Earl Temple moved the order of the day for the third reading of the Tortola Free-Port bill; on which,
briefly adverted to the disadvantages which, he conceived, would result from it, and entreated that the noble lord would consider it in every point of view, before he pressed it through the house.
said, that such a measure had been more than once under consideration, but had been rejected on examination; and he conceived that the board of trade had undertaken the business through the solicitations of certain interested persons, without being aware of the consequences. He therefore would oppose the third reading.
§ Mr. Perceval
did not think it decent to press this measure on the house, without a single argument being made use of by the ministers in support of it. The learned gent. then repeated several of the arguments he had before urged against the bill. It would be impossible, he said, that the island of Tortola could ever be in the same situation as the island of St. Thomas; the latter being in the possession of a neutral power, and having a privilege of trading all over the world; neither of which advantages Tortola could have by virtue of this bill. He then adverted to the difficulty that would arise, from the signature of the officer in the island of Tortola not being known in all the different ports of England and Ireland; and concluded by calling on the ministers, not to suffer the bill to pass without breaking through the silent dignity they had maintained in all the stages, and, at least, stating what grounds they had for bringing forward the measure.—No answer being made to this demand, the question was put, and
§ the house divided; when there appeared, for the third reading, 35; against it, 12; majority, 23.