HC Deb 23 March 1809 vol 13 cc769-72

On the motion of Mr. Foster, the house resolved itself into a committee of the whole house upon this bill.

Mr. Baring

objected to the principles upon which it had been introduced. It had been defended as a temporary measure, on which grounds he condemned it; it could not possibly do any good, as the seed could hot be produced in time for the purposes required. It had been said the measure should be pursued, even were a free intercourse immediately opened with America; if it was intended as a general measure, as a general encouragement for growing seed in Ireland, this was not the proper mode; they should not give a bounty to the grower, but should lay a duty on the importer.

Mr. Foster,

in reply, wished to say that he had never talked of it as a temporary measure, but as the first step, the groundwork of a general system to render Ireland independent of foreign countries. If the people of Ireland had caught the alarm from the present state of affairs, and were apprehensive for their usual supply of seed, this would operate as a stimulus, and induce them to co-operate, and thus their apprehension would be productive of good, and would avert the evil which they had apprehended. This measure was the beginning of a system which would lay the foundation for the general improvement of that country; it would probably induce them to drain their lands, and he should have conceived himself reprehensible, had he been giddy enough so soon to have proposed a tax.

Sir John Newport

gave his sanction to the bill with a view of giving Ireland a fair trial. He however hoped, when the measure was carried, that care would be taken how the sum granted was expended. He thought this caution the more necessary, as the Irish Linen Company bad received money under the appropriation act, for distinct purposes, which they had applied to other objects; they had laid out part of the money in building, in violation of that act. This he intended to prove, by moving the papers, where it would be found, in the architect's account, that money had been laid out, not by order of the Board, but by the order of two or three individuals. As to the measure before the committee, he thought it should be adopted for the reasous which he had stated last night, and also because Ireland could no longer expect seed from Sicily or Greece. That they were excluded from America, the people had to thank those who had introduced the Orders in Council, as it was owing to those Orders Ireland was now placed in the situation she is with America.

Mr. Foster

said, the hon. gentleman had asserted that no flax-seed was to be expected from Sicily or Greece; he however could state, that flax seed had actually been received from Sicily, and parts adjacent, and that it was good, and that it was liked, and that more was expected. As to the appropriation of the money, to which the honourable baronet had alluded, he could only say, that was agreeable to the provisions of the act.

Sir John Newport

replied, that if flax-teed had arrived, he did not know it, which he might have done, had the information he had sought been allowed him.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

said that the hon. baronet should be careful how he made assertions, as they tended to delude, and considered it no excuse for his being ignorant on the subject, because what he had wished had not been allowed him.—The hon. baronet had also said, what was commonly heard from that side of the house, that the Embargo was to be attributed to the Orders in Council, which they were not able to prove. This was what he should always deny; he would always maintain the contrary; the Embar go was laid on antecedent to the Orders in Council, the Americans had adopted that measure, anticipating the event which followed; they knew that if a spark of spirit remained in the country, his majesty's ministers would do as they had done. Whenever, therefore, Such an assertion was made, he would contradict it. But, even had it been the case, they were justified in doing as they did, for they had better submit to the risk of loss, than submit to any indignity.

Sir John Newport

contended, that in whatever the Embargo might have originated, the continuance of it was fairly to he ascribed to the perseverance of ministers in the measure of the Orders in Council, instead of conciliating Americanat a time it might have been done to me mutual advantage of both countries.

Mr. Parnell

was of opinion, that it was absurd to give a bounty of not more than rive shillings a hogshead on the quantity of seed required, the price having risen from 4l. to 25l. per hogshead; but that he objected to the bounty altogether. If agricultural improvement were intended, he conceived, from the bad state of the culture of lands in Ireland, it would be better to begin with the other species of land first, and to postpone the improvement of their bogs, till that was first effected.

Mr. Foster

explained the principle of the measure to be the giving Ireland a kind of monopoly in flax-seed of her own growth, till such time as the price should rise to such a height as to make it necessary to open the market for the sale of the manufacture. He lamented differing in opinion from the hon. gent., who was not only his relation, but from whom he had formerly received effectual assistance in his official situation.

Mr. Parnell,

after explaining, said, it was certainly true he had had the honour of assisting the right hon. gent., but had resigned, in the prospect of a seat in that house; and upon that event, he had found it his duty to take a seat on the side opposite to him. though he had every prospect at the time of obtaining any situation under government, which the influence of the right hon. gent, with Mr. Pitt could have secured for him.

After some further observations from Mr. Baring, Mr. Rose, and Mr. Perceval, the Bill was passed in the Committee, and the house being resumed, the Report was ordered to be received to morrow.