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portunity of examining the different articles, with the respective duties. Till this opportunity had been granted, he called for nothing farther from the committee than their mere acquiescence in the principle of the measure, respecting which he believed there would be no difference of opinion. He would state generally, that articles entirely of East-India produce would, with the exception of sugar, remain on their present footing ; and that, agreeably to the long established policy of the country, West-India produce would receive what might be called an indicative mark ; but not such a mark as would affect the prosperity of other branches of the trade of the country. Regulations would also be introduced to check the practice of contraband commerce. There was a variety of articles of import on which a high duty might be imposed, and still the fair trader would be put into a situation to counteract the views of the smuggler, without presenting any discouragement to the cultivation of articles of internal produce and manufacture. The present measure he wished to be considered as preparatory to another proposition for extending the sy. stem of bonding to a variety of articles which at present were not included in that system. It was unnecessary for him to dilate on the importance of the present measure, accompanied, as it would be, by that to which he had referred, in giving facilities to the trade of the country. The right honourable gentleman concluded with a motion, that certain duties on wares, goods, and merchandiscs, granted under a variety of acts of parliament, do cease and determine ; and that other duties, specified in the schedule to which
he had alluded in his speech, do cease and determine. Mr. Vansittart stated that the only difference between the present and former schedule was, an alteration in four articles; namely, an increase of duty on pimento, from 4.d. to 6d. per pound, which was rated as a warehousing duty; an increase of the duty on East-India sugar, from 20s. to 23s. the cwt.; and some abatement of the duties payable on the raw materials for the manufactures of this country. In a committee on the 17th of May, the object of which was to consider of the best means of af: fording , accommodation to the mercantile and shipping interest of the country, the chancellor of the exchequer observed, that he had on a former day stated to the house the general principles of the measure he now meant to brin forward, and he should therefore content himself, at present, with calling the attention of the house to certain parts of the schedule of duties. M. alterations were to be made in the duties. In some. instances the duties on articles were to be augmented, and in others diminished. I'or instance, he proposed to make an alteration in the duties on port wine. At present all port wine imported into London paid a duty of 11. 10s. at pipe more than was paid in any other port of Great Britain. From the improved state, however, of the other ports, and the increased means of conveyance from them into the interior of the country, they were as well able to bear that duty as the city of London; and therefore it was intended that the duty should be the same throughout every part of the kingdom. A regulation was intended to be made in the duty upon skins. It was heant to extend the duties on all' articles of wood, except that which was to be used for the building of ships. The duties were to be increased on chemical oils, and spices
imported into this country. A
duty was also to be laid on precious stones. Such an alteration should take place in the duties on China ware imported into this country, as should give greater encouragement to our own earthenware manufactures. The duties on indigo, from the British plantations, were to be reduced. That which was to afford the greatest accommodation of all, would be the disallowance of the drawback on exportation. He should propose to reduce the duty on cottonwool to 1d. per lb., and the duty on cotton to 1; d. per lb. As one great object of the present measure was to counteract the practice of smuggling, he should reduce the duties, and make other regulations with regard to lace and Bandana handkerchiefs, of which there was a large clandestine importation: the fair trader should have an opportunity of manufacturing the handkerchiefs here. The smuggler could at any time ensure the delivery of these at 14 per cent. and it was meant to propose a duty of 25 per cent. upon them. It was intended to reduce the duty on hemp coming" from America and the West fridies. Also to reduce the duties on Italian wines, so as to make the duties the same as those paid upon port wine. His object in making this alteration, was to give encouragement to the Mediterranean trade. He should propose to take off part of the duty on coarse limen
yarn imported from Germany.
With regard to the duty on the tonnage of shipping; the duty had not hitherto any of those discou
raging effects which had been attributed to it. During the existence of that duty, the navigation of the country was highly improved. Every year the British shipping had experienced an inerease, while there was a decrease in foreign shipping and tonnage in our ports. The increase was great and progressive, both in time of war and peace. . He now spoke from positive information, which he had been at some pains to obtain. He had thus thought proper to give the committee a sort of outline of the plan he intended to lay before the house, and to state some of the principal alterations that were to take place in the duties. It was intended that a schedule of all these duties should be translated into all the European languages, and posted up in every language at the Custom-house; and at the end of every session of parliament to print a new schedule, containing the alterations that may have been made in any of the durties. He then concluded, with moving a resolution pursuant to his statement. Agreed to: On the first of June, the lord mayor of London presented a pe. tition from the silk manufacturers of London, praying to be heard by counsel, at the bar of the house, against that part of the consolidation-duty act which regarded the importation of Bandana handkerchiefs, which was ordered to lie on the table. Sir William Curtis wished to draw the attention of the house to the situation of the working silk-weavers of 'Spital-fields, a most valuable and industrious body of men, who were exceedingly alarmed at the encouragement which was about to be given to the importation of manufactured silk
-handkerchiefs from India. He
F 2 presented
presented a petition on their behalf, which set forth that there were no less than about 5,000 manufacturers (who with their families, at an average, employed about 10,000 looms), all of whom were likely to be materially injured by the importation of such articles; and that they could prove, to the satisfaction of the house, that they paid a more considerable duty on handkerchiefs of their own manufacture, than what the intended bill could possibly produce to the revenue. This petition was ordered to lie on the table. Mr.Wilbraham Bootle observed, that a great majority of the manufacturers in the kingdom, he had reason to know, were kept perfectly ignorant of the nature of this bill; otherwise, a great number of other petitions would have been presented. He himself had several observations to make concerning this bill; and more. particularly as it respected the interests of the British potteries, many of which had been brought to most considerable perfection under the operation of a rotecting duty on foreign china, which was far excelled, in excellence and beauty, in many of the British manufactories of Derbyshire and other counties. This manufacture of British porcelain was still in a progressive state of improvement, because men of very considerable capital were induced to embark in it, under the faith of a protecting duty against foreign china. One whom he knew had lately embarked above 30,000l. ; another a still greater sum. These, however, were but two instances
ture. He insisted that the decrease proposed by this bill of the protecting duty on foreign china, from 105 to 50 per cent, would operate as a most injurious discouragement to those British manufacturers, who vested their, large capitals, their talents, and their industry, in bringing this fabric to such singular perfection. Some of the principal manufacturers were not more than a week past apprised of the alteration. A very considerable number were not acquainted with it even yet. His wish therefore was, that the second reading of the bill should be deferred for a few days, that time might be #. for those whose interests would be likely to suffer so severely by its operation, to consult together, and petition against the bill, if they should think #. The chancellor of the exchequer said, that it was only in the committee on the bill, that these observations could be productive of effect; the only matter for present consideration being, the propriety or impropriety of consolidating the duties. He observed that great pains had been taken to promote the circulation of the schedule to every part of the country; and if those concerned were not fully apprised, the fault was not his. He should move that day for the second reading of the bill; but had no objection to postpone the committal of it till the Tuesday following; (this being Wednesday.) On the 7th of the same month, the house having resolved itself
into a committee of the whole
house, Mr. Vansittart submitted to it the following propositions: viz. “That there should be a small" duty laid on horse-hair (amounting to the value of 20l., imported into this country; that the drawback on the exportation of that article should
should cease and determine;—a duty of 45. to be charged on every yard of thread lace, exceeding the value of 20s., imported into Great Britain; a duty of 15. 3d. on every square yard of damask table cloth, imported into Great Britain from Germany, in order to give encouragement to the British manufactures, and particularly to those in Ireland; a drawback of 10d. on damask table cloths exported from Great Britain; a duty of 61.6d. on every hundred-weight of foreign barley imported; 1.6d. on every hundred-weight of pearl barley imported; 2s. 6d. on every 120lb. of stock-fish imported; 64. 1s. on every ton of Hungary wines imported; 541. 1s. 6d. of drawback on every ton of the like wines exported ; 68' 55. on every ton containing 250 gallons of Rhenish wines imported; a drawback of 591.6s. 6d. on ditto exported from Great Britain to any .." the British West-India plantations.” After demonstrating to the committee the great advantages which would accrue to the commercial intercourse of the country by these alterations in the duties on such articles, the chairman of the committee (Mr. Hobhouse) reported progress, and the report was ordered to be received the next day. The o: up, and the resolutions agreed to. On the order of the day for the house to go into a committee on the bill, on the 10th of June, the chancellor of the exchequer rose, and said, that, before the motion for the speaker to leave the chair, he begged to make a few observations, which he doubted not would considerably save the time of the house, as he would shortly state to the house the several alterations proposed to be made in the bill.
Several petitions, he said, had been presented from the thread-lace manufacturers of the counties of Buckingham, Bedford, Northampton, &c. &c. complaining of the duties intended to be laid on goods of that description, proposed to be allowed to be imported. The intention of this was, as much as possible, to assist the fair trader, and to counteract, as far as could be dome, the designs and schemes of the smuggler. He imagined that in this article there was to the amount of 400,000l. brought into the country, of which not more than 20,000l. paid duty. Some alteration therefore was absolutely necessary. The attempt to prohibit it entirely, would positively be nugatory and ineffectual, the article being to be brought into the country in so small a compass. It was proposed, on this account, to lay a duty ad valoren; and it had been determined to fix on a sum that should discountenance the smuggler, and give every possible advantage to the fair trader. He had found, from the best information he had been able to procure, that the smuggler could ensure his profits in
time of peace at 10 per cent., and
in time of war at 15 per cent. He therefore proposed the ad valoren duty should be fixed at 20 per cent., which he thought would be such a medium or average as would not fail to secure the fair trader. The only difficulty he thought would be, to steer clear of fixing the duty so high as to endanger the interest of the manufacturer, or so low as to injure competition at home. Under * present circumstances of the country, he thought there was no reason to fear for our home manufactures, as during the continuance of the war our thread-lace manufacture
F 3 had off.
had greatly flourished, and sincethe peace it had considerably fallen In general it had been found, that immediately after, and indeed, for some considerable time subsequent to the making of peace, contraband trade was best and most effectually suppressed by fixing a low, duty, which took away the inducement the smuggler had to make exertions and run risks, when his profits would be little or nothing; and if at any time afterwards it should be found necessary, a higher duty might be laid on; but there was no principle more clear than this, that a contraband trade cannot be demolished all at once. Another respectable description of persons, he said, had been considerably alarmed at the permission that was to be given to the importation of foreign porcelain. The duty upon this had been 105 per cent., and it was proposed to reduce it to 50 per cent., which he thought would have been a complete protecting duty. It was not, however, considered to be so by the manu
facturers of this article in this coun
try, who had urged in the strongest terms their apprehension that this manufacture would be greatly injured, if this alteration in the duty were to take place. Under these circumstances, he had undertaken to recommend it to the house to increase the duty from 50l. to 80. per cent., and if that should not be found sufficient, to increase the duty still more, and make it higher, as the nature of the case might be found to require. The third point he had to notice, he said, was the pctitions from persons in the silk trade. It was well known that the importation of manufactured silk from Bengal was altogether prohibited. All precautions to prohibit it entirely had been found in
effectual ; but he thought that by a duty of 25 per cent. on that ar. ticle, the trade of the smuggler would soon be entirely demolished. He had proposed that the importation of silk handkerchiefs should be confined to the average on the sales of the East-India company for the last seven years; but he now recommended that the prohibition should be renewed during the war, with the power of suspending it afterwards, as the house may § proper. He said, he thought he should not be doing justice to those respectable persons who had presented petitions, as well as those who had waited on him on the occasion, if he did not say that he believed they had not the smallest wish or intention in what they had done, or in the further steps they intended to pursue, to embarrass his majesty's ministers in the execution of the present measure; but that they had acted purely from the just cause of alarm they thought they were bound to maintain, for the interest of the different important manufactures. in which they were severally engaged. He believed however they were all so perfectly satisfied with the modifications and alterations propoged to be made in the bill, that they would decline giving the house the trouble of hearing counsel on their behalf. Lord Temple, lord G. L. Gower, Mr. Macnamara, and Mr. alder: man Coombe, all expressed their satisfaction at those modifications and alterations, and declared they should now withhold all further opposition to the bill. At length the house resolved itself into a committee, when the bill was distinctly canvassed. In the committee, on the following day, Mr. Vansittart observed, that there - * * * * - * *. - were