HC Deb 27 July 1832 vol 14 cc824-6
Mr. Dixon

presented a Petition from the Glasgow and Dunkirk Railway Company, against a proposed Tax on Steam Carriages. The petitioners observed, that the persons who went by the steam carriages never went by other conveyances, and that, therefore, the proprietors of other carriages and roads were not injured by the steam carriage. They stated, that the expense of steam carriages was yet so great that this new mode of conveyance must be entirely destroyed if it were taxed.

Mr. Jephson

was opposed to taxes on these carriages; at least, no tax ought to be levied on them for four or five years, otherwise the utility of the invention would be wholly destroyed.

Sir Charles Burrell

said, that as a very heavy tax was levied on stage coaches, it would be an act of injustice to them not to tax steam carriages. Besides, these steam carriages were very dangerous.

Mr. Warburton

was also opposed to such taxes. The best way to prevent accidents, was to give every possible facility to the improvement of the invention. He believed that there were as many accidents caused by stage coaches as by steam carriages, and he should protest against taxing this infant invention.

Mr. Spring Rice

said, the question was not whether the tax was a tax that must be approved of or not, but whether the revenue could afford that a duty, which had hitherto been collected on the stage coaches running, for instance, between Manchester and Liverpool, should be at once extinguished, without anything being substituted for it. The revenue collected from the stage coaches could not be spared.

Mr. Hume

could not but deprecate the introduction of such a tax. Any tax on free communication was an impolitic tax. The proposal to levy 1s. 2d. per mile for every four passengers would ruin this mode of conveyance.

Mr. Hodgson

agreed with what had fallen from the hon. member for Middlesex, and wished that the Government would go further, and take off the duty on post horses. He did not think that conveyance by steam and machinery ought to be favoured at the expense of travelling by horses. Both ought to be free.

The Petition read.

On the Motion that it be printed,

Lord Althorp

said, that if there was any difference on steam carriages running on common roads, and on the same kind of carriages running on rail-roads, he should be quite willing to remove the difference, and put both on an equality. If he could be convinced that the tax on steam carriages would put an end to that mode of conveyance, he should be willing to withdraw the tax. From the communication he had had with the proprietors of steam-carriages on common roads, they did not seem to suppose that the tax would operate injuriously. If he was convinced it would, he repeated, he should be willing to withdraw the tax.

Mr. Hume

said, he would undertake to convince his noble friend of that fact.

Petition to be printed.

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