious deliberation, in deciding upon setting forth,
the further extension of the Charter to the “That the petitioners are impressed with East India Company, and to grant such the most lively conviction that the trad- relief therein to the subjects of this eming and manufacturing interests of the pire, engaged in trade and commerce, as British empire are experiencing severe the nature of the case may appear to the