HC Deb 24 August 1833 vol 20 cc871-2

On the question, that the amendments made by the Lords in the East-India Bill be then read a second time,

Mr. Cutlar Fergusson

expressed his full approbation of the changes effected in that measure by the other House of Parliament.

Sir Robert Inglis

likewise approved of those Amendments, especially that which had reference to British Courts of Justice to be established in China. He censured in strong terms the proposed imposition of tonnage—a tax that had not been enforced for more than 200 years, and which, when last attempted, had been resisted to the death. The hon. Baronet then went through the several amendments, and expressed his concurrence in all. The Bill as it passed the House of Commons gave an unrestricted power to his Majesty's Ministers, and the advantageous alterations which had been effected in it restraining that power had been made by the unreformed House of Lords.

Mr. Crawford

wished to inquire from the noble Lord near him, whether it was proposed that the superintendents under the Bill should interfere with the opium trade carried on in Canton?

Lord Althorp

said, that certainly there was no intention of interfering with any trade excepting that which was carried on by British subjects.

Mr. George F. Young

observed, that since there had been one reduction of duty from 20s. to 10s., it might not be unreasonable to expect that the tonnage would be reduced from 5s. to 2s. 6d.; and he should propose an Amendment to that effect.

Mr. Macaulay

was, he confessed, surprised to find that the hon. member for Oxford should consider that tonnage had been out of use for centuries, when it was a matter of notoriety, that at all times tonnage had been, and was at present, levied in all our Crown colonies.

Lord Althorp

could not agree to the proposed change from 5s. to 2s. 6d. To make such an alteration was not then necessary, for if hereafter the payment was found too much, it would be remonstrated against, and doubtless there would be no difficulty interposed in the way of reduction, if circumstances should then prove not unfavorable; at present, however, he could not agree to the proposed reduction; for the expenses of the consular establishments, to which the proceeds of that revenue were to be applied, were still considerable.

Mr. Charles Grant

said, it was a mistake to suppose that the Lords had made any change abolishing the British Courts proposed to be created under the Bill as sent up from the Commons. The Lords' Amendment merely went to remove the generality of the terms in which the enactment respecting these Courts was couched. The Bill as it now stood, instead of abolishing those Courts, limited them to Canton.

Mr. Warburton

said, he fully concurred with the hon. member for London, that there should be no interference with the opium trade.

Amendments agreed to.