§ Mr. Brownlow
presented two Petitions from the Letterpress Printers of Belfast, against the proposed increase of Duty on Stamps on Irish Newspapers, and on Advertisements inserted in them. The petitioners, as might naturally be expected, were much alarmed at the right hon. Gentleman's statement when he brought forward his Budget, that he meant to propose additional Stamp Duties on Ireland. At the moment that the Government took credit to itself for reductions, it was planning schemes for increasing the existing imposts. Ministers talked of liberality, and attacked that branch of our manufacture, if he might call newspapers a manufacture, which an enlightened Ministry would be the last to attack. He did not attribute to Ministers a cold-blooded desire to ruin the Irish press, but that would be the result of their proceedings. The circulation of all the newspapers would be injured by these new imposts, and some of them would be utterly annihilated. The newspaper trade in Ireland was already a declining one. In 1812 the duty on an advertisement was 1s. 6d.,and the revenue obtained from that duty was 20,000l.; it was subsequently raised to 2s. 6d., and the revenue fell off to 14,000l. In the face of that declining revenue the Ministers, with a view of increasing their resources, proposed the present addition. He was satisfied that if they lowered the duties they would gain instead of losing; and equally satisfied that by raising the rate of the duty the revenue would decrease still more. He hoped, therefore, that the 504 right hon. Gentleman would pause before he carried into execution a measure equally adverse to the wishes of the people and the resources of the Government.
concurred with the petitioners, but thought that they did not go far enough. He would have the English Members unite with the Irish to resist the extension of Stamp duties in Ireland, and to reduce the duties on advertisements and on newspapers in England to a level with the duties in Ireland.
§ Sir H. Parnell
was also of opinion, that there was no tax, the reduction of which would so much benefit the people of England, while that reduction would, he believed, increase the Revenue on the Stamp-duties on Newspapers and Advertisements. The subject was so important that it ought to be considered generally and not locally with reference to Ireland alone.
§ Petitions to be printed.