The Earl of Darnley
adverted to what he had stated five weeks since, respecting the expediency of stopping the distilleries in Ireland, in consequence of the high price of grain, and lamented that recourse had not then been had to this measure, which ministers now found themselves compelled to adopt. The consumption of the distilleries in Ireland was 50,000 barrels of oats per week, which during the five weeks since he first noticed the subject, amounted to 250,000 barrels, and this taken from the stock of an article, which in a failure of the crop of potatoes, was necessary to the subsistence of the people, the chief article of their food, for want of potatoes, being oatmeal. The price of oats in Ireland, which five weeks ago was 27s. per barrel, had now risen to 32s.—wheat bad also risen from 66s. or 67s. to 82s. His lordship argued from these facts, that the stoppage of the distilleries ought to have been resorted to at the time he first mentioned the subject, and with the view of ascertaining what quantity of oats had been consumed in the distilleries, moved for an account of the number of gallons of spirits distilled in the months from October to April, both inclusive.
§ Earl Bathurst
denied that the high price of grain in Ireland was to be attributed solely to the distilleries, one of the causes being the export of grain to this country.
The Earl of Darnley
admitted, that the high price was not to be attributed solely to the distilleries.
Some further conversation took place, in the course of which the earl of Limerick denied that there was any scarcity at Limerick or in its neighbourhood, where potatoes were at 5d. per stone. The earl of Darnley and the marquis of Lansdowne thought, that the latest intelligence from thence was rather of a contrary description. The earl of Limerick contended for the correctness of his statement. Lord Holland observed, that ministers objected 858 to stopping the distilleries five weeks ago, on the ground that it was too late, and now at a later period they brought forward the very same measure.
§ The motion was then agreed to.