HC Deb 18 March 1831 vol 3 cc534-5
Mr. Charles Buller

presented a Petition from Coventry, praying for the removal of all taxes affecting the circulation of knowledge. There was no one, he observed, who took the trouble to make himself acquainted with the condition of the people, but must be fully aware, that the want of instruction was the source of many of their crimes, and of much of the distress that from time to time they suffered. The daily Press was almost the only means of instruction they possessed; the petitioners, therefore, declared their full conviction to be, that the Duties on Newspapers, Advertisements, and on Paper, should be immediately taken off. He feared that the present state of the Revenue would not allow a total repeal of the duties. On a former day he gave notice, that on that night he should move that the duty on Newspapers be reduced to one halfpenny; but as he understood the proposetion to which he intended to move that as an amendment was not to be that night moved, he should, he feared, be precluded from then submitting his amendment to the House. He meant however, to take the opportunity of doing so when the Chancellor of the Exchequer brought the stamp-duties under the consideration of the House.

Mr. Hunt

supported the prayer of the petition, and said, he had received many similar petitions from various parts of the country, but had been prevented from presenting them by the House being so much occupied with other matters. Whatever reduction might be proposed in these duties, or should it be proposed to abolish them, he would support the proposition.

Petitions to be laid on the Table.