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on a division, by 211 to 115. Mr. Dawson proposed an amendment for a reduction of 5000 men, which was negatived by 195 to 130. The remaining resolutions were then gone through, and the report was ordered to be received. House of Lords, March 15– The general enclosure bill was read a third time, and passed. The earl of Shaftesbury presented a petition from the mayor, aldermen, &c. of Colchester, praying that no further concessions might be granted to the Roman catholics. House of Commons.—The flax manufacturing encouragement bill was read a third time, and passed. March 16.-Several petitions were presented for and against the catholics. Mr. Plunkett in moving the second reading of the bill for the relief of the catholics, stated, that, the bill went to remove two grounds of disqualification. 1st, The disqualification by means of the oath of supremacy, and 2dly, The disqualification by reason of the declaration against transubstantiation. On the latter he conceived it unnecessary to dwell, as referring merely to speculative opinions. The former (the oath of supremacy) he wished to be taken with some limitation. Whereas these words, “I do declare that no foreign prince, prelate, states, or potentate, hath, or ought to have, any jurisdiction, power, superiority, pre-eminence, or authority, ecclesiastical or spiritual within this realm,”— “might be construed to import a disclaimer of the spiritual authority of the pope, or church of Rome, in matters of religious be

lief," here he meant to introduce an explanatory clause stating, that this was meant only to extend to “such acknowledgment of foreign jurisdiction, &c. as is or could be incompatible with the civil duty and allegiance which is due to his majesty or his subjects; or with the civil duty and obedience which are due to his courts, civil and ecclesiastical, in all matters affecting the legal rights of his majesty's subjects.” He wished to act upon that scheme of comprehension which had been the great object in queen Elizabeth's reign. He would so modify the oaths of abjuration and allegiance, as to make them one and the same for persons of both religions; but if it were insisted on, he would incorporate with them, as to catholics, the strong oaths already taken by the catholics of Ireland. The only offices from which he would propose to exclude catholics, were those of the chancellor, privy seal, lord lieutenant of Ireland, and first lord of the treasury. He could not a to exclude them from the bench of justice. In addition to these precautions, he thought it but right that the protestant mind should be thoroughly set at rest on the subject of the nomination of catholic bishops, and their correspondence with the see of Rome, and he explained the provisions which would be introduced for that purpose, and the following oath to be taken by the catholic clergy in reference to this point, WIZ.“I. A. B. do swear that I will never concur in or consent to the appointment or consecration of any Roman catholic bishop, or dean, or vicar apostolic, in the Roman Roman catholic church in the united kingdom, but such as I shall conscientiously deem to be of unimpeachable loyalty and peaceable conduct; and I do swear that I have not and will not have any correspondence or communication with the pope or see of Rome, or with any court or tribunal established or to be established by the pope or see of Rome, or by the authority of the same, or with any person or persons authorised or pretending to be authorised by the pope or see of Rome, tending directly or indirectly to overthrow or disturb the protestant government, or the protestant church of Great Britain and Ireland, or the protestant church of Scotland, as by law established; and that I will not correspond or communicate with the pope or see of Rome, or with any tribunal established, or to be established, by the pope or see of Rome, or by the authority of the same; or with any person or persons authorised or pretending to be authorised by the pope or see of Rome, or with any other foreign ecclesiastical authority, on any matter or thing which may interfere with or affect the civil duty and allegiance which is due to his majesty, his heirs and successors, from all his subjects.” Mr. P. then stated that he meant to propose several alterations in the committee; but as to any stipend for the catholic clergy, that might be a subsequent consideration, and he thought it would come better as a matter of pure grace and favour on the part of the crown. He concluded with moving that the bill be read a second time. Sir IV. Scott said, as so many

alterations were to be made in the bill, it would be a waste of time to discuss it in the present stage. Mr. Plunkett said, none of the proposed alterations would go to the principle of the bill. Mr. Bankes opposed the bill. Mr. [Wilberforce supported it: Persecution could not be perpetuated in harmony with the British constitution. Ireland had expended much of her best blood in the service of this country; and now that we were an united kingdom, we were bound to endeavour to assimilate the catholics and protestants in all the privileges of the constitution. The possession of political power could not be refused to those who had the means of acquiring great landed property. Let the Roman catholics come into the house, for here we can deal with them. After the concessions already made, things could not remain in their present state, which was one not of restriction, but of degradation. It was wearing the prison suit after the prisoner was at large. This country was remarkable for all being aware that they had the protection of the laws. But in Ireland the feeling was one of resistance to the laws. March 17.—On a motion by Mr. Plunkett, the second reading of the bill for the relief of Roman catholics was carried by a majority of 11. 19.-The Chancellor of the Erchequer called the attention of the house to the subject of the resumption of cash payments by the bank; and leave was granted to bring in two bills. 21.— Mr. Western rose to propose the repeal of the last quo; o

of Is. 2d. per bushel, or 9s. 4d. per quarter, which had been laid on malt. The question was in itself simple, though of vast importance to the community. A great portion of the people looked with anxiety to the result of the present motion. He trusted that he should be able to make out a strong case for the repeal of this duty, whether it was viewed in its operation on the agricultural classes, or to its effects on the habits and morals of the people— whether we viewed it as a ques...tion of justice or of policy. In looking at the immense burdens which pressed on the agricultural classes, he would say that nothing was more severely felt by them than the heavy duties on malt. He would first call the attention of the house to the extent of the burdens already upon malt: they would find them astonishing. The total amount of the tax on malted barley, including that on beer and spirits, was 10,000,000l. In the last budget of finance it was 8,670,000l. in England, and about 1,300,000l. in Ireland. But he would for the present look to it in Great Britain only. To go into the detail—there was, first, the tax of 28s. per quarter on the malt; then a tax of 32s. per quarter on it in the beer—making in the whole 31. per quarter on malt and beer. The duty on it as manufactured into spirits actually amounted to 10l. per quarter: that was, every quantity of spirits made from a quarter of malt paid that duty. The house might wish to know what was the progress of this duty. In the year 1780, the duty was 10s 6d. per quarter on malt, and so it continued with a very little deviation, which he should afterwards notice, until

1802. In that year it was raised to 18s. 8d. and in 1803 it was farther raised to 34s. per quarterHe now came to state the progress of the duty on spirits. In 1791 the duty was about 21. 10s. per quarter; in 1793 it was raised to 21. 17s. 4d. and in 1796 to 41. 3s. 4d. per quarter, and so on, till it reached its present amount of 10l. the quarter, exclusive of the duty as derived from malt and beer. Now he begged the house to consider how this operated on the grower. Supposing an acre of land to produce 4 quarters of malt barley, the duty of 28s. per quarter would amount to 5l. 12s. per acre. The duty on malt and beer together would amount to 121. per acre, and the duty on spirits, at the same average of 4 quarters to the acre, would amount to 40l. on the acre. Now he was not prepared to say that all this pressure fell upon the agriculturist only; undoubtedly it fell in a great measure on the consumers; but it still could not be denied that a great portion of the evil fell also upon the cultivator, because this heavy pressure of taxation necessarily reduced the consumption, and of course occasioned a reduction of the growth to a great extent. He thought it was worth the observation of the house that the duty on malt barley, which was at 10s. 6d. in 1780, was not increased during the whole of the administration of Mr. Pitt. Notwithstanding the great difficulties and financial distresses of his administration, he had never thought of raising this tax to any extent worth mentioning. In 1791 the house did enact, that an additional tax of 3d. per bushel should be laid on malt barley; but it was then only considered

considered as a temporary measure; and in 1792, so convinced was the legislature of the impolicy of continuing it, that it was repealed. The question was very ably discussed in the house of lords, where the impolicy of pressing on the lower classes of the people, and depriving them of the comforts which they derived from the use of the beverage which was thus taxed, was very forcibly maintained. The additional tax of 3d. per bushel was in consequence repealed, nor during the remainder of Mr. Pitt's administration was any additional tax on that article proposed. In the administration of lord Sidmouth in 1802, the tax was raised to 18s. 8d. and in the following year it was farther raised to 34s. Now to show how the increased duties pressed on the farmer, by the diminution of the consumption in England, Scotland, and Ireland, he would take three periods, each period being the average of four years. In these averages he would not include the year 1800, as it was a year of great scarcity. Taking the average from the year 1791, he found that the consumption was 27,672,047 bushels. Then came the high duties in 1802 and 1803. After this, taking the average and beginning with the year 1804, there was a consumption reduced to 23,450,000 bushels, and in the last four years the average was 22,600,000, making a diminution of five millions of bushels in the consumption as compared with the year 1791. In Scotland the diminution was in that time nearly one half; and in Ireland it was still greater. In 1791 in that country, taking the same averages, the consump

tion was, 4,855,000; in 1804 it was 2,750,000; and, in the last four years, not much more than one million. This was the exact diminution; but, by a comparison of the increase of population within the time mentioned, we should find that it ought to be considered greater. By a simple calculation in the rule of three, we should find that the population, since 1791, being increased, and the consumption less, the proportion of decrease must be considered greater than the nominal amount he had stated. If the calculation was made upon a population of ten millions of people consuming upwards of twenty-seven millions of bushels, as was the case in 1791, the defect of consumption in 1804, considering the increased population at that time, would appear 12,675,000 bushels; and in 1818, the defect would be 14,672,000 bushels; or, in other words, making a diminished consumption of 1,824,000 quarters within the period of thirty years. He was convinced that if this tax were reduced, the increase of consumption would more than adequately supply the deficiency in the rate of the tax. But, independently of the benefit that would accrue to the revenue, would it not be a great advantage to agriculture to have a market for an additional quantity of 1,824,000 quarters of grain 2 and was it not an injustice, as well as a discouragement, to agriculture to be deprived of that market by excess of taxation? He was one of those who thought that consumption was the best subject for taxation; but whenever it appeared that the tax reduced the consumption, there was a sure proof that it had been carried to a prejudicial extent in every point of view. If it were necessary to give any additional proof of the effect which high duties had in reducing the consumption of corn, it was only necessary to look at the immediate operation in each successive year of that period during which he had already given the average amount. In the year 1803 the number of bushels consumed was 31,900,000; in 1804, it was reduced to 22,421,000; in 1805, it was 22,343,000; in 1806, when the increased duties began to operate, the consumption was 27,400,000; in 1807, it sunk to 24,920,000; and, in 1808, it was 23,486,000. The honourable member then stated the annual amount of the consumption in Scotland during the same term of years, and showed that it was in the same proportion as that of England. Was it possible to expect any other result, when the duty had been raised from 10s. 6d. to 34s. 6d The general difference between the price of wheat and that of barley was one half; but, by the last returns, it appeared that wheat was now at 54s., and that barley was down to 24s., which showed, in a clear point of view, the operation of this tax. It was evident that the agriculture cf this country was at present oppressed by excessive taxation; but he believed that there were two other causes which contributed materially to increase the evil. One of these was the act of 1815, which


did not afford adequate protection .

to the farmer. The consequence was, an inundation of foreign corn. He believed that, from the year 1817 to 1819, no less than 2,600,000 quarters of foreign

wheat had been imported; which was five times the amount of the annual import during the twenty years preceding. In addition to this, there had also been immense importations of Irish wheat. Some regulation was unquestionably wanted to restrict this superabundant importation; and he was persuaded that an adequate remedy might be devised without altering the object, or violating the spirit, of the act of 1815. It was necessary that the foreign and the British agriculturist should be placed on a fair footing; for if the latter must start in the market with the load of aggregate taxation to which he was at present liable, it was impossible that he could compete successfully with the former, who had no such burden to support. But another cause of the sufferings of the agriculturist, and one, indeed, which affected all classes in the country, was the act of 1819, vulgarly called Peel's bill. He had not the presumption to call in question the wisdom and talents of those who devised the measure in question, but he was bold to affirm that that act could not be permanent in its operation. The honourable member concluded by moving for leave to bring in a bill for repealing the last additional duty imposed on malt. Mr. Mackenzie, seconded the motion. Mr. Ellice supported the motion of his honourable friend (Mr. Western). The Chancellor of the Erchequer wished to recall the attention of the house to the question immediately before them. The honourable member for Essex could not deny that which was proved


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