HC Deb 24 March 1823 vol 8 cc666-7

On the motion of Mr. Wallace, this bill was recommitted.

Mr. Grattan

objected to that part of the bill which allowed of the warehousing of foreign linens, without the paying of a transit duty, as most injurious to the staple trade of Ireland.

Mr. Wallace

did not wish to prejudge any part of the question. He did not consider himself as pledged to any one side; but he thought that those who objected to the bill were bound to ant out the injury that it would do.

Sir G. Hill

complained that, after what had been done with respect to Ireland last year, sufficient notice had not been given to enable the persons interested in the subject to offer their opposition to the measure. Notwithstanding this, it was now proposed to legislate in their absence, and he could not help thinking it was unfair. He complained particularly of the hardship which the enforcement of transit duty would be upon the Irish manufacturers.

Mr. Wallace

deprecated the imputation of unfairness. He had stated last year, that if Ireland was to be exempted the it must not be considered as a permanent exemption. The only ground upon which the exemption had then been made was, the distressed situation of the country, and the inconvenience of bringing the matter under discussion. He was willing to give every reasonable time, and he thought that the 21st of April would afford time enough to convey hither the grounds of the opposition which the manufacturers of Ireland proposed to make to the bill.

Mr. S. Rice

thought the course pursued by his right hon. friend was the just one. He contended that the general principle was in his favour, and he left it to those who opposed him to make out the special case on which they relied.

Mr. Secretary Peel

stated, that what his right hon. friend had done, was given rather as a notice than as a final decision. The question of the linen-trade of Ireland appeared to him to proceed on a distinct and peculiar principle, and could not be considered with reference to the general principle by which the commerce of this country was regulated. The point to be looked to was, how the linen-trade could best be extended and supported, so as to render the greatest portion of benefit to the people of Ireland. He viewed that trade with much interest, not only because it was intimately connected with the peace and tranquillity of Ireland, but because it was associated with certain historical recollections. The linen-trade was given to Ireland by a great monarch. Every thing was done to discourage the woollen-trade of Ireland, and to encourage that of England; but at the same time a solemn promise was given that the linen-trade of Ireland should be fostered and encouraged. When the subject came to be discussed, he should approach it with these feelings.

Mr. Wallace

then moved several amendments to the bill; which were agreed to.