HC Deb 22 January 1847 vol 89 cc275-80

moved the Order of the Day for the Second Reading of the Navigation Bill.

Bill read a second time, and committed.

On First Clause being put, viz.— That after the passing of the Act, and before , it shall be lawful to import into the United Kingdom, for home use, from any Country, in any ship or vessel of any Country, however navigated, any Corn, Maize, Grain, Flour, Meal, Rice, or Potatoes, the growth and produce of any Country, anything in the Law of Navigation to the contrary in anywise notwithstanding;


moved as an Amendment— After 'and,' to insert the words, 'provided such vessel shall be proved to have sailed from the port of lading on or before .'


said, that he could not agree to the Amendment, as in fact the object was to cause the arrival of vessels as soon as possible with corn, and not the arrival of vessels with similar cargoes at a late period of the year. He could not therefore agree to the adoption of a later day than that named in the Bill.


was of opinion that the Amendment might be adopted with great advantage to the country. There was considerable difficulty in getting a sufficient number of vessels to carry corn from Taganrog, Odessa, and the ports at the other side of the Atlantic, and every facility ought to be afforded to those who were inclined to bring cargoes of corn from those ports of the Black Sea and the Atlantic.


said, that the question before them was not a question relating generally to the navigation laws. The truth was, that it had been a question whether an earlier day ought not to be named, as the great object was to obtain a supply of corn at the earliest possible period. He had consulted an individual who was well calculated to form a correct opinion on the subject, and the result of that inquiry was, that the 1st of September would be the best day to name. What they wanted now was, to give a bonus for the importation of corn at the earliest possible period. If any further step were necessary in order to facilitate the importation of corn, Parliament could adopt it before the end of the Session.


said, that the Amendment was worthy of the consideration of the Committee. Suppose, for example, that a vessel left Odessa with corn on the 1st of July, allowing two months for the voyage, and that she was met by a westerly wind at Gibraltar, which detained her for several days, what was to be done with respect to her cargo if she did not arrive before the 1st of September?


thought that they ought to guard against the chances of accidental delays, such as bad weather or similar causes. In ordinary times it would take two months for the voyage from Odessa to London, but delays might occur from many causes. The harvest of Southern Russia might not be brought down to the shipping ports of the Black Sea in sufficient time, and therefore they ought to adopt such means as would obviate any inconvenience which might arise from those delays.


expressed his intention of supporting the proposition of the Government for the suspension of the navigation laws for a specific period; but he would strenuously resist any attempt to use this temporary suspension as a wedge hereafter for the entire removal of the navigation laws. He agreed in opinion with those who thought that the navigation laws were amongst the wisest of the laws of England.


said, that if a ship left the port of lading under circumstances which presented a fair probability that she would arrive in England or Ireland before the 1st of September, she might encounter adverse winds or boisterous weather, and her arrival might thus be delayed beyond the appointed time. In that case the merchant who imported the corn, and the public might suffer a very great loss by the non-admission of the vessel under the present Bill; but nothing would be left contingent if the Government would name a day of departure of the vessel instead of a day of arrival.


remarked, that in all such cases the Treasury could exercise their discretion as to the admission of the ship; and if it appeared that a vessel with corn had bonâ fide left the port of shipment at such a time as would justify the probability that she could reach the port of discharge before the 1st of September, he apprehended that the discretion would be exercised in favour of the admission of the ship.


would support the proposition of the Government, as he thought that they had taken a course which was calculated to meet the present emergency. He looked at the proposition on its own merits alone, but he would guard himself against being supposed to take a course which would allow this suspension to be used as a wedge for the removal of the navigation laws at a future period. The navigation laws were looked upon by shipowners as the bulwark of our commercial marine, and he could not consent to any proposition for their entire removal at a future period.


disavowed the intention of applying to Her Majesty's Government the design to use the present suspension of the navigation laws as a wedge for their future removal. He had too much faith in the integrity and good intentions of the Government to impute any such intention to them.


said, that as far as he could learn from what had been said, the Bill could not be carried into due effect unless they adopted the Amendment. It was true that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had told them that the time allowed by the Bill was rather too long, than too short, as he had consulted an individual who had told him that the 1st of September was the proper day to fix for the termination of the suspension. He had heard the hon. and gallant Commodore opposite, he had heard the Member for South Lancashire, and the Member for Bridport, express their opinions with respect to the expediency of agreeing to the Amendment; and he would ask the House if they would in preference to these opinions adopt the opinion of an individual who had been cramming the Chancellor of the Exchequer on this subject? Was this the same individual who told the Government that corn would go down in November? Corn had risen to 80s. in defiance of the anticipations of that individual who had undertaken to advise Her Majesty's Ministers.


remarked that, with respect to what had been stated by the hon. Member for Portsmouth, he had no hesitation in saying, that in case of a vessel arriving under the circumstances described by the hon. Member, the Treasury would do as they had done in former instances; and if it were clearly shown that the ship departed from the port in proper time to render it probable that she would arrive before the 1st of September, that they would use that discretion which they possessed, in the same manner as they had done on former occasions. Beyond that intimation he could give no further pledge.


had no objection to support the proposition of his noble Friend (Lord John Russell), and he would add, that he thought it of very little matter whether the navigation laws were suspended for one period in preference to another, so far as regarded the supply of corn to this country. He was of opinion, that there was an erroneous impression abroad as to the effect which had been produced by the navigation laws, and the 4s. duty, in giving an advantage to France over this country; for in looking to the exportations of grain from Boston, New Orleans, and New York, from the 4th of September to the 26th of December, he found that there were 65,000 quarters of grain exported to France in that period; whilst the exports to Great Britain and Ireland in the same period were 526,000 quarters. When he saw that, he could not agree in the opinion that Her Majesty's Government had committed any great crime against Ireland in not having suspended the navigation laws and the corn importation laws at an earlier period. He thought, for his part, that the navigation laws and the corn importation laws had little to do with the circumstances which had been complained of. With regard to corn from Odessa, he perceived that the ablest organ of the political economists, the Economist newspaper, stated that great advantages had been gained by France in consequence of the suspension of the navigation laws by that country, and added that fifteen foreign vessels, principally Neapolitan and Greek, had arrived with corn at Marseilles within a few days, owing to that suspension. He was of opinion, however, that if the names afforded any indication, the Economist must have been mistaken as to the nationality of those vessels, for he saw amongst them the names Vanguard, Calliope, Maria Theresa, Firefly, Malta, and Dicky Sam; and he thought, so far as the navigation laws were concerned, those vessels which he had named, might as well have come to England as to have gone to France. If he might take the liberty of throwing out a suggestion to his noble Friend, it would be, that the Government should put the British vessels in the same position as that which foreign vessels would be permitted to occupy under the operations of this measure for the suspension of the navigation laws. A British ship was obliged by law to have three-fourths of her crew British sailors; and British ships were also obliged to carry apprentices, both of which regulations would, in case the navigation laws were suspended, operate against the British ship to the advantage of the foreign vessel. He would suggest, that in case of a suspension of the navigation laws, the British ships should be put upon an equality with the ships of other countries.


said, that although he should not oppose the proposition of the Government, he thought all difficulty would be obviated by fixing the time when a vessel took her cargo on board.


expressed himself favourable to the Amendment.


observed, that no satisfactory reason had been assigned for limiting the entry of cargoes to the 1st of September, or for compelling parties in the case of late arrivals to go begging for favours to the Treasury.


stated, that a disposition was shown to acquiesce in the proposal to bring vessels leaving the port of shipment before the 1st of August under the operation of the present measure. It was the suggestion to substitute the 1st of September which had raised a discussion.

The Committee divided on the Question, that the words proposed by Mr. Mitchell be inserted:—Ayes 50; Noes 188; Majority 138.

List of the NOES.
Ainsworth, P. James, Sir W. C.
Baine, W. Kelly, J.
Bernal, R. M'Carthy, A.
Bowring, Dr. Milton, Visct.
Bright, J. Moffatt, G.
Brotherton, J. Napier, Sir C.
Brown, W. Newport, Visct.
Chapman, B. O'Brien, C.
Christie, W. D. O'Brien, W. S.
Clay, Sir W. Osborne, R.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. Paget, Col.
Collett, W. R. Pattison, J.
Collett, J. Pechell, Capt.
Crawford, W. S. Philips, M.
Dennistoun, J. Rice, E. R.
Duncan, G. Thornely, T.
Escott, B. Trelawny, J. S.
Evans, Sir De L. Tuite, H. M.
Ewart, W. Wakley, T.
Fielden, J. Walker, R.
Forster, M. Warburton, H.
Granger, T. C. Williams, W.
Hall, Sir B. Yorke, H. R.
Hastie, A.
Hindley, C. TELLERS.
Hume, J. Mitchell, T. A.
Humphery, Ald. Duncombe, T.
List of the AYES.
Acheson, Visct. Craig, W. G.
Acland, Sir T. D. Cripps, W.
Arbuthnott, hon. H. Davies, D. A. S.
Arkwright, G. Dawson, hon. T. V.
Bailey, J. Denison, J. E.
Bailey, J. jun. Disraeli, B.
Bankes, G. Douglas, Sir H.
Bannerman, A. Douglas, J. D. S.
Barclay, D. Drax, J. S. W.
Barkly, H. Dugdale, W. S.
Baring, rt. hon. F. T. Duncannon, Visct.
Baring, T. Dundas, Adm.
Barnard, E. G. Dundas, D.
Barron, Sir H. W. Eastnor, Visct.
Bateson, T. Ellice, rt. hon. E.
Bennet, P. Entwisle, W.
Bentinck, Lord G. Esmonde, Sir T.
Beresford, Major Estcourt, T. G. B.
Berkeley, hon. C. Etwall, R.
Berkeley, hon. Capt. Ferguson, Sir R. A.
Bernard, Visct. Ferrand, W. B.
Bodkin, W. H. Finch, G.
Bodkin, J. J. Fitzroy, hon. H.
Borthwick, P. Forbes, W.
Broadley, H. Fox, C. R.
Broadwood, H. French, F.
Browne, R. D. Frewen, C. H.
Busfeild, W. Gaskell, J. M.
Byng, rt. hon. G. S. Gibson, rt. hon. T. M.
Callaghan, D. Gill, T.
Chichester, Lord J. L. Gordon, hon. Capt.
Cholmeley, Sir J. M. Goulburn, rt. hon. H.
Christopher, R. A. Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.
Clements, Visct. Granby, Marq. of
Clifton, J. T. Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.
Clive, Visct. Grimsditch, T.
Conolly, Col. Hamilton, G. A.
Courtenay, Lord Hamilton, W. J.
Cowper, hon. W. F. Hanmer, Sir John
Harcourt, G. G. O'Brien, A. S.
Harris, hon. Capt. O'Conor Don
Hawes, B. Ord, W.
Hayter, W. G. Oswald, J.
Henley, J. W. Pakington, Sir J.
Herbert, rt. hon. S. Palmerston, Visct.
Hildyard, T. B. T. Parker, J.
Hill, Lord E. Patten, J. W.
Hobhouse, rt. hon. Sir J. Peel, J.
Hodgson, R. Philipps, Sir R. B. P.
Hogg, Sir J. W. Pigot, Sir R.
Hope, Sir J. Plumridge, Capt.
Hope, G. W. Protheroe, E. D.
Hornby, J. Pulsford, R.
Howard, hn. C. W. G. Rashleigh, W.
Howard, P. H. Rawdon, Col.
Hudson, G. Reid, Sir J. R.
Hussey, T. Reid, Col.
Inglis, Sir R. H. Repton, G. W. J.
James, W. Ross, D. R.
Jermyn, Earl Rushout, Capt.
Jervis, Sir J. Russell, Lord J.
Johnstone, H. Rutherfurd, A.
Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H. Scott, hon. F.
Kemble, H. Scrope, G. P.
Labouchere, rt. hon. H. Seymour, Lord
Langston, J. H. Sheppard, T.
Lascelles, hon. W. S. Sibthorp, Col.
Law, hon. C. E. Smith, rt. hon. R. V.
Lawless, hon. C. Somerset, Lord G.
Lawson, A. Somerville, Sir W. M.
Layard, Capt. Spooner, R.
Lefroy, A. Stansfield, W. R. C.
Le Marchant, Sir D. Staunton, Sir G. T.
Liddell, hon. H. T. Strutt, rt. hon. E.
Lincoln, Earl of Taylor, E.
Lindsay, hon. Capt. Thompson, Ald.
Loch, J. Trollope, Sir J.
Lockhart, A. E. Tyrell, Sir J. T.
Lygon, hon. Gen. Vane, Lord H.
Macaulay, rt. hn. T. B. Verner, Sir W.
Mackenzie, W. F. Villiers, Visct.
Maitland, T. Vyse, R. H. R. H.
Manners, Lord J. Waddington, H. S.
Marjoribanks, S. Ward, H. G.
Masterman, J. Wawn, J. T.
Maule, rt. hon. F. Wellesley, Lord C.
Miles, W. Wodehouse, E.
Milnes, R. M. Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Morpeth, Visct. Wood, Col. T.
Mostyn, hon. E. M. L. Wortley, hon. J. S.
Mundy, E. M. Wrightson, W. B.
Mure, Col. Wyse, T.
Neville, R.
Newdegate, C. N. TELLERS.
Newry, Visct. Hill, Lord M.
Northland, Visct. Tufnell, H.

Bill passed through Committee. House resumed. Report brought up and received, and Bill afterwards read a third time and passed.