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For the clause . . . 230 Against it . . . . 216 Majority for it . . . 14 , 30.—The third reading of the Irish catholic disability bill was carried by a majority of 19. A discussion took place upon the subject in the house of lords, on the 16th of April, when the question was adjourned; and, upon the renewal of the debate on the 17th, a majority of 39 was against the second reading of the bill. House of lords, April 3.—The catholics' repeal bill was brought up from the commons by sir. J. Newport, attended by an unusually large number of members. The earl of Donoughmore moved that the bill should be read a first time. He said, that from the communications he had lately had on the subject of the bill with some of the first men in the kingdom, he had hopes that such amendments would be made, in the progress of the measure, as would remove every material objection that might be entertained on the part of the catholics, without, at the same time, failing to give those securities which every man in that house must think the protestant established church and state had a right to require. The earl of Liverpool gave no tice that he should oppose the bill in its future stages. He could not agree to grant the proposed privileges to the Roman catholic subjects; but, even if he were disposed to grant them, or their lordships should be of opinion that they ought to be granted, still he should feel it his duty to object to the clauses in the bill which relate to Roman catholic
clergymen, because they would have the effect of taking from the bill (to which those who agreed must agree on the principle that there was not that danger to be apprehended from it which he had anticipated) all appearance of grace. He thought the clauses to which he alluded were most impolitic, and would defeat the object of those individuals who had introduced the present bill. The earl of Donoughmore was sorry the noble lord did not concur in the general principle of the bill. As to the other point, he felt exactly as his lordship did. Did the Roman catholics entertain sentiments opposed to the principles of the constitution, he should object to grant them the proposed relief; but he was convinced they were as loyal subjects as the members of any other perSuasion. The lord Chancellor felt himself called upon to declare, upon the fullest conviction, that the great interests of the country would not permit of any alteration in the laws affecting the Roman catholics. He would state his objections to the proposed bill fully on the day appointed for the second reading. At present he should only observe, that it was impossible to reconcile the provisions of the bill with the principles on which it was introduced, and that . it was impossible he could give his consent to it, consistently with his duty to the public, under almost any modification. The bill was then read a first time. On the same day, in the house of commons, a variety of petitions were presented on agricultural distress, the wool trade, against the malt duty, &c. Mr.
Mr. Western moved the order of the day for the second reading of the additional malt duties repeal bill. The tax had not realized the sum at which it had been estimated, viz. 1,400,000l. The object of the present measure was to repeal the new duty of 1s. 2d. per bushel without entering into the question of the 8d. per bushel, imposed on Scotch barley in 1819 to equalize it with the English duty. ,
Mr. Vansittart said, that though the tax had fallen short of the fair average by 150,000l. the first year, it had last year exceeded the average. He certainly was disposed to re-consider in a committee whether there existed any good grounds for making a distinction between English and Scotch barley.
Lord A. Hamilton said, there were some spots in Scotland which produced fine barley; but it was absurd to say, that the Scotch barley crops in general equalled those of England. He should join the English members in endeavouring to effect the general reduction of 1s. 2d. though he had heard that the English members were not inclined to join the Scotch in doing away the inequality of which the latter complained.
Mr. Coke and sir John Shelley
spoke on the same side. Mr. Ward opposed the bill. It would be highly inconsistent in the house to have voted the present establishments and expenditure, and yet to reduce the income 1,500,000 a year. If it was intended to absorb the sinking fund, let it be done openly and above board; but if that fund was a fallacy, as was now asserted, it should be recollected that ten successive parliaments. had legislated upon it as a reality. He could not consent to reduce our army at a-time when it was evident that an obstinate struggle still existed, and was likely to exist, between the inordinate ambition of enterprising monarchs on the one hand, and the wakened vengeance of suffering and indignant nations on the other. Mr. Grenfell could not vote as usual with his friends in opposition this evening, as he thought it necessary to maintain a surplus of revenue. After a long debate the house divided. For the second reading . 144 Against it . . . . . 242 Majority against the bill,
and in favour of ministers . 98
Game Laws.-Agricultural Horse Tar.—Committee of Supply.—Petition against Wool Tar.—Assesssed Tares Acts.--Motion on Parliamentary Reform.—Cash Payments.-Breach of Privilege.—Bill to amend the Poor Laws. --Outrage at Manchester.—Forgery Punishment Mitigation Bill—Grampound Disfranchisement Bill—Second reading of the Poor Laws Bill.—Ways and Means.
H0 USE of Commons, April 5–- A great number of peti
tions respecting the depressed state of agriculture were presented
sented, and referred to the committee appointed to investigate the subject. Lord Cranborne, after enlarging on the evils resulting from the present system of game laws, moved for a committee to inquire into the state thereof. The motion was seconded by sir J. Sebright, and supported by sir J. Yorke, sir IV. Wynn, colonel Wood, Mr. Bennett, (of Wilts,) Mr. Warre, and Mr. Harbord, and opposed by sir J. Shelley, Mr. Bankes, Mr. Douglas, sir C. Burrell, Mr. Lockhart, and Mr. Coke, jun. On a devision, it was megatived by 86 to 52. Mr. Curwen addressed the house on the subject of the agricultural horse tax, which, he said, was felt as a great grievance by the small farmer, and the occupier of sterile and stiff soils. It operated with peculiar severity in Wales and the northern counties in England, where the using of horses was a matter of absolute necessity. The repeal of this impost, though it would go but a little way to that relief to which the farmers were entitled, would yet be received with gratitude, as shewing a disposition, on the part of government, to attend to their sufferings. The prohibition of applying metallic springs to carts, without subjecting the owner to the gig tax of 6l. 10s. was another grievance which was severely felt by the small farmer, Mr. C. then again intimated his willingness to agree to a 5 per cent. property tax, in lieu of the tax just mentioned, and those on soap, candles, &c. He combatted the idea of throwing the poor soils out of tultivation as fraught with the
most disastrous results. Monarchs had now become speculators in corn. The greater part of the immense importation which took place in August last, was from the stores of the king of Sweden; and if we ever experienced a scarcity, which God forbid! and we should require a sudden importation of grain, there was the king of Denmark ready to supply us with enormous quantities, which were already collected in Holland, in the event of such a demand being made. Mr. C. concluded with moving “for leave to bring in a bill to repeal so much of the acts of the 48th and the 52d of Geo. III. and of the 2d of Geo. IV. as imposes certain duties on horses employed for agricultural purposes, and for the conveyance of lime, coals, and certain merchandise.” Sir W. Wynn seconded the motion, but would have preferred that it had been postponed until the report of the agricultural committee was received. Several other gentlemen expressed the same sentiments. A conversation ensued between Mr. Vansittart and lord Belgrave; and after some further observations, Mr. Curwen said he should withdraw the motion, if he were to understand that the chancellor of the exchequer was disposed to extend relief to the agricultural interest, by a modification of taxes which bore most heavily and mischievously on them. Mr. Vansittart said, he could give no explanation until he saw what the agricultural committee recommended. He should be disposed to pay every attention in his power to their recommenda
tion; but he could not promise to relinquish 500,000l. a year, unless upon grounds of undoubted expediency and justice. If the motion were now persisted in, he should certainly oppose it. After some further debate the question was withdrawn without a division. House of lords, April 6.-The royal assent was given by commission to the following bills:— The commercial intercourse bill, the husbandry horses' duties bill, the Irish attorneys' sees bill, the Irish witchcraft repeal bill, the court of king's bench regulation bill, the Grampound witnesses' indemnity bill. House of commons.—Mr. Wansittart having moved that the house should go into a committee of supply, Mr. Creevey opposed the motion, complained that the petitions of the people for retrenchment were treated with contempt, and moved an amendment, allusive to the general distress, to the number of placemen in the house, and to the dismissal of lord Fife, for his late vote against the malt tax; and concluding with a declaration “That, under all these circumstances, the house is of opinion, it will better consult its own honour and the interests of the public by immediately inquiring into the facts before mentioned, than in going any longer into committees of supply, to vote away the money of the people, without the slightest possible prospect of relief to the country.” Mr. Hobhouse seconded the motion, and argued in its support. At this stage of the proceeding, strangers were ordered to withdraw. On their re-admission,
Mr. Calcraft was addressing the house in support of the motion, upon an understanding that Mr. Creevey did not mean to go the length of excluding all the officers of government from that house. He strongly condemned the dismissal of lord Fife. Lord Castlereagh, in opposing the motion, described the mover as the protestor general against the measures of government, and libeller general of parliament. When Mr. Creevey held a situation in the board of control, he never said a word about the excessive influence of the crown. The dismissal alluded to called for no explanation. It was the prerogative of the crown to dismiss its servants at pleasure. Least of all should such a call come from a party who had refused their services to the public, unless they had the appointment of the officers of his majesty's household, alleging, as they did, that the want of such patronage would go to show that they had not the full confidence of the sovereign. Mr. Tierney could not support the resolution mixed up as it was with the case of lord Fife, whose dismissal was denied to have been occasioned by his vote. Had the case been otherwise, it would have been a fit subject for impeachment. Though himself and his friends had refused to take office with a crown interest, separated from the ministerial interest, they had never maintained the right of dismissing any one for his vote in parliament.—On a division, Mr. Creevey's motion was negatived by 120 to 36. Lord Palmerston moved that 50,418l. 16s. 8d, be granted * ls his majesty, to defray the charge of allowances for the office of the secretary at war. Colonel Davies repeated his objections to several items in this charge, and moved to substitute the sum of 45,418l. 16s. 8d. After
a long and general discussion, .
the amendment was negatived by 106 to 67. The original resolution was then agreed to, and the house resumed. Mr. T. Wilson presented a petition from a number of dealers in wool, praying for a repeal of the new duty on foreign wool. The petitioners set forth, that, in consequence of this tax, the importation of foreign wool had fallen off very materially, the consequence of which was, that certain branches of the woollen manufacture had suffered greatly. He had learned from a letter which was dated so late as the 8th of February last, that in one port of Spain no less than three American vessels were loading with wool, which it was found useless to send here, on account of the high duty with which it was charged. This was a circumstance entirely new in our commercial transactions, and showed the bad effect which the tax produced. A gentleman, having 300 bags of wool consigned to him, was compelled on account of the duty to send them abroad; and a merchant at Liverpool having purchased 350 bags, finding that the commodity could not bear the extent of duty, had shipped the wool to the United States. A communication had been made to him from a respectable house in the city, stating that a demand to the aunount of about 6,000l. annually, for broad-cloths, ordi
nary cloths, and stuffs, which they were accustomed to ship to the continent, had been transferred, in consequence of the advanced prices, to Bremen and other towns, which were thus encouraged to become our rivals in trade. The raw material was driven from this country; and other states, in consequence of the increased price of the articles they had been accus-, tomed to purchase from us, were compelled to depend on their own manufactures. The old duty produced a considerable revenue, and enabled the manufacturer to carry on a profitable trade; but when a duty of from 25 to 30 per cent. was levied on the raw material, it was absolutely forcing the United States, whether they would or not, to become manufacturers. Mr. Baring said an honourable friend of his had given notice of a repeal of this tax; and he must observe that a more important subject could not possibly be brought under the consideration of that house. He could not suffer a petition of this sort to be brought up, without stating his perfect conviction, that if parliament did not listen to the voice of the manufacturers, in all parts of the country, Great Britain was in danger of losing a large portion of her trade. A/r. Huskisson said, as notice of a motion for the repeal of the wool tax had been given, it would be much better to go into a consideration of the question when that motion was made, instead of arguing it on the er-parte statements of certain petitioners, as had been done by the honourable member. With respect to the tax ruining the import trade, the fallacy