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he lamented that the entire duty of the Baltic timber grower. He on timber had not been taken off. then asked the House to consider When every duty was taken off all whether his friends, who called on other raw articles of manufacture, the Government for the repeal of why was it retained on timber, the Excise duties, of which the adwhich was so useful an article vantage would be equally divided in the consumption of the poor? between the consumer and the He called particular attention to grower of the article in this counthe advantage which the maritime try, were not wiser than the Mipopulation of these islands would nisters who refused to repeal such derive from the entire abolition of duties, and limited themselves to the timber duties. The fisheries the reduction of the Custom duties on our coast were the most pro on those articles of foreign producductive in the world, and yet we tion which came into competition did not draw from them anything with articles the production of our like the benefit which we ought. own land, or of our own colonies. And why? Because our poor coun He then pointed out at great length trymen were not in a condition to the injury which the resolution was fit out their boats properly, owing calculated to inflict upon Canada. to the high price of timber; and Our Canadian brethren had reason more lives were annually lost on to be alarmed, and were alarmed, our coasts, owing to the defective at the mere proposition of this reequipment of our fishing boats, duction. They were already disthan were lost on the coasts of cussing the question, whether it every other country in the world. would not be better for them to
Lord George Bentinck cautioned be annexed to the United States, honourable Members against being and were preparing remonstrances led away by the facts and figures against the new commercial policy quoted, or to be quoted by Ministers of the British Government. Surely on this subject, for as an illustrious this was not the time, when Amerelative of his, Mr. Canning, had rica was arming her seaboard, and once remarked, the last thing which Quincy Adams was blasphemously a man of sense would believe in the quoting scripture to justify aggresHouse of Commons was a statement sive war--surely this was not the of facts and figures. Ile maintained time to alienate by fiscal regulathat Mr. Warburton had been cor tions and Customs' Acts the atrect in declaring that the alteration tachment of the Canadas from this in the timber duties, made in the country. He was no friend to war; tariff of 1842, had been of great but if war should come, he would advantage to the consumers of this send those British seamen, whom country, by preventing Canadian their present legislation was intimber from advancing to an ex- juring so much, to destroy the orbitant price. He showed that American seaboard, and to speak that alteration had indeed pro- in language which could not be duced a small reduction in the misunderstood, to New York, and price of Canadian timber ; but, Boston, and New Orleans. Turnon the other hand, it had placed ing from this warlike demonstraa considerable amount of duty, tion against America, which was which formerly went into the received with partial cheers, he British exchequer, in the pockets entered into a long statistical dis
sertation, displaying much indus- had been in a state of depression, try and research, to prove that the owing to two causes. The first shipping interest had been injured, was, that every other interest in and would be still more essentially this country had been in a state of injured, by the relaxation of the great depression ; and the second, protection under which it had that the shipping interest was then grown up. If the shipping in- exposed to great competition, but terest were injured, our maritime not from foreigners. Too many supremacy would be endangered; ships had been built in our own and if by any vicissitude of for- ports, in consequence of the pretune it should be lost, the glory vious prosperity; and when a reand prosperity of England would action came, the competition for be placed in the utmost jeopardy. freight produced a great reduction
Sir G. Clerk observed, that in the profits of the shipowner. though Lord G. Bentinck had From returns which he read from declared his intention of object- the ports of London and Liverpool, ing to this resolution on the three he hoped that the prosperity of grounds of revenue, of protection the shipping interest was now reto our colonies, and of our mari. established, and he was certain time supremacy, he had said little that it would not be impaired by or nothing on the first of them, the present resolution. because it was impossible for him Mr. C. Buller observed, that as to prove that the resolution would the rest of this question had been produce injury to the treasury. very satisfactorily disposed of, he The noble lord had been more dif- would confine himself to the refuse on the second point, but he marks of Lord G. Bentinck, on (Sir G. Clerk) thought that the the indignation which he declared predictions of the noble lord, as now shaking Canada from to the ruin of the Canada trade by end of it to the other. this resolution, would be falsified Now he thought that when Lord by events as completely as all the G. Bentinck unfurled the Union former predictions of its ruin had Jack, as the flag of the party been. On the third point, the no sitting on the Protection benches, ble lord's argument was in some he ought along with the influence respects of so exaggerated a cha. to assume the gravity and responracter as to carry its own refuta- sibility of the leader of a party. tion along with it; for he had con He (Mr. C. Buller) thought that tended that our shipping interest the use of the language of dignified had so fallen off that we must fear courtesy towards foreign nations, competition with the mercantile such as Sir Robert Peel habitually navy of Norway and Denmark. used, was preferable to bandying He then entered into an exami- bombast with the braggarts of nation of several of the statistical America, and to justifying the documents quoted by Lord George vagaries of poor Mr. Adams by Bentinck ; and, having concluded congenial bluster. He had intiit, observed that every shipowner mated his dissent from Lord G. agreed, that up to the year Bentinck, when he said that the 1840 the shipping interest was inhabitants of Canada were discussin the most flourishing description, ing the expediency of separating During the next three years it themselves from England, and of
annexing themselves to America, that the best mode of levying on account of this resolution. He taxes for revenue was by Cushad received papers from Canada toms, rather than by Excise duties; as well as the noble lord ; and the and secondly, on the ground that editor of one of the Montreal pa we ought not to remit 2,400,0001. pers, amid the indignation which of Customs' duties till we had sawas said to be shaking Canada to tisfied ourselves that we could not its centre, calmly announced that remit any of the duties on Excise, he would take a week to think which pressed so heavily on the of the Government proposition. people of England. His third He was sure that when a call was ground of opposition was that, if made upon them, the Canadians were determined to reduce would join with us in rallying Customs duties in preference to round our common country. By Excise duties, we ought to apply sending men like Lord Metcalf and ourselves and his complaint was Sir C. Bagot, as governors to Ca that we had not applied ourselves nada, Sir Robert Peel had allayed --to the reduction of duties on the feelings of the Canadians, and articles produced by those counhad established a stronger connec tries which dealt most leniently tion between England and Canada with our commodities. His fourth tban could be established by all our ground was that, when you rerestrictive monopolies. He then duced a Customs duty, the proproceeded to justify the resolution. ducer abroad shared the benefit of He was convinced that this change the reduction with the consumer in the amount of the duties could at home ; whereas, when you renever have been made at a time duced an Excise duty, be it on more favourable to the Canadas hops, soap, or corn, the entire than the present, for their timber reduction went into the pockets was in such demand for railway of the subjects of Great Britain. purposes, both in England and on The noble lord then proceeded to the continent of Europe, as to ren- object, in detail, to the reductions der them careless of any monopoly. which it was now proposed to make He implored the House to recollect in the duties on silk and timber, that every man's dwelling in the and to point out the injury which, United Kingdom would be affected in both cases, would be inflicted on by this resolution.
our native industry. There was no The House then divided, when justification to be found for these there appeared for the amend- reductions in our tariff, in the rement, 100; against it, 232. The ductions of foreign tariffs on our resolution was, therefore, affirmed commodities. They were in direct by a majority of 132.
opposition to the policy of Mr. Pitt, The Bill embodying the vari- Mr. Canning, and Mr. Huskisson. ous reductions in the tariff passed Their doctrines of free trade were through Committee with very little not doctrines of free trade withdiscussion, it being arranged that out reciprocity--on the contrary, the debate should take place on they warranted the doctrine of the third reading. On that occa Mr. Disraeli, that we must retalision the opposition was renewed ate on hostile tariffs by antagonby Lord G. Bentinck, who assailed istic measures. The noble lord the measure ; first, on the ground then repeated his former argu
ments against free trade, derived Government from repealing the from the alleged injury which it duties on soap, hops, and malt, would inflict, first on our shipping as the noble lord advised, he proand colonial interests, and ulti- ceeded to point out the fallacy mately on the general interests of his objections to the reductions of the empire. He insisted that now proposed in the timber duties. Ministers had no reason to exult The fallacy of them consisted in over the intelligence they had re-this--that his lordship appeared to cently received from the Canadas. suppose that what was an advanThe Canadas were not satisfied tage to one country must of neceswith the imperial policy ; but only sity be a disadvantage to another ; consented to it because they could whereas trade, if properly carried not resist it. He concluded by on, was productive of advantage to moving, that the report be taken all parties concerned in it. He into further consideration that day denied that the Canadians were six months.
adverse to the reduction of either Mr. Lawson seconded the amend the timber duties or the corn dument.
ties, and treated as a mere idle The Chancellor of the Exchequer bugbear the apprehension that eiproceeded to comment upon the ther reduction would induce them new principles of finance and trade to wish for annexation to the which had been that evening laid United States. He ridiculed the down by Lord G. Bentinck, and notion that commerce could be bewhich were not likely to be adopted ficially carried on under a mutual by any finance Minister, unless, system of hostile tariff's. Hostile indeed, it were by the noble lord tariffs always begot complaint and himself. He had proposed to re irritation between nations, and not peal the whole of the Excise duties, unfrequently terminated in animoand to raise a similar amount of sity and war. revenue by raising Customs' duties Mr. G. Bankes complained that commensurate to the Excise duties the Chancellor of the Exchequer which he repealed. Now, if Lord had answered a speech which he G. Bentinck were able to carry had made for Lord G. Bentinck, such a project into execution, he and had left unanswered the speech would place on the foreign trade which his lordship had made for of the country a burden which it himself. His noble friend had could not bear, and which would never proposed to repeal the whole be equally injurious to the foreign amount of the Excise duties, but, producer and the home consumer. as Mr. Pitt and Mr. Huskisson Such a project was not in con had proposed before him, to apformity with the commercial policy portion his remission of duties of Mr. Pitt, Mr. Canning, and Mr. between those two departments. Huskisson, which the noble lord He thought that we had rushed had so much eulogized ; for it was rashly on to the repeal of our the constant practice of those great Customs duties, without considerMinisters to apportion the amount ing whether we should gain any of taxation which they proposed corresponding advantage for it. to remit, equally between Customs It would have been better to have and Excise. After declaring that repealed the duties on tea, sugar, reasons of revenue prevented the soap, and malt, or one or all of
those articles, as the state of the importance of this most alarming revenue permitted. He concluded innovation. by replying to some observations Dr. Bowring entered into a conof Sir James Graham on the Corn sideration of the favourable effects Laws, and justified the irregularity which the liberal policy of Her of his doing so by declaring that, Majesty's Government was calthough the Corn Importation Bill culated to produce upon foreign was not now before the House, Governments. To his knowledge it was very probable that it might they were already responding to be before it again within a short our friendly legislation, and there period.
could be no doubt of its being re. Mr. Hawes understood that the ceived by them in a spirit of reciHouse was assembled to debate procity. He read several letters the Customs duties; and he was from the United States, and also therefore not inclined to discuss at from the Canadas, to prove the present whether we ought to repeal high satisfaction with which the the Excise duties, or whether we announcement of our free-trade did right in passing the Corn Bill. measures had been received in He knew that this measure was every portion of the North Amecalculated to promote the general rican Continent. He had no hetrade of the country, and was ac sitation in declaring that on the ceptable to far the largest portion Continent of Europe they had of the community. The House made Sir Robert Peel justly and had already listened that evening universally popular. He was conto a long debate upon it; and yet sidered as the representative of no person connected with either the wealth and power and intelthe trading, manufacturing, or ligence of England, and his excommercial interests had come ample had already encouraged the forward to support the motion of Sovereigns of Naples, Sardinia, Lord G. Bentinck. When he saw and Tuscany, to make considerathat the same had been the case ble reductions in their tariffs. on many other motions, which the Mr. Henley could not support noble lord had prefaced with very this measure, which was a specilong speeches, he could not help men of legislation for the benefit considering these mere party mo of one class of the community at tions made principally for the sake the expense of the other. of delay,
Mr. Hudson defended the proMr. Plumptre indignantly re tective system, and complained of pelled the accusation that the the injurious consequences which Protection party had unnecessarily had already resulted to the labourobstructed this measure, which ing classes from the breaches made would plunge the trade and com in that system. The reductions in merce of the country into irre- the silk duties had not worked well trievable ruin. If the delays, for the operative classes in that of which Mr. Hawes complained, trade, nor had the reduction of the had lasted not for a few weeks, timber duties been for the benefit but for a whole Session, or even
of the home consumer. for a whole Parliament, they would sent measure was of an un-English have been justified by the immense character; it disregarded home proVOL. LXXXVIII.