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tion, except in the article of wine. This he did, by comparing the quantities of tea, coffee, tobacco, malt, candles, hides, soap, salt, bricks, consumed in the year ending April 1820, with the average consumption of the three preceding years. On looking, however, to the state of our exports, he admitted, that there a considerable diminution had occurred. The exports of the last year had fallen below the average of the preceding three years, by more than seven millions. About a sixth part of this diminution affected our European trade; but of that sixth, one-half was in the article of sugar, with which the continental market was now in some degree supplied from the Brazils and the colonies of foreign countries. It was chiefly in the trade with America, that the diminution had occurred. Our exports to that country, of cotton, woollens, glass, cutlery, hardware, and earthenware, did not, in 1819, amount to one-half of what they were in the preceding year. Nor was this to be wondered at; for the distress in America (and he lamented that such should be the fact) was greater than in any country in Europe, and was, beyond all doubt, caused by the change in her circumstances, which the peaceful state of Europe had brought about. His lordship then proceeded to the considerations of the topics, which lord Lansdown had discussed. He admitted most fully the advantages of a free trade; but we had grown up under, though in spite of, a system of restrictions, from which it was impossible hastily to depart. In the actual condition of our affairs, with our pre

sent load of debt and taxes, an immediate recurrence to first principles would unhinge the value of all property. Our laws with respect to agricultural produce, alone threw an insurmountable obstacle in the way of complete freedom of trade. With the exception of wine, and a few other articles, we will not receive the commodities, which other countries wish to give us. Nor, under existing circumstances, could we depart from this part of our system. No one could dream of at present admitting foreign agricultural produce freely into our ports.


He admitted, at the same time, that our restrictive system might, in some degree, be modified, and that those parts of it in particular, to which lord Lansdown had turned their lordships' attention, ought certainly to be re-considered, and might probably be partially altered without much inconvenience. His own opinion was, that if all the laws with regard to wool were repealed, our woollen manufacture would not be injured. The same observation might be applied to cotton manufacture; but, with regard to silk and linen, there was ground for hesitation. A free trade would put an absolute end to the former. No doubt it might be matter of regret, that a silk-manufacture ever was established in this country. It would have been much more natural to import it from France, in exchange for some other commodity. But, when he considered the extent of that trade, the arti ficial encouragement it had received, and the number of persons it employed (50,000 or 60,000) he confessed he saw no

way of getting rid of it. On our manufactures on the continent of India, proving the great advantage of our machinery over cheap manual labour; for throughout the whole of India, British muslins were to be bought at half the price of those fabricated in the country. As to China, he much feared that any new attempts to introduce our goods would be as abortive as all the many previous endeavours. It was perfectly true, that the teatrade between this kingdom and China was restricted to the EastIndia Company; but this did not apply to the intercourse between India and China. Private ships, under licence, might bring tea to India, though not to England; and that licence, upon fit security, was never refused. At the present moment a measure was in contemplation to open a direct trade between India and any part of Europe, Asia, Africa, or America, without the intervention of the Company. Malta had formerly been made a sort of emporium for this

the propriety of placing the trade in timber with the north of Europe on a more advantageous more advantageous footing, aud of extending and improving the warehousing system, so as to give every facility to the transit commerce of the country, the minister concurred with lord Lansdown. He was not, however, equally sure of the prudence of equalising the duties on French and Portuguese wines. On our adoption of such a measure, Portugal would be entitled to exclude our woollens; and it would, therefore, be well to consider the value of the benefit which we were actually enjoying, and which would be endangered by the proposed alteration of system. During the five years that followed our commercial treaty with France, in 1787, the average annual amount of our manufactures imported by Portugal was only 50,000/. less than the amount exported to France, and equal to the whole exported to Spain. Portugal and the Brazils now presented to us a growing and increasing trade of four millions sterling; and he stated this circumstance, not with a view of resisting the noble marquis's proposition, but in order to show what were the difficulties, that interposed themselves between geDeral principles and the practical application of them. The trade to the East Indies was to be looked at in two points of view, and in one of them, the carrying trade, he agreed with the noble marquis; as to the other, the inereased demand for our manufactures, he much doubted whether the benefit anticipated would be derived from it. There was at present a very extensive demand for

purpose; but, in the present circumstances of Europe, he had no difficulty in saying, that, in British ships, any articles that could be imported from India, ought not to be conveyed through either Malta or Great Britain, but carried directly to any part of Europe. Any further extension must depend, of course, upon especial and temporary circumstances. He did not think that the tea-trade of Europe was of so great value as the noble marquis had considered it; but when that was acquired, at least it would be something gained to commerce, and, in the present state of the country, it certainly demanded attention. The minister concluded with declaring, that

it was only to time and patience, that he looked with confidence for remedies of the existing distresses; nor did he think, that the measures suggested, though important in themselves, were calculated to produce any very extensive effect; but, in whatever degree they might operate, they were well worthy of consideration. That some general system was necessary, no man would deny; but he objected most strenuously to a continual tampering with great questions, and changing regulations session after session, to comply with temporary emergency, partial interests, or unreasonable clamour. On such matters, the fewer the laws were, the better those already on the Statute-book were more than sufficient some required alteration and amendment, and others might be altogether removed; but the undertaking would be attended with difficulty, and ought to be commenced with care. With perpetual changes, neither foreign nations nor ourselves could know on what to rely; and distresses would be multiplied in a tenfold proportion.

The motion for a committee was agreed to. The committee was accordingly appointed; and, on the 3rd of July, lord Lansdown, as chairman, brought up their report. Heabstained,however; from founding any specific proposition upon it; because he thought that, on a subject so closely connected with the finances of the country, it was better that measures should originate in the other House of Parliament. That House had, on the 5th of June, appointed a committee to inquire into the means of maintaining and improving the foreign trade of the country; and

the petitions, which had been presented from the ship-owners and ship-builders of London and Liverpool, had been referred to its consideration.

In the Commons an attempt was made, but without success, to get rid of a restriction, which had not the recommendation of antiquity in its favour, and was as recent in its origin as it was impolitic in its tendency. On the 26th of May, lord Milton moved for leave to bring in a bill for the repeal of the tax on the importation of wool. In his speech he dwelt on the impolicy of taxing the raw material of one of the most important of our manufactures, in which, as had appeared in evidence before the privy council, we had an advantage over France and Flanders of not more than seven and a half per cent. The woollen trade was already in a declining state. The quantity of cloth milled in the West-Riding of Yorkshire, in the preceding year, was less than it had been in any year since 1794. In this situation of things, to subject it to additional discouragement was a most hazardous proceeding. As a source of revenue, it had been unproductive; for the importation of wool yielded more to the exchequer at the time of the imposition of this duty than it had done since. Mr. Thomas Wilson, one of the members for London, seconded the motion, and it was supported by Mr. Stuart Wortley and Mr. Carwen. It was opposed by Mr. Western, Mr. Huskisson, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The latter gentleman contended, that the tax was advantageous to the revenue, and afforded protection to the agricultural interest, with

out being injurious to the manufacturer. The finer wools formed two-thirds of the whole quantity imported, and on these the duty was too small to have any sensible effect. The interests of the woolgrower and of the manufacturers were closely connected, and, if the wool-grower was ruined by free importation, the manufacturer would be deprived of his best and safest reliance. The exportation of woollen manufactures had not fallen off more than cotton and hardware, and not so much as many other articles. Much of the present distress, in fact, the greater part, might be attributed to a want of exportation to America. It would be found, upon examination, that the circulation of bank paper in that country was reduced from 110,000,000 to 45,000,000 of dollars. America, however, would recover from her derangements, and the inconveniences which we were experiencing from a want of exportation to that country, would, at the same moment, be removed. It was not in England only that a depression of the woollen trade had taken place; the manufacturers of France had quite as much cause for complaint, as the manufacturers of this country. In France, however, no new wooltax had been imposed, and therefore their distress, at least, must be referable to other causes. The tax had not been fairly tried, but, as far as it had been tried, it certainly had not failed.

- Mr. Huskisson farther contended, that, as Spain had, in consequence of this measure, taken off part of her export duty; and, as seven-tenths of all the wool which she exported came to this country, the only effect of the tax

was, that the money, which was formerly paid to the Spanish exchequer, now came into our own. The whole consumption of wool, British and foreign, amounted to a hundred and sixty millions of pounds. Of these, about three millions paid the duty of sixpence per pound. And this, forsooth, was the enormous grievance which was to bring total ruin on our woollen manufacturers. Lord Milton's motion was lost, 128 voting for it, and 202 against it.

On the 18th of July, Mr. Wallace brought up the report of the committee on foreign trade, and, in laying it upon the table, gave a brief view of the principles on which the committee had proceeded, and of the conclusions to which they had come. He stated that they had not been able to enter so fully into the subject as they could have wished, in consequence of the late period of the session at which it was referred to them. They had, therefore, chiefly selected those points which appeared to them the most general in their application to this great principle-namely, that all restriction on trade, of whatsoever nature, was only to be justified by some great political expediency; and, where such expediency was not clear and manifest, ought to be removed, as far as it could consistently with the good faith of this country, and with the protection due to different branches of trade that might have grown up under the existing sys


The navigation laws contained the regulations by which the intercourse of this country with the rest of the world was regulated. With respect to Africa and America, all goods, the produce of those climes, must be

brought here directly and exclusively in British ships. With respect to Europe, its commodities might be introduced either in British vessels, or in the vessels of those states in which the article was produced, with the exception of Germany and the Netherlands -certain articles, the produce of those countries, not being allowed to be imported under any circumstances whatever. This restriction did not, however, appear to the committee to be founded on any just principle of expediency or necessity. Therefore, their recommendation on this head was, that the navigation laws should be so far relaxed, as to permit all articles to be imported from all parts of the world, provided such importation took place in British ships. The next point, to which they turned their attention, was the warehousing system, That system was at present limited to certain articles. If, however, this country were meant to be the great emporium of the world, it was impossible that too wide an extent could be given to the system of warehousing. Their recommendation on this second head was, that all goods, the produce, of all countries, manufactured or unmanufactured, should be permitted to be freely imported or exported, except to our colonies, with as little inconvenience to the merchant as possible. There was, however, an exception of one article-he meant linen which was so excepted from the general rule, on account of a political, rather than a commercial, view of the subject. One evil, which appeared to the committee to be of the greatest magnitude, was the extraordinary multiplication and complexity of the laws,

by which commerce was affected. He had seen it stated in a pamph let published in 1815, that the number of laws relative to mercantile transactions amounted at that time to 1,500, of which 1,100 were in full and almost daily operation. To these, in the last 5 years, many additions had been made; and what the number was at present he could not take upon himself to say. When gentlemen considered that the slightest deviation from the law often subjected the ship and cargo to forfeiture, they would see the embarrassment which this evil created to the merchant, and the restraint under which it placed commercial enterprise. The committee were likewise of opinion, that the alterations which they had thought fit to suggest ought to be made gradually, with great caution, and a due regard to the interests, which, having grown up under the present system, were placed under the protection of the good faith of the country. It would be perhaps some time, before the benefits of those alterations would be perceived; but that was the price, which the country was to pay for its fault in adhering so long to the present bad and defective system. The recommendations, which the committee had suggested, might appear to some individuals not to have gone far enough, nor to have embraced as many points as they had previously expected; but he would beg those gentlemen to consider, that the recommendations, which they had already made, were of no slight or unimportant nature. The importance of them would be considerably enhanced, if honourable gentlemen would look upon them, as

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