Imatges de pÓgina
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The question was then put and carried for calling in the witneffes.

Mr. Standiffe White, cloth clothier, near Wakefield in Yorkshire, declared, that he was engaged in the woollen trade before the introduction of machinery, and ftated that, from the whole procefs, from the natural state of the wool to its being made into cloth, the faving was as feventy and one-third to 154. The faving was principally owing to the carding and fcribbling, as four people were able to do as much as forty-three before this machinery was introduced.

other members of the house; and if there was any difference of opinion, to hear the objections which could be urged, before he fhould enter upon its defence

The witness having withdrawn, The chancellor of the exchequer faid, he would not then enter at length into a difcuffion of the propolition before the houfe. He rather wifhed to learn what impreffion the evidence had made upon the

Mr. Peel obferved, that the resolutions had affumed a very different fhape from what he expected. He had heard with attention the evidence adduced by the petitioners against the article for allowing the exportation of wool to Ireland. But there was another branch of manufacture of not lefs importance, viz. the cotton manufactories, which, he faid, employed as great a number of hands as the woollen. Mr. Peel faid, he only meant to obferve, that any thing that would affect the profperity of the cotton manufacture ought to be feriously confidered. The evidence which had been given at the bar of the Irish house of commons feemed to him to imply, that their greatest objection to the union arofe from apprehenfions refpecting the protecting duties on our cotton trade. In 1785, he appeared at the bar of the British houfe of commons, to express his fear that the free intercourfe then projected with Ireland would injure our cotton manufactures. He had, however, fince that time changed his opinion; and he believed now, that the intercourfe then allowed had, under protecting duties for trade then impofed, contributed to the profperity of this country, and proved the falvation of Ireland.

Mr. Peel next obferved, that he expected that fome of the articles would have been different, but he would not therefore oppofe the grand measure. For his own part, the regulation refpecting the cotton trade would materially affect his interefts, but thefe, he faid, he never would bring into competition with the general good of the country:

country on these grounds, therefore, he would fupport the meafure.

Mr. Wilberforce entered at fome length upon the fubject. He faid, the honourable gentleman had ftated, that the commercial arrange. ment in the articles of the union was highly partial to Ireland in the inftance of the cotton manufactory, and that he was likely himfelf to fuffer materially from that partiality; but fuch was the fenfe he en tertained of the measure of union, that, rather than endanger it, he would wave the claim of himself and his brother manufacturers. He' had not the least doubt of the fincerity of the honourable gentleman in thus facrificing his own intereft to the general well-being of his country. He could not help obferving, that the honourable gentleman, by the bleffing of Providence, had attained to a fituation of the greateft opulence; but he faid, the body of men he was going to speak in behalf of was of a different defcription, fcarcely able to fuftain the heavy burthens which the neceffity of the times had compelled them to lay upon them.

The learned counfel had juftly ftated the great magnitude and importance of the interests which now claimed the attention of the houfe; but it was not merely for the interefts of a single manufacture that he was contending, but the well-being of Ireland as well as of Great Britain. If Ireland should be made an integral part of the British empire, the profperity of Great Britain would be her profperity; and as a part interested in the well-being of the whole, fhe could not but fuffer, in confequence of any injury fuftained by fuch material branch of our commercial fyftem; fhe could gain nothing but what the might

equally obtain by other means: The might lofe that which could not otherwife be compenfated. At prefent Irish wool was importable into Great Britain, but British wool not exportable to Ireland. All that the woollen manufacturers defired was, not to continue things upon this unequal footing, but that each country fhould henceforth enjoy the ufe of all the wool it might produce. On this he made feveral general remarks. He obferved, that the British woollen manufacture was now fuch as to require more wool than Great Britain produced, and therefore whatever Ireland might take from us would be taking the means of employment from our manufacturers. Wool, he faid, was peculiarly circumftanced: it was an appendage to another article of more value to the farmer than itself. The farmer, therefore, would naturally look to the carcafe more than to the fleece, for his reimbursement; a very minute difference, he said, in the price of meat was a fource of far greater gain or lofs to him than ever fo great a difference in the value of wool. The high price of wool, therefore, would not have the fame effect in increafing its production, as it would in increafing the produce of mines, or fruits of the earth, or any article which was not connected and dependent on another, as wool was.

Mr. Wilberforce then took notice of the evidences which had been examined, and remarked what Mr. Rawdon and Mr. Huftler had faid, and particularly the former, who had itated that he was unable to fupply himself with the wool he wanted, and added, that he had been under the neceffity of returning orders for the manufactured article, from his not being able to procure

procure the raw material for the fabrication of it. Wool, he faid, had long fold at a higher price in Ireland than in England, which would operate as a strong inducement to its exportation. The freight of wool from many parts of England was confiderably lefs to Ireland than to many manufacturing parts of Yorkshire.

Mr. Wilberforce likewife remarked to the committee, that Ireland had by no means been inattentive to the encouragement of her woollen manufacture. Premiums had been offered, inftitutions formed, and other measures adopted among them. After going on to a confiderable length, he concluded by faying, that he did not confider himself, on this occafion, as the advocate of one, but of both of thofe refpectable bodies of landed and commercial interefts; for, in truth, their interefts were the fame; and if he had not been confcious of detaining the houfe too long, he might have enlarged on the benefits which the agricultural parts of his own, and other counties, derived from the increafed population and profperity of the manufacturing diftrict.

The chancellor of the exchequer followed Mr. Wilberforce through moft. of his arguments. He faid, however warmly he might feel in favour of the liberal principle which ought to exift in the event of an incorporate union between the two countries, viz. that there fhould be a free and commercial intercourfe between them; and however anxious he was for the full application of that principle, ftill if he was convinced, either by the evidence which had been adduced at the bar, or by the fpeech of his honourable friend, that there was any reafonable ground for apprehending thofe con

fequences, which had been predicted to that great limb of the profperity of Great Britain, (he meant the woollen manufacture) he certainly would not hefitate to deviate from that principle of the propriety of the adoption of which he was now fo firmly convinced. But after the most minute investigation which he had been able to make upon the fubject, he was fatisfied, that to permit the exportation of the raw material to Ireland might gradually, in the courfe of time, be productive to Ireland, but even upon the principles of the petitioners themfelves could not caufe the leaft mifchief to the manufacturers of England. If the effect of permitting the exportation of the raw material to Ireland fhould be, as had been ftated, that of transferring any portion of manufacture to Ireland, it would only be gradually, and in the courfe of a great number of years.

The chancellor of the exchequer added, that his honourable friend had contended againft permitting the exportation of wool to Ireland, becaufe the effect of it would be to transfer the whole of the manufacture to Ireland; and in another part of his fpeech he objected to it, because, he faid, it would be highly injurious to England, without being productive of any great advantage to Ireland. The committee muft fee, that both thefe arguments could not be founded, becaufe, in the question of the transfer of a manufacture, it was impoffible (fuppofing the demand to continue) that England fhould lofe without Ireland gaining in the fame proportion. In order to form a correct eftimate, how far this manufacture could be the subject of transfer, and how far this article had a tendency that way, it would be neceflary to confider in what markets Ireland could rival us. There

There were but three markets in which he could rival us—in her own, by fupplying as much of the manufacture as was necessary for her own confumption, in foreign markets, or in our own markets. Upon this the chancellor argued with great ability, to fhow that in none of thefe he could fupplant us.

tioners, that in Hampshire, by the introduction of South Down fheep, the breed had confiderably increafed. It had been contended, that the practice of inclosure tended to diminish the quantity of wool: the fallacy, he faid, muft be obvious. upon the first view, that whatever had a tendency to the multiplication. of sheep must have a tendency to an increase of the growth of wool; fince wool, like every other article, must depend, in a great meafure, on the encouragement that was given to its production. But, to fay no more upon the fubject, he would ask the committee to confider another, and to examine what was likely to be the effect of the union, in the view of the operation of the capital. It muft, he faid, appear to any man, that the effect of a redundancy of capital in Ireland would be to improve the infant agriculture of that country. Who could doubt, he faid, but that that which had happened to Scotland after the union would happen to Ireland after the union; that although, by this allowance of importation into Ireland, we conveyed a part of our wealth to Ireland, yet that we fhould be amply repaid by the increafe which it would create in the agriculture of that country? After enlarging upon this fubject, he concluded by faying, that he was going to vote for that article which was before the committee, from a full feufe of public duty; and regretted that fo large and useful a clafs of men as the petitioners fhould be of a contrary opinion.

Mr. Wilberforce rofe in confequence of the chancellor of the exchequer having faid, that he (Mr. Wilberforce) had stated two contradistory propofitions. He wished to be understood, that he afferted only, that whatever advantages Ireland de

The next queftion was, with regard to the principle on which this article was founded, viz.-the propriety of permitting the free communication of a raw material from one part of an united kingdom to another. As a general principle, this had not been denied; but his honourable friend had ftated, that it was applied only to this article of wool; but this statement, he faid, was not correct, for the principle was not applied to the article of wool alone. The policy that grounded all thefe articles was to make the intercourfe between the two countries, with refpect to raw materials, and the whole of the trade between the united kingdoms, as free as poffible. With refpect to the comparative price of the raw material in the two countries, he begged to inform gentlemen, that at this moment the price of it was fomewhat higher than it was in Ireland. His honourable friend had not adverted to this in the courfe of his fpeech, but had merely ftated, that fome time ago it was cheaper in England; but it appeared from concurrent teftimony, that its price had been regularly increafing in England for the laft ten years. It had been stated, that the growth of wool could not be increafed, and that particularly that of fine wool was confined to a few fpots, and to a particular breed of theep. Now the fact appeared in evidence, from fome of thofe gentlemen who were called in as witneffes in favour of the peti

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rived from the exportation of wool into that kingdom could only be derived from what Great Britain fuffered by fuch diminution of her natural produce.

The chancellor of the exchequer contended that this argument was not conclufive.

Mr. Henry Lafcelles conceived a great advantage would refult from the union to England, but a much greater to Ireland. He was, how ever, of opinion, that Ireland could be fufficiently benefited without this facrifice, which we were called upon to make of the native produce of the wool, by exporting it out of the country. On thofe reafons he would agree with the amendment.

After fome more defultory debate, the question was almost unanimoufly called for.

The committee divided on Mr. Wilberforce's amendment. Ayes 53-Noes 153.

A converfation then took place on receiving the report. The chancellor of the exchequer propofed the next day.

Mr. Tierney was for fome delay, and propofed Monday.

The chancellor of the exchequer, however, moved, "that it fhould be received the next day." Mr. Tierney moved an amendment, "that it fhould be received on Monday."

The houfe divided on the amendment-Ayes 13-Noes 58.

On Friday, May 2, the queftion being put for receiving the report of the committee on his majesty's meffage,

Dr. Lawrence ftated, that he would not oppofe the bringing up of the report; but felt it his duty to move, that the confideration of it fhould be postponed to that day fix months.

Mr. Douglas then brought up the

report, and the refolutions were read a first time.

On the question for reading them a fecond time,

Dr. Lawrence faid, he would trouble the clerk with reading the fourth article of the act of union; which being done, the honourable member proceeded in a long detail of argument to fhow the impolicy of a union with Ireland at the present crifis. In calling the attention of the houfe to the general outlines of the treaty, he adverted to the reports which had gone abroad refpecting the reafon of his oppofition to it. It had been faid, that he opposed it in confequence of his being difappointed in an expected preferment in the line of his profeffion. To this the doctor faid, he never folicited government upon that point, and probably that he had not done fo arose principally from his entertaining thofe fentiments which he had all along expreffed refpecting the meafure. In the articles with Scotland, (with a few exceptions which funk into nothing in the comparifon) there was a complete communication of advantages, and identification of circumftances; but was there any part of the arrangement with Ireland to which this character applied? In arranging the proportions of contribution, important errors had been committed: we were to pay off our debts, while fhe would continue to run in debt. How was the house to proceed in cafes of controverted elections in Ireland? Were the neceffary witneffes to be brought over to this country; or was a committee to be fent over thither with full powers to determine questions both of law and fact? By the arrangement relative to the fpiritual lords, it would fometimes be in the power of the government to influence the decifion of the upper house; for

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