HC Deb 22 February 1808 vol 10 cc695-8
The Chancellor of the Exchequer

stated, that he understood, by representations from various quarters, that it would be more acceptable to have a direct prohibition of the exportation of certain articles, the produce of neutral states as well as of this country, which it was intended to have prohibited by duty. The mode of prohibition under the Orders in Council was certainly generally intended to be that of imposing duties. However, as 'a direct prohibition of the exportation from this country of such articles as were produced by America as well as our own colonies appeared to be considered the preferable mode, he should adopt it. He would therefore, move for leave to bring in a Bill to prohibit the exportation of Cotton Wool and Jesuits Bark; with a proviso, however, that licences might be granted in certain cases for such exportation. As to the prohibition of the exportation of Bark, he was led to it by the information that the severest pressure was already felt on the continent from the want of that article. It was of great importance to the armies of the enemy, He understood that at Paris it had risen from 10s. to 70s. per pound, and that attempts had been made to procure it in spite of all obstacles. The object of the prohibition in this instance was,. that it might ultimately be the means of introducing other articles into the continent. He moved, that the house should go-into a committee to consider of the prohibition of the exportation of Cotton Wool and Jesuit's Bark.—The Speaker left the chair. The resolutions were put and agreed to; the report received; and bills ordered.

[ORDERS IN COUNCIL BILL.] The report of the Orders in Council bill was brought up.

Mr. Tierney

objected to the bill on the ground of informality. This was a bill not only for imposing duties, but for the regulation of trade. But it was provided by a standing order of the house, founded upon that of 1703, that no bill for the regulation of trade should orginate, except in a committee of the whole house, called a Committee for the Protection of Trade and Navigation. That part of the bill which went to the regulation of trade, ought therefore, in his opinion, to have originated in such a committee. He had looked for precedents, and found one exactly its point in the Convoy Duty act. The course which had been pursued by the right hon. gent. opposite (Mr. Rose) in that instance was this —that part which was matter of commercial regulation was referred to a committee of trade; that which regarded the duties was referred to a committee of ways and means. The resolution of the ways and means was first reported and a bill ordered. The other resolution was then reported, and an instruction given to those appointed to bring in the Duties bill to make provision pursuant to that resolution. The present was a bill precisely of the same nature, and the same course ought to have been pursued. The right hon. gent. opposite (Foster) was to move resolutions of the same sort with respect to Ireland; and he would ask him, whether he would not feel it his duty to adopt the course which he had described?

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

replied, that all that was required by the Standing Order of 1772, which had taken place of that of 1703, was that any regulation as to trade should originate in a committee of the whole house, and a committee of ways and means was such. But, besides this, there was a clear difference between the Convoy Duty act and the present bill. There the alteration in the trade was the work of the legislature: here it was the work of the king, and. to make the alteration, he contended the king was fully, competent. All that the legislature had to do with it was to impose the duty, and for that the committee of ways and means was the proper place.

Mr. Tierney

mentioned some of the clauses which went to make new regulations in trade, and touched incidentally upon the pernicious custom the house was getting into, of overlooking the principle of confining the ways and means within the limits of the supplies. The words of the Property Tax act placed the proceeds from time to time in the hands of ministers, so that they might have the supplies under that act without any committee of ways and means at all. The war-tax act placed some millions in the hands of ministers beyond the estimated supplies. On the principle he had stated, he strongly objected to the bill going forward without an estimate of the expected amount of the duties imposed. Returning to the essential ground of his objection, he said, that the king might regulate the mode in which ships were to come to England, but,he could not regulate the mode of their going out. There was also a clause for remitting forfeitures which could not be regulated by the crown. The bill, therefore, ought to be divided in order to proceed in the proper way.

Mr. Rose said,

that there was a radical difference between the case of the Convoy. Duty bill and the present. There a distinct alteration in trade was made by the legislature, here it was made by the crown. The regulations in the bill were minute points, and it was customary in the committee of ways and means to allow such regulations as were not essential, in addition to the duties.

The Speaker stated,

that it was customary in the committee of ways and means to interfere in regulations respecting trade, such as in the instance of the expiring laws. Though the committee of ways and means was the only place for duties, yet, since 1772, the house had been in the habit of admitting there of certain minute regulations, closely connected with these duties. Unless they were thus connected, the house would order a separate bill, originating in another committee. This was the principle, the house would apply it as it thought fit.

Mr. Tierney said,

that the question was, whether the regulations in question were such as the. Speaker had said might he adopted in the committee of wags and means, along with. the duties?

The Chancellor of the Exchequer admitted

that there was something in the argument respecting forfeitures. He would therefore not object to the dividing of the bill when it came to the committee.▀×The report was then received, and the bill ordered to be re-committed on Wednesday; and, on the motion of Mr. Tierney, it was agreed, that there should be an instruction to the committee to divide the bill if it thought fit. He also gave notice, that he would then move for the reference of the matter of regulation to 4 committee of trade.