HC Deb 05 March 1824 vol 10 cc751-2
Mr. W. Smith

said, that the petition which he held in his hand was so nearly similar in its statement of facts, and in the manner in which its prayer was supported, to that which the hon. member for Taunton had just introduced to the House, that he might, in presenting it, repeat the summary which the hon. member had given of that petition. But, after the large discussion which had taken place on the subject, he should only deem it necessary to state very briefly the prayer of it, in those points in which it differed from that which had been last presented. The petition, in point of form, was that of one highly respectable individual in the city which he represented, but, in point of fact it was the petition of all the manufacturers of the silk, woollen, and mixed trade in the city of Norwich. They first say that they hear with great concern, that it is proposed to permit the exportation of the 15ritish long wool—an article not now to be obtained by foreign manufacturers, and which gives a superiority to many British goods. They pray that the House will not allow it to be exported, the rather because the agricultural interest have not prayed for it, and because it bears a fair remunerating price at home; so that the exportation cannot be required to relieve any glut or depression. The last part of their prayer stated, that while they expressed their gratification at the approach to those enlightened commercial principles which had led to so great a reduction of the duties on silk, they apprehended in the immediate application of those principles serious damage to their interests; but if the legislature gave adequate time for the consumption of the stock on hand, and for the improvement of the means of manufacturing which ingenuity might suggest, they hoped to be enabled successfully to meet foreign competition. This prayer appeared to him perfectly reasonable; they only wanted time and notice;—whereas by the suddenness of the change, great inconvenience would he experienced, and was indeed already felt; as no manufacturer would now set his men to work up silk which had paid the high duty, while he expected the silk at a low duty would soon come in.

Ordered to lie on the table.