§ Lord Wharncliffe
, in presenting a Petition from the Dyers and Manufacturers of Norwich against the Tax on Sea-borne Coals, said, that this was a most unjust tax, and when so many taxes were taken off it was most unfortunate that this was not among the number. It was a direct tax on productive labour, and fell particularly heavy on the petitioners, as coals were essential to the use of the machinery by which their trade was carried on. To shew their Lordships the effects of this tax he would mention one curious fact. The people of Norwich were actually obliged to send their wool to Yorkshire to be spun, and after being spun, it was sent back to Norwich to be manufactured into camlets and other stuff's. This was entirely owing to the cheapness of fuel in Yorkshire, which enabled the people there to apply the steam-engine to the purpose of spin- 366 ning. Coals were also a necessary of life among all classes, and the tax fell particularly heavy on the poor. In the third place, it was a most partial tax, and especially burthen some to those who lived on the sea coast, and on those parts of the country which were farthest from the coal districts, and where coals, independently of the tax, must be very dear. The tax was, besides, most enormous in its amount, as compared with the price of the article at the mouth of the pit. It increased the price three-fold, and possessed all the evil qualities of the worst tax without any redeeming virtues. He was himself a coal-proprietor, but he thought the subject was, on every account, one which loudly called for attention. Petition referred to the Coal Committee above stairs.