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merchants, manufacturers, and ship owners and enterprize of every merchant, in of the town of Dundee, was presented and whalever part of the kingdom he may be read; setting forth,
situated ; and that, finally, while the Pe“ That they think it their duty to call titioners would intreat that the trade from the attention of the House to the approach- the Cape of Good Hope to the Straits of ing discussion on the renewal of the char. Magellan be no more excluded from the ter of the East India Company; and that, great body of the British merchants, yet were the trade presently monopolized by they hereby disavow all interference with that company laid open to the individual any rights, territorial or political, which enterprize and capital of British merchants, may be enjoyed by the East India Comit would, in a great measure, make up for pany; and praying the House to adopt the present exclusion from the continensuch measures as to them shall appear best tal markets; and that the policy which adapied to promote the commerce and dictated the withholding charters from prosperity of the empire.". the former established companies, applies A Petition of the merchants manufacequally to the with holding that of the turers and shipowners of the burgh of ArEast India Company, and would, in like broath, county of Forfar, was also premanner, be followed by an increase of sented and read; setting forth, maritime and commercial resources to the " That the Petilioners feel themselves whole empire; and that, while it has called upon at this time, in common with been deemed expedient to restrict the their fellow subjects, humbly to represent commerce of neutrals, in order to coun. to the House their sentiments in regard to teract the anti-commercial decrees of the the charter granted to the East India ComFrench government, yet the India trade is pany, which expires in 1814; and that open to all the world except the British mer commercial monopolies are acknowledged chant, the monopoly thereby operating to be unjust in their principle, and misdirectly in favour of foreign nations; and chievous in their consequences, particuthat, as a proof of this, it is well known larly such as that enjoyed by the East that the American merchants have carried | India Company, embracing an exclusive away a great part of the China trade for trade from the Cape of Good Hope eastmerly enjoyed by the East India Company, ward as far as the Straits of Magellan; and and have been able to undersell them in that, were a field so extensive laid open to many of the European markets, thereby the individual enterprize and capital of shewing the superiority of individual in the British merchants, it is the Petitioners' dustry, economy, and enterprize, when humble opinion that it would be attended opposed to the negligence and prodigality with the happiest consequences, particu. of a joint stock company; and that al- larly at present, when, by the rigorous though at the time of the original grant of adoption of the anti-commercial system, the company's charter, it required the the commerce and manufactures of the fostering hand of government to encourage country are unfortunately so limited; by the East India trade, yet this state of tbings withdrawing the charter, industry would has long since ceased, the wealth of the receive an additional stimulus, bread would community was then comparatively small, be procured to a great number of indiviand required the joint capital of a number duals who are at present reduced to idleof merchants to undertake any enterprize ness and poverty, the resources of the of magnitude; but, while the empire has country would be materially improved, increased in strength, in riches, and in im- and a nursery established for seamen, on portance, the eye of the British merchant which depends our very existence as is naturally turned to the East for the em- nation; and that, although the individuals ployment of his industry, his wealth, and of these realms are excluded from the said capital; and that, while a free trade to trade, yet the benefit of it is extended to India would not only turn the wealth ac- neutrals, who, it is well known, are able quired by the foreign merchant into the to compete with the company itself, both pockets of the subjects of this country, on the continent of Europe, and within but would be the means of increasing our the very countries included in their morevenue and maritime resources, it would nopoly; this, therefore, is a measure denot be the least acquisition that the trade grading to the national character, and hitherto confined to the port of London humiliating to individuals; and that, as would circulate through the whole empire, every port in the kingdom ought to parthereby opening a field for the capital ticipate in the advantages of foreign trade,
it is contrary to the wise principles of a no less than two million quarters of grain liberal policy, that the East India trade imported into the kingdom, would have should be confined exclusively to the port been a sufficient inducement to a wise and of London; and praying the House to iake provident government, to have adopted the premises into serious consideration, and some legislative measure to prevent the to grant the relief so much desired.” recurrence of such a circumstance.
The said Petitions were ordered to lie I do not mean to spread any unnecesupon the table.
sary alarm, for my firm belief is, that if
well husbanded, there is a sufficient supply High Price of ProVISIONS.) Mr. Cur- of grain lo answer our necessities. I do wen. Seeing the right hon. the Chancellor not dread any thing like a famine, but I of the Exchequer in his place, I feel my believe that the price will soon be so high, self reluctantly called upon to intreat his as to press with great severity upon the attention to the present high price of grain. labouring poor. I therefore think that. I say reluctantly, because I am fully aware, my duty would not be performed, if I did thai extreme caution should be used in not attempt to point out at least a partial mentioning any thing that may be likely remedy, which, without bearing hard to create alarm on so serious a subject as upon the lower orders, will leave the prina scarcity of provisions. But, impressed cipal burden to be sustained, as it ought, as I am with its importance, I could not by the higher classes of society. . At least, excuse myself if I were not now to bring it in all cases like the present, the comfort under the notice of the House. The right of the lower orders, to whom most of the hon. gentleman will do me the justice to arduous occupations of life are assigned, bear testimony that the views I have taken, should be contemplated much more than are not the creation of a moment, since at our own. I calculate that there are yet: the conclusion of the last. year, in the end about twenty weeks to be passed before of October or beginning of November, I any new grain can be obtained, and I stated to him my firm conviction (the re- think by a simple measure we might be. sult of a circuit I had just made through enabled to save sufficient for the supply the country) that the crop would be defi- of the country during three weeks of that cient, and that early measures ought to be period. I would suggest the saving of taken to guard against the inconvenien- 600,000 quarters or 3 weeks' consumption,
3 cies which I foresaw must ensue. These by the renewal of the Act of the 41st Geo. sentiments I conveyed to the right bon. 3, ch. 16, by which, it will be recollected gentleman at a time when the competition it, was provided, that bread should be made between sugar and grain in the distilleries only of one quality. Taking the Winchester was in contemplation. I now, therefore, bushel at the usual weight of 60lbs. it is again beg leave to state the confirmation calculated that it loses by grinding some of my fears, and to tell him that there has thing more than 9 lbs. so that when the been a most alarming advance in the price bran is extracted there remains only about of grain in various parts of the country; 51 lbs. of flour. I think, that by leaving and this very day's post has conveyed to in a part of this bran to the quantity of me intelligence, that in a place particu- perhaps only 2 lbs. another saving might larly connected with my interests, and in- be effected, while the bread made would habited by my constituents, serious dis- be perfectly wbolesome and nutritious, alturbances have broken out, in which some though not so palatable. It would also lives have been lost, and more are endan- very much lessen the consumption of bread, gered. I trust, that in staling what I now if flour were applied solely to that puro. feel it my duty to mention, it will not be pose, and were banished from the kitchen said that I am exclaiming, that there is as an article of luxury. By these expedinot sufficient grain in the country to avert ents, I should imagine, that one twentieth. the calamity of a famine, if it be properly part of the grain used inight be rescued managed, but if the same supineness still from waste, and applied to the sustenance exists, which I have previously com- of the inhabitants of the country. I am plained of, with regard to the main basis quite sure, that upon this subject there of national prosperity, I mean the agriculo can exist no party feeling, bowever it. tural interests of the country, the most may be displayed on minor occasions ; melancholy consequences are to be ap- there can be but one opinion, and that is, prehended. I should have thought that to secure by every prudent means that, ibe proof, that in the last year there were can be adopted, the comfort of the lower (VOL. XXII.)
classes of the people, who, when they see quarter in which I was sure it would be their legislators exerting themselves so reluctantly stated) yet I felt, after the destrenuously for their welfare, will cheer- termination the House had come to that fully bear many privations which at pre. session, that it would be highly improper sent are more than irksome to be indured. for government again to attempt to interI conceive that a few slight alterations, in fere. It will be recollected, likewise, that the statute I have named, would com- it was by no means a conceded point at pletely effect the object I have in view, that time throughout the country that the and if any assistance were required by harvest was so defective, and the measure the right hon. gentleman, I should be es proposed and successfully resisted was, I tremely happy to afford it in any way thought, all that could be reasonably exthat is within my power.
pected. I trust, therefore, upon the charge · The Chancellor of the Erchequer. I have of supineness, at least, we shall stand comnot the slightest difficulty in admitting pletely acquitted. that the hon. gentleman did, as he has The statement made yesterday, that the said, acquaint me with the apprehensions production of two bushels of corn an acre he entertained, that the barvest of last thronghout the country, would fully supyear would not be so productive as some ply its necessities, might perhaps be true; persons imagined, and that he did besides but I am at a loss to imagine how it is to pledge himself to support with his interest be accomplished, unless the hon. gentle.' any measure government might be dis. man can prove that the bringing in of an posed to suggest, in consequence of the act of parliament would produce the mirainformation he so conveyed to me.
But I culous effect of immediately causing two cannot belp thinking, whatever may be bushels more to grow on every acre of the scantiness of the harvest of last year, land ; and in thinking that it would not, ihat there is no reason to fear any thing I do not apprehend we are justly chargelike a famine in the country, and it ap- able with supiveness. I admit that some pears to me neither to be well founded nor benefit might perhaps be done by the to be consistent with the candour I should suggestions and operations of vigorous and have expected from the hon. gentleman, enlightened minds; but the act itself could that he should accuse as he has done, the certainly afford no remedy. As to what government, of supineness with regard to the hon. gentleman has advised on the the agricultural interests of the country, subject of the act of parliament, the House with which he is so largely connected. will not expect that at this moment I Does he recollect the measure which was, should be able to give a decided opinion during the last session, introduced by me either one way or the other; but I appeal into parliament regarding the distilleries, to the experience of every gentleman, and which, by the influence of the hon. whether the advantage derived in 1801 gentleman and his friends, was rejected ? from the Bill then passed, if any, was not The object of that Bill was to allow the very inconsiderable? The impression upon distiller, when grain should rise to a cer- my mind, and generally I believe throughtain price, to employ sugar in the produc-out the kingdom, was, that more mischief tion of spirits.– Was this an instance of than good resulted from the interference that supineness of which to-day we are of the legislature on that occasion. Dis. told, or rather was it not an instance of a cussions in parliament, such as are now great anxiety on the part of government brought under our notice, attempting to to guard against circumstances like those lower the price of human food, defeat their now brought under the notice of the own object. The act of the 41st of the House? With what wisdom that measure King was hardly passed, before it was dise was thrown out; on what solid reasons, it covered that its execution was utterly imis not for me now to speak, because parlia- possible. I therefore trust, that if we have ment sanctioned the opposition given to it not now introduced a Bill, or appointed a by its vote; and yet in the very same committee to enquire into the subject, the year, and after this successful resistance of House will rather attribute the neglect to ihe measure I proposed to remedy the a mistaken view with which we have been evil, the hon. gentleman gave me to under- impressed, than ascribe it to inattention to stand that he apprehended a scarcity.-Al. our duty, or to supineness in promoting though I was disposed to give every degree the welfare of the country. It has been of credit to the information then afforded truly said, that this is a question which to me (particularly receiving it from a can give rise to no party feelings; every
man, whether his station be high or low, specie was in a great degree owing to the can have but one object, not only from bullion sent out of the country to pay for motives of humanity and kindness, but the grain, of which 8,000,000 worth had from the most obvious motives of personal been imported in the last year. An alinterest. The measure usually adopted in teration of the importation price would such occasions of stopping distillation from have effected the object. Wiih regard to grain, was resorted to almost as soon as the measure which he had recommended, parliament was convened. The considera. that it was practicable was certain, and in tion of government has also been directed the north the larger portion of the popula. to the distillation of spirits in Ireland, in tion lived upon no other kind of bread than order to decide whether the period be not such as the Act of which he advised the arrived, at which an attempt should be revival would produce. His letters remade to prohibit the use of grain, but they ceived that morning from Cumberland in. have been convinced of this, that unless formed him, that wheat had risen no less there be in that island a strong and uni- than 30s. per quarter. He gave notice, versal sense that the measure is absolutely that unless some circumstance should oco necessary, it would be a vain attempt; the cur to alter his resolution, he would on economical regular stills would be pre. Monday move for a Committee to inquire vented from working, and the wasteful into the present causes of the high price mode by private and illicit distillation of grain. would be substituted. The consumption of the article would not be diminished, and Irish MILITIA.] Sir J. Newport begged thus the revenue would be injured without lo ask a right hon. gentleman opposite, if any advantage to counterbalance that in the Irish Militia officers had been yet ex. jury. The diminution of the revenue, I empted from the payment of the property admit, ought not for a moment to be put in tax. competition with the general comfort and Mr. Secretary Ryder replied, that in support of the people, yet the nation would future they should be so exempt, and that thus be doubly pressed, in the first place whoever had paid property tax in the Irish by the deprivation of grain, and in the Militia should have it refunded. next, by defalcation in the revenue. The Sir J. Newport said, that when the Bill real question to be decided, is, whether by for the interchange of the militia was before adopting the measure, any relief would be the House, the right hon. gentleman posiafforded? The hon. gentleman has not tively stated that they should be exempted. communicated to me a single idea with Mr. Secretary Ryder denied his having which my mind has not been long deeply made any such statement. impressed, and if he can suggest
a pro- Sir J. Newport persevered in his declaposition which would be really effectual, ration; and added, that the right hon. the nothing will give me greater pleasure than Chancellor of the Exchequer had con- . to support it. I am persuaded that he curred in the statement. now introduced the subject with the most The Chancellor of the Erchequer assured generous and patriotic feeling, but I would the right hon. baronet, that as far as his advise him well to weigh the practical ef. recollection served him, what was said, fects which have been produced on former when the Bill was before the House, was, occasions by the mere statement of theore that the officers generally should be ex. tical calculations.
empt from the assessed taxes. When the Mr. Curwer again rising,
right hon. barvnet said, that he understood The Speaker observed, that there being it in another way, certainly the right no question before the House, he doubted hon. baronet must think so; but he (the much the propriety of continuing the con- Chancellor of the Exchequer) was perVersation.
suaded that it had been just as he now Mr. Curwen said, he should give notice stated it. When the Bill was pending, of a motion to the House on the subject. he looked upon the Irish officers in the He did not mean to charge the right hon. light of persons compelled to be resident gentleman with supineness on the present here, and therefore liable to pay taxes only occasion particularly, but the importation accordingly. Arrangements were, howof last year ought to have shewn the ne- ever, now made completely calculated to cessity of an enquiry into the best means remove every ground of complaint on the of obviating it in future. He had no part of the officers. doubt, but that the present scarcity of Sir H. Montgomery quoted the words employed by the Chancellor of the Exche- for it, which was necessarily owing to the quer on the occasion alluded to.
depreciation of paper. It appeared, then, The Chancellor of the Erchequer remarked, that the Irish bank paper was in a prothat the exemption applied to the property gressive state of depreciation, and for this of the officers, and not to their pay. In assumption he had very high and great consequence, however, of representations authority, and that of a description which made, it had been determined by govern- most of the gentlemen opposite would not ment to concede the point.
be disposed to dispute, for the facts on Sir J. Newport added, that the tax was which he assumed the depreciation of Irish deducted out of the pay of the last quarter. paper, were to be found in the report of
Mr. W. Pole acknowledged that it had that Committee, which was composed of been charged up to the present time; but Mr. Pitt, lord Castlereagh, Mr. Yorke, an order had been sent to the Commis. Mr. Rose, Mr. Long, Mr. Vansittart, Mr. sioners, in future not to deduct the pro. Manning, sir John Sinclair, Mr. Thornton, perty tax from the
of the Irish militia and others. When he had such authority, officers.
it could not be denied that he was correct Sir J. Nevport rejoined, that so strictly in his statement. But in addition to this, had the deduction been attended to, that he had also to refer to the opinion of an it had been made from the very moment hon. member (the member for Old Sarum) some of the officers embarked for England, who acknowledged that the paper in Irefrom Ireland.
land was depreciated, the reason of which The Chancellor of the Exchequer termi- was, the discount upon the country. Benated the conversation by stating, that the fore the House agreed to make the paper delay had originated in a question wbether of Ireland a legal tender, it ought to be the exemption could be made under the shewn that the paper, which was depreold act, or whether a new bill would be ciated in that country in 1804 (according required. It had now been determined, to the report of the Committee) was not that by the construction of the former sta- now in that state, but in such a one as autute no new enactment was necessary.
thorised the House to make it a legal ten
der. He conceived that it was impossible GOLD COIN AND BANK Note AMEND- to make out that case ; but if the enquiry MENT BILL.) On the question that the which he proposed was instituted, the reHouse do resolve itself into a Committee sult would be, that the bank paper of Ireo on this Bill,
land was more depreciated now than it had Mr. Parnell said, that he rose for the been in 1804, and this fact would appear purpose of moving, as an amendment, that from an examination into the state of the the further proceedings in this Bill should exchange, and into the value of the paper,
, be postponed to this day fortnight, for the compared to the discount. If the expurpose of appointing a select committee change between London and Dublin was to enquire into the state of the currency in at 18 per cent. wben the Committee in Ireland, as the Bill related so much to ihat 1804 had ascertained that a one pound note country, that every information should be and a shilling would purchase a guinea in obtained upon its probable effect upon the Ireland, yet the exchange would now be interests of the different classes there. at 25 per cent. and upwards, instead of 18. He would endeavour, with the permission If the Committee in 1804 had compared of the House, to put them in possession of the exchange with Hamburgh, they would the situation in which the paper currency have found that it was 18 per cent. against of Ireland was placed. In the year 1801, Dublin, to the correspondent in London; a Committee had been appointed to en- and if they had made a late estimate, it quire into the state of the bank paper here would be 25 per cent. against Dublin; and in Ireland, and it appeared from their therefore the depreciation was greater than report, that the value of the paper issued in 1804. Next, as to the value of paper, by the bank of Ireland, in 1797, that the with respect to discount, or of paper on issues had not exceeded 6 or 700,0001. and exchange, with gold, the result would be the exchange between London and Dublin the same. It was perfectly justifiable to was at 54 and 6; aster that, in 1804, the assume, that this Bill made paper a legal issues bad increased to 2,986,0001. and the tender, though it was not set out to be so; exchange to 18. In Belfast, the exchange for as the prices would be always regu. was in their favour, and a person wanting lated by the value of the currency, the a guinea was forced to give two shillings only case where notes, being made a legal