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was its wording, he could state, that the original intention of it was, that no new restriction should be imposed upon trade. If it were applied to such a case as this, which was to remove a restriction, an operation would be given to it the reverse of the original intention.

Mr. S. Wortley contended, that the standing order was applicable to the pre

sent case.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer explained the origin of the standing order. A bill imposing certain restrictions on trade had found its way through that House to the House of Lords, where it was objected to, and the Lords came to a resolution, that no such bill should be agreed to, but after the reference of the subject to a committee. The House of Commons then came to a similar resolution. However the order might be worded, its object evidently was, to prevent the introduction of new restraints upon trade, and not the removal of those which already existed.

Lord Milton thought the petitioners ought to be heard. In a case in which the interests of so many persons were concerned, it would not be right to dwell on what might be the original intent of the standing order. And after all, the repeal of restrictions on trade was, in fact, the introduction of a new regulation with respect to it.

Mr. Ellice urged the propriety of postponement. It would be hard on the petitioners, if now, for the first time, the standing order was considered inapplicable to the present question.

Mr. F. Buxton presented a similar petition from the tradesmen of Spitalfields, expressing their apprehension, that the result of the repeal of the existing law would be, the increase of the poor-rates, and praying the House not to pass the bill without the fullest examination. In his opinion, inquiry was indispensably necessary, to pacify the opponents of the repeal if they were wrong, or to do them justice if they were right.

Mr. Philips thought the standing order bore upon the present question.

Mr. Wallace was satisfied that, whatever was the wording of the standing order, it had no real application' to the principle of this bill, and he should regret extremely to see it impeded upon such a pretence. If the House yielded to the present application, the result must be the loss of the bill for the present session. VOL. IX.

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Mr. Maxwell thought it might be safely presumed, that the petitioners had good reason for their opposition to the present bill. He certainly hesitated to say, that he approved of the repeal. At any rate, he was persuaded it ought not to be an isolated measure. He was one of those who thought that some régulations respecting wages, and among others, that of fixing their minimum, would be serviceable to the community at large.

Mr. Huskisson admitted, that if a doubt existed respecting the operation of the standing order, it ought to be considered before they proceeded further. It had not, however, been previously acted upon; and its effect, if used in the manner now proposed, would be, to paralyse all the proceedings of that House in matters of trade.

Sir J. Mackintosh said, he rose, much against his inclination, to state his opinion with respect to the meaning and construction of the standing order, because he was decidedly favourable to the bill, and as decidedly opposed to any thing which might oppose its progress. But, unfortunately, they were bound to consider the orders of that House, according to their general and plain import. For himself, he considered the removal of any restraint upon trade as much lation of such trade, as the imposition of any restraint could be. He had heard his hon. friend (Mr. Maxwell's) observation, about a minimum of wages, with regret. If his hon. friend's view were correct, he ought to apply his minimum equally to prices and to rents; not that such an extension of the application would correct the principle. On the contrary, it would expose its absurdity.

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Mr. Baring rather preferred the formation of a committee. It did not follow that such a committee should enter into a protracted inquiry. With respect to

the standing order, he saw nothing of absolute wisdom in it, and thought it ought to be repealed. With respect to the petitions, they did not weigh much with him. They came from a set of persons who were either labourers in the trade, or tradesmen and shopkeepers with whom those labourers dealt, and who would, of course, join in the prayer of their customers.

Mr. Huskisson said, that though this standing order had been introduced on the 23rd of June, 1820, it had never been acted upon. He would, to-morrow, move, 2 C

to refer the consideration of it to a select committee; and under these circum stances, he did not mean to press the second reading of the bill that night. Ordered to lie on the table.

PRETENSIONS OF RUSSIA NORTHWEST COAST OF AMERICA.] Sir J. Mackintosh, seeing the secretary of state for foreign affairs in his place, wished to put a question to him on a subject of high importance, and nearly connected, not only with the honour and dignity of his majesty's crown, but with the interests of all lawful and practical navigation. It would be recollected, that in the course of the last session, he had addressed a similar inquiry to the late marquis of Londonderry, with respect to certain wild, monstrous, and extravagant pretensions of the emperor of Russia, to exclusive authority over vast dominions by sea and land, on the north-west coast of America; those dominions embracing on shore, several extensive territories now occupied by subjects of his Britannic majesty, and others which were possessed by citizens and subjects of the United States of America: and by sea, including an extent of ocean, stretching from the north-west coasts of America, to the north-east coasts of Asia. On the occasion to which he alluded, the noble marquis informed the House that he had, by the command of his majesty, protested on the part of the British government against those principles of dominion which had been recently set up by Russia, and which he justly described as principles that were injurious to the maritime rights of all commercial nations, and especially obnoxious to those of the first commercial nation in the world. Since that period, however, and indeed but a few days since, information had been received in this country from America, that Russia no longer rested upon unwarrantable pretensions; but, that Russian ships of war had been actually employed to warn off the ships of all countries, from the whole extent intervening between Nootka Sound and Japan, as part and parcel of the Russian empire. He had been informed, that they had driven away American vessels which were sailing in those latitudes; and the same principle of exclusion would extend to any British ships which they might find there, as matter of course. Doubt less, as a preliminary step to that universal dominion by land and sea, which

the recent plans and views of the Russian emperor seemed to contemplate. In the first place, therefore, he begged to ask the right hon. gentleman, had his majesty's government received information that such acts of exclusion, as had Occurred in the case of the American vessels, had been committed by the Russian government? And, in the second place, whether any answer had yet been returned by that government to the protest of Great Britain against its preposterous pretensions? It might be desirable to know, also, whether any negotiations were pending on the subject.

Mr. Secretary Canning said, that to the question of fact which had been put to him by the hon. and learned gentleman, he could only reply, that his majesty's government had hitherto received no information upon the matter, except through that channel by which the statement in question had been published to all the world. He had, therefore, no means of verifying the fact on which the hon. and learned gentleman's inquiry was founded. In the second place, as to the situation in which this country stood with Russia, in respect of the general question, it was true, that they had entered a protest against her claim, upon the first promulgation of those principles. That protest had been renewed, both at the congress at Verona, and in subsequent negotiations. Those negotiations were still pending, and in activity at the court of St. Petersburgh.

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IRISH TRADING VESSELS-HARBOUR AND LIGHT DUES.] Mr. S. Rice begged to call the attention of the late and present president of the Board of Trade to the petition which he held in his hand. That the trade of Ireland should, in all respects, be put on the same footing with that of the rest of the empire, so far as was consistent with a due regard for the revenue, was a principle not to be disputed. It would, however, surprise the House to learn, that the trade of Ireland was subject to a charge amounting to not less than one-sixth on the average of all freights. To show this, he need only instance the trade between Liverpool and Dublin, or Belfast. The vessel from Liverpool to Dublin would have to pay light and harbour dues only once in the year; whereas, the vessel coming into the port of Liverpool, from Belfast or Dublin, would have to pay the same dues

every trip, as if she were a foreign ship. 1 He knew a case in which a single shipping proprietor had had to pay on this account, for a vessel entering Belfast, only 281. in the year; but, for the same vessel entering Liverpool, in the course of her trade, the enormous sum of 1,700. He wished to know whether his majesty's government would consider this a proper subject for the consideration of the committee on foreign trade.

Mr. Wallace agreed perfectly in the principle, that the trade of Ireland ought to be placed on the same footing as that of England. The matter had already been made the subject of inquiry. The result to which his majesty's government had come was, that the trade of Ireland ought to be placed on the same footing as the home trade of the rest of the empire. He trusted that the committee would speedily be enabled to report on the matter.

Mr. Ellice begged to make a remark on the charges to which our shipping was subjected in the colonies. The charge on a ship of 300 tons, in one of these colonies, amounted to nearly 10s. per ton; a burthen which was the more objectionable, inasmuch as these impositions were not levied so much for the advantage of the public revenue, as for the benefit of private officers. He had ascertained what were the charges on shipping paid by the Dutch in their colonies; and he could state, that in no instance did they exceed 1s. per ton, and that was levied on account of police regulations principally.

Mr. Huskisson thought, that nothing could be more desirable than to reduce, as far as was practicable, all charges on vessels trading to our ports, and those of our own colonies. He had heard that these charges were very excessive in many of our colonies; but he apprehended, that the greater portion of them had been imposed by colonial legislatures, without the interference of the government at home. He perfectly agreed, that the trade between this country and Ireland should be placed upon the same footing as the trade between any two ports of England.

Sir J. Newport was extremely happy to hear what had fallen from the right hon. gentleman. He had, twenty times, at least, endeavoured to impress on his majesty's government the justice and necessity of placing the trade of Ireland on the same footing with that of the rest of the empire.

The petition, which was from Mr. W. L. Ogilby, of Belfast, and which prayed for a revision of the Pilot act, respecting Irish trading vessels, was referred to the committee on foreign trade.

TAX ON TALLOW CANDLES.] Mr. Sykes said, he rose, in pursuance of a notice he had given on a subject upon which he had once before addressed the House. He was not disposed, however, to be very sorry for his disappointment on that occasion, being convinced that he now stood on more favourable ground than he did last session. At that time, the language of government was, that the condition of the community would only be rendered worse, by any attempt to relieve the distresses of the country by reducing taxation. He was now, however, happy to say, that the government asserted principles of a more pleasing sound, and more beneficial nature. In his majesty's speech from the throne, at the commencement of the present session, it was announced that a large reduction of taxes would take place; and ministers themselves had announced the fact, that the only mode in which the condition of the most suffering of all the interests in the community could be ameliorated, namely, the agriculturists, was by reducing the taxes. Parliament, therefore, had now come to the right and sound conclusion as to the means of relief. That they consisted in a remission of the taxation by which the country was oppressed, was a point that he should assume to have been generally conceded. The only remaining question, therefore, regarded the mode and objects of that reduction, and whether such reduction had yet taken place, as the country had a right to demand at the hands of parliament. He, for one, was free to acknowledge his great obligations to the government for having repealed a large proportion of the assessed taxes; but he must be allowed to say, that the relief which they had proposed to give by such repeal, had not been felt in the right place.

It was not a relief directly or immediately to the agricultural interest, nor such as would diminish the expense of raising the produce of the country; for as to taking off the taxes on carriages, hunting horses, &c., in what way could that enable the industrious farmer to bring his produce to market at a cheaper rate? But, while he suggested this, he meant not to say, that the ar

total nett receipt into the Exchequer, 829,500l. the total difference between the gross and nett receipts being 65,500l. In Ireland, he believed there were no candle duties whatever; but he trusted that the Irish members would be that night just to the characteristic generosity of their country, and not refuse their sup port to his motion, because in Ireland candles paid no duty at all. The differ

rangement which had been made by government ought to be at all impeded or interfered with. He meant only to show in what respect it was not effective for one of the principal purposes to which it was intended to go; for he maintained, that no substantial relief had been yet administered to agricultural distress. It was to him a most consolatory assurance, that this country was to remain neutral amidst the present agitations of Europe. With-ence between the gross and nett receipts out entering into the details of the conduct which had been pursued by ministers, he must say, that he thought they had done perfectly right in endeavouring to maintain the empire in a state of peace with foreign powers; at least until a war was rendered absolutely necessary. The great advantage of peace was, that it enabled parliament to revise the taxation of the country, and to look into its financial situation. The great mischief of our going to war, would have been, that, incumbered as the country already was, it would have been next to impossible to apply any great diligence to that investigation. Our remaining at peace, therefore, was one argument why the House should proceed to see whether government had gone as far as possible in the way of reducing taxes. He could not go down, for his part, to face his constituents without having previously made every exertion to induce parliament to give them relief in the only way that relief could be effectual. He would now proceed to state, why he thought that the repeal of the duty upon tallow-candles would be, as far as it went, a relief to the country, and such as it had a right to demand. This duty was one not of very great amount; but if that was to be made the ground of an objection to remit it, he should retort upon the government, that it was but little for them to give. It was, however, a tax which, if any tax could properly be withdrawn from the general taxation of the country, ought to be repealed. The annual amount of the duty on candles in England was 375,000l. gross; and 313,000l. was the nett sum actually paid into the Exchequer. In Scotland, the gross amount of this duty was 20,000l., and the nett, 16,500l.; and here the House would observe a very remarkable difference in the amount of duty between the returns for the two countries-that of Scotland being about 1-20th of the other. The total gross duty for England and Scotland was 395,000l.; and the

on account of this tax, as raised in Great Britain, was very large indeed. It was a principle well understood in political economy, that where a vast difference exist ed between the gross and nett receipts of any branch of revenue, it must show something bad in the tax itself, or in the mode of its collection. Now, the cost of collecting the tax on tallow exceeded, he believed, that of any other branch of our excise. The whole of the excise revenue was collected in this country at about 31. 16s. Id. per cent; but the duty on tallow candles cost in the collection 17 per cent, on the gross, and 20 on the nett receipts; being nearly five times more than that of any other branch of revenue. The tax was also in its application a most oppressive one to those on whom all taxes ought to be made to press with the least severitythe poorer classes. The rich had wax lights, spermaceti lights, gas lights, and other modes of illuminating their cham. bers, by which philosophy administered to the luxury of the age; but the poor man had only his farthing candle, or the more scanty light from his small fire. Now, he contended, that the duty on tallow-candles generally, but more particularly on that kind of candle which the poor man used, was most oppressive in its operation. There were, the House knew, two kinds of tallow candles-dip candles and moulds; but as the duty was at present arranged, it fell most heavily on the former kind, and of course on the poor by whom that light was almost entirely consumed. Another objection which he had to the tax was, that it was a tax on labour. In the winter season, a great portion of the labour of the poorer classes was performed by candle-light; and he could cite many cases where individuals, whose earnings did not exceed eighteen or twenty pence a day, were obliged to expend three-pence of that miserable pittance in the purchase of candles. Besides. this,

the tax was extremely vexatious in the mode of its collection. There was, he believed, no branch of business within the operation of the excise laws, in which more difficulties were thrown in the way of the manufacturer. This was obviously the less necessary, seeing that, of all species of manufacture, that of candles was, perhaps, the easiest. So much so, that he had no doubt, if the duty was removed, the practice of making their own. candles would be adopted by most families. Mr. Evelyn, in his Memoirs, when describing the domestic economy of the house of Beaufort, mentioned the making of candles as one. But, to return to the pressure of the act upon the manufacturers. It was complained of by them, that by certain clauses in the act, they were rendered liable to penalties of 100l. for omitting particular forms of moulds, and modes of arranging them. Now, the effect of these difficulties pressed not merely on the manufacturer, but also on the consumers generally; for in proportion to the cost, trouble, and risk of his business, would he naturally oblige the consumers to pay for the article. The hon, member here read part of a letter which he had received from a respectable manufacturer of candles, in which the writer, after pointing out many of the ob jections to which he had alluded, added, that some of the difficulties. with which the manufacturer had to contend were too much for any tradesman to bear. The writer pointed out the great number of oaths which the manufacturer was obliged to take, and gave as an instance, that he had himself taken no fewer than thirty-three oaths since last July. In conclusion, the writer expressed his conviction, that if the duty was reduced, the consumption would increase in a very considerable degree. It might be said, in answer to his motion for the repeal of the tax, that it was one of a very long standing that it had already existed for a century; but this was no answer to his argument, particularly at a time like the present, when the principles of legislation were much better understood than they were formerly. It might also be asked of him, if he removed this tax, which amounted to about 340,000l., what he would propose as a substitute? To this he would answer, that he was not Chancellor of the Exchequer, and that if he pointed out the general impolicy of the tax, it was the duty of government to

remove it, and provide a substitute. If, however, he were forced to name a substitute for the tax, he would say, that government were not without an abundant store, out of which they might supply the deficiency created by the repeal. He would say, that they had it in a more economical management of the public reresources; in a greater reduction of useless places, and of the large salaries attached to some which were necessary. In carrying into effect that fair and necessary system of economy, objections would, he knew, be made. He recollected the excuse that had been made for the salary of an hon. gentleman (Mr. T. Courtenay) by the right hon. secretary; he said that his hon. friend had ten children, and therefore his salary was not to be touched. Again: affection towards his royal father was made the excuse for keeping up the salary of his royal highness the duke of York: the filial attachment of the one, and the paternal affection of the other, were made the grounds of keeping up the burthens of the country. His wish was, to relieve the country from the burthen of the tax on tallow altogether. It had been suggested by his hon. friend (Mr. Curwen), that the tax might be substituted by an increase of the duties on the importation of tallow. For his own part, he did not wish to shift the burthen from the shoulders of one party to those of another. However, if the tax could not be got rid of, he would prefer the suggestion of his hon. friend, by which at least, the pressure of the tax would be rendered more equal. The hon. member concluded by moving, "That leave be given to bring in a Bill to repeal the Tax on Tallow Candles."

The Chancellor of the Exchequer said, he would state, as briefly as possible, the grounds on which he thought it highly inexpedient to repeal the duty. The first was, that the revenue of the country was not at present in a condition to spare 350,000, the amount of the tax; and he could not agree that it was a tax which pressed heavily upon the public. On the contrary he was prepared to say, that if the revenue were at present in a situation which would enable government to remit so large an amount of taxation, there were other branches of it which required to be relieved infinitely more than that under consideration. The hon. member had done justice to the government, in admitting that they had shown

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