§ Sir James Graham
presented a petition, which he observed was most respectably signed, being subscribed by many of the principal inhabi- 750 tants of the parish of Mary-le-bone, against the coal duties, particularly as they affected coals carried coastwise. He did consider that these duties were a tax which ministers ought immediately to repeal; perhaps, before all others, in as much as it was one which was singularly oppressive on the poorer, classes of the people.
§ Mr. Curwen
said, he had great pleasure in supporting the prayer of the petition. Nothing could show the mischievous tendency of these duties more than the fact, that one-third at least of all the coal dug from the mines in Durham and Cumberland was wasted and lost, because it was of a quality that would not bear the duties in question, although it would perfectly answer the purposes of the poorer sort, if the tax was removed.
§ Colonel Bagwell
complained, that besides the government duties, the duty payable on coals in the ports of Ireland rendered it an extremely dear commodity to the people of that country.
Lord W. Fitzgerald,
sir John Newport, alderman C. Smith, Mr. Frankland Lewis, and Mr. Thomas Wilson, severally supported the prayer of the petition, and expatiated on the severity of this tax.
§ Mr. Littleton
defended the continuance of these duties for a longer period, on the ground, that many capitals having been invested by individuals in coal-property, in different parts of the country, under such a system of duties, too sudden a repeal of the tax would be the occasion of very materially injuring those who were at present very extensively interested in coal-property.
§ The petition was read, and ordered to be printed.
§ Sir J. Graham
next presented a similar petition from the vestry and directors of the poor of the parish of St. Pancras. The hon. baronet observed, that he could imagine no duties of a more impolitic nature than these upon coals; seeing that they had a direct tendency to discourage a trade which was the best nursery of lour gallant seamen.
§ Ordered to lie on the table.