rose, pursuant to notice, to bring under the consideration of the House the propriety of continuing the Bounties on the Exportation of British and Irish Linens, and with this view, he moved, that the 29 Geo. 2nd, c. 15, the 3 Geo. 3rd, c. 12, the 23 Geo. 3rd. c. 14, the 46 Geo. 3rd, c. 29, and the 51 Geo. 3rd, c. 14, be read. The said acts being accordingly entered as read, the hon. member moved,—"That this House will to-morrow resolve itself into a committee of the whole House, to consider of the said acts."
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
was of opinion that it would be better if this question were brought forward by some member of the executive government, but, at all events, it was not necessary to introduce it now, because the acts providing for those bounties would not expire till next year. The intermediate period would allow the executive government to determine whether they would or would not continue them. He was anxious that the different parts of the United Kingdom should be placed as nearly as possible on the same level with respect to trade, but he was the more ready to put off the consideration of this question, because he thought the whole subject of the encouragement of trade was likely at an early period to come under the consideration of parliament. He would therefore take the liberty of moving the previous question.
expressed great surprise at the manner in which his motion had been treated. After he was given to un- 772 derstand that no opposition would be offered to him, the right hon. gentleman came forward and moved the previous question. He had a right to complain of this as a breach of faith, and he would now therefore enter into the grounds of his motion. Bounties were given on the exportation of Irish linen, and by the act of union the different parts of the United Kingdom were placed on the same footing with regard to bounties. The Scotch linen trade, therefore, ought to have the same encouragement as the Irish. He did not wish at present to agitate the question of the policy of bounties, but; while they existed, they should be extended to all parts of the united empire alike. The right hon. gentleman (Mr. Robinson) bad agreed to this in a former debate; but by a strange breach of faith, which had no parallel, the chancellor of the exchequer moved the previous question on a proposition for carrying it into effect.
expressed regret at any misunderstanding to which he unintentionally had given rise. He certainly stated, in answer to a noble lord opposite (Milton), that it was but just and expedient that the bounty enjoyed by the Irish manufacturer should be extended to the Scotch and the English, but he did not pledge himself to any continuance of the bounty. Scotland and England had the same right to bounty for the exportation, of linen as Ireland; but as the act would expire in 1821, none of the three kingdoms could claim its continuance beyond that time. He had, in fact, declined giving any assurance to the hon. gentleman on the subject till the period when the bounties should expire, which would be in March 1821. When the hon. gentleman stated his determination to bring it forward immediately, he had replied, that the hon. gentleman was master of his own-conduct, and would of course exercise his own discretion; but he was not surprised that his right hon. friend should deem the motion premature. He was no great authority on the construction of acts of parliament, but it was well understood, that when a law was passed for continuing a former law, its operation reverted to the period when the former law ceased to exist. He certainly had, upon communication with the parties, admitted that, in fairness and justice, they were entitled to the same advantage as the manufacturers of Ireland. Although he thought the mo- 773 tion premature, he could not therefore consistently oppose it, if limited to the extent which he had specified.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
expressed his regret at having misconceived the understanding which it now appeared had been come to between the hon. gentleman and his right hon. friend. With the permission of the House, he would withdraw, under these circumstances, his motion for the previous question.
observed, that nothing could be more distinct than the communication which had passed between Mr. Robinson and himself. He had shown to the right hon. gentleman the paper, which he intended to submit to the committee, nor had the slightest intention of apposing the bill which he was desirous of introducing, been signified. Pie thought himself therefore warranted in the observations which he had made, and he hoped he should not be excluded from resuming those observations as far as they related to the act of union.
§ The Speaker
reminded the hon. gentleman that the question originally was, that certain acts be entered as read, and that the House do resolve itself into a committee on the following day, to consider of them. Upon this the chancellor of the exchequer had moved the previous question; but, after an explanation of something which had passed between the hon. mover and a right hon. gentleman permission had been asked of the House to withdraw it. The only question now was, that the House should resolve itself into a committee of the whole House to-morrow, to take the subject into consideration.
§ The question on this motion was then put and agreed to. Mr. Maberly then moved, "that it be an instruction to the said committee to consider of charging a duty on the importation of foreign linen yarn."
§ Lord Milton
apprehended that the House would be travelling rather too fast in immediately assenting to this new proposition without any discussion. It seemed to him that it would be early enough to bring forward this question on the following day.
thought it would be an extraordinary proceeding to send such an instruction as this to a committee of the whole House. It was the addition of a matter that had no connexion with the subject into which the committee was appointed to inquire. The first object that 774 was to engage the attention of the committee was the continuance of certain bounties; but to this the hon. gentleman was desirous of superadding an entirely new law. He doubted whether this was consistent with the forms of the House; but, at all events, he was not pledged to support more than the hon. gentleman's first proposition.
§ Mr. Tierney
was of opinion that his hon. friend had adopted the proper course, and made his motion at the right time. It was not to pass without discussion, but the discussion would regularly take place when the committee should be appointed.
conceived that the terms of the instruction being in some degree imperative, brought the whole question now before the House.
§ Sir John Newport
remarked, that the subject matter of the instruction was. altogether extraneous to the question which the committee would have to consider.
§ The Speaker
said, that, without reference to the arguments adduced on either side, it must be the wish of the House that its forms should be complied with. It was clear that, if the terms of the motion were imperative, it was no instruction at all; and that it must be brought forward in another shape in the committee, and make part of its report with a view to a future bill. But in this case the instruction was not imperative, and the real difficulty which he felt, arose from a doubt whether it was competent to make such an instruction referring to matters which, without it, the committee could not consider on any day but that on which the committee was appointed. It was, however, substantially inconsistent with their forms to take any step, or express any opinion, prior to the time of discussion.
declared himself quite willing to defer to the sense of the House, or the opinion of the Chair.
§ The question as to the instruction was then withdrawn.