HC Deb 14 May 1830 vol 24 cc707-8
Mr. Moore

in presenting a Petition from an industrious and meritorious class of his constituents, the Gold and Silver Operatives of the city of Dublin, observed, that they had seen with dismay the proposal assimilation of duties in their trade with those at present existing: in England, and they prayed that this House would pause before it sanctioned such assimilation. He could not help saying that the case of the petitioners was one of peculiar hardship, and entitled to the serious attention of the House. He believed that, of all the classes of Dublin artisans who had suffered so severely by the Act of Union, there was none on whom that measure pressed so intensely as the petitioners. They were a class whose industry could look for demand solely from those who were comparatively opulent, and the withdrawal from the metropolis of most of the nobility of Ireland, and a large proportion of the gentry, had reduced their calling to a slate of continued struggle and progressive decline. In this condition he would call the attention of the House to the proposed enormous increase of taxation on their industry by the proposed assimilation of duties on the manufacture of gold plate; that proposed increase was at no less a rate than 1,600 per cent on the present duty, the latter being but 1s. an ounce, whereas it is now proposed to impose a tax of 17s. an ounce. Nor was this all; the gold and silver workers at present were obliged to take out a license only once during their lives, for which they paid five guineas; whereas, by the proposed schedule, they must take out a yearly license at the expense of five guineas and a half, which, according to the usual mode of computing the value of a life, would amount to nearly sixty guineas for that which at present they were obliged to pay only five—thus proposing an increase of nearly 600 per cent; an increase that, if persevered in, must, in the present struggling and declining condition of that branch of domestic industry in Dublin, crush the petitioners altogether. Under these circumstances he must earnestly press on the House and his Majesty's Government the justice and necessity of reconsidering this oppressive aggravation of the burthens under which the petitioners at present labour.

Lord Morpeth

thought the case of the petitioners very hard, and that they were deserving of the most favourable consideration. As the Legislature had deprived them of much of their trade, it should rather seek to lighten than increase their taxation.

Mr. Jephson

said, that these manufacturers were already reduced to the lowest ebb of distress, and any attempt to impose additional burthens on them, would infallibly ruin them. He hoped that the Chancellor of the Exchequer would desist from such a project.

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