§ Mr. Benett
presented a Petition from the inhabitants of Mere and other places in Wiltshire, complaining of the great Distress under which they 427 were labouring, which they attributed principally to the change in the currency, and praying to be relieved from taxation. The hon. Member characterized the petitioners as a most loyal and well-disposed set of people, and expressed his conviction, notwithstanding the temptation held out to them by what had taken place in another part of the kingdom, that they would not only refrain from outrage, but would be most active in repressing it.
§ On the Motion for bringing up the Petition,
§ Mr. R. Grant
wished to know what his Majesty's Government intended to do in the way of the remission of taxation. An idea had gone very generally abroad, that it was intended to repeal the duty on Seaborne-coals. He begged to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether that was in contemplation?
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
observed, that his right hon. friend had, the other evening, stated, that great inconvenience must always attend premature disclosures of that nature. He was sure, therefore, that his hon. friend, the member for Norwich, would not attribute his declining to answer the question to any want of courtesy.
§ Sir M. W. Ridley
had hoped, after what passed last Session, that a remission would have been proposed of the duty on Sea-borne-coal. He still hoped, that the result of the motion of the hon. member for Limerick would tend to the attainment of so desirable an object. He was aware that this was not a time at which an extensive remission of taxes could be expected, and, therefore, that hopes ought not to be held out which could not be realized. It was his firm conviction, however, that a great advantage would arise from remitting the taxes which pressed on industry, such as the duties on Seaborne-coals, soap, candles, the house and window-tax, and putting on a tax which would apply to the richer classes.
§ Sir John Wrottesley, judging from the Report of the Committee, was of opinion that a repeal of the Coal-tax would be beneficial only to the great coal-owners. From the monopoly enjoyed by these proprietors of mines in the North, he did not think it probable the public would gain anything by a remission of the duty. The people would be far more benefitted by a repeal of some of the assessed taxes.
§ Mr. Tennyson
defended the conduct of the coal owners, but agreed with the hon. Baronet in thinking that a reduction should be made in the assessed taxes.
§ Sir R. Wilson
observed, that he was prepared to support a Property-tax, if all practicable reduction in the indirect taxes and in the assessed taxes should prove insufficient to afford relief to the people.
protested against hon. Members at his side of the House encouraging the Ministers to lay on a Property-tax. Let that House take off the taxes first, and then they would force Ministers to reduce the establishments. This was in his mind the proper course to pursue, and not the reverse, as had been maintained by hon. Members. He contended that the House ought to interfere in the arrangements of the great coal-owners to promote the public good.
§ General Gascoyne
asked if it were the intention of Government to re-appoint the China Trade Committees?
§ Sir R. Peel
said, the best mode of answering that question, was to give notice that on Monday next he would move for the re-appointment of that Committee.
§ Mr. Benett, before bringing up the Petition, observed, that all taxes affecting production and industry should be removed in the first instance. He declined saying anything respecting a Property-tax. —The Petition laid on the Table.