HC Deb 21 May 1823 vol 9 cc388-90
Mr. S. Rice

begged to call the attention of the late and present president of the Board of Trade to the petition which he held in his hand. That the trade of Ireland should, in all respects, be put on the same footing with that of the rest of the empire, so far as was consistent with a due regard for the revenue, was a principle not to be disputed. It would, however, surprise the House to learn, that the trade of Ireland was subject to a charge amounting to not less than one-sixth on the average of all freights. To show this, he need only instance the trade between Liverpool and Dublin, or Belfast. The vessel from Liverpool to Dublin would have to pay light and harbour dues only once in the year; whereas, the vessel coming into the port of Liverpool, from Belfast or Dublin, would have to pay the same dues every trip, as if she were a foreign ship. He knew a case in which a single shipping proprietor had had to pay on this account, for a vessel entering Belfast, only 28l. in the year; but, for the same vessel entering Liverpool, in the course of her trade, the enormous sum of 1,700l. He wished to know whether his majesty's government would consider this a proper subject for the consideration of the committee on foreign trade.

Mr. Wallace

agreed perfectly in the principle, that the trade of Ireland ought to be placed on the same footing as that of England. The matter had already been made the subject of inquiry. The result to which his majesty's government had come was, that the trade of Ireland ought to be placed on the same footing as the home trade of the rest of the empire. He trusted that the committee would speedily be enabled to report on the matter.

Mr. Ellice

begged to make a remark on the charges to which our shipping was subjected in the colonies. The charge on a ship of 300 tons, in one of these colonies, amounted to nearly 10s. per ton; a burthen which was the more objectionable, inasmuch as these impositions were not levied so much for the advantage of the public revenue, as for the benefit of private officers. He had ascertained what were the charges on shipping paid by the Dutch in their colonies; and he could state, that in no instance did they exceed 1s. per ton. and that was levied on account of police regulations principally.

Mr. Huskisson

thought, that nothing could be more desirable than to reduce, as far as was practicable, all charges on vessels trading to our ports, and those of our own colonies. He had heard that these charges were very excessive in many of our colonies; but he apprehended, that the greater portion of them had been imposed by colonial legislatures, without the interference of the government at home. He perfectly agreed, that the trade between this country and Ireland should be placed upon the same footing as the trade between any two ports of England.

Sir J. Newport

was extremely happy to hear what had fallen from the right hon. gentleman. He had, twenty times, at least, endeavoured to impress on his majesty's government the justice and necessity of placing the trade of Ireland on the same footing with that of the rest of the empire.

The petition, which was from Mr. W. L. Ogilby, of Belfast, and which prayed for a revision of the Pilot act, respecting Irish trading vessels, was referred to the committee on foreign trade.