HC Deb 06 June 1815 vol 31 cc622-4
Mr. Western

moved, that the House should go into a committee, to take into consideration the different acts imposing duties on goods sold by auction, for the purpose of exempting from the said duties, wood of British growth. The expense of conveying such a bulky commodity as wool to the place of sale would of itself be very great, and the auction duty, in addition to this, would operate as a complete bar. It was an object of the utmost importance to facilitate the disposal of the produce of our own country, in every possible manner: and he really could anticipate no objection to his proposition. It was well known that the importation of foreign wool was last year greater by one half than the average of the preceding ten years.

Mr. Frankland Lewis

said, the maxim that this country ought to endeavour to be independent, as much as possible, of foreign supply, seemed altogether to be lost sight of in the case of wool; for the interest of the grower was in every case sacrificed to that of the manufacture and manufacturer. It had never yet been attempted to bring any wool to auction, and therefore the revenue could not be said to suffer any thing from this measure. The landed interest was at present in great distress—the Corn Laws had not remedied the evil, which was spreading every hour.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

admitted, that a revision of this matter was desirable, but the present proposition might be dangerous. It might be advisable to try an experiment on a small scale, such as taking I instead of 5 percent. He agreed in the propriety of encouraging the growth of our own wool.

Mr. Davies Giddy

was anxious to see the proper degree of encouragement applied to the growth of wool, although he was aware that the cotton trade must necessarily interfere with it. It was to be regretted that we had no public wool-market, and that the laws threw so many obstacles in the way of the transmit and coasting trade.

Sir H. Parnell

approved of the object of the motion, but recommended the With drawing of it for the present.

Mr. J. P. Grant

was of opinion, that the wool trade ought at least to be put on an equal footing with every other branch of trade. As an article of revenue, the auction duty on the sale of wool produced nothing, and could, therefore, be maintained only on some principle of real or supposed commercial footing. It stood before the House as a mere matter of regulation, and he was happy to find from the liberal views expressed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that there was now ground for looking to the entire abrogation of those laws relating to the wool trade which were a disgrace to the legislation of the country.

Mr. Holme Sumner

was surprised that the attention of the Chancellor of the Exchequer had not long since been applied to this important subject.

Lord Lascelles

approved of the measure, although he did not think it would be as productive as seemed to be at first sight supposed. He recommended that it should be merely noticed this session, and resumed early in the ensuing one.

Mr. Rose

recommended the most ample deliberation previous to any legislative interference with the laws in question.

Mr. Western

thought his motion had been in some degree misconceived. He had proposed no measure at all connected with the laws relating to the exportation of British wool; his object was specifically confined to the auction duty.

The motion was agreed to, and the House resolved itself into a committee on the acts in question. A resolution was then agreed to, that a Bill should be brought in for reducing the auction duty on the sale of sheep's wool, the growth of this country.