§ Mr. H. Sumner
presented a petition, against the Coal Duties, from Bermondsey. He expressed his concurrence in the prayer of the Petitioners, and trusted that the chancellor of the Exchequer would take the subject into his serious consideration.
§ Mr. W. Courtenay
presented a similar petition from Exeter. He observed, that the inhabitants of that city had always shewn themselves most ready to bear the necessary burthens which were imposed on them, but they felt most strongly on the subject of this tax. The great hardship of this tax was, that it pressed with increased severity on those who were already exposed to the greatest difficulties from their local position.
§ Mr. W. Smith
presented a similar petition from Norwich. The inhabitants of that city did not deny that they were in a state of great prosperity. The population of that city had increased from 30,000 to 50,000, within the last twenty years; but they felt the harshness of a tax, which had been justly the subject of complaint throughout the whole kingdom.
§ Sir T. Acland
presented several petitions to the same effect, from various towns in Devonshire. The petitioners complained of the tax as unequal, impolitic, and oppressive. As this was the last opportunity he should have of noticing this subject before the chancellor of the Exchequer made his financial statement, he would take the liberty of pressing, most strongly upon the right hon. gentleman, the expediency of taking off, either the whole, or a part of this tax. He concurred in the observation of the hon member for Exeter, that one of the most aggravating circumstances attending this tax was, 271 that it pressed most hardly on those who were already placed in a situation of the greatest difficulty by their internal position. He hoped the right hon. gentleman would at least consent to place the inland and maritime counties on the same footing. The duties on coals sent to a distant part of England amounted to 6s., whereas if they were sent to the continent the duties would not amount to more than 3s. There was perhaps, no tax of which the repeal would be more extensively beneficial: it would give relief to all the most important branches of the national industry; for not a nail could be driven, nor any manufacture carried on, without the agency of fire. There was another point to which he wished to call the attention of the right hon. gentleman, namely, the expediency of taking off the duty on culm. This measure would afford considerable relief, and he trusted the right hon. gentleman would not object to it.
§ Ordered to lie on the table.