HC Deb 18 March 1830 vol 23 cc546-7
Mr. W. Burrell

, in presenting a Petition from the owners and occupiers of land in Shipley and West Grinstead against the importation of Wool with a nominal duty, said, that it was necessary, in consequence of some remarks which had been made by Gentlemen on the Wool Trade, for him to describe, at some length, the contents of the Petition. The petitioners stated, then, that British wool had become nearly unsaleable, and that the admission of foreign wool into the home market was a serious injury to them. They were of opinion, that the real wealth of a country consisted in the quantity and value of its produce, and of the skill and industry of its inhabitants; that those branches of manufacture which combined the production of the raw material with its subsequent preparation, either for home consumption or for exportation, were the most profitable, and to be considered as the natural manufactures of a country; and it was, they affirmed, on this account that woollens had been, for so many generations, the staple manufacture of England. For all these reasons, the petitioners submitted to the House the propriety of encouraging, by protecting the home-grower of wool, the manufacture of woollens. If he were correctly informed, Austria, which sent a great quantity of wool to this country, would not, in return, take any of our manufactured cloths. And why, then, he would ask, should we sacrifice our home-growers of wool for the sake of admitting her raw materials into this country? There were other countries, he believed, which, like Austria, would allow us to have wool, but would take none of our manufactures in exchange. In France, a duty of thirty-three per cent was levied on British Wool, in order to protect the French grower; while our Government permitted the importation and sale of French woollens at a less rate of duty; and he knew that French carpets had last year been selling in St. James's Street, after having paid a duty of only twenty per cent, or thirteen per cent less than the duty levied in France on our unmanufactured Wool. Such a system was equally injurious to the British carpet manufacturer, and the grower of Wool; and the sooner it was revised and altered, whether called free trade, or by any other name, the better. He trusted that the Government and the House would take these matters into their consideration, and at a time when such serious and unusual distress prevailed among the farmers and labourers, adopt some means of protecting the interests, both of the British Manufacturers of Woollens and the grower of Wool.

Petition to be printed.