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Earl who had juft fpoken: but first, with refpect to the bill itfelf, he obferved that he was not friendly to the general principle of bills of that defcription; they should be very cautiously admitted, and fanctioned by the Legislature only upon very particular and special occafions. In the prefent inftance, the fupport which he gave the bill juft read, proceeded from the very high sense he entertained of the merits of the very refpectable magiftrate who folicited the measure, to whofe great and fpirited exertions in bringing the fifter arts, which were the subject of the bill, to the very high ftate of perfection in which they then manifeftly were, the public and the country owed much, and on that ground he agreed with the noble Earl, that great indulgence and encouragement were due. After fome further obfervations on this point, the noble and learned Lord proceeded to obferve that he agreed with the noble Earl, that the arts alluded to had of late years confiderably declined in this country, and that its commerce, in thofe refpects, was by no means in fo flourishing a state as it had been; but he differed from his Lordship as to the caufes of thefe effects; they were by no means, he thought, owing to the decline of talent or perfeverance in this country, to the want of eminent painters, or adequate engravers, but the falling off was, in a great degree, to be attributed to the unprecedented and unjustifiable conduct of a certain nation on the continent, whofe exertions were calculated to draw, as to a common centre within itself, every thing that was rate or valuable of the kind, and which had hitherto been fuffered to remain unmolefied in other countries; and this they effected, not by the fair and ordinary mode of purchasing fuch articles, but by the unexampled practice of forcibly taking them from the respective countries to which they belonged.
The other bills brought up from the Commons were then feverally read a firft time; after which the Houte adjourned.
HOUSE OF COMMONS.
TUESDAY, MARCH 15.
Mr. Corry moved a new writ for the city of Dublin, in the room of John Claudius Beresford, Efq who has accepted the office of Escheater of Uiller.
An account was prefented from the Stamp Office of the arrears and balances due from the diftributers of stamps. Ordered to lie on the table.
Mr.. Vanfittart moved that a Committec be appointed to
prepare an account of the allowances to adjutants and fer jeant-majors in the militia. Ordered.
Mr. Vanfittart moved that a Committee be appointed to prepare an estimate of the pay and cloathing of the militia for Great-Britain and Ireland.
The neutral ships bill was read a fecond time, and ordered to be committed the next day.
The Irish malt bill went through a Committee, and the report was ordered to be received the next day.
Mr. Hawkins Browne prefented a petition from the executors of James Wright. Efq. late governor of Georgia, praying for a remuneration for the loffes he had fuftained in that province.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer ftated, that he was empowered to communicate his Majesty's affent to the reception of the petition; but at the fame time he would not pledge himself to any approbation or fupport of the matter which was contained in it. He then moved that a Committee be appointed to examine into the merits of the petition. Ordered.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer role in pursuance of a notice he had given in the laft feffion, and renewed in the prefent, to move for a Committee to inquire into the difference of duty that ought to prevail between malt made from English barley, and malt made from Scotch barley and big. By the act of union, it was provided that Scotland thould only contribute one-half of the malt duties then fubfifting, When the last duty was impofed, in confequence of a reprefentation from the landed intereft in Scotland, Parliament was induced to lay a smaller duty on malt made from Scotch barley, than upon that which was made from English barley. In making this motion to inquire whether any difference thould fubfift, he did not mean to admit that there could be the flightest question upon the act of union; he only did it in compliance with the withes of the landed interest of Scotland. He was defirous not to give any opinion upon the queftion at prefent, or to prejudge it in any manner; his object was to have the fubject fully and fairly investigated. He concluded with moving for the Committee.
The motion was agreed to and the Committee named. Lard A. Hamilton laid, as this was a question that ertirely related to Scotland, he hoped that all the Members for Scotland would be appointed on the Committee.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer faid, he thould oppofe any propofition of that kind, because it was a question that materially affected the landed intereft of England; at the VOL. II. 1803-4. I
fame time, he would not oppofe the nomination of any Gentleman whom the noble Lord fhould propose to be on the Committee.
After a few words from Mr. Coke, the Committee at first named was appointed, with the addition of Lord Douglas.
Mr. Corry moved the order of the day for going into a Committee on the Irish duty bill.
Sir John Newport, after repeating his thanks to the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Corry) for the candour and liberality he had shewn, and alfo expreffing the thanks of his conftituents, faid he rose to exprefs his hopes that the right hon. Gentleman would (confidering that the fehedule might not have been examined in Ireland, in general, with that attention which it required) relinquish his intention of propofing this as a permanent bill at prefent, but that he would now confent to vote the duties for one year. He was perfectly of opinion that great advantage would refult to Ireland from voting these duties permanently, and making the fyftem to affimilate as nearly as poffible to Great Britain, and therefore he only wished the delay of one feffion, in order to give the mercantile people of Ireland full time to confider the fubject. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman, with a continuance of that candid difpofition he had manifested, would feel the neceffity of complying with the wishes, the feelings, and perhaps the prejudices of the people of Ireland. He thought it right to add, that it appeared to him that uncommon pains had been used in preparing this fchedule, both with respect to accuracy, and to confult the intereft of the mercantile people of Ireland. He trufted, therefore, that the right hon. Gentleman would consent to postpone making these duties permanent till next feffion.
Mr. Corry faid, that the measure then under confideration of the House, was one of which notice had been given for three feffions. In the last feffion the schedule was actually prepared, without limitation. In the present seffion a schedule was prepared, departing in fome particulars from the schedule of last feffion, and it was circulated with as much diligence as was in the 'power of the Government of Ireland; and he had had the fatisfaction, as he had before stated, of receiving the approbation of a great part of the mercantile intereft of Ireland. He had received the approbation of the mercantile city reprefented by the hon, Baronet who had fpoken fo favourably of his exertions. In the city of Cork the greatest fatisfaction prevail
ed, notwithstanding that upon fome points their wishes had not been complied with. With regard to the merchants of Dublin, he wished to say a few words, because a right hon. Gentleman had faid, that there were thirty-eight articles with which they were diffatisfied. With regard to these thirty-eight articles, there were in fact but four in which their wishes were not complied with. The firft of these four articles was foreign herrings, the export duty upon which was not taken off, and this was done with a view to encourage the British and Irish fisheries; but even if this duty were taken off, it could not be fuppofed that they were not to be subject to the fame burthens as British and Irish herrings, that is to fay, the duty upon falt and staves, and thofe duties amounted to two-thirds of the duty upon foreign herrings, fo that the difference was in fact very small. The fecond article was foreign oils. It was defired that the duty fhould be lowered; this had been done, but not to the extent propofed. It had been lowered to affimilate it with the duty in the British schedule, which had been laid on with a view to encourage the British fishery, and if it was placed in the fame fituation, he conceived that there was no ground for complaint. The third article was foreign hops: he had before stated the grounds upon which their withes in this article were refifted, viz. to encourage the growth of British hops. The fourth article was a defire they had expreffed that all duties fhould be taken off exports. This was a propofition which he really could not have prefumed to make to the Houfe. He wished to fpeak of the merchants of Dublin with the utmost refpe&t; they were men of the greatest respectability, and in point of capital, compared with the extent of their trade, were not inferior to any fet of merchants in the world. With regard to the remaining articles of the 38 which had been mentioned, viz. drugs, dye ftuffs, foreign falt, deer fkins, bear-skins, cocoa nuts, and a variety of other articles, which it was unnecessary to enumerate, their wishes had all been complied with. He therefore would contend that these schedules had been made with the greatest care and minutenefs, and had met with the general approbation of the merchants of Ireland. But as it had been reprefented to him by many gentlemen of great refpectability, both in public and private, that full opportunity had not been given to the merchants of Ireland to confider this fubject, he was fure it never could be the defire of Ministers not to coincide with their wishes, if it could be done without injury to the public fervice. He was therefore difpofed to comply with the wifh exprefied by the hon. Ba
ronet, and only to vote the duties at prefent for one year, in order to afford the fulleft opportunity of examining the fubject, and to give every poffible proof of the wishes of Government to comply with the defire of the merchants of Ireland. But at the fame time that he maintained the propriety of the schedules, he was glad that this difcuffion had taken place, because it proved the general concurrence of opinion upon the propriety of making thefe duties perpetual. In confenting to move thefe duties for one year at present, he wished not to be understood to pledge himself that the schedule that would be prefented next year would be the fame as that prefented this year; he only pledged himself that it thould be laid before the people of Ireland time enough to enable them to confider the fubject maturely. He hoped therefore that in conceding to the wishes of many of the mercantile people of Ireland, it would not be confidered as any dereliction or abandonment of the principles he had advanced: he fhould therefore in the Committee move a claufe to limit the duration of the bill to one year. There was however one point which he wished to mention, which was, that the duties would expire on the 25th of March 1805, and as the Irish Members were prevented by their military duties from attending early in the feffion, confiderable inconvenience was felt from the duties expiring fo foon; he therefore fuggefted the propriety of taking them for five quarters inftead of four.
Mr. Fofter faid, he thought it would be better not to limit the duration of the bill, which contained many permanent regulations, but to vote the duties for one year as usual.
Mr. Corry faid, he did not with to vote them for five quarters if there was any objection to it, but he should con-fider this as fufficient notice, if in the early part of next sesfion he propofed to continue the duties for three months longer, in order to give ample time to confider the subject.
Mr. Burroughs concurred with those Gentlemen who had borne teftimony to the candour and liberality of the right hon. Gentleman, and faid, that he conceived the notice given by the right hon. Gentleman would be fufficient to juftify him in bringing forward this fubject early next feffion.
Mr. Carr alfo expreffed his thanks to the right hon. Gentleman for the liberality and candour he had manifefted upon the fubject.
After a few words from Mr. Fox and Mr. Hutchinfon, the motion for going into a Committee being agreed to, the Houfe refolved itself into a Committec.