« AnteriorContinuar »
duction, and attempted to extend largely augmented, and the exthe foreign trade of the country at ports had gone on increasing. the expense of the home consumer After explaining the leading and of the Colonies.
changes to be effected by the Lord G. Bentinck then, by leave present Bill, Lord Dalhousie disof the House, withdrew his amend- claimed its title to the character ment; and the Bill was read a of a free-trade measure ; its printhird time, and passed.
ciple was simply, as stated to their The Customs Duties Bill was lordships in Her Majesty's Speech read a second time in the House from the Throne, the removal of of Lords, on the 4th of June, prohibitory and the reduction of on the motion of the Earl of protective duties. Dalhousie. In his speech the no The Duke of Richmond moved ble lord showed that this measure that the Bill be read a second time was merely a following up of that that day six months. ameliorative course of commercial Lord Dalhousie had spoken of policy adopted by successive Go- the measure as recommended by vernments, and particularly by the the Crown; it was the measure of present Government.
the Crown's Ministers, and theirs In 1819 considerable reductions was the recommendation. It was were made in the import duties, be- unconstitutional, and contrary to tween 1819 and 1826 still greater their lordships' privileges, that Her changes were made, and from 1842 Majesty's name should be used as to 1845 the system underwent the in favour of or against any measure greatest change of all. This policy before their lordships. was adopted in the firm belief that The Earl of Dalhousie explained, the removal of the duties on the that if he used the word recomraw material of manufactures, and mended,” he did not mean to imthe reduction of duties on manu- ply the existence of any opinion on factured goods, while beneficial to the part of the Crown, but simply the consumer, would also give a that it had been suggested by the stimulus to trade, which would tend Ministers of the Crown that the directly to the benefit of commerce, matter should be mentioned in the and in the end leave the revenue Queen's Speech on opening the very little, if at all, a sufferer by Session. the change. He showed, by de The Duke of Richmond was tails similar to those adduced by glad of this disclaimer : he then Ministers in the Commons, that proceeded with his objections. these hopes had been completely He objected to the reduction of realized. The present measure the duty on butter and cheese, was merely an extension of the a proposal which he attributed policy which had been in opera to hostility to the agricultural tion for many years, and which interest. He thought the retenhad proved its soundness by re tion of the duty on manufactured sults that could not be mistaken. cottons unfair, and a great hardThe revenue had increased ; the ship to the Manchester manufacconsumption of those articles which turers, who professed that they rehad been relieved of import du- quired no protection at all; they, ties in whole or in part had been forsooth, were anxious to get rid
of it—they would make for the and reasonable course for Gowithdrawal of protection by their vernment to adopt would be to skill, industry, energy, and Heaven get rid of those duties altogether. knows what! He could not see He believed that if the Duke of why the farmers' and labourers' Richmond's principle of protecting wives should not be allowed to every article of home production purchase cotton gowns as cheaply were carried out, we should soon as they could, when foreign corn have no trade at all. On the was admitted into this country at other hand, he believed that the a reduced rate of duty. Lord utmost possible freedom of exDalhousie had vindicated the re change among nations added to tention of duties on certain arti- their mutual wealth and to the cles, on the
ground that they were comfort and enjoyment of their peoluxuries. But was not a carriage ple. He considered that nothing a luxury? was not silk a luxury? could be more injurious to existHe complained that the proposers ing interests than the adoption of of these free-trade measures did a principle which, while it parnot carry out their principles ; tially kept up the protective duthey reduced the duty on some ties, would ultimately lead to their luxuries, that the Minister's wife entire abolition. He looked on the might go to court in a very fine Bill, however, as a most important gown and in an elegant carriage, step in the right direction. He while they retained the duty on accepted it—not as carrying into other luxuries. His real objection effect, as they ought to be carto all these free - trade measures ried out, the principles for which was, that they must have the he contended, but as a valuable effect of reducing the wages of instalment of what those who conour own artizans and labourers. curred with him in opinion might The duke concluded by remark- expect. ing, that after the decision their Lord Ashburton objected to lordships had come to the other the Bill, deeming it most injuevening, he felt it was of very
rious to the industrious classes. little use to trouble them at any His surprise was, that the enerlength upon this question, for he gies of the country had enabled well knew what their decision it to bear up against the constant would be.
tampering and meddling with its The Earl of Wicklow thought commerce which had lately been the whole proceedings of the Ğo- pursued. He defied the Governvernment, with regard not only to ment to show that the prosperity this measure but to others, had enjoyed by the country was owing been characterized by injustice, to the new tariff. which ought not to be borne. had attained to an extraordinary
Earl Grey was of opinion, on degree of prosperity under a syslooking at the measure, that there tem of protection, and that man was no distinct principle fairly must be rash indeed who would and clearly carried out by it. make that prosperity an excuso After the admission which had for the present measure. been made that protective duties sent there was no surplus in the were unsound, the most proper exchequer worth speaking of; and
if a reaction came, as in the course the 5,000,0001. derived from the of events must naturally happen, Income Tax. He thought the having exhausted our fiscal re wiser policy for the Government sources, he did not know how we would have been to have made should meet the deficit, after the that tax permanent, till they were reductions proposed to be made by able to remove it. Under present the measure before the House. circumstances a renewal could not
Lord Monteagle considered that be asked for, without an inducethe liberal commercial measures of ment being held out in the removal the present Government were one of some unpopular indirect tax. A of the main elements of our recent Property Tax, for a short period, prosperity.
subject to renewal, had a tendency He objected to the needless sa to create a system of direct instead crifice of duty in the case of colo- of indirect taxation, than which a nial timber, by which the consumer more dangerous course could not had derived no advantage. With be entered on by any country, respect to the duties upon sugar, particularly one burdened as this the course taken by the Govern was with debt. ment BO unexampled and
The Bill was read a second time, without precedent that he could no division taking place. The disnot believe they would adhere to cussions on the subsequent stages the principle upon which Parlia were brief, but marked by unment was last Session called upon abated hostility on the part of to legislate. An importation of the opponents. The Duke of 70,000 tons of high-priced sugar Richmond, previous to the House had been calculated upon, which going into committee on the Bill, would have yielded a
on the 22nd of June, presented of about 1,400,0001. But these petitions from certain silkweavers figures had been so far from being at Macclesfield and from Spitalrealized that only 1,500 tons had fields, praying to be heard by really been imported, and in place counsel against the clause by of a revenue of 1,500,0001. only which their interests were affected. 24,0001. had been received. Then The petitioners undertook to prove a reduction of 1ls. 2d. per cwt. that the proposed duty on foreign had taken place in the duty upon silks, so far from being equal to West India sugar, which had en 15 per cent., did not, on many tailed upon the country an enor- descriptions, exceed 9 cent. mous sacrifice of revenue without The Earl of Dalhousie opposed a corresponding benefit to the con- the motion, alleging, that by the sumer.
The revenue lost about rule of the House counsel were not 1,500,0001., being lls. 2d. per to be heard on a general measure cwt., and the consumer had only of Customs, but only on a measure gained 9d. per cwt. in the price. affecting a particular trade or a Who, then, had benefited by the particular locality. reduction? Public attention ought Lord Brougham supported the to be called to this point.
motion. There was a great peThe finances of the country were culiarity in the case ; and being in a satisfactory state at the pre- anxious for information on the sent moment, but that arose from facts alleged in the petitions, he
would not tie down the petitioners Order, and declare that the consent to a speech of counsel on their of the Queen and the Commons behalf, but would be ready to hear is sufficient to pass a measure. witnesses, provided the production “ If that argument," said the noof evidence was not resorted to ble duke, had been used by a for the purpose of mere delay. young man just come from school, He complimented the Protectionist I should have taken no notice of it; lords on the fair and candid man but when it comes from my noble ner in which they had conducted friend, the noble and gallant duke, their opposition to the Government I am bound to protest against it, measures. They had not availed and I shall certainly feel it themselves of the opportunities for to take the sense of the House on delay which had occurred, nor had this motion.” they awaited to see what might The House dividedturn up elsewhere to affect the decision of the House.
For the Motion-Present 43 Lord Ellenborough and the Duke
Proxies 31 of Wellington opposed the motion as inconsistent with Parliamentary
74 usage. The latter observed, that they could not make any alteration Against it-Present 43 in the details of the Bill without
Proxies 36 an infraction of the settled rules of proceeding, which had existed for
78 more than 200 years as between the two Houses. In considering
4 the Corn Bill their lordships had kept these rules in view. The Lord Stanley then delivered a consequence of making alterations speech in opposition to the Bill on in committee in the money clauses general grounds of principle. This of Bills of Supply and of Customs measure was inconsistent with the had invariably been, not only the principle of free trade, as acted loss of the Bills, but afterwards, upon in the Corn Bill. In that in point of fact, entirely to para- Bill all protection was taken away lyze the proceedings of Parliament. from agriculture, but in the CusIt was useless to allow counsel toms Bill a certain system of to come forward and make state- protective duties was laid down. ments, while their lordships knew But it was because he found the that the arguments could be of no principle of protection recognised avail in inducing them to alter the in that Bill that he was able to details.
consent to its principle and to The Duke of Richmond con agree to its going into committee. troverted this doctrine with some Free traders had asserted that warmth. If such was to be the if once the Corn Laws constitution of Parliament, it was swept away, the agricultural ina mere farce to ask their lord- terest would soon lend its aid ships to consider a Bill, while at in doing away with all other the same time they were told that monopolies and protections. He they could not alter it. Better hoped that experience would falwould it be to alter the Standing sify the prediction, and that the
agricultural interest would not made up. Lord Dalhousie gave a stultify the cause in which they number of explanatory details in were engaged, and in which they connection with the statements adwould continue to be engaged, by duced by Lord Stanley. so acting. He should be much The first clause having been mistaken if many years elapsed agreed to, the second, relating to before their lordships would find the duties on timber, was opposed the manufacturing interest sen by Lord Stanley, who moved its sible of the mistake they had com omission. This amendment was mitted, and desiring for themselves negatived by 54 to 52. that protection which they had Lord Hardwicke moved the omis. 50 earnestly requested might be sion of the clause relating to butter taken away from others. Lord and cheese : the amendment was Stanley proceeded at some length supported by Lord Stanley, but reto show the inexpediency of abo- jccted on a division by 75 to 50. lishing certain duties and of re Earl Stanhope objected to the ducing others. It was an axiom reduction of the duty on lace, but in finance that those duties should did not press his motion to a divinot be interfered with which were sion. increasing in productiveness; and The Duke of Richmond moved he applied the axiom to the case the omission of the clause relating of butter and cheese, live animals, to silk duties. silk, timber, boots and shoes, and The Earl of Dalhousie defended some other articles, all of which the clause, and went at some length were increasing in value to the into the state of the silk trade. revenue. Before consenting to re He thought the conclusion was inpeal or reduce the duties on these evitable, of the perfect capacity of articles the House should have an the trade to compete with the foexplanation of the principle upon reigner in thrown silk, as well as which Ministers were proceeding. in the fabrics of silk. With respect
The Earl of Dalhousie gave the to the parties engaged in the trade required explanation. He had fre- under this system, he had taken quently explained that the measure every pains to obtain information was not offered as one of free trade. from all parts of the country ; and What Ministers desired was, to re he could assert, that in every part move the duties upon articles of of the country there never was a necessary clothing. Beyond this time when, taken as a whole, the the object of the Government had trade was in a greater state of been in revising the tariff to act prosperity and more full employaccording to the system which had ment, notwithstanding the admisbeen pursued of late years, and re sion of foreign thrown silk and duce the duties on articles of ma the foreign manufactured article. nufacture, and on articles partially Why, on the very evening that his manufactured, so as to leave an noble friend was originally to have ad valorem duty of 10 per cent. brought forward this
petition, about on all such articles of importation a fortnight ago, a meeting of the as nearly as possible. As to the velvet-weavers (who constituted the revenue, Government, looking at greater portion of the silk-weavers the past, had a perfect right to of Spitalfields) was held to consider expect that the loss would be
whether they should not demand