HC Deb 28 June 1831 vol 4 cc455-6
Mr. Ruthven

moved for a "return of all Steam-Engines made use of in Great Britain and Ireland, or in vessels belonging to their respective ports and harbours, setting forth their numbers in the following different classes, viz.—those under twenty-horse power; those from twenty to forty horsepower; those from forty to sixty horsepower; those from sixty to 100 horsepower; those above 100 horse-power; and specifying the respective shires, counties, or other denominations in which they have been employed." The hon. Member stated, that his object in wishing to obtain this information, was, to satisfy the House of the propriety of taxing Steam-Engines.

Lord Althorp

thought it impossible that such a Return as this could be procured, and on that ground alone he should oppose the Motion, though undoubtedly it would be advisable to obtain the information if it were possible.

Mr. Hunt

suggested to the hon. Member, that if he proposed to tax machinery, he should include wind-mills and water-wheels.

Mr. Hume

said, no obstacle ought to be thrown in the way of the increase of Steam-engines, at a moment when we were engaged in a disadvantageous competition with the rest of the world. Besides this, it would be impossible to get the information; Government had no power to compel such a Return; it had no right to enter any man's house and ask him whether he had a Steam-engine of twenty or thirty horse-power.

Motion withdrawn.

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