HC Deb 11 March 1825 vol 12 cc996-7
Mr. Lawley

presented a Petition from the Chamber of Commerce at Birmingham, for a Reduction of the Duties on Iron, Copper, and other metals.

Mr. Littleton

supported the petition.

Mr. Whitmore

concurred in the prayer of the petition. The measures which ministers had taken to remove the shackles which had hitherto impeded our commerce, were fraught with wisdom, and merited the warmest approbation of the country.

Mr. Huskisson

said, he should, at no distant day, have an opportunity of stating fully to the House the views of his majesty's government with respect to the introduction of that material, which formed one of the most essential branches of our manufactures, as well as of other minerals. The views of the government would continue to be sedulously directed to the removal of those duties which were called protecting, but which were, in fact, the greatest impediments to the extension of our commerce. The hon. member for Stafford was aware last session, that it was in the contemplation of government to repeal the duties on foreign iron, at a time when the deficiency of the supply to meet the growing demand was not felt. With respect to the other metals, undoubtedly the high price at which they were supplied was a great impediment to the growth of our manufactures, and the continuance of that high price would certainly endanger our commercial prosperity, in respect to those branches of our manufactures. It was his intention, therefore, to propose, a reduction of the present duties on copper, and other metals, which were employed in our manufactures. He trusted, that on communicating with those who were interested in copper and other mines, he should find them equally disposed to accommodate their views to the great interests of the country, with those who were connected in the iron trade.

Mr. Tremayne

had no wish whatever to oppose principles of free trade. At the same time, he hoped his majesty's government would proceed with caution. A large capital had been embarked in copper-mines, on the faith of a continuance of the existing system. All sudden revulsions were to be dreaded, and a great influx of foreign copper might produce the most mischievous effects.

Sir R. Vivian

hoped his majesty's government would not proceed too precipitately in a measure of so much importance to the commercial interests of the country.

Mr. Grenfell

said, that no views of private interest should induce him to withhold his assent from the liberal principles on which his majesty's government had lately acted. He trusted, however, that they would proceed with caution.

Mr. Maberly

hoped that a measure of so much importance would be preceded by inquiry and investigation.

Ordered to lie on the table.