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HOUSE OF LORDS.
TUESDAY, JULY 7.
The Earl of Lauderdale moved, that the Irish Stamps Bill be printed; and upon an objection to this by the Earl of Liverpool, on account of the extent of the Bill, Lord Lauderdale said, that this was a reason why it ought to be printer, that the House might the more easily examine it, as the Irish Bills had, in many instances, been found full of errors.
The Earl of Limerick said, that the noble earl was always attacking Ireland. He did not see any necessity for printing the Bill.
The Earl of Lauderdale asked whether the noble earl (Limerick) really considered it as a proof of bestility to Ireland to take care that the law for governing that country should be as clearly defined as possible? It might be a proof of hostility to those who drew the Bills—to the Government of Ireland; but to the country itself it was a proof of friendship.
Lord Holland said, that if the noble earl (Limerick) would suffer him to speak of an Irish Bill, he would mention, that there was a great error in the Irish Population Bill; not, however, attributable to Sir John Newport.
Earl Stanhope said, he was half an Irishman, and it could not be imagined that he wished to speak against Ireland; but there had been an Irish Bill on the table, enacting, that the names of certain anonymous persons should be set forth at full length: but he had detected many more monstrous absurdities in English Bills.
The Bill was ordered to be printed.
Lord Holland gave notice, that he would, on an early day, move the second reading of his Ex-Officio Information Bill.
LEATHER TAX BILL.
On the question for going into a Committee on this Bill,
The Duke of Bedford made a few general observations against the measure, as likely to operate, in a most injurious and oppressive manner; on the poorer order of the people: it would also operate powerfully on the small farmers, and eventually tend to throw numbers out of employment. If persisted in, he would feel it proper to record his protest against such an additional tax.
Earl Spencer fully coincided in the sentiments of the noble duke, and suggested the propriety of instructing the Committee to divide the Bill, or to have the obnoxious part separated from the other matter, so as to form a distinct Bill, and to discuss it accordingly.
The Earl of Liverpool observed, that such a proceeding, with regard to a Bill of the kind, would be irregular and anomalous in that House; but suggested it would equally answer by his moving to leave out the word “ Hides," and the relevant matter in that part of the Bill, and also the corresponding part of the Schedules.
This proposition, after some further conversation, was assented to by Earl Spencer, and the House resolved into a Committee on the Bill, Lord Walsingham in the chair.
Earl Spencer then entered into a variety of detailed objections against the measure, proceeding on those grounds on which it had formerly been argued. He observed, a tax of the kind had been suggested to that great statesman, Mr. Pitt, but who, after maturely considering all its bearings, thought proper to decline it. He laid much stress on its injurious operation with respect to the poorer classes of the community, and the numbers who, he understood, must be thrown out of employ by it. He thought other financial regulations might easily be devised, comparatively unobjectionable, and eventually much more productive. The noble earl concluded by moving, as an Amendment, to leave out those parts of the Bill, as pointed out by the noble lord at the head of the Treasury.
The Duke of Norfolk decidedly supported the objections of his noble friend. He thought it much better for Ministers to relinquish it in the first instance, and substitute some other tax, ere the remonstrances and complaints of the manufacturers would induce them to do it in a future session.
The Earl of Liverpool, at some length, and with great ability, defended the measure in question, as increasing the tax upon an article, and a trade, which experience and record proved to have been an increasing source of revenue, and a prosperous and growing trade. Such therefore was, upon general principles, a fair and advantageous object of taxation. All productive taxes must somewhere be felt, and such would naturally be complained of; but the tax in question was far from bearing exclusively upon the lower
orders of their fellow-subjects; it bore proportionably upon the wealthy, inasmuch as it reached carriages, many sorts of furniture, and other articles of luxury, which were previously subject to taxation as articles of luxury-hear, hear!)-The tax, in other shapes, affected all classes in the community. Great stress was laid as to its bearing with respect to the article of shoes; but in this view it should be considered it was not so much the quantity of leather in those articles that was laxed, as the general mass of the commodity wbich that article was manufactured from. Upon the whole, in every point of view, he considered the commodity in question as a fair and advantageous object of taxation; one likely to be highly productive, and not liable to any real or solid objection whatever.
Lord Rosslyn said, it had been increasing in some measure owing to the war. The tax, be contended, would fall peculiarly heavy on the lower classes, and would be as oppressive and unequal as it must be unproductive. He was sorry to object to any tax brought forward at present, but this was one of the worst that could be devised.
The Earl of Ross supported the measure, and contended, that it gave no unfair advantage to Ireland, since, in fact, all the finer leather, manufactured in Ireland, was imported into England.
The Earl of Lauderdale had never known a tax so improvident in principle, as the one under consideration. It seemed to be the only legacy of the last to the present Chan. cellor of the Exchequer, which the latter chose to take. All the other measures of the late Minister had been, one by one, sacrificed and abandoned. (Hear!)-He should be glad to know what measure of importance they had not abandoned. (Hcar!) The tax on leather had been often proposed, but always given up. Respecting the manufacturers of Ireland continuing much behind those of England, he had heard of no reason, except the necessity of their getting oak bark from this country. Now Scotland manufactured much leather, and could compete with the manufacturers of England, yet she procured almost all her bark from England. The Scottish iracle was a young one, but it was fast growing. The present measure gave a bounty to the Irish manufacturer of shoes, at the expence of English ones. His lordship then condemned the practice of bringing on such matters in a burry at the end of the session, when there was no time to discuss them fully, and receive the evidence of persons most Vol. III.-1812.
toncerned at the bar of the House. The proposed tax, he contendetl, must affect the exportation of leather, which amounted to one.fourth of the whole manufacture in this country, and there would be no want of skilful emigrants from bence to Ireland. He seriously implored noble Jords to consider the matter fully, and not send back the manufacturers to their starving and half-employed journeymen, to carry on their trade at a loss, ull ibe next session gave them relief. After abandoning their Orders in Council, on which they stated the salvation of the country depended, Ministers would bave, next year, to lament their perseverance in this tas.
The Earl of Limerick said, that the arguments of noble lords were such as would make a person suppose there had been no union, and that Ireland was a hostile country. The fact was, that the manufacture and exportation of leather had decreased in Ireland, and as the bark must all come from England, it could not be presumed that the Irish manufacturer could injure the manufacturer here. It had been too long the system to check and put down the trade of Ircland; even up to the era of the present auspicious reign.
The Earl of Rosslyn explained. No man more lamented than he did, the false policy towards Ireland, or bailed more sincerely the opening of her freedom. His object was the putting the trade of both countries on a fair and equal footing
The Earl of Lauderdale explained to nearly the same effect. He would have used the same arguments in the case of Yorkshire, as he had done in that of Ireland. He was an advocate for the fair and equal communication of advantages. The House divided on Earl Spencer's AmendmentContents
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Majority The Report was brought up and agreed to.-Adjourned.
HOUSE OF COMMONS.
TUESDAY, JULY 7.
Mr. Byng brought up several petitions from the parishes of St. Pancras, St. James, St. Andrew Holborn, St. George the Martyr, and St. George Bloomsbury, against the Nightly Watch Bill.
The Speaker informed the House, that the Lords had made an alteration in the mode of raising money in the Irish Grand Jury Presentment Bill, an alteration which the House of Commons never allowed ; upon which Mr. Parnell moved, that the Bill be taken into farther consideration this day three months,
Mr. Vansittart stated, that being aware, that several useful alterations might be made in the Auction Bill, he should move to postpone the second reading till this day fortnight.
Mr. Sheridan observed, that he had expected, after the information which the Chancellor of the Exchequer had received, that he would have postponed the Bill till the next session. Had the right honourable gentleman been as ready to listen to information on the Leather Tax, he would not have carried it with a majority of only eight. He, trusted it would be a lesson to the right honourable gentle
Mr. Vansittart would not persist in pressing the Bill through this session.
Mr. Brougham congratulated the House on the aban. donment, observing that it would have proved an oppressive tax. It was then ordered to be read this day two months.
Lord Folkestone postponed his motion respecting Captain King till Thursday,
THE PARDON OF WALTER HALL. Mr. Tighe said, he did not intend to bring forward his motion on this subject, as the papers had been printed and distributed only two days. He wished, however, to ask a question of the Irish Secretary. It appeared that Hall was tried and condemned on the 17th of February, that he was to be executed on the 19th, and yet bad not been reprieved till the 25th. He wished to know whether judgment was stayed, during this interval, on the mere act of the Sheriff ?