HC Deb 04 June 1844 vol 75 cc227-72
Lord H. Vane

In rising, in pursuance of the notice which I have given of bringing the consideration of the Export Duty on Coal before the House, I must beg permission of the House, previous to entering upon the different considerations of the subject, to offer a few prefatory remarks, explanatory of the reasons which induce me this day to submit this matter to the House. Nothing, I need not say, could be more remote from my thoughts, than any presumptuous wish to take the conduct of this matter out of the hands of my noble Friend, who on two occasions—in 1842, when the Government proposed the Measure of an Export Duty on Coal, as part of a series of fiscal measures, to fill up a deficit then existing in the finances of the country; and in 1833, when, after a year's disastrous experience of the operation of the impost, and apprehension of the detrimental effects of the impost which my noble Friend saw in prospect — submitted the matter to the House in a form to bring about the repeal of the Duty. I am anxious, therefore, Sir, to remove the notion that the noble Lord has, in any one respect, either with regard to the operation of the tax, now tested by two years' experience, on the Coal Trade; or with regard to its efficacy as a fiscal measure, or with regard to the necessity, in view of the financial state of the country, of abstaining from its repeal, seen reason to change his opinions; in each and all of these respects the opinions of my noble Friend remain unchanged with respect to circumstances, and unaltered with regard to future views; and if my noble Friend, having twice brought this question immediately before the House, thinks it more advisable and becoming in him not to moot it for the third time, I may, at any rate, count upon his efficient and valuable aid this night. I do feel, Sir, that it is also incumbent on roe to justify myself from a charge which might be imputed to me, of bringing forward this question, for the third time, in the face of two adverse opinions of the House, wherein the question has been decided by large majorities against the part which I now advocate, and, indeed, Sir, I do feel that the question ought to stand in a somewhat different situation, and ought to be presented in a somewhat different aspect, to justify me now for submitting a similar proposition to those before submitted by my noble Friend. But I do contend that I do bring it forward under different auspices, and that those who, viewing it as a complement of fiscal measures, to fill up a then admitted and anticipative deficit in the Revenue, now that we have an overflowing Exchequer, and a promised surplus for next year —the financial necessity no longer existing —would be perfectly justified in supporting me to-night, should I be able to prove (and the abundance of the matter is such that it will be my fault if I do not) the injurious operation of the duty on the Coal Trade, and the entire failure of the tax as a mere question of Revenue. Had the right hon. Gentleman, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, argued that he must adhere, as to an inflexible rule, to introduce no alteration in his Financial Measures this year—that in the interval from this to next year, pressed by innumerable demands for the removal or relaxation of duties, until the question of the continuance of the Income Tax was finally settled he must sternly adhere to his rule—then the ground would have been cut from beneath me, and I should have felt a difficulty in submitting this proposition. But has this been the conduct pursued by the right hon. Gentleman? He has proposed certain reductions of duty; it may be that the reduction of the duty on foreign coffee may increase, in its eventual effect, the Revenue—I think the reductions judicious; but from wool the right hon. Gentleman has taken off the duty, thereby occasioning, in its first and direct effect to the Revenue, a loss of 90,000l. But if the rule be not adhered to in one instance, and if similar reasons for departing from the rule be adduced, I do contend that I am justified in calling upon the House, on like considerations, to mete out the same measure of justice, or at least considerate regard, for the Coal Interest. The right hon. Gentleman may, no doubt, argue, that those interests have a higher claim for the relaxation of duties than the foreign Coal Trade; but at any rate the right hon. Gentleman mentioned, in bringing forward his Budget, that this Export Duty was an experiment: and the very circumstance of its being an experiment affords (inasmuch as the experiment has been proved in practice prejudicial) an argument for its non-continuance. A new tax is always more injurious than an old one, cœteris paribus: it is, no doubt, at all times advantageous to take off taxes which press upon the springs of industry: but matters accommodate themselves more or less well, no doubt, to old taxes, and infinitely more injury is inflicted and more derangement occasioned by a new tax, than by the continuance of an old one. Now, inasmuch as the great trade in coals for export arose from the removal of the duty in 1834, the tax imposed in 1842 has operated as a novel tax; hence, in this point of view, the claim of the Coal Interest for the removal of this tax is infinitely stronger than that of other interests who have been longer subject to a duty, But I will now proceed, Sir, to consider more especially the injurious operation of the Export Duty, upon which, in the main, I lay my stress for calling upon the House for its removal; and I shall read a letter which was sent to me upon the subject of the Export Duty on Coal.

"Hardwicke, June 1,1844.

"My Lord: I am favoured with your Lordship's letter of 30th ult. A petition has been sent from the coal-owners of this district, to be presented on Tuesday next. It has been got up by the Coal Trade Company, and will probably be forwarded to the Newcastle or south Northumberland members.

"The effect of the Export Duty, as far as the northern countries of Europe are concerned, has been to induce them to import small and nut coal, where they formerly took large coals unscreened. There is no material alteration in the quantity sent to these countries, or if there is, it is due to other causes, as they must take their coals from us; but the discriminating duty of 1s. a ton between large and small coals, when the difference in price of these coals is, perhaps, not more than 2s. to 3s. a ton, is regarded as very oppressive; and hence the trial of small coals instead of large. This change has been felt most on the Tyne, where the collieries chiefly produce a low priced manufacturing coal, which, formerly, was extensively exported. In France the export has been most materially reduced. The Government of that country, immediately on the imposition of these duties, indicated their preference for the Belgian coals. In several of their marine coal contracts, which had formerly been confined to England, the Belgian coal was substituted, even on less favourable terms. The inclosed letter from M. Abbadie, of Charente, to our agent, will corroborate this. This highly respectable merchant had long been a customer of ours, and at the latter part of last year, had written to say that he might require 2,500 or 2,600 Newcastle chaldrons (6,500 tons) during the present year. But the alteration of the Government contracts induced him, as you will see, to withdraw all his orders, and this year we have only sent him about 100 chaldrons. This impolitic duty seems, indeed, to have awakened the French Government to the situation of their steam navy in case of any dispute with the English, and there is no doubt that they will now persevere in the opening out of their own mines, until they place themselves beyond the necessity of importing foreign coals, at least for their steamers. At the time the duty was imposed, I was negotiating with parties in Paris to supply that city with the best householders' coals, which we send to the London market, (the Hartlepool Walls-end). Our price for this coal at Hartlepool was to have been 9s. a ton on board of ship; and at this price, it was the opinion of the French party (MM. Ganneran and Co, bankers, Gullardet, Courtin du roi, and Leroi Poitevin), that they could supply all the English families, at least in Paris, with English coals, at such a price as would induce wealthy parties to give the preference to them over either wood or Belgian coals. The plan was to import them to Rouen, and thence by railway to Paris, to avoid the difficult navigation of the Seine. But on the imposition of a duty of 5s. 8d. a chaldron, the project was abandoned, as the 2s. a ton swept away the whole margin of profit upon which their calculations were framed."

"In America, the operation of the duty is nearly similar to that in France. It is increasing the workings of their own lines, aided as they are by their own heavy Tariff duty. I am an owner of coal mines in Virginia, and I find by a report received from there a few days ago, that the workings are rapidly increasing. In 1842, we only raised 8,715 tons; in 1843, we worked 18,566 tons—and the estimate for the current year is 30,000 tons. These instances of the evil effects of this foolish impost are confined to my own experience. Almost every coal-owner in the north could, I dare say, furnish parallel cases.

"There seems to be a very mistaken notion in the minds of some of the advocates of the duty, that coal is a raw produce, and of limited quantity. Nothing can be more fallacious than both these suppositions. Coal in the mine does not sell on the average for 4d. per ton. At the port where it is shipped, the selling price may average 7s. a ton; the whole of this difference (1,400 per cent.) is labour, capital, profit, and all English. If we pursue it to the place where it is delivered, we shall find that by English capital and labour alone, that article which in its native state was worth only 6d., has become worth 20s., 25s., or upwards; and from the bulk of the article being so just in proportion to its value, it employs nearly ten times as much shipping to transport it as any other article of like value.

"The fear of exhausting our mines is, simply, ridiculous. Increase the present price of coals 5s. a ton, and you will add 500 years' coal to that which could be profitably worked at present prices. In the coal districts of the north, which are said to be worked out, it is only meant that the remaining coal could not be worked at present prices; not that there is no coal left. Wales alone has a coal-field to supply our present consumption for 1,000 years, without requiring the prices to be more than double the present price. It is a question of price merely.

"I fear I have entered more fully into this question than there was occasion for, and I have not time now to say any thing as to the pitmen's case. By the next post I will trouble your Lordship with a few remarks on it; and in the meantime I send a pamphlet, which may probably not have come under your Lordship's notice.—I have the honour to be, my Lord, your Lordship's obedient servant.

"Lord H. Vane, M.P, &c." "M. F. WOOD."

I will abstain, as far as I can, from the repetition of those theoretical arguments heretofore adduced, except in so far as I conceive this to be necessary to illustrate the injurious working of the duty with reference to the Coal-trade, and the different interests connected with it. I fear that I shall be obliged to weary the House with some reference to figures, but I will spare the House as much calculation as I am able, as a very few figures will suffice to prove the predictions of those who foretold that the duty would have the effect of checking the export, at the time of the imposition of the duty augmenting in progressive increase, and Her Majesty's Government must be driven by the Returns at last produced from the less lofty position that they took last year, that they did not mean that the increase would not be checked, but that, at any rate, there would be no diminution of the actual amount of exports; whereas the Return exhibits the exports of 1842 and 1843, as I shall read for the House. But then it is maintained that, between the 11th of March, 1842, and the month of July, when the duty would come into operation, advantage was taken of the interval to press a greater proportionate export, with a view to the coming duty, and hence the export in the last two quarters of 1842 and the first of 1843 was by so much diminished. But if the export continue at an increasing or the same amount, the three later quarters of 1843 would have exhibited an immensely increased export with relation to the three former quarters. Now, let us look at the whole year; and what is the result? Is it possible to prevent the conviction penetrating the mind of every one that the trade, through this impost, so far from being in a progressive state of development, has become a declining trade, so far at least that 1843 exhibits, for the first time since the removal by the late Lord Sydenham of the Import Duty in 1834, a decrease— the increase having been gradual to 1843. No dexterity in grouping figures, no ingenuity of argument, no artifice of casuistry can satisfactorily explain away this plain statement of official figures:—

Effect on the aggregate Export:—
1828 228,618 tons
1834 452,406
203,788 tons
Increase for seven years, 24,872 tons per annum during the period while the duty was levied.

1834 432,406 tons
1841 1,500,701
1,068,295 tons
Increase for eight years, 133,274 tons per annum during the period when no duty was levied on English vessels.

1841 1,500,701 tons
1843 1,547,297
46,596 tons
Increase for two years, 23,298 tons per anuum during the period while the duty was levied again, And considering the rapid increase of steam navigation during the last two years, there ought to have been, besides the regular increase of the period while the duty was not levied, viz., from 1834 to 1842. a much greater increase of Export, instead of only 23,298 tons, as shown above (see returns, p. 2, 10th May, 1844).

Effect on the Export to different countries:—
Russia, 1841 75,595 tons
1843 114,605
39,010 tons
Increase, owing to the non-payment of the duty in 1843, Russia being now in reciprocity, and paying only the same duty as English vessels; while previously, Coal Exported in Rusian vessels was subject to a duty of 4s. per ton. This exhibits the effect between a duty of 2s. on round, and 1s. on small coals, and 4s. on all descriptions.

Norway, 1841 15,207 tons
1843 18,233
3,026 tons
increase. This is owing to the establishment of extensive iron works at Laurvig by Mr. Treschow, of Copenhagen. Ten cargoes of 300 tons each, exported by one broker at Newcastle, to these newly erected works.

Denmark, 1841 148,724 tons
1843 134,529
14,195 tons
decrease, owing to the effect of the duty. Suhr and Son are the great importers to Denmark, and extracts of letters from them could be furnished to show the effect of the duty on their sales.

Prussia, 1841 115,501 tons
1843 147,360
31,859 tons
increase. This increase is owing to the establishment of numerous manufactories in Prussia, to the quantity of coals used for making coke for the Prussian railways, and to the establishment of Gas Works. There has been a decrease of round (the effect of the duty) of 42,136 tons, and an increase of small of 73,095 tons, showing the effect of a difference of duty of 1s. per ton.

Germany, 1841 169,695 tons
1843 147,127
22,568 tons
decrease, owing to the importation of foreign coal into Germany, and to the increase from German Coal Mines of Silesia and elsewhere since the imposition of the duty.

Holland, 1841 171,242 tons
1843 149,816
21,426 tons
decrease. While there was no duty the export to Holland regularly increased: 1834, 94,447 tons; 1841, 171,242 tons (see 12 Ap. 1842, p. 10)—while now the Belgian and German (Huhr. coal) coal successfully compete with the English, and the export has diminished.

France, 1834 59,690 tons
1841 451,003
391,313 tons
increase for eight years, 48,914 tons annually, while no duty was imposed.
1828 35,410 tons
1834 50,690
14,280 tons
for seven years; 2,040 tons increase only; and
1841 451,003 tons
1843 453,594
7,591 tons
for three years; 2,530 tons increase only; as in a former period, while duty was imposed. France was particularly alluded to as being supplied with Belgian coal, to the exclusion of the English, when the duty was imposed. The above result shows the effect in the most clear point of view, and, considering the vast increase of steam-boats in France, shows that if the duty had not been imposed, the increase, instead of the paltry amount of 2,500 tons, would have been 50,000 or 60,000 tons annually.

Spain 1841 34,786 tons
1843 46,831
12,045 tons
increase. This is owing to the establishment by English Companies of extensive lead mining operations in Murcia, and to the English and French steam-boats and Spanish boats obtaining coals at Cadiz, Malaga, Alicant, and Barcelona.

Italy, 1841 38,887 tons
1843 43,939
5,052 tons
increase. Also owing to the use of steam boats recently established in different parts of Italy, and the increase would have been much larger; a great quantity of French coal from Marseilles, &c. being used, and by the use of coal as back freights, the French obtain great advantages over the English in the Italian ports.

Malta, 1841 50,131 tons
1843 37,935
12,196 tons
decrease. The effect of the coal mines of Calais in France upon this place and the Mediterranean was pointed out when the duty was imposed. The above fact shows that the fear of competition from this quarter was well founded.

Turkey, 1841 48,059 tons
1843 41,335
6,724 tons
decrease. The effect of the coal mines of Heraclia, in the Black Sea, was also pointed out, and they appear to have already produced the anticipated effect (see Epitome of Arguments.)

Egypt, 1841 21,122 tons
1843 10,977
10,145 tons
decrease. Effect of competition with foreign coal mines. (See Epitome of Arguments.)

East Indies and China, 1841 63,698 tons
1843 29,961
33,737 tons
decrease. This may be owing to the impulse given to the export by the China war, and the diminution now that the war is over.

British North American Colonies and the West Indies, increase from 1841 148,182 tons
1843 168,845
20,663 tons
increase, owing to the establishment of the West Indian and American lines of steam packets, the coals for which must be procured; but the increase is far short of that which ought to have accrued to this country, had all the coals been supplied from Great Britain.

United States, 1841 52,207 tons
1843 34,866
18,341 tons
decrease, owing to the imposition of a duty on the importation of English coal into the United States, by which, together with the British duty, the export of coals from this country is nearly prohibited.

Mexico and Brazil, 1841 14,166 tons
1843 24,941
10,775 tons
increase, owing to the establishment of lines of steam packets. The greatest effect, it will be seen, arises from the competition with the Belgian and French coal, but particularly the former, where the amount of duty, from the shortness of the voyage, bears the greatest ratio to the selling price of the coals at the port of delivery. The effect of the duty cannot be better illustrated than by the comparative effect of the export of coals paying 2s. and the coals paying 1s. per ton duty.

1842 Oct. and Jan. quarters 147,479 tons
1843 Oct. and Jan. quarters 240,428
92,949 tons
increase in small coals, while the export of round has generally been diminished. The returns of small and round in the years 1841, 1842, and 1843, do not give the comparison; as (see return 10th May, 1844), no account of small, was kept until the quarter ending October, 1842.

I am now arguing on the supposition that you do not wish to check the export. The right hon. Baronet, both last year and this year, on the Budget, contrary to the argument which he had previously advanced in 1842, admitted that apart from financial considerations, this duty upon coal was not to be defended. The question of fact, that the export has been checked by the duty, has been resolved affirmatively; it is no longer matter of doubt, or controversy, or cavil. But how is this check effected? By the ruinous operation of the duty on the trade, and on the shipping interest frequenting the southern ports. It must be borne in mind, that great capital has been laid out in the opening of mines, and in increasing the facilities for promoting the export trade, on anticipations of increase, and not alone from calculations founded on the state of the trade, as it then was, hut as it was likely to become, when the force of our example should induce the formation of railroads over the whole surface of the European Continent. The use of gaslighting has made rapid progress in Germany, and but a very few years have elapsed since Paris has been partially lit with gas. Now, those who undertook to open mines at great cost, and make these great outlays of capital, had this comprehensive market in prospect. If, therefore, there was no decrease of sale to foreign ports of coal in 1843, as compared with 1842, still the circumstance of non-increase would prove the evil working of the duty, regard being had to the increased want on the Continent of coal. Let me remind the House that the railroad from Rouen to Paris, was opened in May, 1843, and is entirely worked by English contracts for coal. The coal-field in the south of France, as far as it has yet been worked, is not sufficient to supply the increasing demands for steam navigation in the Mediterranean, as well as the railroads formed and projected. A new railroad has been of late completed, as far as the rails are laid down, from Montpelier to Nismes, and will be soon in operation. Why do I quote this? To prove the increasing demand immediately for coal in France; and when we consider the immense lines of communication which are about to be constructed in France, the demand for English coals, and, moreover, the small coal, of which little use is made here, seems almost infinite. Should we not rather, then, retain this trade, by throwing no fiscal impediments in the way of its unrestricted development, than incur the risk of driving the French into foreign markets, or whetting their industry to work their own coals, when they might derive their supplies from hence with more advantage to themselves and to us? and indeed, Sir, as English capitalists furnish money for the construction of French railways, so would English capitalists furnish the means of working foreign mines. But I may be told that Sweden, previous to the imposition of the Export Duty, levied an Import Duty, and that, standing in need of British coal, she has taken off that duty, and that the British Exchequer derives the benefit which otherwise the Swedish Treasury would have received; but I find that, notwithstanding this, the export to Sweden has diminished in 1843, as compared with 1842, by nearly one-third, so that the export trade cannot bear the present duty, although the Import Duty in Sweden has been taken off. But would even this particular instance be an answer to the general impolicy of the duty, provided that that duty check the trade to France, to Holland, to Germany, and those countries which take the most coal? Sweden is a poor country, whose natural resources are extremely limited. Access by sea is closed nearly six months in the year. Timber, in which the country abounds, is of slow growth, from the rigour of the climate, and the ungrateful nature of the soil; and except in Scania the cultivation does not admit of great improvement. Far be it from me to underrate the, trade of this country; but still, from the nature of things, it must be of limited extent, and for the extension of our coal exports we must look to the more promising markets of the south. If we had the entire monopoly of coal, if dependence were mutual, then, indeed, there would be a sufficient reason for an Export Duty; but this notion has been over and over again combated. The very circumstance of active competition between the Belgian and English coals refutes it, and this without regard being had to the mines in France, half explored and half worked, and leaving out of the question the anthracite mines in France, of which species of coal I am informed great use is now made in America. There is the Russian demand of rising importance—there is the prolongation of the line now in operation from Petersburgh to Tzarskoselo, which is in the course of rapid construction, extending to Moscow. Here is a market where there is active competition between Belgian and English coal. The Russians have no coal sufficiently contiguous for the service of that railway, although in the more eastern parts of Russia there is a most extensive ridge of coal-field. Here, therefore, is a market of the utmost importance to gain. English coal can be served at cheaper rates than Prussian Silesian coal as far as Berlin; but here too the competition is near, and the railroad from Hamburgh is served by-British coal; it can, perhaps, hardly be expected that the railroads in the other parts of Germany, in the proximity of coal-fields, should be served by other than that coal. There is another mode in which this duty has proved of great injury. I am not about to urge this argument invidiously. I know that all taxation is an evil, but that its necessity justifies it—the national credit, the preservation of the peace and order of society, and national defence; but, nevertheless, I think it may be shown that this peculiar tax has, in the respect to which I am going to allude, special objections. I. mean, that certain pits are obliged to cease to work one day in the week, in consequence of the operation of the duty. The right hon. Baronet, in the case of factory labour, called upon the House not to impose a restriction of the hours, which would be tantamount, as far as cessation from work, to the establishment of another Sabbatical institution. But here is a duty which produces a like effect in certain mines—I do not mean that this applies generally, but in the pits where the operation of the duty requires the pits to be laid in (the technical expression) that which the right hon. Baronet deprecated with regard to factory labour is occasioned, and colliers being paid by piece-work, in such proportion that a hard working man, a hewer, may earn 3s. 8d. per diem, the loss of one day to his week's wages creates considerable diminution in the amount of wages. But I shall be told, in relation to the remuneration of other labourers, that even this de- duction made, the aggregate weekly amount is still considerable. But the habits of this class are not those of domestic economy; they are careless and thoughtless; they are not wont to eke out their earnings to purchase the largest amount of necessaries and comforts; you cannot change their improvidence; discontent is immediately engendered if they have not the same large means—large, relatively speaking; and this discontent operates in conjunction with other supposed complaints, to produce strikes, and all the evils incident upon them to the workmen themselves, the coal-trade generally, and the different interests more or less connected and made up with the coal-trade. There is, moreover, a much larger proportion of small coal, which requires very little labour, exported since the imposition of the duty than previously when the export was free, on account of the advantage of the discriminating duty. The larger coal or round coal is the labour coal, and the quantity exported of this, which furnished labour to colliers, has much diminished, and the export of small coal has been substituted; but had no duty on export existed, the larger or labour coal would have been exported in an increased ratio in addition to the small coal, which affords very little labour, although a small profit to the coal-owner. I am come, Sir, to the consideration of the effect of this tax upon an interest of general concernment. I am sure that the hon. Members for the northern sea-ports will bear me out in affirming the correctness of my assertion, that it has been most disastrously felt by that interest; but the right hon. Gentleman will say, how can the effect be multiplied? Now, we never have pretended that the evil inflicted was only commensurate with the scanty revenue received—we maintain that it checks the Export Trade— that this checks employment — that less shipping is employed in the Export Trade, because less coal is exported: that, consequently, all those persons seeking, and who would derive employment from the increasing export, are thrown out of employ, or receive reduced employ. In periods of difficulty, even without profit to keep matters straight—to keep their people in work—to preserve the trade—works are continued without a gain—greater quantities of coal would in such cases be exported than the market naturally demanded. There would be this incidental advantage, that it would open our markets, and when a foot- ing was once obtained, engagements, correspondents established, the first and great step being gained, such would continue, and new openings would be made, and new undertakings engaged in. I admit, that these are problematic advantages, easily lost, and perhaps factitiously acquired, but they are the advantages of a great trading and exporting country. Such advantages, as far as the export of coal can contribute, paying an outward freight, and thereby enabling an inward freight or commerce and exchange, to take place with less of gain and profit from these sources. And now, Sir, when the great staple trades of the country are reviving; when to assist that revival in the woollen trade which has already taken place, as may be proved by the comparison of the return of 5th of January, 1844, with the 5th January, 1843, the Government has taken off altogether the duty on wool, foregoing the revenue of scanty amount in consideration of the benefits to be derived by the trade; would it not be politic to forego, in like manner, the paltry pittance received from the Export Duty, not to assist, as in the woollen trade, a trade which has revived, but to prevent another trade from perishing, which has a material bearing on the prosperity of the country, in which the amount of workman's wages is 30,000l. per week. It has been from all times considered a great national object to encourage a nursery for our seamen; the commercial and imperial greatness of this country is so dependent upon a powerful mercantile navy, that I need not enlarge upon this topic. You are not called upon to give artificial bounties, but to remove restrictions which diminish the number of our vessels and the employment of our seamen. With a fair field and no favour, I have a perfect confidence in the hardy tars of this United Empire. Notwithstanding the jealousies of rival nations, the covert efforts of foreign statesmen, or the suggestions of royal pamphleteers, let us but be true to ourselves, let us protect our shipping interest, and not endeavour to raise a paltry revenue at the expense of a service which it ought to be our darling object to foster, and I for one stand in no fear for the result. If I have proved that the coal-trade is suffering depression, not arising from that general depression prevalent for some years, because it has not revived with the revival of other interests; if I have proved the injury accruing to the shipping interest; if I have proved that the financial necessity, which was alone the justification of the duty, no longer exists; if the House is penetrated with the conviction, that these points are proved, I then call upon the House to adopt the same policy which Her Majesty's Ministers have adopted with respect to wool, and I respectfully invite them to accede to my Motion. The noble Lord then concluded by moving, that this House will resolve itself into a Committee of the whole House, to take into consideration so much of the Act 5 and 6 Vict. cap. 47, as relates to an Export Duty on Coal, with a view to its immediate repeal.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

said, that whatever difference of opinion might exist as to the Motion of the noble Lord, the House would agree with him in thinking, that the noble Lord need not have apologised for introducing the subject, for he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) never heard a statement made in that House which bore more fully on every point of the subject, and which had been more clearly and forcibly urged upon their attention. He must at the same time say, as regarded the Motion with which the noble Lord's statement concluded, he was unfortunately obliged to differ from the noble Lord; and he should shortly state to the House the reasons on which that difference was grounded. If he refrained from following the noble Lord in all the observations which he had made with regard to the small amount of the Revenue derived from the tax on coals, and the evils which he alleged to result from it, he begged to assure him that it was not from any want of respect towards him, but solely because he thought the question lay within a much narrower compass. The noble Lord directed the attention of the House to the effect which he attributed to these duties in reducing the hours of profitable labour in the collieries, and diminishing the profits of shipowners whose vessels were engaged in the coal trade. If he could show the noble Lord that the amount of coal raised was not less than it had been previously, the noble Lord could hardly maintain that it was the duty which had produced the effect of displacing labour in the collieries. If in addition to that, he showed that the export of coal was nearly as extensive as before, then the noble Lord could scarcely hold the opinion that the tax had operated prejudicially to the shipping interest in connection with the coal trade. The noble Lord had justly stated, that as compared with 1840, there was a diminution in the exports for the last year; but if he compared them with the exports of 1841, the noble Lord would see there was an increase. It was not a fair comparison to contrast the exports of 1843 with those of 1842, for in consequence of the announcement, in the beginning of 1842, that the coal duties would be interfered with, a more than usual quantity of coal was disposed of in the beginning of that year, the amount sold in the first half of the year being very much greater than that sold in the latter half. Therefore, in order to have a fair estimate of the amount of coals exported comparatively since the duty of which the noble Lord had spoken, they ought to compare the exports of 1843, when the duty was in operation, with 1841, when there was no fear of a change in the duties, and consequently nothing to induce an unusual sale. It would be seen, by comparing the returns for 1843 with those for 1841, that so far from the quantity of coal exported in 1843 being less, it exceeded that exported in 1841—the excess was not considerable he would admit, but still there was an excess. He might, therefore, be permitted to doubt whether the duty had operated to prevent the export of coals. Now, he would ask, had the coal duties alone produced the effects to which the noble Lord had adverted, and had no other causes operated to produce them, independently of coal duties. Take the Colonies of this country. What was the effect there? Was the quantity of coal exported to the Colonies in the period to which the noble Lord adverted greater than in former years? On the contrary, the quantity of coal exported to the Colonies in 1841, was 344,000 tons; in 1842, 353,000; and in 1843 it fell to 307,000 tons; so that in the quantity of coal exported to our own Colonies where it was independent of duty, there was a considerable decrease, The paper on the Table showed that there was, in 1843, also a decrease in the quantity of coal brought to London, where there was no variation occasioned by the amount of duty. It appeared that, in 1842, there were 2,754,000 tons sent to London, and in 1843, only 2,663,000 tons, so that here was a falling off upon which the duty could have no effect. At Guernsey, Jersey and other places where there was no duty, it would be found that, in 1843, as compared with the two preceding years there was a falling off even in those places which were not affected by duty. That falling off no doubt bad greatly affected the shipping trade, particularly the shipping employed in carrying coals. The noble Lord had adverted to the falling off in our Colonial exports, and had truly stated that that falling off must have been prejudicial to the shipping interest; but that circumstance had no reference to the question then before the House, as the duty did not extend to coals exported to our own Colonies. It had been said, at the period when the duty upon coals exported to foreign countries had been proposed, that that measure would have the effect of ruining our coal trade with France; but he found that our exports of coals to France had been greater in the year 1843 than they had been in the year 1841. So that to the very country with respect to which the greatest alarm was expressed by the coal owners, at the time when this duty was imposed—to that country, respecting which the greatest complaints had been made, the export of coal had increased. With respect to Russia, again—the export of coals had considerably increased. But, said the noble Lord, formerly coal was sent to Russia in foreign ships at a high duty, and now, in consequence of our treaty of reciprocity, it was sent in Russian ships, which paid a low rate of duty; but how stood that matter? To take the duty as a test. The quantity sent in 1842, was 83,000 tons, and in the following year 116,000 tons, and the duty paid in the former year was 4.000l, and in the last year, 9,000l., and therefore, the increase of duty was greater in proportion than the increase in the amount of coal. The noble Lord was therefore incorrect in attributing to the export duty any injury to that branch of our trade. It would be remembered that, when the subject was before under discussion, those interested in the coal trade had made great complaints of the embarrassment occasioned to the trade by the great quantity of small coal with which they were overloaded, and for which they could find no market. Now, if a comparison were made of the quantity of small coal sent out at present with the former amount, it would be found that the increased export of small coal was very considerable. In the year 1842 the small coal exported was 148,000 tons, while in 1843 the export was 456,000 tons, giving a very large increase in the amount of small coal exported since the duty was imposed, and yet on this small coal the duty was most complained of as oppressive. With respect to the depression of the shipping interest, would the noble Lord tell him that that depression was confined to those ships engaged in the coal trade of Newcastle and Sunderland? Had there not been a general lowering of freight in, all branches of trade? and if that were admitted, which he conceived to be the case, from the gestures of an hon. Gentleman opposite, what ground was there for imputing to the coal duty that it was the basis and cause of the depression complained of? But it further appeared, that with some of our Colonies, especially Canada, so far as coal was concerned, there had been more employment for the shipping interest in the last than in preceding years. Although the export trade to that Colony on the whole, was diminished, yet the amount of coal exported was greater than in antecedent periods. If then, the House was to judge of the effect of the duty from the documents on the Table, and from the information which they possessed with respect to the effect of the duty on the exportation of coal, there was no ground whatever for the House to yield to the proposition of the noble Lord. When he had the honour of submitting his financial arrangement for the year, he stated the grounds upon which it was impossible for him to extend beyond narrow limits the remission of taxation for the present year, and he thought his proposal met with general concurrence. He might have made an improper selection of articles to be relieved from duty. He might in the noble Lord's opinion, have committed an error in not substituting coal for wool, or some of the other articles, upon which the duty was reduced, but if the noble Lord looked at the duties which he proposed to reduce, he doubted whether he would not find that the reduction was calculated to aid that particular interest which he considered would be so beneficially affected by a reduction of the duty on coal. Since his measures were proposed, he had received distinct assurances from ship-owners that they would be highly favourable to the interest of that individual class. It was from gentlemen deeply interested in shipping, and thoroughly conversant with the trade, that he had received that declaration. He maintained, therefore, that there was no ground made out by the noble Lord which should induce the House to change the decision to which it had come. It was always a painful duty to resist attempts for the remission of taxation, urged upon the House with great power and ability, but his resistance was based upon the narrow ground of the impropriety of affecting the revenue beyond what in the judgment of the House, the revenue could bear, and because there was no evidence that if a remission of taxation could be effected, this particular article was the one upon which the duty ought to be remitted. He should certainly oppose the noble Lord's Motion.

Mr. Grainger

said he could not forbear from expressing his astonishment at the ground assigned by the right hon. Gentleman for resisting the proposition of the noble Lord, and to show that his astonishment was well founded, he would remind the House of the reasons assigned by the Government when they first introduced this measure, and when they opposed the Motion of the noble Lord (Lord Howick) last year. He regretted that the First Lord of the Treasury was not in his place, but he had the consolation of thinking that he was much more agreeably employed elsewhere. The right hon. Gentleman had justified the tax on the ground that such an article as coal was a perfectly legitimate source of revenue, and when the noble Lord below him brought forward his Motion last year, the right hon. Gentleman said that he could not consent to it, because nine months' experience was not enough to enable us to judge of the effects of the Tariff, and that they were not then discussing how they should appropriate a surplus revenue to the reduction of taxation. The right hon. Gentleman added also, that this duty was imposed by a large majority of the House, not because it was a good tax in itself, but to make up a deficiency in the revenue, and that these reasons still existed, as there was still a deficit. But now, forsooth, after the Government had, last year, led every one to believe that as soon as there should be a surplus in the Exchequer, then the time would have arrived for taking off the tax, up got the Chancellor of the Exchequer and said, "Oh, forsooth, I won't discuss the question upon any such ground. It won't do for me, having a large surplus revenue, to discuss this question upon the same terms as last year. If I remit this duty, I shall be beset in all quarters with applications for remission of taxes." He would ask the House whether there was any fair comparison between this and other taxes which called for remission, when the state of the revenue would allow it. This was a recent tax, it was not to be compared with those which had existed for years, and which might be suffered to continue for two or three years longer. If the tax was imposed in a moment of necessity, it ought to be taken off the moment that necessity ceased. He did not grudge the wool growers the remission that had been granted to them, amounting to 90,000l. or 100,000l., but he said that the Coal Duty ought to have been repealed in preference. He came now to another ground upon which the right hon. Gentleman thought proper to resist this Motion. The right hon. Gentleman asked whether there were any proofs that this tax operated injuriously to the export of coal, and then he took the years 1841 and 1843, and because there had been a small increase in the latter year, amounting to about 47,000 tons, he said there was a proof that no injury had been sustained in consequence of the imposition of the tax. The question was, who had paid the export duty? Had it been paid by the foreigner? He did not think the right hon. Gentleman would venture to assert that it had. Was it intended when the tax was laid on that it should be paid by the shipowner or the coalowner? The argument of the First Lord of the Treasury was, that as in foreign countries there were heavy import duties on coal, it would be hard if this country could not derive some little revenue from it, and that we should tax those articles the exportation of which would bear it. If the Government were now satisfied that the tax, so far from falling on the foreigner, was borne by the shipowner and the coalowner, what pretence had they for continuing it? If the foreigner did pay it, of course the right hon. Gentleman would be prepared with documents to show that the tax had had the effect of raising the price of coal in the foreign market. But was it not known, on the contrary, that coal was sold at still lower prices in the foreign market than before? It might be said that the coalowner could afford to pay the duty; but even supposing he could afford it, no person could think it right that so large a sum should come out of the pockets of so few men. Were the shipowners, then, in a condition to bear it? The Chancellor of the Exchequer said that the shipping trade was depressed; but he asked, did that depression exist only amongst those connected with the coal trade? Why, was there ever so fallacious an argument? Granting that there was a general depression in the shipping interest, what could be more calculated to increase that depression than to throw a number of ships out of employment? This was the natural effect, and if inquiry were made in the north of England, it would be found that owing to the depression of trade, the freight obtained by the shipowners was next to nothing, and now the duty was distributed between the shipowner and the coalowner. He had a Return of the quantity of coal exported in 1833 and in 1841, before the tax was laid, and it appeared that in 1833 the quantity of coal sent to foreign countries, excluding our Colonies, was 449,659 tons, and in 1841, 1,500,701 tons, being an increase of upwards of two-thirds in eight years. The average of the eight years showed a progressive increase of 132,630 tons, and he was entitled to assume, that if the tax had never been laid on, the increase in the exportation would have gone on in the same proportion. But every one connected with the trade knew that if this bar had not been opposed to it, the increase would have been to a larger extent, and taking the eight years, there would have been in 1842 and 1843 an increase of 165,260 tons, giving a result of 1,665,960 tons. Now, taking the amount actually exported at 218,606 tons, the right hon. Gentleman argued that the quantity of coal exported had not fallen off. He asked if there was any compensation in the amount derived by the revenue for the large quantities of coal in the pits thus left unworked. The right hon. Gentleman now had his pockets full—he did not say how he had filled them—and the coalowners had a right to say that before the surplus was employed for any other purpose, they were entitled to demand that the Coal Duty should be taken off. He called upon the House before they voted for the rejection of the noble Lord's Motion, to consider whether this was a fair and equitable tax or not. It was against all principle to impose a tax which even its supporters could not defend on any other ground than that of mere expediency; and would the House allow the Chancellor of the Exchequer to run away from the ground upon which it bad been put by the First Lord of the Treasury last year? He trusted they Would not, and that Members who had supported the Motion before would support it again, and that Members who had been absent from former divisions would now support it for the first time. He was sorry he did not see in his place the noble Lord, the Member for the City of London. Last year the Government said they had a high authority for imposing this tax— that of the noble Lord the Member for London. Why, the noble Lord had given his assent to it in the most cautious and guarded manner possible. He said that he should not feel justified in refusing it, provided the tax did no injury—meaning, that if the statements of the Government were deserving of credit, he ought to agree to it; but the absence of the noble Lord last year and to-night, must show the Government that he began to doubt of the expediency of his vote, and to fear that his ingenious mind had been imposed upon by the statements made to him. He trusted this would be a lesson to the noble Lord for the future, and that he would not allow himself to be won over by statements, but would examine every question for himself; and he was sure he would not again give a vote which had excited the surprise of every one on that side of the House.

Mr. Warburton

said it was not from revenue considerations that he intended to defend this tax, although he thought that even upon that ground it was defensible. Mr. Ricardo, in his celebrated work upon taxation, distinctly laid down this principle, that if any country produced a commodity at a much cheaper rate than another, that was a perfectly legitimate subject of taxation, and it was proper to lay an export duty on it. He thought that on such considerations alone this tax was defensible; but it was not so much on these grounds that he intended to support it. What he contended was, that if the matter was fully investigated by the Government it would be found that there was but a limited quantity of this commodity at a moderate distance below the surface and accessible to the sea, and on that account, in the same manner as in a town in a state of siege you would break through the ordinary rules of political economy, and would not allow the soldiers to throw away their rations, so here you should in like manner depart from the ordinary principle. In the case of an article annually produced, such as corn, it was right to follow the ordinary maxims of political economy; but with respect to coal, which was not produced annually, and which was to be found only in a limited quantity in the vicinity of the sea, it was perfectly justifiable to take means for regulating the sale of it, so as to secure to the inhabitants of your own country a priority of consumption of so important an article. Before a Committee of the House of Lords, in 1830, Mr. Taylor, the coal agent of the Duke of Northumberland, gave evidence, that there was coal enough accessible to the sea in Northumberland and Durham to last for 1,727 years. If he were merely to examine the data of this calculation he should at once bring down the number of years to one half; for he found that Mr. Taylor underrated the consumption of the coal of Northumberland and Durham, and stated it at only one half the real consumption, so that he should bring down the number of years from 1,727 to about 863 years. But he should not be content with that. There were several eminent scientific men who had given their opinions on this subject. Amongst others, Professor Sedgwick, of Cambridge, and Dr. Buckland, of Oxford, had examined these coal districts, and rated the time for which they would last at 300 or 400 years. But he would bring evidence from Northumberland and Durham—not taken at a time when the object was to underrate the quantity of coal, but when it was the interest of the witness to underrate its duration as much as possible. He referred to a Committee of that House which sat upon Ecclesiastical cases, and before which a witness was called—a highly respectable gentleman from Northumberland—a solicitor much interested in coal property, and who had formed an exact estimate of the coal property of the see of Durham. The question was whether the holders of Ecclesiastical leases should be allowed to redeem their interests and become the purchasers. Thus it was the interest of those whom the witness represented to underrate the quantity of coal, and the number of years it would last. The House would remember that the witnesses from Northumberland and Durham, in 1830, estimated the duration at 1,727 years. He would now read the evidence of Mr. Dalton, in 1837, before the Ecclesiastical Committee, and the House would hear his estimate of the duration of the coal of that district. The witness said that some calculations esti- mated the duration of the coal at 1,700 years, but that Dr. Buckland and others were of opinion that the whole would not last more than 400 years, and that thus there were differences of opinion to an enormous amount. He said it was impossible for any human being to make a correct estimate from the quantity of unexplored coal, and after giving some description of the different qualities of coal, and the prices which they fetched, he made this important statement—that as regarded the best coal, from the most accurate information he could obtain, he apprehended that the best coals from the district of the Wear would be exhausted at the end of the present century; that is, in about sixty years. One witness declared that the coals, that is, the best coals, must be exhausted in sixty years; so much, then, for the validity of the calculation of those who estimated that the coals would last for 1,727 years. They had then this calculation before them, that by the end of sixty years that species of coal wherewith the London market was supplied would be exhausted. What then did Mr. Buddell say in the Committee of 1830?—That if he were given a month, and had the aid of requisite agents from the Government, he should be able to give a precise estimate of the quantity of coals and the probable time they would last. He knew that before the coal would be exhausted, there would be a large increase in the price, that that increase must postpone the period when it might be utterly exhausted, and yet it could be quite within the duration of the life of many he addressed, to see either the coal exhausted, or an enormous increase in its price. There was a peculiarity belonging to this article of coals, and why they should facilitate its exportation to foreign countries, independently of the consideration that they were exporting the best quality of coal, and that peculiarity was very well known to most of the Gentlemen in whose presence he spoke. In Mr. Porter's "Progress of the Nation," there were explained the regulations adopted in the trade of coal, and which applied to the vend of coals in the counties of Northumberland and Durham. The general course of these regulations was this—a limited quantity of coals was only allowed to be raised, and each of the collieries was only allowed to sell a certain portion of the limited vend. The ordinary course of purchase and sale was this—the purchaser offered his money, and the vender immediately let him have his commodity, and the parties were most pleased when there was the most expedition in the shipping of the cargo that had been purchased. This was not, however, the case with the coal-trade. If a Frenchman and an Englishman went to the same markets, in the ordinary course of trade, and both offered the same price for the same article, both would be supplied on the same terms, and at the same time. This was not the case with coals, for 30s. per chaldron would be about the price charged to the English purchaser, but the foreigner who went to purchase would be allowed to purchase at 18s. the Newcastle chaldron, so that the English purchaser would be required to pay 70 per cent. more than the foreign purchaser. ["Ob, oh!"] Yes, be stated that which was the fact. He had been upon Committees on this subject, and he too had found there that this question had been always shirked. There could be no more valuable evidence than that of Mr. Porter on this very subject. He was a disinterested party, and he told them that 18s. was the price to the foreigner, whilst the Englishman had to pay so much more. And then these persons who upheld this system, talked of the interest they felt for the shipping trade, and yet they detained English captains and English ships that came to them for coals—they kept them lying idle, supposing they had delivered the quantity they had agreed to sell, for a fortnight at a time. That was a grievance to the shipping interest they had it in their power to put an end to, and yet they persevered with it. Then there was another point to be remarked upon. There was a small coal—it was called "beam coal." There were in it particles of coal about the size of a walnut, which could not pass through the sieve. That very description of coal could be applied to most valuable purposes in England, if the coalowners would allow it to be used. It was, for instance, a species of coal that could be used with great advantage by lime-burners. Now they were sending to the Pacific for guano, for the purpose of benefitting the agriculture of this country; but why, he asked, did not the coalowners of the north allow this nut, or beam-coal, to be burned in England as well as by foreigners, when their doing so might be of such advantage to agriculture? He knew himself a great lime-burner—a gentleman who had once been a Member of that House, and who was well known to those he addressed. That gentleman had endeavoured to get this coal. He was a rich man, and there could be no doubt that his bills would be paid, and though he wanted for his business this very species of coals, and though the coalowners of the north sold it to the foreigner for 3s. a ton, yet the English purchaser could not get it at that price, nor at anything like a reasonable price. The English lime-burner would have been glad to have purchased the beam coal at a price proportionate to the large coal, and though the coalowners of the north sold it to the foreigner for 3s. the ton, still he could not get it. Then, he said, let this odious monopoly be done away with; for of all the monopolies that had ever been heard of, that which embraced almost the whole vend of that which was called the great coal districts was the most odious. The best price coals here were from 25s. to 30s. the ton, whilst in the foreign market, on account of the low price at which it was procured, it would be sold at some 50 or 60 per cent. less, yes, and that for the same description of coal. ["No, no."] He maintained that the same description of coal could be bought abroad some 50 or 60 per cent. less than it could be bought in the London market. That was, he said, in consequence of the odious distinctions which were made by the coalowners between the foreign and English purchasers. Now, if he could bind these coalowners by any bond that that they would now and for evermore abandon this system, that the odious restrictions of the vend should be abolished by them, then, he said, it would be a cheap bargain with those coalowners to give them the benefit of the removal of the duty: but as he did not see how that bond could be enforced, then he said that until these restrictions were removed, the Government did well in equalising, as far as it could, the coal trade; for by the laying on of a moderate duty on the export of coals, it brought a little nearer an equality of price between the best coals as purchased in London and as purchased on the opposite coasts of the Continent. It was with these views he supported the Chancellor of the Exchequer most willingly in his proposition to maintain this tax.

Mr. R. Hinde

said, that the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down had attacked the manner in which the Coal Trade was carried on in this country; but his observations on this point did not appear to have much reference to the question before the House. What the coal-owners complained of was, that the present export tax operated to encourage other nations to compete with them, and to exclude them altogether from many markets. It had been observed, in the course of the debate, that there were other causes independent of the tax which had caused a diminution in the coal trade to foreign nations? and, in proof of this, the diminution which had also taken place in the coal trade to our Colonies had been referred to. The truth was, however, that the export to the East and to China had diminished in consequence of the war; and if the East Indian and China trade were excluded, there would be found to be a great increase in the Colonial coal-trade. A strong objection to the tax was the injurious effect it had on the British shipping. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said that he did not defend this tax abstractedly, but that the question to be considered was, which would be most beneficial to the public—this tax or the substitution of some other? There was, however, a peculiarity attending this coal tax which was not to be found in connection with many other taxes, namely, that if it were continued to 1850, it would create a competition against the British coalowners in almost all other countries in the world, who would turn their attention to the opening of coal mines; so that, by the time that tax was abolished, all the mischief would have been done. For these reasons, he should give his cordial support to the Motion.

M. Hume

agreed with the hon. Member for Kendal (Mr. Warburton) in thinking that a more disgraceful combination did not exist than the combination among coalowners. He thought it fairly came within the combination laws, and he had made a suggestion to this effect to the Attorney General, who, however, had not agreed with him. Last year this combination appeared to have been held together by a very slender thread, and there were symptoms of its breaking up, and of the benefit of a free market being allowed to the public. Nevertheless, the system still continued. Evidence on the subject of this combination had been brought for- ward in 1836, and it appeared that it was the London brokers, who managed to ascertain what was the average price which would pay those included in the vend, that was to say, those who contributed a certain amount towards the supply of the London market. This price they fixed at 22s., and whenever the price fell to 21s., then fewer cargoes were sent to market, and thus the price was again brought up. There might be 180, or even 500 ships lying in the Thames waiting to unload, but their cargoes were only brought to market in such a succession as would keep the price of coals up to the regulated rate. This was a system which it was impossible not to comdemn; it was injurious to the shipping interests, and was not ultimately beneficial to the coalowners themselves. Now, what was the capacity of the coal mines? Instead of producing only 2,300,000 tons a year for the London market, there was a statement on the Table of the House which showed that the coal mines were capable of producing 4,000,000 tons a year for the London market. The colliers, however, were not allowed to work according to their capacity; but there was a prescribed amount of coal which each was allowed to produce, so that not more than 2,000,000 or 2,300,000 tons a year should be brought to the London market. It was with great regret that he saw this system could not be put down; but of this he was quite sure, that if he were sitting on the benches opposite, and had the powers of the Attorney General, it would be for him much more easy to convict these coalowners than Mr. O'Connell and his coadjutors; and he was sure he would have much less trouble with the jury, and everything else. A conspiracy more decided against the public than that of the coalowners there never had been; and it was to be remarked that the monopoly they desired to uphold applied to London alone. Now, as regarded the duty itself, he had from the first always advocated its repeal. In 1833, a Committee had reported that the tax ought to be taken off. In 1834 the export of small coals was 50,000 tons, and so it went on increasing until the year before last, when the duty was laid on, and then there was an export of 500,000 tons to France alone. In the three ports of the Tyne, the Wear, and the Humber, there were, in 1834, 1,497 ships employed; and in the year 1841 there were employed 4,220 ships. What was the result? The Chancellor of the Exchequer had said that things were now much the same as in. 1841. Why, if it had not been for this tax, they would have gone on increasing, and they were to consider how many persons were employed in various ways by means of this trade. He repeated that the export tax was injurious to British shipping. Our mercantile navy was going to rack and ruin, and yet the Government were for continuing the duty on coal, to the still further detriment of the shipping interest engaged in that trade. They should also recollect that in most countries coal had now been discovered, and consequently the supply from this country must henceforth be less required. We formerly supplied the United States; but they would henceforth be able to supply themselves with the coal of their country. Our policy, therefore, was to sell while we could, for fear we should not be able when we would.

Mr. F. T. Baring

said, that having opposed this tax at the time it was first introduced, he felt bound to say, that nothing that he had seen since, either in his own experience or in the returns before the House, had given him ground to alter his opinion as to the great inexpediency of having imposed it. Neither could he forget the circumstances under which the imposition of this tax was brought about—the negotiations between the coal-owners and the Government, by which the stern virtue of the former was softened down, and they were induced to acquiesce in the imposition of the tax, under the promise that the Government would take it off at the first convenient opportunity. Now, last year and the year before there might have been some pretence for saying that the Government could not take off this tax, but this was not the case now; the right hon. Gentleman, thanks to the Income Tax and other sources of revenue, being in the possession of a considerable surplus. But even this surplus would be increased by the alteration of the Sugar Duties proposed last evening by Her Majesty's Government. The right hon. the Secretary for the Board of Trade last night said, that he expected that this alteration would lead to an increased consumption of 20,000 tons of sugar, which, at a duty of 34s., would give an increase of 700,000l. He thought that this was ample to afford the loss of 100,000l., or 120,000l., upon the article of coals. He (Mr. Baring) objected to this tax very strongly, upon the principle, that it was a tax upon exports; and he thought that the Government was rather inconsistent in adopting it, when they had recently prided themselves upon taking off the ½ per cent. generally upon the exports of the country. The principle upon which the Government acted then was the right one, but it was very inconsistent with it now to lay on a tax upon the export of coals, which, upon small coals, amounted to the rate of 50 per cent. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said, that they had not found the tax to produce any injurious effects. Yet was it not the fact, that under the reduced duty, the exports were increasing every year, and that the shipping employed, as a necessary consequence, was increasing also. The right hon. Gentleman said, that the exports were not less than they were in 1841, but he should recollect that but for this tax the increase which was annually going on would have progressed, and that the exports now would have been considerably greater than those of the year 1841. Taking the average of eight years under the reduced duty, the annual increase had been 133,000 tons; so that the exports in 1843, instead of exceeding those of 1841 by 47,000 tons, should have done so by 266,000 tons. Yet the right hon. Gentleman opposite stated that the tax had not been injurious. Now, as regarded the shipping interest, taking colliers on an average to be of 300 tons burthen, the experiment of 1833 caused an increase of upwards of forty-four ships per year. That was the result of the measure recommended by a Committee of the House, and proposed by his noble Friend near him, the Member for the City of London. The result, therefore, of the measure of the present Government had been to put an end to the additional employment that had been given to the shipping. That being the case, the argument of the right hon. Gentleman opposite was most extraordinary. He contended that the tax ought to be continued, our shipping being in a state of great distress, and our coal trade falling off. Why, to him that appearance was the strongest argument for taking off the duty. There was one point which had been alluded to by the hon. Gentleman who had preceded him. It was the combination entered into, as he said, by the coal-owners to keep up prices, and if there was anything which would induce him to wish that hon. Member to be Her Majesty's Attorney-General, it would be because his hon. Friend was determined to put an end to that combination by all legal means. He objected strongly to the principles on which that combination was founded, but he understood that this combination, or vend only included a part of the coal districts, and was by no means general or universal. It therefore did seem to him a little hard, because there were certain wrong principles adopted in carrying on a trade, principles in which all who were engaged in that trade did not concur, therefore the whole of the trade should be punished. Such were the observations which occurred to him on this question, and such were the reasons which induced him cordially to support the Motion of the noble Lord.

Mr. Liddell

must say, in answer to the taunt which had been thrown out by the hon. Gentleman opposite against the coal proprietors for assenting to the imposition of this tax, that those parties had acted with greater prudence as regarded their interests, and those dependent upon them, in giving a limited concurrence in the proposition, than they would have shown in resisting the Government to extremes. He for one, however, yielded to that proposition, not without the hope that as soon as the circumstances of the country would admit of it the Government would hasten to remove the tax. When hon. Gentlemen opposite, however, threw out taunts of this description against Her Majesty's Government, and those who supported them in this House, he could not help reminding them, that but for the blunders and bungling policy of the party who sat opposite when they were in power, the present Government would not have found it necessary to impose this and other unpopular taxes. This Her Majesty's Government at least might say, that it was under them, that for the first time since the Whig party entered office in 1832, a Chancellor of the Exchequer had been enabled to lay a favourable balance sheet before the country. Well, certainly he might say so as far as regarded the period since 1836, when the right hon. Gentleman opposite assumed the duties of Chancellor of the Exchequer. Again he repeated, he hoped that this tax was one which would not be long persevered in. He must say, however, that he was somewhat alarmed at the line of argument which he had heard adopted to-night, and the facility with which Her Majesty's Government, instead of the arguments which they had formerly used on this subject, adopted those which had been started by others on the present occasion—that of the hon. Member for Kendal, for instance, as to the danger of falling short in our supply of coals, if exportation were increased, The fact was, that the hon. Member for Montrose and the hon. Member for Kendal, although they might go out into different lobbies on this occasion, had both fired their shot at the unfortunate coal-owners. The subject of the regulation of the vend, he thought was one better adapted for investigation before a Committee, than in this House; and if such a Committee were appointed, he doubted not that the result would be to disabuse the public mind of many erroneous impressions to which they had been subjected. In the Morning Chronicle of this day, for instance, he found an article in which all the arguments of the hon. Member for Kendal had been anticipated. The great coalowners, it was said, through the medium of a combination which has existed, with some partial interruptions, ever since the year 1771, restrain the amount of production in order to keep up the price to the English, especially the metropolitan consumer; and the extent to which this is carried is illustrated by the fact, that the same coal for which the Londoner pays 30s. a ton is sold in the distant market of St. Petersburgh for 15s. or 16s. Now, in the same paper in which this assertion was made, that the consumers of London were made to pay 30s. per ton for their coals to the coalowners, he found the account current of the coal market for the previous day, by which it appears that in spite of all the disadvantages which the coalowners laboured under from the present unsettled state of the trade, where by between 30,000 and 40,000 men were kept out of employ; and notwithstanding that from those circumstances, the coalowners were unable to work their pits at all at present, the price for the best coals, the Lamb-ton for instance, was 25s. 9d. and 25s. 6d.; and that of ordinary coals, 21s., 19s., and 18s. per ton. This was the state of the market, influenced by all these disadvantageous circumstances; but in the early part of the year, he found that the highest priced coals had been repeatedly sold as low as 19s. and 20s. per ton. It was the city dues, and the charges of the retail merchants, that enhanced the price of coals to the London consumer. As to the charge of monopoly, and the alleged combination { in regard to the "vend," there was too much competition to give the coalowner any great power in this way. The coal-owners of the north wished for no secrecy or concealment. If the hon. Gentleman opposite wished it, let him move for another Committee on the subject, and call before it the agents of the principal coal-owners. The very fact of so large and so respectable a body of men coalescing together and remaining constant to their own laws was a strong proof of its necessity. Had no other trade done the same thing? Yes. The iron trade had found it necessary, and it was not fair, because the rules of political economy forbade it, to stigmatise this system in almost entire ignorance of its necessity or of its effect. The coalowners had now this export duty to contend with—and with all the other obstacles against them, he ventured to say, that they had not gained during the last year a profit of one per cent upon their capital. A petition had been presented to the House from the colliers, by the hon. Member for Finsbury, and he must say that the statements of that petition, of which but a very small part referred to the question before the House were incorrect. He thought it unfair, however to bring the subject of the strike of the colliers under the consideration of the House incidentally without any notice being given, and he trusted that the hon. Member who had presented that petition would not follow that course. The colliers possessed many comforts and even luxuries which were unknown to labourers in the other parts of the kingdom, and if they were not extremely ill-advised, the time was not far distant, when there would be a satisfactory termination of their unhappy disputes. He once more conjured Ministers to give their attention to this subject, not to persevere in a tax so unjust and injurious so as to make those who had supported it, repent the vote they had given.

Mr. T. S. Duncombe

thought his hon. Friend, the Member for North Durham, was premature in accusing him of bringing forward the case of the strike in the coal districts on that occasion, for it did (so happen that he had not intended to intrude upon that point more than one or two sentences from the petition which he had presented from the colliers out on strike, which he thought bore immediately upon the question before the House. But there was one observation which had been made by the hon. Gentleman while explaining the reasons of the high price of coals in this metropolis. In reply to an observation from the hon. Member for Montrose upon that part of the case, the hon. Member for Durham said, "You must recollect that the workmen have been for a long time on strike, and that there is consequently a difficulty, from the scarcity of labour, in working the coals at the pits;" and he added—and he (Mr. T. Duncombe) was sorry to hear it, as that opened up the whole question—that the roughness of the men added to the difficulty. [Mr. Liddell: No, no.] The hon. Gentleman had certainly used the words, for he (Mr. Duncombe) had taken them down at the time. Now he would say, looking at the number of men out on strike, amounting, he believed, to some 20,000 or 30,000, and the distress which they must have suffered from being out of employment for so long a period as eight weeks, that their conduct had been not only peaceable but most exemplary. [Mr. Liddell had not made use of the words which the hon. Gentleman attributed to him.] The hon. Gentleman, he was bound to suppose, did not intend to use the expression. Now, he could well understand why the masters and coal-owners did not wish to go into the question of the strike. He could understand that they might not be prepared to go into that question. Very great misrepresentations had gone forth as to the conduct of the men in reference to the strike, and if they were now to go into that question he (Mr. T. Duncombe) would be able to prove to the House and to the country, that it was the masters who had struck, and not the workmen. It was no question of wages that had led to the cessation of work, but entirely one of personal safety with the men, which had been endangered by the masters; besides which, certain bonds had been introduced by the masters this year, which were previously unknown, which the men (most properly as he thought) had objected to. The men, however, offered to refer the whole of the points in dispute to honourable and fair arbitration; this they state in their petition, and he asked, were the masters prepared to meet them in that fair and equitable offer or not? If they refused, they would be the parties in the wrong, and not the men. The men alleged in their petition that many unfounded statements had been made for the purpose of prejudicing their case; that so far from refusing to come to terms with the masters, they had made many attempts, though ineffectually, to arrive at an amicable settlement; and they concluded by praying for a Select Committee to inquire into the whole case, and that legislative measures might be passed for their protection. Amongst other grievances, the coal-workers complained that they were paid for their labour by measures which were frequently incorrect, and by which they were considerable losers; and they desired that the masters should be compelled to pay for the coals obtained by weight, and really he could see no objection to this very reasonable request. The House had passed an Act to compel coals to be sold by weight, instead of by measure. That Act was for the protection of the masters, and no doubt also for the protection of the public, by preventing those frauds which, under the previous system had existed—then why not pay the men who worked the coals from the mines in the same manner? When the men called for Legislative interference for their protection, it was not for the purpose of regulating wages, or in any way interfering with the rate of remuneration, but what they asked was, that the Government should appoint inspectors to see that the works wherein they were employed were safe. The men also complained of the system of fines, and they alleged that the necessity for the fines arose from the bad ventilation of the mines, by which they were compelled, for their own personal safety, to work in the dark, the consequence often being, that after two or three weeks hard work, they found the fines left them in debt, instead of getting paid for their labour. If the masters were compelled to provide better ventilation, the men would have more light, and would be able to clear their coals themselves. They further complained that they were not paid, as other workmen, weekly, but only once a fortnight, and that it was the custom of the masters always to keep back one week's wages. The first three weeks the workman received no wages, but at the end of that time a fortnight's wages were paid to him, the other week being kept back in the hands of the master. He thought these were all matters which, if the masters meant fairly to the men, might be left to arbitration as they had proposed. It was said the men were combined together against the masters. But why were not the men to unite together for their mutual interests as well as the masters? The masters were now combined together as had been stated by the hon. Members for Kendal and Montrose, not only against the men, but against the public. He (Mr. T. Duncombe) rejoiced to see that in London a new regulation had been made by the Lord Mayor to prevent vessels lying in the river for the purpose of keeping up the markets. As he understood, the Lord Mayor had very properly provided that vessels should not be permitted to lie more than three market days without unloading, and that if within that time they did not discharge their cargoes, they should be compelled to go back out of his jurisdiction, and begin again at the far end. He hoped and believed, that the vigorous measures of the Lord Mayor would defeat the combination of the masters against the public. At present he understood, that combination was so stringent as to prevent those masters who were desirous of acceding to reasonable terms with the men, and trading fairly for the public, as well as their own advantage, from doing so. It was his intention, in accordance with the prayer of the petition, to vote for the abolition of the tax; and he must say he had heard no grounds, in the various speeches which had been made against the Motion, to induce the House to continue a tax which was most injurious to the master, and consequently to the workmen, and equally so, he was satisfied, to the public and the consumer in this country; while, on the other hand, it was not of sufficient importance as a matter of revenue, to justify the Chancellor of the Exchequer in upholding it.

Sir G. Clerk

said, it had been asserted by more than one hon. Gentleman in the course of the debate, that the grounds of defending this tax had been changed on the present occasion from those which had been relied upon in previous discussions upon the same question, and that the arguments upon which the Government had depended upon those occasions having been found no longer tenable, his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer had taken up a new line of defence altogether. He, however, could see no such change in anything that had been advanced by his right hon. Friend. He did not mean to hazard any opinion as to the probable duration of the coal mines of this country—whether they would be sufficient for the supply of one or two centuries; but he thought there was something in the arguments of the hon. Member for Kendal, that every year was rendering the working of the mines, which produced the best coals, more difficult and expensive in consequence of the increasing distance of the coals from the surface, and it was quite clear, that long before the whole of the coals should be exhausted, a very considerable increase in the price must take place to the consumer in this country; and if the export of coals were to go on increasing at the rate which some hon. Gentlemen anticipated, it would be necessary to take means to check it, for the sake of the consumers here, even supposing the coal mines should continue productive for a much longer time than it was calculated they would. With regard to the documents which his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer had quoted, and which it had been said he had depended upon in defence of the tax, instead of the arguments which had been urged in its favour on former occasions, his right hon. Friend had merely referred to those returns for the purpose of rebutting the argument which had been advanced, that the shipping interest had suffered under the operation of the duty. And he contended, that if the Government could show, as they had shown, that there had been no diminution in the exports in consequence of the duty, they made out a sufficient answer to the argument of the ruinous effects of the tax on the coalowners of the north, and the shipping interests engaged in the coal trade. It had been said, that no time could be more appropriate for the removal of the tax than when they had a surplus revenue. Upon that point he thought his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer had acted wisely in the selections he had made of the articles upon which to reduce taxes; and he confidently expected, that more public benefit would result from those reductions than could possibly follow from the removal of the export duty on coals.

Viscount Howick

could assure the House that he should detain them but for a very few minutes. He had on a former evening so fully explained his views on this subject, and it had already been so fully debated, and the arguments upon it, one way and the other, had been so completely exhausted that he felt he should not be justified in detaining them at any length. At the same time, his constituents were so deeply interested in the abrogation of this tax, that he could not refrain from offering one or two observations. If he or the House required any proof of how truly at a loss the Government were for any grounds for defending this most impolitic tax, he thought it was clearly afforded in the truly inconsistent arguments of the right hon. Baronet who had just spoken; for, whilst in the latter part of his address—for the purpose, perhaps, of allowing time for his friends to come in, the hon. Baronet endeavoured to show that this tax had not been injurious to the trade. At the beginning of his speech he admitted there was much force in what had been said by the hon. Member for Kendal, as to the danger of the supply of coals being exhausted, and the consequent necessity of checking the export. Did they impose this tax to check trade and husband the supply of coal? If, so, there was an end of the latter part of the right hon. Gentleman's speech. But if they rejected this argument, then, he said, let them fairly debate the question upon other grounds, and look at its effects on the welfare of the community. But really the right hon. Gentleman must have had immense confidence in the gullibility of the House when he brought forward that argument of his relating to the probable exhaustion of the supply of coal. For except the hon. Member for Kendal, who was and had been for many years, afflicted with a sort of monomania, upon this point, he did not believe that there was another Member of the House who ventured to take his stand upon that ground. Why, they knew that in addition to the supply of coal in the north of England, the best geologists told them that there was in the Welsh field a probable supply for two thousand years, and that in addition to what might be obtained from Scotland and Ireland. Now for his part, he was content to legislate for the next two thousand years, and to trust that no great injury would accrue to those who came after that time. As to the coal trade being injured by the tax, he thought that Government had virtually confessed the case against them. He thought it had been shown most clearly and indisputably, that the trade had been injured by this tax. The trade in coal had become flourishing beyond example, in consequence of the repeal of an impolitic tax on coal. For eight years it was advancing year after year. Then this tax was imposed, in spite of the warnings of opposition, and instantly the increase of the trade was stopped. Did they not all know how short was the step from a check on a growing to a falling-off trade? He did not wish to detain the House, but he must refer to two points, not very intimately connected with the discussion, but which had been already very pointedly alluded to in the course of the debate. The hon. Member for Kendal first referred to the regulations for vends, and the hon. Member for Durham took up the cudgels in favour of the coal owners. Now he objected to all these regulations and combinations, whether existing among masters or workmen. He knew that in this respect great injury had been inflicted by the coalowners upon their own interests, by their own most injudicious acts. It was that regulation of the vend which brought upon the coalowners of the Tyne and the Wear, the competition of that of the Tees, and which was now throwing into the market the coals of Scotland and of the northern part of Northumberland. They had, in the latter place, a very valuable coal field, which had been hitherto very little worked, but which would soon, as he hoped, send a valuable supply of coal to the market. Thus, they in Northumberland profited by the mistakes of those who entered into the combinations alluded to. The opinion he now expressed would probably be not a little distasteful to some of the most influential among his own constituents; but he must honestly say that he was pursuaded the regulation of the vends had been most injurious to the coalowners by whom it was established. But because these regulations of vend were injurious, that was no reason for keeping on the tax now so much complained of, and which affected severely many parties who had nothing to do with the combination in question. He knew that large contracts had been entered into for supplies of coal to be sent abroad, and which had been thrown up since the imposition of the tax. Was it just, then, to punish those who were not parties to the regulations by keeping up this obnoxious impost? But further, he was astonished to hear his hon. Friend the Member for Montrose—that hon. Gentleman who had brought in a Bill to repeal former impolitic laws against combinations—he was astonished to hear him say that he would put down these combinations, if he could by means of the Attorney General. The interests of these who formed them would eventually put them down; but he held it to be no matter for the House to interfere with. On every principle they were bound to leave the coalowners to themselves. He would just touch upon another topic, certainly somewhat irrelevant to the question, but which had been alluded to during the evening, and that was the unfortunate strike now existing among the pitmen. Feeling as he did, deeply anxious that this unfortunate and injurious strike should come to an end —a combination which was so injurious, not only to the parties immediately concerned in it, hut to many others—he did deplore that the hon. Members for Durham and Finsbury should have thought fit to discuss such topics as those of the differences between masters and men. The only duty of the Government, and of that House, in supporting the Government, was to maintain the law—to take care that neither masters nor employers were guilty of violence, or breach of the law, in endeavouring to maintain their own interests. The House, he considered, had no right to pronounce an opinion as to the reasonableness or unreasonableness of the demands of the masters on the one had, or of the workmen on the other. He would not pronounce any opinion—indeed, he would venture to say he had not formed a decided opinion— as to these differences between the masters and those whom they employed. He would however, express his earnest hope that a sincere desire would be manifested on both sides, by mutual concessions, and by a spirit of moderation and conciliation, to bring these unfortunate differences to a speedy and satisfactory termination. He hoped that neither party would allow themselves to be misled by those who he feared had some interest in keeping up these differences. He would give his most cordial support to the Motion of his noble Friend.

Mr. Humphery

said, he would not have attempted to address the House but for the statement of the noble Lord who had just sat down—that the House had nothing to do with differences between masters and their workmen. He begged to state to the House the facts of a case which had come before him in his magisterial capacity during the last week. There were, he understood, about 50,000 sailors employed in the coal trade, and some of them had applied to him under these circumstances: They stated, that they had entered into an agreement to come from Newcastle or Sunderland to London at 4l. per voyage; some of them arrived here in April, and in consequence of the cargoes of coals not having been sold, they remained here at the present time. It appeared from the charter parties that an agreement had been made between the masters and the coal-owners that if the vessels were detained in London three market days, their masters or owners should receive 1½d. per ton for each market day. Now, there were three market days in the week, and the masters were consequently receiving 4½d. per ton, per week, and were thereby secured against any loss from remaining here. Some of the ships had been eight or nine weeks in the port of London, the masters receiving this sum, while the poor men who contracted to undertake the voyage for 4l. were compelled to remain here for a period during which they might have made three voyages. Now, was this a case in which the House ought not to interfere? According to the opinion of the noble Lord, the reply of the House would be, " No; we have only to see that the men do not commit any act of violence or injury." But, he would ask, what was to become of the families of these poor men during their detention here? Some of them had families of eight, nine, or ten children, and to them this was a matter of very serious importance. He would now offer a few observations as to the tax which the noble Lord (Lord Howick) and other hon. Gentlemen had objected so strongly. In France they can buy our coals at 15s. per ton, while in London we are obliged to pay for the same coal from 20s. to 25s. per ton. ["No, no."] "Yes, yes, I say you can." Why, then, should we give the French manufacturer the opportunity of purchasing coals so much cheaper than the English consumer does, and allow the French manufacturer to have such an advantage over the London manufacturer This ought not to exist for one moment. [An Hon. Member: "The City dues."] The City dues, I beg to say, are only 1s. 1d. per ton. They said that they did not send the best coals to France. What, then, did they send? The French manufacturer required the same quality of coals as we consume in London. For his own part he was for increasing the duty. He quite differed from his Friends on this point. He went on a different principle. He said that Frenchmen should not have coals cheaper than the people of London had. But they would say, "if you can raise the price of coals in France the Belgians will soon supersede you in that quarter." Why, then, would the Belgians not supersede them in London? There was no duty on the imported foreign coals. [" Yes, yes."] What was it then? He contended that there was none, or if any, not more than 1s. per ton. If he had his will, he would put a duty upon coals exported to France, so as at least to raise the price of British coals there to a level with the London prices, so that the manufacturers should be on an equal footing. However, the coalowners had powerful interest both in this and the other House, and so he supposed that on this point they were safe enough. He would, however, on this occasion give his hearty support to the Government measure.

Mr. Hutt (Gateshead)

said:— I am not sorry that I gave way to the worthy Alderman below me (Humphery), because I am sure that the House will be of opinion that he has thrown great light on the question under its consideration, and that he has unfolded his views on the subject of the Coal Trade in a manner which ought to be highly appreciated by the constituency which he represents. The worthy Alderman has explained to the House the hard case, as he conceives it, of certain sailors brought before him in his magisterial capacity, who were detained on board a collier in the river until the ship was discharged. I hope the worthy Alderman will not forget, when he has to deal as a magistrate with that case, that the men entered into an arrangement to do so at the time they were engaged, and that they made the bargain with a full knowledge of the duty they would be called on to perform. The case may be a hard one—perhaps it is so; but if the men think with the worthy magistrate that they have reason to complain, they will of course not enter into any such engagements on a future voyage. But now, Sir, for the subject under discussion. I must express my regret and surprise at the tone assumed by the Government in regard to it. I had hoped the Government had condemned this export duty on coals— that they were growing ashamed of it— and that, with the additional duty on Irish spirits, it was now considered by the Cabinet as a great practical error in administration. This tax was first laid on in opposition to the recommendation of a Parliamentary Committee, and in direct contravention of the policy of an Administration of which two leading Members of the present Government were a part. The fact was, that the first Lord of the Treasury had learned, from Dr. Buckland, that there was no coal except in England, and but a very short allowance of it here! The right hon. Baronet in possession of that great fact, concluded that a free exportation of our stock would expose posterity to an alarming risk of being some day out of coals; and therefore, out of tenderness to generations to be born many centuries hence, he thought it proper to overlook the necessities of the race now living, and to tax the exportation of the produce from mines. This anxiety, however, of the right hon. Baronet and of his Government for the welfare of posterity, has avowedly been thrown away. Our stock of coals is not quite so limited as was supposed. The discoveries of pitmen have refuted the theories of the philosophers; and it is an established fact, that the coal-field is far more extensive than the geological statesman had ever imagined. The noble Lord has alluded to the district in Northumberland with which he is connected by property. In that district a valuable seam of coal has been of late discovered beneath the mountain limestone, where we used to be told it was vain to look for it; and in the southern division of Durham, another seam of coal has been developed, which geologists assured us could have no existence. I recommend these facts to the notice of my hon. Friend the Member for Kendal. They exhibit the folly of attempting to legislate on geological principles. But the first Lord of the Treasury had another argument in support of his tax—an argument which has been taken up by the Secretary of the Treasury in the absence of his leader to-night. We possess a monopoly of coal in this country; and by taxing the export of it, we shall render it dearer to foreign manufacturers, and so give an advantage to our own in the competition of business. That is, Durham and Northumberland are to be taxed, to promote the advantage of Lancashire. A factitious advantage is to be created for one portion of the community, by gross injustice and injury to another. And this is free-trade, I sup- pose, "in the abstract." Yes! export machinery without restrictions — the maker of machines has as much right to the foreign market as the maker of cotton cloth—but impose restrictions on the productions of the coal owner, in order to benefit manufacturers! This is consistency! To my mind it sounds very like folly, or something worse. The President of the Board of Trade has taken no part in the present debate. Last year his only argument was the state of the Exchequer. Well; you have replenished the Exchequer—why do you continue the tax? If the tax was justified by the pressure of public exigencies, when that pressure has been removed you are bound to remove the tax. I do not object to repealing duties on wool, vinegar, or glass; but I contend that coal had, on your own showing, a prior right to relief. The other points which have been raised in the course of this debate have been so satisfactorily disposed of by preceding speakers, that I will not trouble the House by again adverting to them. But before I sit down, I must say a few words in reply to the observations of my hon. Friends near me, the hon. Members for Kendal (Mr. Warburton) and Montrose (Mr. Hume). These hon. Gentlemen, acting in accordance with some opinions which, I am told, are put forth in a weekly paper, have raised the cry of monopoly against the coalowners. It has been remarked by the author of a very remarkable work, recently published—I am speaking of the author of Coningsby [laughter]—that in dealing with popular questions, nothing is so useful as a cry. I do not impute to my hon. Friends the use of this delusion with the same disreputable object with which it is commonly had recourse to. But, acquitting them of that, I must infer that they have raised the cry, because they are not capable of distinguishing between matters essentially different in themselves—that they have committed a gross blunder which, as public men and Members of Parliament, they ought to be ashamed of. A monopoly created by legislation is a gross abuse—it is an act of power by which one portion of the community is robbed for the dishonest purpose of pampering the interests of another. Such a proceeding cannot be too strongly denounced. But the monopoly of the coalowners is not of that character—it arises out of no special edict of the law— it has its origin in the very institution of private property. Every man is a monopolist of his own property—of his own house; and he ought to be subject to no denunciation or odium on that account. The coalowner has a perfect right—not merely a legal right, which I would not too much insist on, but a right every way consistent with the best interests of society— to sell his coals in the highest market—to sell them in what manner he pleases, or not to sell them at all, unless it suit his pleasure and convenience. To get up a cry against the coalowner, and more particularly to expose him on this account to the operation of an unjust and oppressive law, is something new in the science of politics and morality. Such legislation would be becoming in no man—least of all is it becoming in transcendental economists and philosophers. [Laughter.] Why raise the cry exclusively against the coalowner? Why is he to be selected as the object of your virtuous indignation, and of the animadversion of the law? Is the regulation confined to the Coal Trade? Does it not exist in almost every other? I am not defending its policy—that is another question. I only say it exists everywhere, and is everywhere else uncensured, but in regard to coals. I read almost every week in the newspapers, that the ironmasters have met at Wolverhampton or Gloucester, and determined to raise the price of iron 5s. or 10s. per ton. Does any one question the equitable and moral character of the combination which enables the ironmasters to do this? and would it not be a most iniquitous proceeding, because the ironmasters exercise in this respect one of the simplest rights of private property, that therefore they should be punished by the imposition of a duty on the exportation of iron, or by the continuation of such a duty, if there had been a Government sufficiently absurd to impose it? Then should the coalowner be so treated? Then why retain the coal tax? The tax is a disgrace, not merely to the Government, but to the Legislature of the country.

Mr. Hume

rose to explain: He had been accused of charging the coalowners with carrying on an unfair monopoly. Let the House look to the evidence before it upon the subject. [Loud cries of" Order, order," " Chair, Chair."]

The Speaker

The hon. Member must confine himself to an explanation.

Mr. Hume

Certainly, strictly. I wish to explain that the coalowners—[Loud cries of " Order, order."]

Mr. Wallace

Mr. Speaker—[" Order, order."]

Mr. Wallace

As the hon. Member for Montrose was not allowed to proceed, he would remark for himself that he had never heard anything more plain than the case which was made out by his hon. Friend against the coal owners, and which had not yet been controverted. He understood that these parties possessed a monopoly of an injurious and most improper kind, and that they carried it to the utmost extent to which it would bear. He was astonished to have heard a Liberal Member of the House, the noble Lord the Member for Sunderland, rating some of his hon. Friends for having brought under the notice of the House the grievances of upwards of thirty thousand people. He thought it a subject upon which the House ought to be informed, and that Government would do well to lend a favourable ear to the proposition made, that the dispute should be settled by means of arbitration. As to the subject immediately under the consideration of the House, he considered it to be a most unjust and injurious law, whereby 800 or 900,000 tons of coals were now spoiling at the bottoms of the pits, instead of having been raised and sent abroad, to the profit of both coal and ship owners. In the name of the large commercial constituency which he represented, he protested against the duty.

The House divided on Lord H. Vane's Motion: Ayes 74; Noes 110.—Majority 36.

List of the AYES.
Acheson, Visct. D'Eyncourt, rt. hn. C. T
Aglionby, H. A. Duncan, Visct.
Aldam, W. Duncan, G.
Bannerman, A. Duncombe, T.
Barclay, D. Dundas, Adm.
Baring, rt. hon. F. T. Dundas, D.
Barnard, E. G. Egerton, Lord F.
Bellew, R. M. Fielden, J.
Blewitt, Rt. J. Forster, M.
Bowes, J. Gibson, T. M.
Bowring, Dr. Granger, T. C.
Bright, J. Grosvenor, Lord R.
Browne, hon. W, Guest, Sir J.
Butler, P. S. Hawes, B.
Cobden, R. Heron, Sir R.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. Hinde, J. H.
Collett, J. Hodgson, R.
Dalmeny, Lord Howard, hon. C.W.G.
Denison, W. J. Howick, Visct,
Hume, J. Stewart, P. M.
James, W. Stock, Mr. Serj.
Layard, Capt. Strutt, E.
Leader. J. T. Talbot, C. M.
Liddell, hon. H. T. Tancred, H. W.
Macaulay, rt. hn. T. B. Traill, G.
Maclean, D. Trelawney, J. S.
Maher, N. Tufnell, H.
Mitcalfe, H. Wakley, T.
Morris, D. Walker, R.
Morison, Gen. Wallace, R.
Napier, Sir C. Ward, H. G.
Ogle, S. C. H. Wawn, J. T.
Ord, W. Wemyss, Capt.
Plumridge, Capt. Worsley, Lord
Pulsford, R. Wrightson, W.B.
Rawdon, Col.
Rice, E. R. TELLERS.
Scholefield, J. Vane, Lord H.
Smith, rt. hon. R. V. Hutt,
List of the NOES.
Ackland, T. D. Gordon, hon. Capt.
Adare, Visct. Goring, C.
Adderley, C. B. Goulburn, rt. hon. H.
Allix, J. P. Graham, rt. hn. Sir J.
Antrobus, E. Granby, Marquess of
Arbuthnott, hon. H. Greenall, P.
Arkwright, G. Greene, T.
Astell, W. Halford, Sir H.
Baillie, H. J. Hampden, R.
Baring, hon. W. B. Harris, hon. Capt.
Baskerville, T. B. M. Heneage, G. H. W.
Boldero, H. G. Henley, J. W.
Botfield, B. Hepburn, Sir T. B.
Bowles, Adm. Herbert, hon. S.
Boyd, J. Hope, hon. C.
Brisco, M. Hope, G. W.
Broadley, H. Humphrey, Mr. Ald.
Bruce, Lord E. Hussey, T.
Bruges, W. H. L. Johnstone, Sir J.
Campbell, Sir H. Johnstone, H.
Chapman, A. Kirk, P.
Chelsea, Visct. Knatchbull, rt. hn. Sir E.
Clerk, Sir G. Lawson, A.
Cockburn, rt. hn. Sir G. Lennox, Lord A.
Collett, W. R. Lyall, G.
Corry, rt. hon. H. Lygon, hon. Gen.
Cripps, W. Mackenzie, W. F.
Denison, E. B. McNeill, D.
Douglas, Sir C. E. Mahon, Visct.
Douglas, J. D. S. Mainwaring, T.
Drummond, H. H. Manners, Lord C. S.
Eaton, R. J. Manners, Lord J.
Eliot, Lord Master, T. W. C.
Escott, B. Maxwell, hon. J. P.
Estcourt, T. G. B. Mitchell, T. A.
Filmer, Sir E. Mordaunt, Sir J.
Flower, Sir J. Morgan, O.
Forbes, W. Nicholl, rt. hon. J.
Forman, T. S. Norreys, Lord
Fremantle, rt. hn. Sir. T. O'Brien, A. S.
Fuller, A. E. Packe, C. W.
Gardner, J. D. Palmer, G.
Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E. Patten, J. W.
Gladstone, Capt. Plumptre, J. P.
Glynne, Sir S. R. Polhill, F.
Praed, W. T. Sutton, hn. H. M.
Pringle, A. Tennent, J. E.
Pusey, P. Thesiger, Sir F.
Rolleston, Col. Thompson, Ald.
Round, C.G. Tyrell, Sir J. T.
Round, J. Vesey, hon. T.
Rushbrooke, Col. Vivian, J. E.
Shaw, rt. hon. F. Warburton, H.
Sheppard, T.
Smollett, A. TELLERS.
Sotheron, T. H. S. Young, J.
Stanley, Lord Baring, H.